Why Do Vape Coils Turn Black?

If you use a tank-based vaping device, coil replacements are a major part of your maintenance routine. With a typical vape coil lasting anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks depending on the way you vape, you’ll replace the coil in your tank dozens of times per year – so you’re probably very used to it.

One thing that isn’t so easy to get used to, though, is the way that an old coil looks when you remove it from your tank. If you’ve been using the coil long enough, you’ll find that it looks completely black and almost slimy. If the coil is really old, the staining might even be so bad that the coil’s formerly white cotton wick has turned brown.

What’s happening here? Why do vape coils turn black, and is it really safe to inhale whatever that black stuff is? The fact that you’ve chosen to replace the coil probably provides the answer to the second question. You’re either replacing the coil because you’re no longer happy with the flavor, or you’re replacing it because you’re starting to experience an unpleasant throat irritation when you vape.

As for why your coils are turning black, the answer to that question isn’t quite so simple. It’s important to understand why it’s happening, though, because the black color may be a sign that you need to consider doing certain things differently.

So, why are your vape coils turning black?

You’re Using an Extremely Sweet E-Liquid

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If you’ve never taken the time to learn how to clean a vape coil at ROBO2020.com, now is the time, because a good process for coil cleaning can be one of the most valuable tools in your vaping arsenal if you’re a fan of sweetened e-liquids.

How can you tell if you’re using a sweetened e-liquid? If you’re using a popular mainstream e-liquid brand and buy your vape juice in large plastic bottles, it’s almost certain that your e-liquid is sweetened because that’s true of almost all of the most popular e-liquids these days. In addition, you’ll almost certainly taste the sweetener. Sweetened e-liquid contains sucralose, and sucralose tastes very similar to sugar. It even leaves a sugar-like coating on your lips and inside your mouth when you vape it.

The reason why sweetened e-liquid turns your coils black is because it doesn’t vaporize cleanly. E-liquid makers use sucralose as a sweetener because it tastes good and because it’s conveniently available in liquid form, making it very easy to add to vape juice. For e-liquid makers, coil longevity simply isn’t part of the equation – that’s your problem. To see what happens when you vaporize sucralose, you can conduct a simple experiment in your kitchen. Add some Splenda to a pan of water and heat the mixture on your stovetop. After a while, the water will boil away, leaving the pan as vapor – but the sucralose will still be there, bubbling away and slowly turning black. The same thing happens when you use sweetened e-liquid. You might taste a small portion of the sweetness, but most of the sucralose sticks to your coil and forms a residue that grows thicker and thicker until it actually starts to prevent e-liquid from reaching the coil.

So, why is coil cleaning so important? At the moment, when your vape coils turn black, you probably throw them away – and if the e-liquid that you use is heavily sweetened, there’s a good chance that you only use each coil for a day or two at the most before discarding it. It’s possible, however, to make your coils last much longer than that by cleaning them. Cleaning a coil removes the sucralose residue and returns the coil to an almost-new state, allowing you to use it again. Check out the link at the top of this section to learn how to do it.

You’re Using an E-Liquid With a Dark Color

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These days, the most common e-liquid color is clear – so in most cases, the color of your e-liquid is not causing your coils to turn black. In the past, though, brown e-liquids were much more common – and you can still find some brown e-liquids today if you buy from the smaller boutique sellers. Coffee and cola, for instance, are two e-liquid flavors that are still often brown, and that’s simply because the flavoring agents used in those vape juices are brown.
As you can probably imagine, using a brown e-liquid will concentrate the color in your vape coil and will ultimately stain the coil’s cotton wick. As long as the coil’s metal surface hasn’t developed a layer of gunk – which would indicate the presence of sucralose – and you’re happy with the flavor, there’s no need to worry about the discoloration of the wick.

You’re Using an E-Liquid Containing a Tobacco Extract

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Another type of e-liquid that used to be very popular and has since begun to fade into obscurity is e-liquid containing tobacco extracts. Naturally extracted tobacco – or NET – was popular for a while among some people who were having trouble becoming accustomed to vaping because they were true dyed-in-the-wool tobacco lovers. By steeping tobacco leaves in a solvent such as propylene glycol for several weeks, you can create an extract that retains the flavor of the tobacco. You can then add the extract to an e-liquid as you would any other flavoring agent.

The problem with some tobacco extracts, though, is that they aren’t quite filtered well enough and may still contain minute particles of tobacco. As you can probably imagine, tobacco particles do not vaporize and will stick to your atomizer coil. So, if you happen to be using an e-liquid containing a tobacco extract – and the e-liquid is turning your coils black – you might want to switch to a different e-liquid. With careful filtering, it is possible to create a tobacco extract that’s almost clear. The resulting e-liquid will contain almost no particulate matter and should not cause your atomizer coils to turn black.

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