Longtime vapers will probably be aware of coil gunk, and how it ruins your coils. While it's not possible to completely prevent coil gunk, today I will guide you through what it is and how to avoid it from happening.
What Is Coil Gunk?
Coil gunk is the dirty, gloopy residue that can build up around your coil and soak into your wick. This is one of the most common reasons why you should regularly change your coil, since the build-up around the coil interferes with the taste of your e-liquid and the residue in your wick stops it from being able to soak up e-juice.
The gunk is basically residue from e-liquid that has not been completely vaporised. Some ingredients, usually sweeteners, are left behind and these components are heated over and over as you keep vaping, eventually turning dark. Sweeteners are especially bad at producing coil gunk since they are large molecules that don't vaporise easily, and when exposed to extreme heat, they turn dark.
What Causes Coil Gunk?
The first thing to do to prevent coil gunk is to see what causes it.
Dark E-Liquids and Sweeteners
Manufacturers use various ingredients to produce their liquids. often they need really specific ingredients to get a certain taste – ones that might not be so nice to your coils. Watch out for dark e-liquids since a dark colour usually means there was some kind of sweetener used in the recipe.
Sweeteners can make the liquid taste delicious but they do not vaporise well. Eventually the crystallised e-juice sweetener joins the gunk, ruining the taste and finally killing the coil.
Cloud chasers or sub-ohm vapers would often enjoy a high VG liquid, but it can be problematic.
While VG is nice to create massive clouds, it damages the coils and is a major cause of coil gunk. VG is much thicker than PG so the coils need to work harder to absorb the liquid. Nevertheless the VG left behind eventually burns, developing into coil gunk. Some mods may have better designs or settings for the atomizer, making gunk less of a concern.
Avoiding Coil Gunk
There are many fantastic e-liquids which do not use sweeteners. Try to switch your dark e-juices for something clear if you can.
Some flavours, such as chocolate or pastries, are infamous for depending on sweeteners. While you may love an e-liquid's taste, even when it kills the coils, if you look for other similar e-liquids you may find an even better one without sweeteners.
Use Less VG
Something with a VG ratio of 70% or more is usually considered "Max VG." While uncommon, e-liquids can go as high as 100% VG. This can be irritating to some cloud-chasers or general VG-lovers who have to frequently change their coils.
The solution at this stage is simple, just choose an e-liquid with less than 70% VG. Some brands offer 60% VG as their default, while others may allow you to choose your VG / PG ratio.
Change The Way You Vape
Probably the easiest option, simply altering your vaping settings, technique and frequency should help to avoid coil gunk.
Choose shorter, sharper draws instead of long pulls. When you feel like chain vaping, do your best to avoid it. When you experience the urge to chain vape to fulfill your nicotine demands, it's time to increase the nicotine strength.
What to Do If Your Coils Still Get Gunked Up
Use Rebuildable Atomisers
The use of rebuildable atomizers has plenty of advantages in reducing coil gunk. The reason for this is that you can easily remove the wick and replace it with a new one when the coil ends up covered in gunk.
To clear some of the residue, remove the original wick and then dry-burn the coil. Allow for the coil to cool down, then, if there is some residue, give it a gentle wiping with a moist Q-tip or paper towel to get your coil clean and shiny again. Finally just re-wick and vape!
Clean Pre-Made Atomisers
Often you can reduce the coil gunk effects by cleaning the atomizer head when it becomes gunky. In many instances you can do this with hot water or with strong grain alcohol. Take the tank apart and lower the atomizer head into the liquid before letting it soak for about half an hour. If you have used alcohol, rinse the coil under water after removing it. Allow it to dry completely before starting to vape with it again, at least 12 hours will do.
Change the Wick Material
Chances are, if you construct you own coils, you will use cotton as a wicking material. Although this does have many benefits, it is more vulnerable to gunk than some other materials. Switching to a silica wick will render the builds more gunk resistant. Some premade atomiser heads use ceramic for wicking, which is also less likely to get gunky.
While there are many measures you can take to avoid coil gunk, it is impossible to completely avoid coil gunk. These measures will still help to reduce the possibility of coil gunk appearing. Happy Vaping!