How to Fix a Clogged 510 Thread Vape Cartridge

October 03, 2023

If your vape cartridge is clogged, it can be a real downer when you're looking forward to a smooth vaping experience. When you try to take a puff, one of two things usually happens. Either the airflow is blocked completely, making it impossible to inhale, or you end up with a nasty burnt taste because the vape material hasn't soaked into the cartridge's wick properly. Either way, it's not what you signed up for when you were hoping for a relaxing vape session.

The good news is that unclogging most vape cartridges, whether they're refillable, dab, or disposable, is pretty straightforward as long as the cartridge isn't jammed with old residue. In this guide, we'll show you some simple steps to unclog your vape cartridge and get it working smoothly again.

But before we dive into the solutions, let's briefly understand why vape cartridges get clogged in the first place.

Why Vape Cartridges Get Clogged

There are two main reasons why a vape cartridge can become clogged:

  1. Solidified Residue Blocks Airflow: Sometimes, leftover residue hardens inside the cartridge, preventing air from flowing through it. This results in poor or no airflow.

  2. Oil Doesn't Absorb Into the Wick: In other cases, the oil inside the cartridge doesn't soak into the wick properly, allowing air to pass through but causing a burnt taste when you vape.

So, why do these problems occur? Here are the most common causes of a clogged vape cartridge:

  • Storing the cartridge in a cold environment, making the oil thicker.
  • Using a thick material in the cartridge, even at room temperature.
  • Trying to use wax in an oil cartridge (wax is solid at room temperature).
  • Reusing the same cartridge multiple times, causing solid residue to block airflow or oil flow.
  • Vape oil condensing and forming solid blobs inside the cartridge's chimney or mouthpiece, blocking airflow.

When you encounter a clogged vape cartridge, you're dealing with one of these five issues. But don't worry; it's not too complicated. Here's how to fix it: 

How to Unclog a Vape Cartridge the Easy Way

Let's start with some simple methods to unclog your vape cartridge quickly.

  1. Check the Airflow Vents: Ensure that the cartridge's air vents are open and accessible. If there's an adjustable airflow collar, make sure it's open. If the cartridge allows airflow through the threading, don't screw it in too tightly, as it can block airflow.

  2. Unclog the Mouthpiece and Chimney: If you've used the same cartridge for a while, you may need to remove hardened residue from the mouthpiece and chimney. Use a paperclip to gently clear any blockages, taking care not to damage the heating coil.

  3. Pulse the Coil to Loosen the Oil: For cartridges with thick material or those stored in cold conditions, briefly press the fire button on your 510 vape battery or puff on the cartridge's mouthpiece without inhaling to warm the material and get it flowing through the wick.

How to Remove Stubborn Clogs

When a vape cartridge is severely clogged due to extremely thick material, pulsing the coil might not be enough. In such cases, you'll need to heat the oil externally. Here are two ways to do it:

  1. Unclog with Warm Water: Seal the cartridge in a zip-top bag and place it in a bowl. Run warm water over it for several minutes. If you see air bubbles inside the cartridge when you remove it from the bag, the oil has started to absorb into the wick. Wait until you no longer see bubbles to use the cartridge.

  2. Unclog with Rubbing Alcohol: Simply submerge the clogged cartridge in rubbing alcohol for an hour, ensuring it's fully covered. After soaking, remove the cartridge, shake off excess alcohol, and let it air dry for an hour or two. The rubbing alcohol effectively clears any blockages in the cartridge's holes. This straightforward and proven method has been found to be both easy and highly successful, ensuring a smooth vaping experience.

  3. Unclog with a Hair Dryer: If you don't have a zip-top bag, use a hair dryer on its lowest heat setting. Wave it over the cartridge until it becomes warm. Be cautious not to overheat and damage the plastic. Look for bubbles in the cartridge to know when the oil has absorbed into the wick.

How to Prevent Vape Cartridge Clogs

Clogged cartridges can be frustrating, especially with pre-filled disposable ones. However, if you fill your own cartridges, you can take steps to prevent clogs. Here are three tips:

  • Use Appropriate Material: Only load liquid materials into oil cartridges. If you want to use wax, opt for a wax tank or an electric nectar collector for dabbing.

  • Replace Cartridges When Needed: If the flavor quality starts to decline, it's a sign that solid residue is building up. Replace the cartridge to avoid clogs.

  • Choose the Right Cartridge: Always use a vape cartridge designed for oil vaping, not e-liquid tanks with cotton wicks, which are meant for thinner e-liquids. Using the wrong cartridge can lead to clogs and unreliable performance.

By following these simple steps and tips, you can keep your vape cartridges in good shape and enjoy a smoother vaping experience.

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