All vaping professionals will tell you that you have to change the cotton for your rebuildable coil when you have a burnt taste. But is that the only reason to change it? What is the correct frequency? Is there one by the way? What parameters come into play? We are going to try to see a little more clearly in this world of fluids…

Let’s talk a bit about cotton and its history

The wild cotton tree (“perennial cotton”) lives for about ten years and can measure up to ten meters.

In cultivation, its size is limited to one or two meters to facilitate the collection of cotton and it is generally exploited as an annual plant. At flowering appear large white or yellow flowers with five petals, without a noticeable smell. Then capsules with thick and rigid walls develop. When they open, they release seeds and cotton lint covered with a puff of white, silky fibres that can measure between two and five centimetres long depending on the variety. The fibres are extracted from it, which are used in particular to produce fabrics.

In our case, when the micro-coil assembly appeared around 2013, we switched from Demak’Up to cotton designed for vaping. Yes, the manufacturers did not immediately offer vape cotton, they wanted to be sure that this micro-coil fashion was not going to come to an abrupt end! It will therefore have been necessary to wait for a little to finally find a special carded cotton vape, untreated cotton.

But we now have a choice of brands: Muji, Bacon, Hook, Kendo, Kylin, King, etc. Each vaper will prefer one brand or another, I haven’t noticed any real differences in taste or liquid absorption, but just a feeling for a kind of fibre. 

Touch is important to me, I like cotton like the big coloured balls you find in bathroom jars and that’s why I prefer Bacon USA cotton and not fibres like Japanese cotton or ancient fibre.

A coil ready to use

But let’s come back to our atomizers and in particular to the coils. You are probably wondering first of all which cotton to choose? I would say it doesn’t matter, they all work and allow the e-liquid to rise in the turns of the coil, whether they are spaced out or not. The capillaries of each are almost identical.

A coil at the end of its career

How do you know if you need to change the cotton?

Several factors come into play to give us this information. 

First of all the type of e-liquid that we use.

The sweeter or richer it is in aromas and stronger in VG, the more it will have to be changed quickly. The cotton will absorb all the components, each time the switch is pressed, it is asked to supply the coil. Dozens or even hundreds of times a day… Can you imagine? Poor cotton! And the VG in all this? It’s vicious, normal, it’s glycerin and the cotton must absorb it, and bring it up, which isn’t easy. In addition, the sugar will crystallize on the coil and in the fibres.

Two coils at the end of their career

The other trigger that will warn us that it is time to change the cotton is the change in taste of the e-liquid. A burnt caramel taste is easy to recognize, but it can be less obvious and just partially change the flavours. It’s up to you to judge, sometimes we tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter, that it will pass because we don’t want to tinker. Anyway, there will be a time when you can no longer take a puff without having a horrible taste, so no more questions to ask, you have to get started!

A coil to clean and a fibre to change. Observe the aroma residue on the wick

The last parameter to take into account is the leakage of the atomizer or the seepage on the air inlets. Indeed, when the atomizer becomes sticky, which happens to me regularly with the Wasp 

Nano is that the cotton is saturated and is therefore no longer able to absorb all the liquid. We also frequently have liquid coming out through the airflows and we are always forced to take out the paper towel so as not to get our hands full. 

In these cases, it is therefore sufficient to replace the cotton and also to check the condition of its coil which may be gunked.

Do not abuse the “burn” too much to clean the coils

To put an end to replacement and cleaning, you can also refurbish your coil by practising a dry burn, a technique which consists of heating the Kanthal bare for a few seconds to remove all the deposits of juice that have crystallized on it. To practice from time to time, but it will be necessary at one time or another to change the resistance.

Anyway, it’s up to you to check its appearance with each new cotton. Say 1 time every month or every 2 months would be reasonable.