E-Liquid Steeping: What is it and is it Necessary?

August 31, 2018

woman holding a bottle of Velvet Cloud e-liquid thinking in the mid-afternoon

An Introduction to E-Liquid Steeping

If you've spent any length of time reading about vaping or e-liquids online, you've likely come across people talking about e-liquid steeping.

It usually goes something like this…

Bro, here's what I do. I put my el-iquids in two plastic bags. Then I put a rabbit's foot and my grandmother's toenail clippings in another bag and put the eliquid bags inside THAT one. Then I put them in a warm water bathliterally my bathtubat precisely 98.6 degrees. That's Fahrenheit. Then I sing Cat Steven's "Peace Train" three times, spin around in a circle TWICE ONLY, and then I take them out. That's how you get the perfect flavors. Bro.

We wish that was more than just a slight exaggeration.

The reality is that e-liquid steeping:

  1. More often than not isn't even necessary, and
  2. Isn't actually as complicated as people make it out to be

In this post, we'll be demystifying the whole process so that you can choose for yourself what you want to do.

One important caveat: the Premium High VG e-liquid that we create at Velvet Cloud is ready to be used as soon as you get it. You do not need to do any kind of steeping or other modification to get the "full experience" with Velvel Cloud e-liquid. 

If you absolutely must, all we ask is that you try our e-liquids first before doing any steeping. We put our heart and soul into our e-liquids and think you'll love them just the way they are.

All right, with that out of the way, let's dig in:

What is E-Liquid Steeping?

If you asked three different people what steeping is, it wouldn't be particularly surprising if you ended up with three different answers. The term more or less refers to any method that improves the flavor of your favorite juice. It can involve aerating, heating, and/or shaking the e-liquid.

Steeping is mostly useful immediately after a completely fresh batch of e-liquid has been made (but not always). Note that if you're buying your e-liquid from professional vape flavor artists (like us!), the steeping or aging process—if it was necessary—should already have taken place before you purchased your juice.

man holding a guitar and a bottle of Vanilla Custard Velvet Cloud e-liquid

Some combinations of VG, PG, flavors, and nicotine can benefit from steeping. Others are ready to go immediately. There are so many factors to consider here that there just isn't a "one size fits all" steeping methodology.

And that right there is probably why there are so many different opinions and strategies online concerning steeping. Just remember this: what works well for one e-liquid might not work for another. It varies, period.

A final but important understanding about steeping is this: the whole point behind it is to mix the flavors and open them up. In a fresh batch of e-liquid, the various components (e.g., VG, two different varieties of, say, fruit flavors, and nicotine) haven't had time to fully intermingle with one another.

In many cases, by simply waiting a while ("aging") the batch will accomplish the same thing as steeping.

When Should You Steep Your E-Liquid?

As discussed in the previous section, there is no straight answer to this question. It depends on the ingredients, how old the e-liquid is, and the steeping method used.

Here's a quick "either or" rule of thumb:

If you made the batch yourself and you're experimenting to try to find the best possible flavor profile, go ahead and steep it to see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.

If you purchased the e-liquid from someone like us, you don't need to steep it. You can if you just want to satisfy your curiosity, but the fact of the matter is that everyone who tries out our Mt. Shasta Frost or our Vanilla Custard max VG e-liquid thinks they're perfect just the way they are.

If you're the curious type, read on...

If You Want to Try E-Liquid Steeping, Here's A Simple Method

The thing that makes the vaping community so much fun is that many of us like to experiment. We pop on a white lab coat and play with different e-juices, tinker with mods, and wrap our own coils. Before we know it, we realize that we've become some strange combination of electrician, chef, artist, and political activist.

So, if you want to steep your e-liquid, why not? Satisfy your curiosity and give it a swing.

Here's an easy way to do it that will also (hopefully) yield the best results:

  • Heat some water and put it in a mid-sized bowl or basin. The water should be warm, not hot (i.e., it shouldn't at all be uncomfortable to put your hand in it).
  • If it isn't already, transfer your e-liquid to a glass bottle if preferred. (Or don't. See below for some extra much-needed clarification on the glass vs. plastic debate.)
  • Put your e-liquid bottle in a sealable plastic baggie and place it in the water.
  • Wait 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove from water and bag and give it a good, vigorous shake.

That's it. All this process does is introduce heat to the e-liquid in an easily controlled environment. You can repeat the process as well! Just repeat it as many times as you like until the flavor expresses itself in a way that you find pleasing.

A note about the glass vs. plastic bottle debate: some people have concerns about chemicals from the plastic leaching into the e-liquid when heated, but this is mostly paranoia. Polyethylene terephthalate is almost certainly what your bottle is made of, which doesn't have BPA and is more than likely the same substance that contained bottled water or soda you drank earlier today. Its melting point is about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so brief exposure to warm water won't cause it to leach.

A Few Quick But Important Safety Precautions

Not all of the steeping methods you might read about online are a good idea, and some of them can be, for lack of a better phrase, pretty darn stupid.

For example, there's one that suggests microwaving your e-liquid. Please never do this.

There's another one that insists that putting your e-liquid in a sock and then putting your sock in your clothes dryer is, for some inexplicable reason, a good idea. It isn't, obviously, but if you're looking for a cool new way to get shards of glass all over the inside of your dryer, that would probably be one method.

Whenever you're steeping e-liquid, modifying your rig, or doing any kind of experimentation, please be cautious and use your best judgment!

If All This Steeping Business Sounds Like a Lot of Work...

...Then check out one of our signature flavors instead, which are ready to be vaped the moment you get them!

woman reaching for a bottle of peach flavored Velvet Cloud e-liquid on a rainy day

If you're new to vaping, be sure to check out our expert post Vape Like a Pro: 14 Vaping Tips for Beginners.

If you're not sure what max VG e-liquid of ours you want to try first, check out these recommendations from our post about the 9 Best Fall E-Liquid Flavors. With fall right around the corner, your timing couldn't be better.

We'd also love it if you said hi to us on Instagram.

Happy (and safe!) vaping!

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