How to get the burnt taste out of cartomizerAtomizer Fixes

Does your atty taste like burnt plastic after a couple weeks of usage? Yeah, so does mine. It’s gross. Especially so when I’m using low resistance atomizers, since they tend to burn hotter.

Here is a surefire way to get rid of that nasty taste and bring your atty back to life.

UPDATE: First thing you want to try is cleaning them thoroughly. If that doesn’t help, then follow this guide. If you need help with cleaning take a look at this post.

First of all, what causes that taste?

Certain atomizers are manufactured with a wick that helps draw the juice from the cartridge to the heating element.

While this makes for a very effective means of accomplishing the juice transfer, these wicks can get burnt if they get moved too close to the heating element after some normal usage.

That flavor you’re tasting is burnt wick. Some sites will tell you that it’s old e juice that needs to be cleaned off, or that it’s just how attys taste when they’re reaching the end of their lifespan. Not true.

After you remove that burnt wick from the atty, you will have many many moons of pure vaping bliss without the gross burnt plastic flavor.

Ok, so my wick is burnt to a crisp. How do I remove it?

Easy! Just follow the step by step guide below to get that thing resurrected and back in action. All you’ll need to accomplish your goal is a pair of tweezers and about 5 minutes of time.

  1. First of all, unscrew that atty from the battery. C’mon man… Use your head.
  2. Make sure you have a good source of overhead light so you can see what you’re doing here.
  3. Look inside the atty and you’ll see what looks like a piece of string going underneath the steel-wool looking thing (called the bridge). That’s what we’re going to be removing.
  4. Take your tweezers and hook the looped side of the wick, gently pulling it out from under the atomizer. You’ll notice it is attached on one side down below and is basically a bunch of threads.
  5. Since you pulled them out from under the atty, all you need to do is grab them with your tweezers and pull them out from the atty. Don’t yank too hard, as you don’t want to damage anything, but you may have to use a bit of muscle to get the job done. The threads aren’t actually attached on the other end, they’re melted to the heating element. If you’re lucky this won’t be too tough.
  6. Make sure you got ALL the little pieces of string out of there.
  7. Give the atty a good rinse under warm water and dry it out. This can be accomplished by letting it sit overnight upside down, using a hair dryer, or setting your oven to 150 to 200 degrees, leaving the door open and letting it sit in there for a bit.

That’s it! Super easy huh?

Now that you have a freshly de-wicked atty, you shouldn’t have any more of that burnt flavor ever again. Now, you may see a slight decrease in the amount of vapor production (the various e-cig models respond better or worse to this), but give this a shot since you have nothing to lose.

If worse comes to worse, you can always use the de-wicked atty to drip if you want more vapor out of it. Also, having less vapor is better than having an atty that you throw away because of the horrible flavor it was producing. Am I right?

Leave me a comment to know how this worked out for you!

Reader Comments

This worked for me!!! I was so mad when I tasted the burnt taste and couldn’t buy a new atty due to no money. Whoever wrote this article thank you so much!!!

  • fiercemoose March 10, 2014 at 10:02 am ·

    Your welcome! Glad to hear it worked for you.

  • sherrie temples April 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm ·

    i have store bought e cigs finn getting bitter taste and raw tongue can you tell me what is the problem could it be my battery have smoked e cig for several months just started getting bitter taste bought some menthol maybe what burned tongue seems to be getting better is attomizer in battery or in cartomizer im confused

  •  JFro95 February 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm ·

    Well, i have a a fifty one trio atomizer.

    After about 3 puffs i get that burnt taste. I looked in the atomizer and found like one or 2 tiny black strings. I removed them and it helped a little but not enough.

    There is white circling the edge but it feels like hard plastic or something when i poke it with a needle so it’s not the thread from the wick. if i use rubber drip tips (and a new atomizer, the old one has burnt crap in it) will this problem be fixed?

  • Jay June 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm ·

    I was using a cartomizer ecig and started having this issue. I looked and found this article so I ripped the cartomozer apart to find two wicks surrounded by cloth that holds the juice.

    One string wick had burnt at the bottom of the cartomizer and another central stiff wick also had a large burn in it in the middle of the cartomizer.

    This was an airsmoke maybe on the fourth or fifth refil which is near the end of the cartomizer’s life anyway.

    So hopefully that is a useful report for someone. Sounds like there is still room for improvement in both of the designs – atomizer and cartomizer

  •  Vapor S. Thompson June 19, 2011 at 11:41 am ·

    Any recommendations for this burnt taste happening in eGo-T and 510-T tank atomizers? I ask because I don’t think you can access or remove the wicks on the tank attys.

    • fiercemoose June 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm ·

      Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered a way of getting rid of the burnt taste with the tanks yet… I have the same problem with one of mine and I’ve just set it aside for the time being. Perhaps a vodka bath and/or using a sonic jewelry cleaner would work?

  • Sam Munro April 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm ·

    Excellent tip, Having tried this before on a 510 I can tell you it’s a nimble fingered operation removing the threads. You almost have to have the patience of a saint too.

    • cooperhilscher April 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm ·


  • makoy April 12, 2011 at 4:50 am ·

    hello sir, i tried your tips..and thanks…but after doing this..i dropped 2 drops..i still taste the burning flavor..and my head rocks…so i tried..dripping another 2…for the first drag…it is good, but the vapor is not…for the second drag, the vapor is excellent but the burning taste is still there again…

    with these i conclude the ff:
    1. Good Taste Poor Vapor
    2. Excellent Vapor Very Bad Taste..

    How come I still have this problem

    • cooperhilscher April 12, 2011 at 8:49 am ·

      The coil on your atomizer is probably covered in burnt juice. If you have debridged and Dewicked your atomizer, I recommend cleaning it with some Vodka or Pure Grain Alcohol. Let it sit in the alcohol for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. let it dry out overnight.

      If you keep getting the burnt taste then your atomizer probably needs to be replaced. I would recommend getting 2-3 atomizers.

  • Cy February 14, 2011 at 5:17 am ·

    Ok, I was getting the burnt taste on my atty 510. I bought the e cig in December and it came with 2 atties. I smoke all day long so, I figure I do 1 atty a month.

    So i was getting this burnt taste and thought it was just time to get a new atty.. So i did a google and found this advise via a link from a web forum.

    Ok i then went inside the atty, and out came lots of little worm like white strings..and one atty have under the element a bunch of gook come out. The atties were still working and getting hot and producing smoke so i knew they still had life in them!

    Anyway that burnt taste was just much i did order new attied but, i countnt tolerate the burnt taste and went back to a pack a day Marlboro.
    Anyway also when you boil the atty in has a vapor-water taste for the few 10-20 puffs…What i do is just not puff, but hold the button down and let the vapor dry off the water.

    After doing this cleaning method I am getting a better flavor. And this may have saved me from smoking 10 packs of real cigs ‘until my 5 atomizers arrive from China’

    • cooperhilscher February 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm ·

      Yeah, you will get that water vapor taste a bit afterwards, you should consider using a blow dryer to dry the water out,I have popped a couple by dry burning while water was inside…

  • cooperhilscher December 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm ·

    You can also wash the atomizer before this may be necessary… I usually use soap and warm water, although if I feel it needs something more I use peroxide.

    I just let the atty soak for a couple minutes, rinse it well, suck a bunch of water through it and then blow it out. You don’t even have to let it dry more than that really… atomizers like to be wet =)

I've been vaping since 2010 and been cig free ever since. I have been through hundreds of products from cig-a-likes to TC mods and I've lost count of the e-liquids I've tried! Ecigology is here to help you make an informed decision. We know how difficult it can be to choose from all the options out there.


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