For as long as electronic cigarettes have been around there have been numerous questions regarding how to properly steep e-liquid. Most of the common questions that arise are related to which technique will provide the best steeping results, what is the fastest way to steep e-liquid, is it possible to speed up the waiting period, or how long does e-liquid need to steep for? Unfortunately there isn’t currently a universally consistent answer to many of these and other vaping questions that new users generally ask. It can often be extremely frustrating searching for this information and discovering several diverse suggestions and ideas without any definitive answers. However, one thing is for sure, steeping does not have to be complicated, scary, or even costly depending on which process is used.
Another easy method to steep e-liquid is to shake or agitate the e-liquid in order to continue mixing the various components inside the e-juice. This process is similar to the “Time/Breathing” method, with one difference…you shake the bottle vigorously before opening the cap. First take the bottle and shake it for approximately 60-90 seconds. Without removing the cap, place the bottle in a secure dark container for at least 24 hours. After the 24 hours have passed, remove the cap from the bottle and proceed to squeeze the bottle the same manner as previously listed. Place the opened bottle back in the dark container for another 24-48 hours. During this waiting time it is common to experience a small amount of evaporation accumulating on the rims of the bottles due to disrupting the compounds in the e-liquid. Take a tissue or paper towel and wipe away the excess liquid and continue to steep the e-liquid. After the waiting time has passed replace the caps and shake the bottle for another 30-60 seconds. Repeat this process until the desired scent and taste are achieved. The combination of shaking and breathing the e-liquid usually speeds up the steeping time to about 5 days.
Hot Water Bath
Now we get into the more advanced methods of steeping e-liquids. It should be known that not all e-liquids need this type of intensive steeping. The methods listed above can be easily implemented before attempting the more advanced and time consuming processes. To use this method of steeping, first place the capped bottles in a small waterproof zip lock bag (preferably double bagged, to prevent water from entering the bag and destroying the labels.) Next place the bag of bottles in a small bowl or coffee cup, (depending on how many bottles are being steeped), and fill with warm water, Not hot water! Make sure the water level reaches the level of e-liquid in the bottles so all the e-liquid will be heated equally and the bag won’t float. Leave the bottles in the warm water until the water becomes room temperature or cool. Remove the bottles from the water and shake each bottle forcefully to even out the e-liquid temperature throughout the bottles. Replace the bottles in the sealed bag and repeat the process with warm water another 2-4 times, shaking the bottles each time between water changes. After the final water change and shaking of the bottles, remove the caps and place the bottles in a dark secure container or drawer for at least 24-48 hours. Similar to the “Shaking” method, you may notice small e-liquid bubbles on the rim of the bottles after the 24 hour period. The purpose of using a “Hot Water Bath” is that it allows any components in the e-liquid, (like alcohol), to heat to a point of evaporation while thinning and blending the various ingredients. A notice of caution when using any method involving heat, heat is not a friend of nicotine and will break down the nicotine content in e-liquids if too hot!
Here I have detailed a slightly controversial method to the traditional steeping processes. Reports of using microwaves to steep e-liquid have been circling the internet and vaping community for some time now. This process is similar to the “Hot Water Bath” treatment, except with the addition of microwaves shooting through the e-liquid to create a process known as dielectric heating. If this method is going to be used, it is advised to place an uncapped bottle in the microwave for only short one or two second surges. Even small five second bursts of heat on half power have been known to melt or damage the integrity of the bottles. Using one second intervals, with a 10 second cooling off period in between, for a total of a minute should provide adequate heating. After the heating is completed, the uncapped bottles should be placed in a dark container to steep for a minimum of 24-48 hours.
Although this method may provide successful results for some individuals, it is recommended to have some knowledge of chemical composition and reactions before attempting this or any “homemade” steeping method. As I stated above, nicotine reacts quite negatively to heat and without proper caution and patience when using these methods your e-liquid could end up being destroyed.
A few things to remember before you grab your new e-liquid and begin to decide which steeping method to use. A good rule of thumb is to always check with the vendors you purchase your e-liquids from to see if they recommend steeping their e-liquids or not. Although there are some manufactures that pre-steep their juices before shipment, the majority of vendors recommend at least some steeping in order to enhance the juices to their optimum level. Remember, not all e-liquids need to be steeped either. If you receive a new e-liquid and love the way it tastes then there really isn’t any reason to proceed to steeping that particular juice. Every vapor has a different taste palette and preference, so if one juice doesn’t taste great to you, try steeping it and see if you can reach the level you prefer. However, steeping isn’t the “cure-all” some vapors claim it to be. Sometimes a juice just isn’t your cup of tea, so if that’s the case, gift it away and move on to discover the perfect e-liquid for you!