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Why Does Vape Juice Turn Brown?

E-liquid can last a while and come in a variety of different flavours, but it’s not uncommon for vapers to notice that their vape juice has turned brown over time. This change in colour can raise questions about the safety and quality of the juice, however slight discolouration does not necessarily mean that the juice has expired.

It could turn out to be perfectly good juice. In this blog, we will explore the reasons why vape juice can turn brown and what you can do to prevent it from happening. Whether you’re a seasoned vaper or new to the scene, this can happen to you and so it’s well worth learning about why this happens and how to prevent it.

How Long Does E-Liquid Usually Last?

Certain e-liquid brands can remain safe to use for up to 10 years, but most have a shelf life of 2 years. Shelf life depends on the ingredients of the e-liquid as well as how you store it. Basic fruity-flavoured vapes degrade a lot faster than vapes with more complicated flavour profiles. Plus, freebase nicotine e-liquids will go off more quickly than nic salt e-liquids.

You should refer to the use-by date on your e-juice bottle for more information.

What Causes Vape Juice to Turn Brown?

There are several reasons why vape juice turns dark. Most commonly, the steeping process could be behind your e-liquid discolouration. However, if you use shortfills, this may not be the reason behind the colour change.


Many experienced vapers will steep their juice to enhance the flavour. To steep simply means to soak something in liquid. Typically, vapers place their capped juice bottles into a sealed bag and then place this bag into a pool of warm water. They carry out this process until the right flavour profile has been achieved.

There are other steeping methods, such as simply leaving the cap off in a warm room. Whichever method you use to steep, a guaranteed side-effect is your juice turning brown.


The reason your e-liquid turns brown through steeping is due to the oxidisation process. When you leave your juice exposed to oxygen, the flavour concentrates in the juice will start to break down and oxidise. The ingredient most affected by the oxidation process is nicotine. It turns a darker brown, thus causing the rest of your e-liquid to turn brown.


Alternatively, your juice may have turned brown due to photosensitivity. Excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays could cause your juice to turn a brown colour. In combination with oxidisation, direct sunlight can turn your vape juice a deep brown colour.

Why Vape Juice Turns Brown in the Bottle

If your vape liquid changes colour in the bottle, it’s most likely because of either oxidisation or photosensitivity.

How to prevent vape juice from turning dark in the bottle

To prevent your vape juice turning brown in the bottle, try the following:

  • Store vape juices in a dark place: With the lid tightly sealed, keep your juices safely stored away in a dark cupboard.
  • Don’t mix juices: Although it’s safe to do so, you should avoid mixing juices to reduce discolouration. This will expose the liquids to more oxygen than necessary, so it should be avoided.

Why Vape Juice Turns Brown in Your Tank

The brown appearance may be a result of the contents of the juice caramelising. Juice ingredients often contain sugars and artificial sweeteners and when these are heated up in the vape pen, these ingredients will caramelise. This can change the consistency, colour, and taste of the e-juices.

As well as this, a burnt coil will change the colour of your e-liquid and change your whole vaping experience. Most of the time, the liquid will turn a dark orange or brown colour.

How to prevent vape juice from turning dark in your tank

To maintain the original colour of the juice in your vape tank, carry out the following:

  • Don’t shake your vape: When you shake your vape, the oxygen gets mixed into the juice at a faster rate than it would otherwise. This causes the juice to discolour at a faster rate.
  • Clean your tank: Discolouration could just be the result of a dirty tank. You should clean your tank every time your vape runs out.

Is It Safe To Use E-Liquid That Has Turned Brown?

Your e-juice is likely discoloured as a result of a natural chemical reaction. There’s nothing to say that e-juice that has turned a dark shade is unsafe. It could be perfectly good vape juice. Unless your vape juice is very dark or if it’s well past its use-by date, it should be safe to use.

If the vape juice has turned brown, you should test it to see if it tastes good. If it tastes burnt or otherwise bad, you should get a new bottle of vape juice. Generally, it’s worth changing your juice every couple of weeks.

If it tastes bad, buy some new vape juice!


So, why does vape juice turn brown? Because of either oxidisation, photosensitivity, exposure to UV rays, or caramelisation. Fortunately, discolouration is nothing to worry about. You can still use the liquid as normal.

If you have any more e-liquid related questions, feel free to contact us today and we’d be happy to help!

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