Coil Gunk – What Can You Do About It?

Coil Gunk – What Can You Do About It?

Coil gunk is a black crust that forms on vaping coils with repeated use. The substances in your e-liquid that don’t vaporize cleanly end up sticking to the coil and burning, forming a dark coating in the process.

Guest post by Skylar Rothman.

What Is Coil Gunk, and What Can You Do About It?

There’s no question about it; vaping coils simply don’t last as long as they used to. With the earliest e-cigarettes, it was perfectly reasonable to expect an atomizer coil to last several weeks before its vapor production decreased or it began to produce off flavors.

Today, though, it’s not uncommon for a modern sub-ohm coil to last only a day or two. What happened?

Coil gunk is a black crust that forms on vaping coils with repeated use. The substances in your e-liquid that don’t vaporize cleanly end up sticking to the coil and burning, forming a dark coating in the process.

When coil gunk becomes thick enough, it creates an unpleasant burned flavor that changes the taste of every e-liquid. Everything in an e-liquid – the sweeteners, the flavors and even the vegetable glycerin – leaves residue on coils.

Since the early days, vaping has changed in two key ways:

  1. E-liquid is sweeter than ever.
  2. Vaping devices consume more e-liquid than ever.

More than anything else, those are the two factors that most influence the production of coil gunk. Now that you understand what coil gunk is, let’s find out what you can do about it.

Try an Unsweetened E-Liquid

Sweetened e-liquids have become more popular than ever – and many of the e-liquid brands with national distribution are very sweet. Everyone loves sweet flavors, so it’s understandable that sweetened e-liquids have become very popular.

The problem is that sucralose – the most common e-liquid sweetener – doesn’t fully vaporize when heated. If you can’t taste anything but burned sugar after using a coil for a day or two, sweetener is the most likely culprit.

Although many of the most popular e-liquid brands are sweetened, there are many smaller, more experienced e-liquid makers out there who are still using the same unsweetened blends that they’ve used since the beginning.

Even if you love sweetened e-liquids, you’d be surprised how sweet an e-liquid can taste without added sucralose because many e-liquid flavors taste sweet on their own. If coil gunk is a serious issue for you, it’s worth the effort to seek out makers of unsweetened – or at least less sweet – e-liquids.

Try an Unflavored E-Liquid

Are you still dealing with coil gunk even though you’ve switched to an unsweetened e-liquid? Sweetener isn’t the only cause of coil gunk. Many popular e-liquid flavors also don’t vaporize cleanly. If you want your sub-ohm coils to potentially last for weeks at a time, try an unflavored e-liquid.

Although flavor quality is a major priority for many people who vape, you may actually find that unflavored e-liquids are quite enjoyable. For one, unflavored e-liquids are cheap. You can buy an enormous supply at the same price that you currently pay for a flavored e-liquid with a pretty label.

Vegetable glycerin also has a neutral, pleasant and slightly sweet flavor of its own. You might like it – and your coils will thank you!

Try a Pod Vaping System

If you love sweetened e-liquids and don’t want to stop using them, your next best option is to simply use less e-liquid. Even the sweetest e-liquid will produce less coil gunk if you use less of it.

Pod vaping systems generate significantly less vapor than sub-ohm vaping systems – and yet, people often find them just as satisfying because pod vaping systems typically use e-liquids with nicotine salts.

Research suggests that an e-liquid with nicotine salts can create a higher blood-nicotine concentration than a standard e-liquid, meaning that a nicotine salt e-liquid can be almost as satisfying as a tobacco cigarette.

Another benefit of pod vaping systems is that, since they use far less e-liquid than sub-ohm vaping systems, they can greatly reduce the amount of money that you spend on vaping.

Try Increasing Your Nicotine Strength

As great as nicotine salt e-liquids have been for some people, they aren’t for everyone. For one thing, the strengths of nicotine salt e-liquids often start at 25 mg and go up from there.

If you’re currently using an e-liquid with a nicotine strength of 3 mg, switching to a 25 mg e-liquid is a huge jump – even if you also switch to a much smaller vaping device.

If you don’t want to make that jump, try a slight nicotine strength increase – from 3 mg to 6 mg, for example – instead. Anything that reduces your e-liquid consumption will reduce coil gunk and make your coils last longer.

Try Building Your Own Coils

Suppose that you already love everything about your vaping experience. You love your sub-ohm setup, and you love blowing huge clouds. You love your sweet e-liquids and don’t want to change anything – but you still hate coil gunk.

If that’s the case, you have two options. You can either put up with coil gunk and simply continue replacing your expensive pre-made coils every day or two, or you can start building your own coils.

To get started with coil building, you need a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA) or a rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA). An RDA generates the biggest vapor clouds, but it only stores enough e-liquid for a few puffs at a time.

An RTA provides as much e-liquid storage as the tank that you currently use, but it generates less vapor than an RDA.

Switching to a rebuildable atomizer won’t reduce coil gunk, but it will make the gunk more tolerable.

One of the biggest problems with coil gunk is the fact that it makes vaping more expensive. A typical pre-made coil costs about $2-3. If you need to replace your coil every day, the cost can climb quickly.

If you use a rebuildable atomizer, on the other hand, you can buy a large bag of cotton and a spool of kanthal wire for about the same cost as a box or two of pre-made coils.

Although rebuilding an atomizer takes a little time, it only costs a few cents in materials.

About the Author
Skylar Rothman is the marketing manager of is a new online vape shop that wants to be your one-stop shop for your favorite e-liquids. Smoking Things carries a growing selection of vape juices and offers a 10 percent discount to all new customers with the coupon code FIRST10.

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