When you get a new vaporizer you'll probably want to immediately pack it with flower and start ripping, but there are a few steps that I recommend before you use your new device. These three easy steps will ensure you get the best possible experience out of your precious new acquisition.
I always like to treat a new vaporizer like any other product related to consumption. For example, if I go to the store and buy a new frying pan, when I get home I’m not just going to unwrap it and put some eggs straight in there. I’m gonna clean that frying pan first so it's safe to use.
Vaporizers are like any other manufactured product, there will always be remnants of the manufacturing process left on the device. Some manufacturers are definitely better than others in this regard and may require less preparation, but in my mind it's better to be sure and clean it yourself.
If you do want to be lazy though, you can take a few dry pulls from your vaporizer without it being heated. If you notice very little or no flavour at all, you can probably get away with not doing such a thorough clean. If you do taste a little something, I'm here to show you how to get rid of it.
Step 1 - Physical Cleaning
The first thing that I do when I get a new vaporizer is to disassemble it and clean the components with isopropyl alcohol. If it has a glass stem as with a Solo 2 or a cooling unit like on the Crafty+, I place that in a plastic bag with some 99% isopropyl alcohol, give it a good shake for 30 seconds, then rinse it thoroughly under a tap. After a rinse I always dry it in front of a fan, as this will dry it more completely and much faster.
It’s important to not soak anything made out of plastic or with o-rings in isopropyl alcohol for too long, but I have never run into any problems by giving such components a quick shake in it. I do this with stems, accessories, and anything similar that is included with a device. If it says not to put it in isopropyl alcohol it's up to your discretion really, but I alcohol rinse as described without worry.
While the components are drying, let’s move on to the vaporizer itself. I take an alcohol wipe and I go over the entire exterior of the device first. Even though you’re not vaping from the exterior of the device, I just feel more comfortable knowing that it has been cleaned with high strength isopropyl alcohol before I start handling it myself.
Depending on how wide the bowl is, I either get in there with the same isopropyl alcohol wipe, or if the wipe doesn't fit in there properly I take a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol and thoroughly clean the bowl. I always do this with the vape upside down so no liquid can run down into the device, and then leave it upside down for a minute or two while the alcohol residue evaporates.
Step 2 - Burn-off
After everything has dried, I reassemble the vaporizer, and then I do a burn-off. Burn-offs can be very effective for getting rid of any lingering manufacturing taste, but I only ever do them after I've cleaned the device with alcohol.
When I do a burn-off, I never do it at the highest temperature that the device can reach, unless it only has a few preset temperatures. I think about it like flooring the accelerator in your car, sure your car can do it, but it's not great for the engine to push it to the limit like that.
If it has single degree temperature control, I turn the device up to 210°C (410°F). If it only has a few settings, like the Pax for example, then I turn it up to the highest preset temperature the device has. If it has a stem, mouthpiece or cooling unit, I leave that off while I’m doing the burn-off.
Once the device is up to temperature I let it go a full cycle until it automatically turns off. Next I wait a good five minutes for the device to cool down, and then I repeat the process. I don’t ever do this more than three or four times, and I always allow the device to cool down between burn-offs to avoid overworking it.
When you've finished doing burn-offs and it's cool, give it a few more dry pulls. You should notice that the taste has dramatically improved at this point, but if you find there’s still room for improvement, or if you just want to go that extra mile, that’s when I start doing some ghost hits to season the device.
Step 3 - Ghost Hits/Seasoning
I find this to be the most effective method of getting rid of that new vaporizer taste. It won’t work for every single vaporizer, as it's going to depend on the model, but I've had success with a large number of vapes.
All I do is take some of my ABV (already been vaped flower), and then completely load up the bowl of the vaporizer. During normal vaping I tend to refresh my bowl when the flavour and the thickest vapour is gone, so my ABV is usually still pretty green and definitely has some active ingredient left in it. If your ABV is super brown or almost black you won’t want to use that, so in that case I would just use some inexpensive flower in its place.
Next we have to find where the air intake is for the vaporizer. This can be a bit tricky for some vapes, but I did it with three different vapes in the video: the Fury Edge, the Pax 3, and the Argo. With the Fury Edge you will see the air intake on the bottom of the device, the Pax 3 has the air intake around the outside of the bowl perimeter, and the Argo has the air intake down in the mesh/webbed section.
Once you identify where the air intake is on the device, go ahead and heat the device up to the same temperature you were using for the burn-off. Once it's up to temperature, you’re just going to gently blow through the air intake to force vapour through the device. Essentially the best way to get rid of the flavour of a new vaporizer is to use it, and this method allows us to do that without having to inhale that dirty tasting vapour.
When I blow into the air intake, it forces vapour through the device which is going to stick like glue to any of those little flavour particles and flush them out. Depending on how much manufacturing flavour there is I might do a couple of bowls like this, but typically I find that after the earlier cleaning steps, one bowl of ghost hits is enough.
Of the three steps outlined here - alcohol cleaning, burn-offs, and ghost hits - ghost hits are the single most effective way to get rid of any off taste in your vape. It won’t work with every vape, but if that's the case just performs steps 1 & 2 until the taste is gone.
One of the main reasons that I like to vaporize is for the healthier consumption aspect, so don’t short yourself so close to the finish line by using your vape right out of the box. Give it a good solid cleaning as described here for the best flavour and function from your very first hit.
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Keep it green, keep it sneaky.