Storing your e-liquid is one of the most neglected elements of vaping. We tend to take our vape juice for granted, after all, don’t we? I know that, as I write this, I’ve got most of my vape juices just sitting out on my bathroom counter, for example. Sure, they’re organized by PG/VG ratio and flavor category, but am I really following the best practices to keep my e-juices tasting their best? Spoiler alert: No, I’m not.
When you’re storing your e-liquids, you’re looking to do three things primarily:
- Regulate Temperature
- Avoid Light
- Minimize Air Exposure
Whenever you’re storing your e-juices, it’s best to keep those three things in mind. Let’s take a look at the impact of each of these factors and how you can make sure to protect your e-juices against them.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
Paul Simon was not singing about vaping (because it didn’t exist), but he very well could have been! Seriously, light, along with heat, act as catalysts when exposed to the bundle of chemicals found inside your vape juice. By allowing your juice to sit in light, particularly UV light (that’s from the sun), you’re basically letting unfettered chemistry experiments take place inside your nice expensive e-juice. Depending upon the exact composition of your vape juice, the level of heat and temperature, the outcome of these experiments can vary significantly. You may end up with just some weird discoloration, your juice may taste wildly different, or it may thicken or become unusable entirely. So yeah, keep it in the dark.
The Dangers of Temperature
Generally speaking, e-juices are crafted at room temperature. This means that all ingredients are added in a room temperature setting and designed to operate in similar conditions. Heat can act as a catalyst when exposed to your e-liquids, creating chemical reactions which literally alter the structure of your vape juice on a molecular level. Needless to say, this change cannot be undone and so you should avoid it in the first place, at all costs.
Sunlight is probably the most common threat to vape juices. Don’t leave your bottles in a car or in your windows at home. In fact, sunlight offers a unique combination of heat and UV light, both of which combine to rapidly degrade the flavor of your e-juice.
This brings us to a common, but misguided, notion in the vaping community. If heat is bad, surely refrigeration (as the opposite of heat) must be good, right? You would be wrong. Refrigerating your vape juice can lead to a separation of your e-juice components. The different ingredients each have different freezing temperatures and will begin to react at these lower temperatures. In many cases, e-juice which has been lowered below room temperature will also thicken to the point of uselessness. So, unfortunately, you’ve got to strike a happy medium here: keep your e-juices at room temperature as God intended.
You Need to Breathe – Your Vape Juice Doesn’t
Air is the second primary threat to your vape juice. While heat primarily warps and destroys the flavor of your juices, air reacts chemically with your juice in a different way. When oxygen reacts with nicotine, you get a substance called cotinine. I don’t know the details of the chemistry involved here, but suffice to say – when your nicotine turns into cotinine, you have less nicotine. That’s pretty clear, yeah? So keep air away from your vape juice! How? Just follow these simple suggestions:
- Glass over Plastic – Glass is much less porous than even high-quality plastics, meaning less air has access to your e-juice.
- Smaller is Better – Smaller storage bottles leave less headroom where air can sit atop your e-juice. The more surface area exposed to air, the quicker your vape juice is going to degrade.
- Seal It Tight – If you’re like me, you may often leave your bottles halfway unscrewed because you’re lazy. Don’t do that. Always seal your juices up as soon as you’re done refilling your vape to minimize exposure to air.