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WARNING: This product contains nicotine.
Nicotine is an addictive chemical.
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eliquid turning dark how to avoid

Why E-Liquid Turns Dark or Brown — And How to Avoid It

Ever have a bottle of untouched e-liquid that turned dark over time? Or a tank that used to hold golden liquid that has since turned dark brown or black. It looks nasty, but does that mean the juice is no good?

Not always. E-liquid often turns dark over time, regardless of the environment, because of a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s avoidable, sometimes it’s not. Here’s why it’s happening and how you can stop it:

Why E-Liquids Turn Dark in the Tank

In most cases, the ingredients in your e-liquid cause it to turn dark or brown in the tank. A lot of e-liquids on the market have artificial sweeteners and sugars that add flavor.

When exposed to heat, the sugar in sweet e-liquids will caramelize and can change the color and texture of the liquid. It’s just like the process of making caramel, and the result can be just as gunky.

This caramelized gunk can also stain the existing e-liquid in your device. Over time, it will build up on your coil and seep into the tank, leaving residue behind. Without regular cleaning, this buildup will start to darken any new e-liquid added to your device as well. It can start to affect the taste, too.

If you have a device you haven’t used in a while with old e-juice sitting in the tank, the liquid might also start to turn dark. This isn’t because of the sweeteners. In this case, a chemical reaction process called oxidation causes the color change. Basically, oxidation happens when nicotine and oxygen are exposed to one another. The good news? This doesn’t ruin the taste or quality of your e-liquid.

Why E-Liquids Turn Dark in the Bottle

Sometimes, e-liquid turns dark while they’re still in the bottle. Again, this is because of the oxidation process that occurs when nicotine interacts with and is exposed to oxygen. This chemical reaction causes the liquid to darken.

Exposure to light and heat will also gradually cause the nicotine in your e-liquid to change color. Even storing it in a cool, dark place won’t stop it completely, although it can help slow the process. Nicotine is a very reactive substance.

How to Prevent E-Liquids from Turning Dark

Look at the ingredients

Not all e-liquids are created equal. That’s why some brands turn dark more quickly than others. Vegetable glycerin-based juices are generally sweeter than juices containing propylene glycol, so look for the latter if you need something sweet.

Or, opt for a sugar-free and natural alternative. At Black Note, for example, we don’t add any sugars or sweeteners to our product.

Store appropriately

There are a few easy ways to reduce both discoloration and sticky gunk buildup. Always store opened and unopened bottles, as well as any vape devices, in a cool, dark and dry place. Keep bottle lids tightly closed.

Don’t mix

If you have an old and a new bottle of the same e-liquid, keep them separate. And when mixing different-flavored or brands of e-juices, mix them in a smaller dish or container. This way, you can avoid affecting the entire bottle.

Don’t add new liquid to your tank if it’s starting to change color because of caramelized buildup. Clean the tank first, and then add the new liquid to avoid contaminating the flavor and color.

Getting a burnt flavor? Learn how to stop it from happening >

Keep it clean

Sticking to a regular cleaning routine will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your vaping experience.

How often you need to clean your tank and coil depends entirely on how much and how often you use it. Typically, it ranges anywhere from weekly to monthly. A good rule of thumb is to clean it every time you need to refill it. Cleaning gets rid of caramelized gunk and helps minimize discoloration and changes in flavor.

Learn how to clean your coil with our guide to coil maintenance 101 >

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