e-liquid · Vaping Advice

E-Liquid Discoloration: What Does That Mean For You?

Have you ever noticed how e-liquids change color while in a bottle or after loading into the cartomizer? Discoloration doesn’t occur due to issues with the quality of the e-liquid but is determined by its ingredients and vaping habits. The amounts of flavoring present in the juice affects its color. To begin with, we shall consider how liquids change color inside a bottle before use. Nicotine is a naturally highly reactive chemical causing your e-liquid to change color by reacting with other ingredients or by exposure to light, heat, and air. As juices contain nicotine, they tend to discolor over time in spite of your storage conditions.

Remember, oxidation as a natural reaction doesn’t affect your e-liquids’ taste or vaping experience. Many vapers discard perfectly good e-juices believing that the discoloration makes it unsafe to vape. Old nicotine containing liquids can change color to almost black, but this is merely a natural cosmetic change that shouldn’t worry you.

E-liquid oxidation occurs faster in a cartomizer when nicotine is exposed to high levels of heat. The higher the amounts of nicotine in your e-juice, the more severe the visible signs of oxidation, though juice discoloration doesn’t affect your juice’s vaporization factor or taste. An analogy of e-liquid discoloration is peeled oranges, apples, or potatoes. With time, they gradually become darker but retain the same taste. When your liquid discolors, it is more “natural,” as it doesn’t contain chemicals that precipitate oxidation.

Oxidation is, however, not the only reason that makes your e-juice discolor. As VG-based juices are sweeter than PG-based ones; extreme heat in the atomizer coil makes them caramelize faster. Caramels, commonly known as “gunk” in vaping circles, can stain your e-liquid with increasing visibility as the juice level in the tank decreases. In severe cases, pure VG-based juices start as clear, amber colored blends and progressively change into dark-brown goo by the time you reach the bottom of your tank. Adding more juice worsens the condition, contributing to the gradual buildup of gunk in the coil and residues left in the reservoir.

Caramelization ultimately affects the juice color and taste. Cleaning both your tank and atomizer before refilling can help to eliminate that burnt taste in your vape to a great deal. Evidently, cleaning can only accomplish so much, meaning that eventually, you shall have to replace your atomizer’s coil and wick or get a new one if using a disposable. Remember that the buildup of gunk is related closely to your juice’s viscosity and sweetness. For instance; thick sweet vapes juices caramelize faster than standard PG based tobacco ones do.

A practice to help alleviate e-liquid discoloration would be to try different juices until you find the one that doesn’t change color while in your vape tank. Avoid leaving e-juices for too long in the tank, frequently draining your tank, and tank cleaning are effective ways of preventing discoloration. Consider your juice storage location to regulate exposure to bottles if they come into contact with heat, light, and air. If after doing this, you still experience problems in discoloration, accept it, and recognize that it isn’t a significant problem.

Whether caramelization, oxidation, or your e-liquid’s flavoring causes discoloration, changes in the color of the juice aren’t a reason for concern. It is a natural and ordinary occurrence. If it hasn’t happened to you already, probably you haven’t been using nicotine based e-liquids or clear PG based non-sweetened juices.


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