E-liquid may seem like small purchases at first, but since they are the ones most often replaced, in the long run, they consume the bulk of one’s vaping budget.
Because of this, many vapers tend to buy e-liquid in bulk, either to save on shipping or to make sure one does not run out. After all, the one thing that’s worse than running out of batteries is to run out of e-liquid.
That said, it is important to know how to store e-liquid properly, especially if one expects them to be left unused for extended periods of time.
From Store to Storage
Whether one buys e-liquid from a brick-and-mortar store or at an online establishment, the tendency is to buy as much e-liquid as possible to minimize the risk of running out. It is better to buy in bulk rather than rush out to the store every week. It is worse when buying online since each shipment means separate shipping charges.
If you are one of the few who still buy e-liquid one bottle at a time, you should consider buying in bulk to both save time and shipping costs.
After buying a month’s supply of e-liquid, one should know the proper way of storing it. Like food and medicine, e-liquid has to be properly stored, to ensure that the e-liquid is in optimum condition when it is time to use it.
Sunlight is the enemy of e-liquid as it can alter the quality of the ingredients, especially nicotine. The same goes with refrigeration or freezing. The best way to store e-liquid is to place them in a cool, dark, dry, place, like inside a closet. Take note that dramatic changes in temperature can also affect e-liquid quality.
A Steep at a Time
If you’ve been to an experienced vaper’s home, take a look at where they are storing their e-liquid. You might notice that some, or all of the bottles, have their caps and nozzles removed. This practice is called steeping. It is when e-liquid is stored in an open container, exposed to the air, to allow the ingredients to settle.
Steeping enhances the flavor in e-liquid, especially tobacco flavors that do well after some maturing. Some flavors taste dramatically different after two to four weeks of steeping while others reach prime maturity after a couple of hours. It takes some trial and error, so many users often taste-test their steeped flavors every couple of hours or days to check if the taste has matured enough.
Steeping lets the ingredients in e-juice settle and fully blend. This fact especially applies to VG dominant or max VG flavors since VG is much more viscous than PG.
Users can try this for themselves. After getting a batch of flavors, taste one of the flavors, let it steep for a couple of days, and then try it again. The change in character will be apparent. Whether one is satisfied after several days – or a couple of weeks – of steeping depends on the user.
Some e-liquid manufacturers steep their e-liquid before putting it out on the market while some deliver theirs fresh from the mixing table. This variance explains why some e-liquids are ready to vape right away while others would do well with a little steeping time.
How to Steep E-Juice?
There are two different ways of steeping e-juices:
1. E Juice Steeping – The Traditional Method
This is the simplest method that arguably brings out the best taste of any e-liquid, however, it takes very long. If you can afford, by all means use this approach as the end result will be well worth the wait.
All you need to do is store your closed e-juice bottles in a dark, cool place, such as a shoebox, for a few days or a couple weeks. To speed up the process and mix the contents, you may shake the bottles every now and then. Just make sure harsh light doesn’t reach the bottles or it can ruin the fluid inside. Also, carefully choose a place where children and pets can’t reach.
This is a subtle variation of the traditional method, where you take off the cap and remove the nozzles from the bottles and let them sit for a certain amount of time before putting the cap on again. Although oxidation can occur even when the bottle is closed, however, breathing speeds it up.
According to my personal experience, letting the e-juice breathe for more than 12 hours can result in over steeping, and the nicotine, as well as flavors, start to diminish.
2. E Juice Steeping – The Expedited Methods
There are several modified approaches to speed up e-juice steeping, all of which involved heating the liquid in one way or another. We recommend using plastic bottles for traditional method, but rushed techniques can involve too much heat for plastic to handle, so better consider glass bottles.
Give Your E Juice a Hot Bath
Letting your glass bottles sit in a bowl filled with warm (not hot or boiling) water is the most commonly used technique. What it basically does is set the molecules of the e-juice into a frenzy of moving around. This not only helps the contents blend together but also speeds up oxidization. Some people put the bottles in a Ziplock before dropping them in water, I personally think that’s unnecessary, provided you’re using good quality bottles. When the water reaches room temperature, remove the caps to let any vaporized volatile ingredients get out of the bottle. Shake the bottles really well and put them back to their usual place. Repeating this process a few times will steep even the most stubborn juices in a few days.
Some of my friends remove the cap and put the bottles in a container half filled with warm so the bottles only immerse a little more than half their height. They swear by this method and claim it is more hassle-free and yields better results, but since I’ve never done this myself, I won’t make any comment.
Use a Slow Cooker
A crock-pot is quite popular among vaping enthusiasts who like to make DIY e-liquids. You can either fill up the crock-pot with water or place a bowl full of water inside the slow cooker. Throw your e-juice bottles in a Ziplock or doggie pick up bag, try to take as much air as you can out of the bag, and then throw it in the water. Set your crock-pot to the lowest settings, and wait until your e-juice is ready.
I personally don’t like to do slow cooker steeping in one go, but rather split it over two days, shaking and letting the bottles sit at room temperate overnight. Try both the options and see what floats your boat.
Use Your Car’s Glove Box
This is my favorite method, unfortunately like a lot of other fun things like beaches and bikinis, this is possible during the summer only unless you live in the South. Packing your e-juices in a Ziplock and leaving it in your car’s glove box for a couple of days can exponentially speed up steeping. Even in summers, this approach works the best on a warm, sunny day. And if you’re a lucky one who owns a convertible, don’t take the top down.
Use an Automatic Space Heater or Baseboard Heating
If you own a space heater, leave the uncapped bottles at about 14 inches in front of it. Ideally, the heater should be running at a medium to low setting. Either stay close to your e juice at all the times or leave the room locked. Removing the cap works better, but be careful, I’ve spilled e-juice on my carpet more than once.
If you have a baseboard heating system installed in your house, that also works but you’ll need to put the bottles right next to it.
Cooking on Your Laptop
If you work a lot on your laptop like I do, you will know how hot the air coming from the exhaust fan can be. Don’t let it go to waste, place your e-juice bottles right on or next to the fan, depending on the model and design of your laptop. However, this method is limited to how long you use your computer and you can steep only a few bottles at a time. Remember, you can also get an external exhaust fan for a few bucks. Never uncap the bottles, or you risk spilling fluid on your laptop.
Use Your Dryer
This is a method that I have not tried, but one of my friends says it’s her favorite because it’s quick, safe and easy. She puts the bottles in a self-sealing bag, then puts the bag on a pair of old socks and tosses them in a dryer. Just make sure caps are screwed tightly, and run the dryer at low for about 15-20 minutes. In case you’re using plastic bottles, which isn’t recommended unless you can’t get glass bottles, you’ll need to keep an eye on the dryer as plastic can melt and mess up your dryer.
Use Your Microwave
Another method that I yet to try is to microwave your e-juice for short bursts i.e. under 10 seconds, then shake the bottles, cool them down and repeat. Again, it’s ideal to use glass bottles when using a microwave. However, I’m not sure how exposing e-liquids to microwaves can impact the overall quality and flavor, so be cautious when using this technique.
Storage and steeping go hand in hand, but whether you steep for flavor or just store for future use, be sure to practice basic safety precautions. Remember that nicotine is a controlled substance and contact with skin absorbs it quickly. Be sure always to store e-liquids in a safe place that is out of reach of children and pets.
Since caps and nozzles are removed when steeping, e-liquid can spill when knocked down. Users should take care not to store e-liquids near clothing, electrical devices, sockets, or anything else that might get damaged.
Storing and steeping are a relatively simple practice. It takes time before one thoroughly enjoys their flavors, but users do not have to do anything else rather than wait. However, always practice basic safety precautions to avoid any accidents.