Why Is the Cotton in My E-Cigarette Turning Brown?

Do you use a cotton wick in your e-cigarette when you are vaping? Cotton has become the preferred wick for many people because it’s known for being a great wicking material. It will typically enhance your vaping experience, and as long as you change the wick every so often, you won’t run into any problems.

There is one issue that some vapers run into when using cotton wicks, though, and it can actually cause a lot of concern. People will often replace an old cotton wick with a new one, and within a matter of just a few hours, they will notice that the cotton has already turned brown. In some cases, that causes them to think that they need to replace the cotton or fix some other problem with their e-cigarette as a whole.

Have you ever had this happen to you? If so, you aren’t alone. This is actually pretty normal, and you usually don’t need to do anything to fix your e-cigarette since brown and even black cotton isn’t necessarily a sign of a larger problem. Rather, it’s usually a reflection of the type of e-juice that you’re using. Some e-juices will cause cotton to turn colors, while other e-juices will have virtually no effect on the cotton.

Before you start breaking down your e-cigarette and trying to diagnose it to figure out why your cotton is turning brown, take some time to learn about why this happens. The internet is filled with people asking “Why is the cotton in my e-cigarette turning brown?” but it’s actually not as problematic as you might think.

Here is why your cotton is turning brown and why you don’t really have to spend much time worrying about it…


Why Your E-Juice May Be to Blame for Your Brown Cotton

If you notice that the cotton inside of your e-cigarette is brown or some other color, take a look at what’s inside of the e-juice that you’re using. Is it a sweet e-juice that has sugars or sweeteners in it? If so, you have probably found your culprit. Sugary or sweet e-juices are known to change the color of cotton wicks very quickly.

When you vape with a combination of a sweet e-juice and a cotton wick, the sugars in the e-juice will usually caramelize due to the heat of your e-cigarette’s coil. It will leave behind a residue in the cotton and can sometimes also cake up on your coil. This is perfectly normal, and unfortunately, there’s really not a whole lot you can do about it.

But you can be diligent about checking on both your cotton and your coil when you’re finished vaping. If you notice gunk building up on the coil, you should strongly consider clearing away any residue that your e-juice leaves behind during the vaping process. It can extend the life of your coil. You should also consider replacing your cotton wick if you have been using it for an extended period of time.

How to Keep Your Cotton Clean

Even though brown cotton isn’t necessarily a sign of trouble, there are some people who don’t like the fact that certain e-juices discolor cotton wicks very quickly. These people end up replacing their cotton more often and are constantly thinking about whether or not it’s time for them to do it. It can take away from the fun that you should be experiencing when you vape.

If you fall into this category, you should consider vaping with e-juices that aren’t as sweet as the ones you’re currently using. There are some extra sweet vapes that can force vapers to change their cotton wicks every day or two, and if you can’t commit to doing that, then you might want to think about finding e-juices that will keep your cotton cleaner longer.

All cotton wicks are going to need to be changed out eventually. Even those people who use unflavored e-juice have to change their cotton out every couple of weeks. But one of the great parts about vaping is that you are free to choose from any number of e-juice flavors when you vape. So if you don’t like the fact that the e-juices you are using now discolor your cotton quickly, experiment and find e-juices that will have little to no effect on your cotton wicks.

When You Should Be Concerned About Discolored Cotton

Now, just because it’s “normal” for vapers to notice discolored cotton wicks when they use sweet e-juices doesn’t mean that you should ignore your cotton altogether once it starts turning brown or black. While you will still be able to vape with it, there are some signs that you should look out for that will let you know it’s time to swap out your cotton wicks.

The most obvious sign involves the taste of your e-juice. If you notice that your cotton is getting darker and then you sense that your e-juice doesn’t taste as good as it used to, it’s probably time for you to go ahead and change your cotton. Your coil can also play a role in the taste of your e-juice, so if you notice a sudden change in the way your e-juice tastes, it could be because your coil has gone bad.

Another sign involves the gunk that can build up on and around a coil. If you see a steady buildup on a daily basis, it might be because it’s time for you to change your cotton wick and/or coil. You should also monitor the color of your cotton. It may start brown before turning a very dark shade of black. This will let you know that it’s time to make a change in the near future.

In general, there’s no need to freak out too much if the cotton in your e-cigarette is brown. People seem to do it anyway, because it doesn’t look like a good situation. But as long as your e-juice still tastes good when you vape, there’s probably nothing to worry about. It’s good to be cautious when it comes to taking care of your vaping equipment, but this is one of those things that everyone experiences and learns to live with when they vape.


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