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Guide for steeping e-liquid – why do you steep and best practice.

guide for steeping

What is Steeping?

If you appreciate a fine whisky, you understand that the longer it ages in the barrel, the better it becomes. The same principle applies to your e-juice. Steeping simply refers to the process of allowing your e-juice to mature, following the rule of thumb that the longer something ages, the better the outcome. For e-juice, the steeping process begins the moment PG (propylene glycol), VG (vegetable glycerin), and flavorings are mixed together. Naturally, depending on how long your e-juice has been stored in a warehouse or sat on a store shelf, it can affect the taste and quality. However, if you mix your own e-juice, steeping becomes even more critical, as you’ll discover below.

How Does Steeping Help?

Your e-juice comprises several ingredients. The main components are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, with most containing some level of nicotine. Some e-juices also have distilled water and possibly alcohol added, depending on the recipe. Quality medical-grade nicotine is often included in varying amounts, and it’s up to the individual to choose the strength they prefer – typically between 3mg to 12mg. The molecules of these ingredients need to be introduced to each other – literally – otherwise, they’ll just sit there like strangers at a cheese and wine tasting. Sure, you can just shake the bottle and start vaping – if you’re a fan of the shake-and-vape method, but I’m sure you’ll immediately notice the flavor can be a bit “raw.” Just like that exquisite bottle of whisky, your e-juice can benefit from sitting and “steeping” for a while, allowing the molecules to blend. This enables an oxidation process to occur in the compounds in a state that will react upon the introduction of oxygen. The oxidation process will produce oxide in the liquid. During oxidation, more volatile components evaporate from the liquid, altering the nature of the e-juice’s flavor. If you’re a vaper making your own e-juice, you must let it steep for at least 2 to 3 days – the longer, the better, although some liquids can benefit from “weeks,” but “experts” seem to agree that’s the minimal steeping time.

The message here is that patience can be your friend.

Different Methods for Steeping

As you might expect with a movement as diverse as vaping, there are many schools of thought regarding steeping methods. For many, it’s not enough to simply let the e-juice sit in a cupboard for a few days.

The primary ways to steep e-juice currently include:

  • Ultrasonic
  • Water Bath
  • Agitation
  • Microwave
  • Time

Water Bath Method

Probably one of the cheapest and simplest methods is the water bath method, which is exactly as the title suggests – experts say dipping your freshly made e-juice in warm [not hot] water can make the molecules blend faster. A popular method is to place your e-juice bottle in a cup of warm tap water (not boiling from a kettle), so the bottle is submerged up to the neck, with the cap off. Once the water has cooled, put the cap back on, shake, take a sniff, and test the flavor. Ideally on a dripper.

Need more time? Simply repeat the process until you’re satisfied with your e-juice. This can also be done with the cap on by placing your bottle in a plastic bag and then submerging it in the water.

Ultrasonic Cleaners

If you can’t wait for your e-juice to become vape-ready and can afford to invest in an ultrasonic cleaner – then this is for you. Energy pulses vibrate through the liquid and accelerate the steeping process. You’ll be better off with an ultrasonic cleaner with a built-in heater. You can purchase an ultrasonic cleaner at a good price and, of course, use it for a variety of things.


The “shake and vape” method. Useful with pre-steeped liquids to ensure the molecules haven’t separated – just as you would shake your ketchup. Also, an important part after using any of the steeping methods.


Let it mature very slowly. When it comes to steeping e-juice, time is the natural way to go. Informal tests conducted by various popular vaping websites have categorically shown that the longer an e-juice is steeped, the better it tastes. Store the bottle in a cupboard or a box and let time do its job. You should also shake the bottle occasionally to help the process along. You can also take the extra step of removing the cap briefly and giving it a light nudge to let fresh air into the bottle. Try your e-juice after 1 week, if it’s not quite there yet, store it in the box for another week. If you still don’t like the flavor after 4-5 weeks, it’s more likely that the flavor simply isn’t for you!

So, only for the patient, but simple enough to perform.

Store your e-liquids in dark boxes, drawers, or cabinets – sunlight is your enemy.

In summary, it’s all about how much you love your e-juice. If you’re a homebrewer, you already know the importance of letting it rest for a while. Shake before use and even during storage. Let them breathe by leaving the cap off for an hour or two. This applies to both homemade e-juices and store-bought ones. And above all, buy your e-juices and liquids from reliable brands, this is even more important when it comes to making your own.

As with many things in the vaping world, it’s about experimenting yourself. If you don’t like your liquid, try one of the above methods, come back to it and see if it has improved.