In this how-to, we’re going to go over the basics for how to thoroughly clean an E-pipe. E-pipes are certainly a bit of an investment, and one way to help them to last longer is to keep them clean. This is especially important if you want them to continue to look good and work properly years down the road. Not every E-pipe is going to last forever, but if the technology is sound and you keep them maintained, they can actually last longer than most people realize.
For the purposes of this review, we used the EPuffer 609 and the EPuffer 629. Both of these are very well-made E-pipes, both are very popular, and they’re both fantastic examples of E-pipes in general in terms of design and construction – so you’ll likely find that this guide will be just as useful when applied to other types of pipes as well.
Obviously, with that being said, there are a few differences between them. The EPuffer 629, for example, comes standard with a liquamiser tank, while the 609 doesn’t. The 609, rather, uses prefilled cartomizers by default – which presents a bit of a difference when the time comes to clean them.
This is one reason for why we chose to use these two pipes as examples – because this difference represents probably the biggest difference that you will find among different E-pipes. Therefore, by including instructions for both, you should be able to learn everything you need to get the job done – regardless of which design your pipe happens to utilize.
What will you need?
First off, we’re going to put together a quick list of things you’ll need to get started.
You’re going to need a little bit of water (in a bowl works best, as this makes it easy to wash parts without making a mess). You’re also going to need some Q-tips/cotton swabs, and some paper towels (or those sheets of blue shop towels). For best results, you should probably cover your work surface with a few paper towels, just to keep things neat and tidy. You can then keep either a few additional sheets or the roll nearby to utilize when you need to dry something off or wipe something down.
There are a few more items that you might want to keep on hand as well, though it’s debatable whether or not you’ll actually need them. One of them is a type of alcohol solution (we actually like Halfords Electrical Contact Cleaner). The idea behind this is that not everyone wants to clean electrical devices with water – especially when it comes to the inner electrical workings.
Now, with that being said, we don’t really see using water for these parts as a problem, as long as they are thoroughly dried out before you put the pipe back together and try to use it. But alcohol solutions do offer a few benefits. They evaporate faster, they clean very well, and they can (as in the case of the Halfords product we like) allow you to spray the alcohol on and just wipe it off. It evaporates pretty much instantly when used like this. You can also just use a bottle of isopropyl alcohol solution (or rubbing alcohol) and cotton swabs as well to achieve a similar effect.
Attention! Safety note: Alcohol cleaner is a flammable, combustible, and toxic substance that you should never utilize around open flames, powered electrical components, or any other type of heat source. Always read the warning labels and exercise caution when using it. Also, make sure to store it in a safe place, where children and/or pets won’t be able to access it.
So, just for a recap, here’s a quick bullet point list of what you’ll need to get started…
- A bowl of water (warm water… no soap)
- Paper towels
- Cotton swabs
- Alcohol cleaner (optional)
Once you’ve assembled these, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step.
Breaking down the pipe (and beginning the cleaning process)
To start with, we’re going to discuss the Epuffer 609 (the model that doesn’t come standard with a liquamiser). For the sake of brevity, we’re not necessarily going to talk about how these pipes operate, because we’ve covered that information in other reviews already. Rather, we’re going to just get right to the breaking-down process to get the pipe taken apart.
1… Remove the stem/mouthpiece.
This is pretty easy on the 609. You just give it a little twist and a pull.
2… Remove the cartomizer.
This step simply involves unscrewing the cartomizer.
Note: you don’t need to clean disposable cartomizers. They’ll stay clean enough until they reach the end of their life, at which point you’ll simply discard them.
The contact on the inside (where the cartomizer screws into the pipe), however, can get a buildup of dirt, oil, or other debris… So make sure to use a cotton swab to clean this part out as well. You can use a dry Q-tip, or you can dip it in water and use the back part of the cotton swab to then dry it after wiping it down with water.
You could also give it a quick spray-out with the electrical contact cleaner, or apply a bit of this to a cotton swab. Getting into those hard-to-reach places like this is sometimes a challenge, but you’ll doubtlessly find the best way to clean your e-pipe with a little bit of practice. The best thing about this contact is that it’s really all metal, so you won’t need to worry about breaking or damaging anything.
If you use water (which is fine), just remember to dry it out a bit after you’re done. This part doesn’t tend to get extremely dirty, but it can get some gunk built up on it – so cleaning is suggested.
3… Clean the stem/mouthpiece
This part is small, and a bit difficult to see down into – but it still requires cleaning. In fact, this might be one of the more important parts to keep clean, as this is the part that will be in contact with your mouth.
Residual buildup of E-liquid is probably your biggest problem with this part of the pipe – and honestly, you will find that with models like the 609, you’ll find much less buildup than you will in pipes like the 629 – mostly because there is just more E-liquid moving through the 629 than there is through the 609 – but cleaning is still a good idea.
Cleaning this part of the pipe is best done in your bowl of water. Just submerge it and let it soak for a little bit, so that all of the little tight spaces within the mouthpiece are reached.
Breaking down and beginning the cleaning process on the 629
Next, we will move on to the 629, and discuss the breakdown and general cleaning that needs to be done in the early stages on this type of pipe. This type is a bit different, because it utilizes a liquamizer by default as opposed to a cartomizer… so let’s get started.
Step 1… Remove the stem/mouthpiece
On this type of E-pipe, the stem usually just pulls right off. When you pull it off, you should check it to see if it looks like it needs cleaning (which, unless you’ve cleaned it very recently, it probably will). If it does, you can follow the steps above to clean it – as it is basically identical to the 609.
Step 2… Remove the liquamizer
Removing the liquamizer is as simple as unscrewing it from the body of the e-pipe.
Attention! Note: The one place that you don’t want to get water or electrical cleaner would be the inside of the liquamizer itself, where the E-liquid is stored. This area is especially important to keep clean – so make sure that you take every precaution when cleaning or handling the tank itself. The main goal with this is not to get water or cleaner on the atomizer or atomizer coil.
Once you remove it, you’ll reveal the contact where the liquamizer screws onto the body of the e-pipe. Just like with the contact on the 609-style E-pipe, you’re going to want to make sure that this part is clean – and you can follow the same steps to make sure that it’s free of debris, gunk, or buildup. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that this contact will probably be much easier to clean – so you may find that a simple cotton swab, dunked quickly in water and dried a bit on a paper towel, will suffice to remove any material.
Step 3… Cleaning the bowls
The pipe bowls themselves are made of lacquered wood, and are quite easy to clean, really. You can usually just wipe them off with a bit of water to clear off any smudges or dirt – and that should be all that they require.
Cleaning the insides of the bowls
Both of these types of bowls really work the same way in terms of battery storage – so in this section, we’re going to talk about cleaning that part of the pipe.
Step 1… Remove the jewel/button from the top of the bowl.
This is a pretty simple step, and will likely just involve unscrewing the button and removing it. This should reveal the battery. These types of pipes have different contacts, but they are easy to see and pretty common-sense to clean. The contact plates themselves are the most important thing to look at in this part of the pipe. The rest usually stays clean enough on its own.
Step 2… Remove the battery
Removing the battery should be as easy as turning the pipe bowl upside-down and shaking it gently – allowing the battery to fall out into your hand.
Attention! Safety note: Before shaking out the battery, make sure to visually inspect it for signs of damage, corrosion, or leakage. If it looks like it’s damaged in any way, use safety gloves while handling it and dispose of it right away after removing it!
Step 3… Cleaning the inside of the battery compartment
To be completely honest, we’ve never had any problem with the battery compartment – and odds are good that you’re never really going to need to clean this part of the e-pipe. It doesn’t make contact with the E-liquid, and it’s a closed-off section of the pipe – meaning that dirt and debris can’t really get inside of it. The button/cap can usually use a quick wipe-down with a bit of water, and you can clean the battery/button contacts on the top – but aside from that, you should be good to go.
Cleaning the 629 Tank/Liquamizer
This part will remind you a lot of what it’s like to clean a vape-pen tank – so it’s really not that difficult. Obviously, and as always, you’ll want to make sure that no water or electrical cleaner gets into the tank with the E-liquid – especially because you don’t want it to come into contact with the atomizer or wick.
Here are the steps you would want to go through for this part.
Step 1… Remove the base of the liquamizer
This part will screw off pretty easily. It will have the atomizer still attached to it – which is the part that you want to be extra-careful not to get water or cleaner on. In other words, you do not want to put this part into your cleaning bowl. But the rest of it is actually fine to put into the water bowl… which is what you should do next.
You can remove the tank glass and place that in your bowl of water to soak/clean, as well as the metal top piece from the tank itself. The O-rings can also be placed into the bowl to soak.
Step 2… Cleaning the base of the tank
This part will usually come apart even a bit further, so break it down as far as it will go. There should be a ring around the atomizer that you can unscrew to reveal the rest of the top part of it – and this ring can be unscrewed and placed in the water as well.
Next, you will need to remove the atomizer – but before you do, make sure that your hands are dry and that you’re not going to drip any water onto it. Just screw it out and place it to the side.
Once that’s done, you can set the rest of the base of the tank (including the part with the battery contact) down into the water to soak.
Step 3… Swirling the parts around in the water
Cleaning the parts that are now soaking in the bowl of water is pretty simple. You just need to swirl them around a bit to get the water flowing in and around them. You could, in theory, even hold them underneath a stream of water and allow it to wash over them – but we’ve always found that swirling them around in a bowl does just fine. We don’t use any soap or anything like that… just clean, slightly warm water should do the trick.
Step 4… Cleaning the atomizer
Atomizers on these types of pipes are pretty easy to clean. You can simply take a paper towel and give it a nice wipe-down. If the coil is spent (you should know it’s getting close to being done-for if it starts to taste a bit tin-like when you vape on it), then use this opportunity to throw it out and install a new one.
Making sure that all of the parts are dry and preparing to reassemble the pipes
At this point, you will have pretty much broken everything down as far as it will go. You will also have a water-bowl filled with pipe pieces that have been soaking and that are now probably ready to be cleaned off and dried.
To start with, you can begin removing each piece and flicking the water off of it. You should be able to get them pretty close to dry by hand, but you might also want to use a towel to make sure that they’re not going to have any water left on them when you go to reassemble the pipe. It also wouldn’t hurt to leave them sitting out for just a little while to air-dry as well, as this can help to ensure that the more out-of-reach spots are dry and water-free.
If you want to make sure that your mouth-stems are completely dry on the inside, another option is to twist up a paper towel into a long string (sort of like a pipe cleaner). You can then take this and run it down through the pipe step to clean out/dry the parts that you can’t even get to with a cotton swab (the very end of the mouthpiece, for example).
You can then use a cotton swab on the parts that are large enough for one.
You may find that the tank is much easier to dry than the mouthpieces/stems, as it will be more broken down and won’t have as many tiny spaces to get to. You’ll also notice that the water, once emptied of parts and components, will probably be slightly off-color and will have a few black bits floating about in it. The discoloration is caused by the residual E-liquid on the parts of the tank, and the black bits are just debris and gunk that were washed off as a result of soaking the parts in water.
By this point you will have probably realized that E-pipes are much, much easier to clean than regular pipes – which is just another upside that electronic devices like this have to offer over their traditional tobacco counterparts. Yes, they might be electronic and have a few more moving parts – but the advantages to having a product that completely breaks down becomes very evident when the time comes to give it a good cleaning!
Reassembling the E-pipe and getting back to vaping
Assembling your E-pipe will basically involve following these steps in reverse. You’ll also have to refill your liquamizer with new E-liquid in the 629 version, and you’ll need to either replace or re-use the cartomizer that you pulled out of the 609 before you started.
Just remember to make sure that everything is dry before you put the parts back together, as this will help to keep everything in better shape. Reassembling your E-pipe when there’s still too much moisture lingering in the parts can cause some problems… and overall it’s just not very pleasant.
If you’re using a new atomizer, remember to give it some time to soak up the E-liquid before taking a hit – so as to avoid getting a dry or burnt hit when you start vaping again.
How often should you clean your E-pipe?
This really depends on how often you use it – but for best results, you should really take them apart and clean them at least once a month. It would be better if you did it once every two to three weeks – but again, this really does depend on how often you vape, and is a decision that you can make for yourself.
One thing that we will say is that we hope that this has given you a better idea as to how easy it really is to maintain an electronic pipe. Some people put off buying electronic cigarette devices because they’re afraid of how much maintenance is involved in the process – but to be honest, these types of products are very easy to keep clean and maintain.
Plus, the real issue here is one of safety. We really need to stop smoking. It just isn’t good for anyone – and with such high-quality alternatives (like these pipes) on the market, there’s no reason that anyone should be smoking nowadays. We hope that this how-to will help to bolster your confidence and hope in E-cigs if you haven’t bought one yet – because we would enthusiastically recommend them for any smoker who is thinking of trying to kick their habit for good.
Smoking tobacco in a real pipe is especially unhealthy and dangerous – so electronic pipes really offer the best and safest alternative.
For more details watch our step by step video