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8 Reasons Why Vape Juice Turn Dark or Brown (Prevent Tips)

8 Reasons Why Vape Juice Turn Dark or Brown (Prevent Tips)

Storing unused E-liquid for a while often results in its color change, meaning it becomes dark, typically brown. If you are one of the vapers who don’t know why does vape juice turn dark or brown, it is time to find out the reason.

The first thing to understand is that a slight color change of naturally clear or yellow juice doesn’t necessarily mean it has expired. Such discoloration is often a regular process of liquid aging, but there are cases when dark toning is a sign you should throw it away. Let’s see.

Reasons for Vape Juice to Turn Brown or Dark

Most E-liquids are clear, but some brands come in yellow, golden, or amber colors. Their toning primarily depends on ingredients, including flavor, PG, VG, nicotine, and sometimes other added compounds. The only exceptions are juice brands that include artificial colors.

You can expect vape juice to become darker, most often brown, after spending a long time in the vape pen or tank. In most cases, the ingredients are responsible for this change, particularly higher nicotine and artificial sweetener levels. However, you can also find several other reasons for this unpleasant discoloration.

1. Steeping

Experienced vapers often enhance their juice flavors by steeping. In other words, they soak pre-sealed juice bottles in warm water until they achieve a more defined and stronger flavor profile. Other options include leaving the cap off in a previously warmed room or using sonic baths.

Even though this method is guaranteed to improve the taste of the juice, you should be prepared for its browning as a side effect. Such a thing happens even when you expose the bottle filled with E-liquid to direct sunlight for a long period.

The good thing is that your juice is usable despite discoloration as long as its consistency stays unchanged after shaking the vape tank or bottle. Otherwise, you should throw it away and buy or make another vape liquid.

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2. Oxidization

The oxidization process is the primary reason for your E-liquid to turn brown. Once you expose it to oxygen, the flavor concentrates start oxidizing and breaking down. It primarily happens when the vape device is cracked, or a lid is damaged or loosened.

In such conditions, nicotine binds oxygen molecules, breaks down, and turns the juice color brown. If the process lasts long, it causes the rest of the juice to become darker, sometimes almost black.

Luckily, there is no need to be worried since it is expected. In other words, juice changes color but is still of decent quality and usable, although its taste loses some quality. The only exception is when the E-liquid gets a distinctive burnt taste. It is better to throw it away and buy a new package.

3. Photosensitivity

The E-liquid sometimes turns dark or brown because of photosensitivity after prolonged exposure to UV rays. Unfortunately, keeping juice away from light and heat can’t prevent discoloration altogether. However, proper storage can surely slow the process and prolong the juice’s lifespan.

This process, combined with oxidization, also reduces juice potency by turning nicotine into cotinine. This newly created substance is still safe to vape but is incapable of providing the standard hit you are used to.

4. Caramelization

Vapes rich in sweeteners are prone to caramelization, resulting from gradually heating sugar at high temperatures. Most manufacturers add artificial sweeteners or sugar into vape juices to enhance their taste.

Unfortunately, this ingredient makes E-liquid sensitive to temperatures of 320 to 356 F (160 – 180 C), resulting in its thickening. However, it is still technically usable despite looking brown, muddy, and gunky, making it challenging to smoke.

Besides, such thick juice builds up residues in the vape and often causes burnt coil and dry hits. The good news is that you can still enjoy sweet juices when you regularly clean the tank and replace a coil when needed.

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5. Poor vape quality

You can expect your vape juice to change color over time, mainly when you store it inappropriately. However, you should question its quality if it happens only a few days after purchase.

In this case, you should change a supplier because such juice is of poor quality. Be particularly careful with inexpensive products that come with an improper vape ingredient combination or inadequate composition.

Some of these cheap juices never undergo the required tests before appearing on the market. Besides, they often contain potentially hazardous substances that can jeopardize your health.

6. Excessive stirring

The light E-liquid shaking allows ingredients to mix perfectly, enhancing its flavor. Unfortunately, this process requires moderation because excessive stirring increases the oxygen level in the juice. The result is an unattractive dark brown color.

Besides, you can expect the same result when mixing different vape juice types or brands or combining old and newly bought liquids.

Unfortunately, such a decision won’t save you money, but quite the opposite. Various vape juices have different flavorings and chemical concentrations, and they may react unexpectedly after exposure to each other.

7. Build-up dirt in the vape tank

Dirt from juice leftovers and coils accumulates inside old vape devices. If you fail to clean your device, this residue will darken new juice immediately after adding it to the vape tank. The only way to prevent the juice from turning brown is to clean your vape tank and change burnt coils regularly.

8. Expiration date

Expiration causes vape juice to become brown only in rare cases. Be aware that professional vape manufacturers set a reasonable time frame for all their products, including E-liquids.

Since vape juices have a standard two-year long shelf life, it is unlikely to see any color changes before you use it. On the other hand, most E-liquids can stay stable for a decade, depending on ingredients, flavor, and added preservatives.

In other words, don’t panic if you accidentally consume expired juice because there is no particular risk except for an odd or even awful taste.

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Ways to Prevent Vape Juice from Turning Brown or Dark

You can find a few efficient ways to effortlessly prevent vape juice from getting brown. Be aware that nothing can stop discoloration, but it can slow down the process, prolonging this product’s lifespan.

1. E-liquid type

E-liquids have different expiration dates, depending on the quality, brand, and type you use. For instance, those containing more propylene glycol flavors last the longest.

On the other hand, juices with a high percentage of vegetable glycerin are the sweetest, meaning they are more prone to caramelization and faster browning. The rule of thumb is that E-liquids with high PG last approximately two years, while VG juices expire within one to two years.

2. Avoid unnecessary E-liquid shaking

Shaking a bottle with E-liquid is a practical way to mix different flavors, but it increases oxygen absorption at the same time. Once juice absorbs oxygen, it becomes dark fast.

Therefore, be careful and only lightly agitate juice until it gets the desirable flavor. Avoid fast movements and unnecessary bottle shaking when you don’t use liquid.

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3. Never mix different E-liquids

Never combine E-liquids of different brands or types. Even though mixing old and newly bought juices of the same brand and flavor is not recommended because the old ones can spoil and darken the entire amount.

Besides, opening the bottle too often allows the liquid and oxygen from the air to come into contact, accelerating the oxidation process. As a result, the juice turns brown faster.

The best solution is to use one flavor at a time or mix different types in a smaller bottle. That is the way to avoid contaminating the fresh liquid with the old one containing already oxidized nicotine.

4. Avoid products with high levels of sweeteners

Finding E-liquids without artificial sweeteners can be challenging because most companies use this method to enhance their products’ flavorings. However, you can choose those that don’t taste like candy.

For instance, fruit, ice cream, gummies, and cream candy flavors always have extra added sweeteners. Such juices burn on the coils and cause problems with color changes, especially when you fail to clean them regularly.

If you prefer such flavors, you can use them, but that requires regular coil cleaning. That is the only way to lower sugar caramelization, although it is impossible to entirely protect the juice from darkening.

5. Store E-juice bottles properly

Proper storing is crucial to keep E-liquid golden-colored. Keep it in a dry and dark place or a fridge, packed in airtight, tinted glass bottles, and away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Unfortunately, nothing can stop oxidation, but such conditions significantly slow the process.

6. Keep vape clean

Even though every E-liquid darkens over time, you can slow down the process with proper vape device handling. Keeping the tank clean and regularly changing the coil are the best ways to enjoy fresh, clear, and golden-colored juice for a long.

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Summary

When you see that vape juice turns its color from golden brown to dark, you should check whether it has expired or its discoloration is harmless and expected. Reasons for such a thing include caramelization, photosensitivity, and oxidization. Store your E-liquid properly and avoid shaking or mixing it to ensure its high quality for a long period.

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