Why Some E-Liquids Change Colour
If your favourite e-liquid has turned a strange colour and you feel like you should throw it away – don’t! This is usually a natural process, and nothing to worry about. We take a look at why your e-liquids change colour, and how you can tell if an e-liquid is bad.
Most of the time, when an e-liquid changes colour it’s because of a completely natural process known as oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that happens when nicotine is exposed to oxygen in the air, causing a slight change in colour. It’s easy for this to happen, as your e-liquid bottle will obviously be exposed to oxygen every time you open it to refill your tank, and nicotine is a highly reactive substance.
Some e-liquid manufacturers and keen vapers will actually encourage the oxidation process if they steep e-liquids. Steeping by letting your e-liquid ‘breathe’ with the top off for a while encourages oxidation, and along with methods of shaking, storing and heating e-liquid, it can help make flavours more powerful and tasty.
If you don’t keep your e-liquids in a cool, dry place, you might also find the colour naturally changes. This is because of heat or light reacting with the ingredients inside your e-liquid. Although this shouldn’t result in your e-liquid tasting bad, it’s not recommended by suppliers, and we always suggest keeping e-liquids in a secure cupboard away from cooking areas, or even in a box in your refrigerator. Because of natural oxidation, remember that no matter how well you store your e-liquid, you might find some colour changes anyway. There are a few brands who add preservatives to e-liquids to avoid this colour change, but most high-quality e-liquid manufacturers avoid adding any unnecessary ingredients to their mix.
Even putting e-liquid in your tank and using a little can cause the rest of the e-liquid in the tank to change colour – and it’s usually nothing to worry about! Just like e-liquid in the bottle, this is caused by the ingredients reacting to oxygen, heat and light.
Sometimes, e-liquids with a very high VG count can change colour quickly when you vape. They can almost caramelise on the coil in an atomiser, creating a substance that looks like dark gloop and stains your e-liquids. This is one time where the discolourisation can actually make your e-liquids taste bad, so if you are vaping with a 100% VG e-liquid and notice this, you should give your tank and atomiser a good clean.
There are a few ways to tell if your e-liquid is still good to use, and it’s useful to do these if you’ve had e-liquid over a year:
- Check the best before date, and dispose of the e-liquid if it’s past it’s best
- If you’ve had the e-liquid open and in storage for over two years, it may be best to bin it
- If the e-liquid smells strange or very different from when you first opened it, it’s probably off
- If your e-liquid has sediments in it or the ingredients have separated, give it a shake. If this doesn’t mix things up and make it look right again, get rid of it
- Last but not least, if it tastes foul or produces an unpleasant hit, it may be bad! Just double check by cleaning your kit or replacing your coil, in case it’s old e-liquid residue in your vape rather than your e-liquid itself.
As you can see, there are many reasons that an e-liquid changes colour, and it doesn’t mean that your e-liquid has gone bad. Rely on smell and taste rather than sight and store your e-liquid well, and it will last a long time.