All vaporizers are not built equally, but they all share a most important part, without which the process fails and no vapor is made. What would that be? The answer may surprise you.
Vapes come in many different forms—from table-top rigs, to portable dual-use devices like your DaVinci IQ2 or IQC, to the herb-exclusive MIQRO or a disposable oil pen. But all of them require this trinity of components: a power source, heating element and a substance of your choice to heat.
But the entire process breaks down without a method of transferring heat that converts dry herb or concentrates into an inhalable vapor.
The name of that key method—the area where the heat transfer and subsequent vaporization occur—is called the vaporizer atomizer. And if an atomizer isn’t kept in good working order, intact as well as clean, your vaporizer will not function.
WHAT IS AN ATOMIZER?
An atomizer is simply “a device for emitting water, perfume, or other liquids as a fine spray,” just as the dictionary says. Though designs vary, which means the exact form of the atomizer will depend on your vape’s overall design, the constant is that there is no vaporization without an atomizer.
For this reason, it’s imperative that your vaporizer’s atomizer is kept in good working order. Like everything else in your life, that means subjecting your atomizer to regular, as-needed cleaning—and this need is constant whether you’re using loose-leaf herb, concentrates or a mix of both if your vape has dual-use capabilities. So how do you do that?
LOCATING THE ATOMIZER
You can’t clean what you can’t find, or so the very true and old saying goes (trust us). To clean your atomizer, it’s necessary first to be able to identify your atomizer—which, in the simplest terms, is the oven if you’re using a dry-herb vaporizer, or the area where heat source and oil meet in a vaporizer pen or e-cigarette.
With e-cigarettes and vaporizer pens—of all different thread sizes and using both disposable and refillable cartridges—the “atomizer” is generally understood to bean umbrella term that captures both the heating element (that is, the battery), the wick that delivers the e-liquid to the coils, as well as the coils on which the e-liquid is heated.
In most cannabis-oil vaporizer cartridges, the wick and the mouthpiece are in the disposable or refillable cartridge (the bit you actually pay money for at the dispensary), whereas the heating element is the battery. Thus, the atomizer can be understood to be the “union” of these two components.
Most vaporizer pen users, for this reason, may not find much need to “clean” their atomizer: there’s always another cartridge and battery combination to replace this one should anything go awry. But that’s wasteful—and contributing yet more toxic e-waste to the landfill was not on your to-do list today, was it?
HOW TO CLEAN A VAPORIZER ATOMIZER
Cleaning comes into play with load-your-own, dual-use vapes like the IQ2 and IQC, or if you have a pen-style vaporizer that doesn’t take cartridges and instead vaporizes oils or waxesthat you place directly onto the coils.
If oil from a leaking or broken cartridge were to get onto your pen’s battery—a likely outcome if the cartridge is damaged, a situation diagnosed by the oil leaking onto your fingers or pocket—carefully remove the cartridge from the battery. Use an alcohol wipe, or a paper towel or cloth along with some rubbing alcohol to remove the offending oil. Wipe clean and let dry.
At times, a cartridge can simply leak too much oil during excessive use as components get overly heated or as too much oil gets onto the wick. The cartridge may be fine. But if the cartridge is damaged, discard and replace (and reconsider why you’re using a product that produces so much waste).
HOW TO CLEAN A DAVINCI VAPE
How often do you have to clean a dry-herb atomizer? There are two questions here: How often do you have to clean your oven, and how often will the heating element need to be repaired or replaced?
With the latter, the answer is rarely, if ever. As long as you protect your vaporizer from damage—as in you don’t cause physical damage by dropping it, and you don’t expose it to excessive moisture or heat—it should last the lifetime of your device. Some vaporizers may need to have heating elements replaced. Follow your device’s care instructions or visit an authorized repair center.
With the former, if you’re referring to your DaVinci, you’ll know it’s time for a cleaning whenever there’s a decrease in function—if the vapor doesn’t pull easily, if there’s an issue with taste, and so on.
Follow the maintenance instructions for cleaning that are specific to your device (IQC, IQ2 or MIQRO) to clean the mouthpiece, flavor chamber and body of your device as you would normally. Use the device’s tool kit to remove the flavor chamber. Use the included brush to clean the chamber or use cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol or wipes to clean surfaces. There’s no need for major surgery!
With an IQC, IQ2 or MIQRO, how to clean an atomizer is a question that you don’t need to worry much about.