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Why Do Vape Pens Clog?

We’ve all been there. You sit down to vape, take a hit, and nothing happens. You check the battery, it’s charged. You check the cartridge, it’s full. So what gives? The answer, more likely than not, is that your vape pen is clogged.


Be it a nasty amount of residue or a simple airflow issue, there are a bevy of possible obstructions that can render your vape pen unusable. Narrowing down the problem can be tricky, but luckily there are a few things you can do to try and clear the blockage and get back to vaping.

Why do vape pens clog?

Any number of things can be preventing you from enjoying a good vape session—and a lot of them have to do with the fact that vape pens, e-cigarettes, and other vaping devices rely on a delicate balance of liquids and solids to function properly. Upset that balance (as many of us unintentionally do), and you've got a clogged vape pen on your hands.

Oil type

Who doesn't love taking a hit of CBD or its THC-laden cousin, THC oil? While vaping these oils certainly has its benefits, it can also lead to clogs. Because CBD and THC oils are thick and viscous, they don't always vaporize as cleanly as other liquids.


If you're using one of these oils in your vape pen, it's important to be extra vigilant about keeping things clean. You can also practice storing it in an upright position to help keep the oil from pooling around the mouthpiece.

Temperature

Pair a sticky oil with a too-hot or too-cold vape environment, and you're practically asking for a clog. Warm weather could cause the oil to become runny, and chilly temperatures could cause it to be thicker. Either way, it'll be more difficult for the oil to vaporize cleanly and is more likely to clog your vape pen.


The biggest way to prevent these kinds of not-so-fun scenarios is to be vigilant about not leaving your vape pen outside in the elements (that includes your car). Store it in a cool, dry location when you're not using it.


Another way to nix any temperature issues in the bud—pun intended—is to "preheat" you vape before you use it. Not every device will allow for this, but some let you warm up the oil by pressing down on the button for a few seconds before you start taking hits. This could help to ensure that your oil is the right consistency when it comes time to vape.

Flooded chamber

If you've been neglecting your vape pen and letting the cart sit around for too long, it's possible that the liquid has seeped to the bottom, where it oversaturated the wick and completely drowned the coil. The result? You get to enjoy some nice, paper-thin vapor and a slight, burn-flavored aftertaste of burn. 


A flooded chamber has the potential to ruin your entire vape, so the moment you get a whiff of a burning smell (or taste), stop vaping and start cleaning. Chances are, you're going to need to give the thing a pretty thorough once-over before it's working again. Making sure you hit your vape at least every few days—and take some smaller hits—will help keep your chamber nice and dry.

Wrong settings

Your vape's airflow settings play a big role in how well it functions. While you're filling that bad boy up, the airflow holes should be 100% closed. And when you're taking a hit, those same holes should be wide open, so you're not forcing the liquid through a tiny little crack.


If your airflow holes are at all misaligned, it could be throwing off the entire balance of your vape and causing a clog. Make sure that you're checking your airflow before every hit to see if it needs to be adjusted. Avoid inhaling too hard and instead practice some gentle, consistent puffs.

To sum it up

No vape pen is immune to clogging. But by taking a few preventative measures and knowing how to fix the problem if it does arise, you can keep your device functioning properly for as long as possible. If you do end up with a clogged vape pen, don't worry—with a little elbow grease and patience, you'll be taking another great hit in no time.

FAQs

Why is my vape not pulling smoke?

A lack of smoke could be a sign that your e-liquid is low. Check the level of liquid in your tank and, if necessary, add more. If your tank is full and you're still not seeing any smoke, you may have a flooded chamber on your hands.

What does it mean when wax is coming out of the cartridge mouthpiece?

You might not have tightened the cartridge properly, or you could have overfilled it. Try taking the cartridge out and screwing it back in more tightly. If that doesn't work, you may need to remove the excess wax from the cartridge.

How to unclog a disposable vape pen?

A small tool like a paper clip, a flosser, or a push pin can be used to clear the opening. Gently insert the tool into the opening and twist it around until the clog is dislodged. Avoid using toothpicks as they can easily break and get lodged in the pen. If the clog persists, you may need to replace the cartridge.

How to fix a clogged vape cartridge?

Take apart your vape, removing the card from the battery. Take note of any visible residue or other potential blockages and clean or scrape them off with a paperclip or floss pick. An alcohol wipe can also be used to clean the device.

What does it mean when a cart has airflow but no smoke?

A buildup of condensation is often the culprit when carts have airflow but no smoke. You'll want to give your vape a good deep clean and avoid overstuffing it in the future. It's also a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning it every time you go to refill it.