At Captain Vape we love discuss all things cannabis. Even though Vape is in the name we are still not opposed to smoking or edibles. Weed just rather vape (pun intended). We vape a lot. Like right now I’m vaping while typing. It’s fun.
If you’re like us and love vaping you might find that your vaporizer is getting a little grimy. While vaping is a cleaner way of using cannabis you can start to see the resin and messy residue left behind after a number of uses. Today we will go through the steps of properly cleaning your dry herb vaporizer.
What you will need:
- Cotton swabs
- Rubbing alcohol (preferably 90-100%)
- Small knife
- Pipe Cleaners
- Paper Towel
- Short glass (like a scotch glass)
Step 1: Clear Out The Oven
The two main components of the vaporizer that will require a good cleaning is the glass straw and the oven. The oven is usually a stainless steel cup and that is where most of the burnt plant will stick to. Over time after emptying the oven over and over it will start to collect the ash of the bud. This burnt residue of the plant will start to stick to the oven like a fine dust. You’ll know it’s time to think about cleaning it when the oven turns from a shiny chrome to a hazy brown.
After you have emptied the oven of burnt weed you may find that small clumps are left behind. This is where you will use a small knife to lightly scrape it off. I use a tiny blade from a cork screw mechanism I bought at the dollar store. All you need is a tiny blade or a small flat head screw driver. Anything small enough to fit inside the oven so you can have room to scrape.
Be very careful during this process. You don’t want to scratch the inside of the oven because that can effect how well it functions. You want to be able to scrape the bigger clumps that will come off fairly easily. Sometimes there are very small clumps that are baked right onto the stainless steel surface. If you go over it with the knife and it’s still being stubborn that’s ok. You don’t want to keep scratching and damage the inside of the oven. We’ll get to that in a later step.
After the oven is clear of the clumps of weed move on to the next step.
Step 2: Take It Apart
You probably have a different vaporizer than mine but the fundamentals are the same. I am using an Arizer Solo. The top cap screws off and the glass straw is easily removable.
With this vaporizer it can be pretty easy to spill some bud crumbs into the crevasses when loading. Over time the small amounts of shake can build up and cause some issues with the wiring for the oven. For a quick solution you can turn the cylinder upside down and give it a few taps to get the loose stuff out. While this will definitely get some of the loose shake out you will probably still have some left over. Weed is very sticky so don’t be surprised if you have a few sticking to some wires or the plastic. The best way to be thorough is to unscrew the compartment using tiny screw drivers. Be warned that depending on your vaporizer this can void the warranty. Be sure to read manual before you take it apart completely.
If you do manage to take it apart without incident the best way to get rid of the tiny crumbs is with a cotton swab moistened with a dab of rubbing alcohol. You don’t want to use water as this can short out the wiring if you turn it on while it’s still moist.
You can also use a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to reach some of the small crumbs that won’t come out. The crumbs should attach itself to the tip of the swab pretty easily. If you can remove the excess crumbs using this method I recommend doing that instead of unscrewing it.
Step 3: Cleaning the Straw
If your vaporizer has a removable straw, remove it and place it aside. With that small knife you will want to scrape the large chunks of resin that you can reach. This will make the cleaning process with the rubbing alcohol go a little quicker.
Fill the short glass with two fingers of rubbing alcohol. Depending on the size of your straw maybe you only need one finger but two should be plenty. Now set the straw in the glass and let it soak. The alcohol will break down the sticky resin so it should come off nicely. You will want it to soak from approximately an hour.
Use a cotton swap to wipe all the resin off. You’ll probably go through a few swabs because its pretty messy. If you have a bent straw that can be hard to reach you’ll want to use pipe cleaners to get past the elbow. I like to twist the end of the pipe cleaner to make it a little bigger so it makes contact with all sides of the straw.
Once you are satisfied with the cleanliness off the straw thoroughly rinse it out with water. Once it’s rinsed out, twist a strip of paper towel and insert it to absorb the moisture inside the straw. You don’t have to do this if you’re not going to use the vape right away. You can always set aside the straw and wait for it to dry. If you do want to use the vaporizer right after cleaning (I always do!) you’ll want the straw to be dry so no liquid drips down into the oven or all over your bud.
If you have a straw that is permanently attached to your vaporizer I do not recommend soaking. I would repeatedly liberally soak cotton swabs and clean the straw until the resin is gone. If the straw is a small slit in which a swab will not fit you can get cleaning wipes that you can stuff inside and pull out to get the gunk out. If you don’t want to purchase wipes you can always soak paper towel with alcohol.
Step 4: Cleaning The Oven
This is a step you can do while the straw is soaking to save you some time and get back to vaping. Make sure the unit is off. Make sure the surface you are doing this on won’t be affected by rubbing alcohol if you spill it. One time I did a sloppy job of cleaning my vaporizer on a wood coffee table and the alcohol took the finish right off. Now the surface of the table is all splotchy.
I like to lay a towel down on whatever surface I’m using and fill the cap from the bottle of rubbing alcohol with the alcohol. Now dip a cotton swap in the cap and dab the liquid in the oven. Don’t be afraid of using a lot of alcohol as it dries quickly. When moving the swab inside the oven you’ll notice a layer of black come off. The oven may still look discolored but that’s ok.
Keep using cotton swabs saturated with rubbing alcohol until the swabs are not getting black anymore. This means you’re at the point where you can’t take off any more layers of burnt resin. If the oven is still discolored there is a way to get it back to it’s original chrome finish.
Turn the vaporizer. It doesn’t have to be on a high temp just enough to burn the alcohol away. Dip a swab in alcohol again and repeat this step but with the vaporizer on. At first you will hear a searing sound and see some vapor. If you find that the discoloration is still not coming off ensure your swab is soaked with alcohol. Keep swabbing the oven and you should start to see the chrome finish come back.
Once you are satisfied with how clean the oven is leave the vaporizer on to burn away excess alcohol. It won’t take long to burn it all off.
Step 5: Put It All Together And Enjoy
Now that we have a clean oven and straw it’s time to put in a new screen and enjoy. If this is your first time cleaning your vaporizer the first thing you will notice is how quickly and how abundant the vapor is now. The first vape after a good cleaning is always the best one. It’s like sleeping in a bed with fresh clean sheets.
Every vape is different but it’s a good idea to give it a good cleaning after every ten sessions. After every use it wouldn’t be a bad idea to clean the tip of the straw that goes into your mouth. In these dark Covid times its good hygiene. If you neglect to do this it can build up a bacteria colony that will be waiting to invade your throat.
I hope this guide was able to help you get the most out of your vaporizer. Thanks for stopping by and happy vaping!