Vapers have been dipping their toes into making their own vape liquid for a long time. The term Homebrew is thrown around a lot and is coined from the process of brewing your own vape liquid within the comforts of your own home.
Whilst most see this as cost effective compared to buying pre-made liquids from shops, they also see it as a way to beat the TPD Laws introduced to the UK in 2016 by creating large bottles of their favourite flavours with the nicotine included.
But is it safe to make homebrew? And is it really that much more cost effective? We will delve into the world of homebrew and what it entails to make your own vape juice and break down the process, costs and safety of it all within this article.
The process of DIY E-liquid
To someone who doesn’t quite have the correct knowledge, making your own vape juice sounds as simple as adding in all in the ingredients into a bottle and shaking it up and it’s good to go. This couldn’t be further from the actual process involved in DIY vape juice.
We would discourage anyone from making their own vape juice, and if you think the process is as simple as above, we would definitely discourage it even more!
The highest risk factor involved with making your own vape juice is if nicotine is being used.
Handling raw nicotine in liquid form is highly risky. Nicotine can be rapidly absorbed via the skin, and cause serious skin irritation, but also more serious health hazards such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lethargy and in the most extreme case can lead to death if a fatal dose of nicotine is ingested.
This also factors in to nicotine being added in to the vape juice you are making. Using too much can lead to poisoning, and all of the above adverse health effects. If you do want to dabble in homebrew, you must follow everything meticulously and as exact as possible, and it is always recommended to take great care when handling nicotine and adding it to vape juice, and always use less if you’re unsure, never more.
Don’t try and take short cuts either with the process. Some sites report of “hacks” for homebrew vape liquid, such as adding olive oil or essential oils for flavouring. This is not only a ridiculous idea that does not work, but is massively unsafe to ingest. And if you find your juice is too thick as something hasn’t gone right, don’t add water into it either as this will just cause your vape to pop and spit hot e liquid into your mouth and throat when you vape.
The steeping process
Steeping is really important and the correct steeping time can make or break your diy e liquid you’ve spent all that time making.
For most fruits, sweets, and ice flavours, you can simply vape straight away, but you’ll find that after 24-48 hours the character has fully expressed. With bakery/dessert flavours, 2 weeks maturing is a minimum. But the recommendation on steeping time for the perfect tasting e liquid is 4 weeks if you can wait that long. A good tobacco flavour can take 4-6 weeks for the liquid to be full flavoured and enjoyable to vape.
At Vape69, we always pre-steep our range of vape juice so you can vape it straight away, but you can always leave it longer, it comes down to personal taste.
Is DIY Vape Juice Safe?
To put it bluntly, no it is not safe in most cases. All of the vape liquids you see sold online or on the high street from reputable vape retailers are made by professionals, carefully following recipes using the precise amounts of necessary chemicals, and they are made in the appropriate surrounds such as a ISO clean lab, that is sterile and clean from anything that could potentially impose health and safety risks or adverse health effects.
Arguably the biggest risk involved with DIY E liquids is miscalculating your recipe and making an e liquid that has serious potential to cause some pretty nasty health effects, especially if you’re adding pure nicotine in to your vape juice. Vape juice is inhaled directly in to your lungs, so you must always ensure what you’re about to inhale is actually safe to do so before you cause yourself.
Most follow a specific e juice recipe that people have shared on public forums or websites and may not always be 100% safe to follow and use.
Are DIY e liquids more cost effective?
Contrary to popular belief, there actually are quite a lot of costs involved with Homebrew vape juice making.
The primary costs are getting all of the necessary ingredients to make your vape juice. Pharmaceutical grade VG/PG base, flavourings, nicotine, and anything else you may want to add like WS23 (Koolada) or Menthol solution.
On top of that comes to the costs of all the equipment needed to safely mix your liquids. Funnels for measuring, bottles for your vape juice, syringes for getting exact measures of ingredients, as well as disposable gloves and safety goggles because you are using chemicals that come with health warnings.
As stated above, avoid using pure raw nicotine in your vape juice at all costs. The risk is far too high when using this, and you should stick to using pre made nicotine shots where needed.
The safety of vape juice and TPD/MHRA Legislations
As we spoke about at the beginning of this article, a lot of people are turning to DIY Vape juice as a way to “beat” the legislations bought in by MHRA under the TPD Law in 2016.
We will highlight a few of the key rules and regulations enforced below;
- Tanks on e-cigarettes must be restricted to a capacity of no more than 2ml
- Vape juice bottles and refillable containers must be retracted to a capacity of no more than 10ml per bottle.
- E-liquids must be restricted to a nicotine strength of no more than 20mg/ml (2%).
- Vape products and packaging are required to be tamper-evident, to help ensure that consumers are only ever getting a safe, sanitary and secure product.
- Certain ingredients are banned for inclusion in e-juice recipes, including colourings, caffeine and taurine.
- Stringent labelling requirements and warnings to be put on all vape products and e-liquids.
These rules came into effect in 2016 and caused massive upset amongst the vaping community due to the sudden change in what they were used to.
A small loophole was found by some vape juice manufacturers by creating shortfill bottles of vape juice, which is just a specific amount of vape juice flavour, that people can then add a nicotine shot to create larger ml quantities of their favourite vape juice.
This is where people have took this theory and ran with it by turning to homebrew vape juice. However, most tend to trip while running by not creating something as flavoursome and consistent as properly manufactured vape juice.
All of these legislations have always been easily accessible to view by anyone on the internet, and most vapers already know about these legislations.
If you’re not familiar with them, but still thinking about diving in to DIY Vape Juice, you should may be consider familiarising yourself with these legislations before researching into anything else.
How are the vape juices made at Vape69?
At Vape69, we pride ourselves on how our vape juices are made. All of our liquids are made within ISO9001:2015 lab that is HACCP Certified.
We never use anything that is not permitted by law in our vape juices. This means no oil bases and no additives such as colourings, or sweeteners like Diacetyl are used.
Since the TPD was introduced back in May 2016, Diacetyl has been banned in all e-liquid flavours. Diacetyl gives vape juice flavours a buttery taste. So, flavours such a Jam on Toast, Buttered Popcorn and some dessert flavours used to contain small amount. With the TPD regulations all new e-liquid flavours need to be submitted to the MHRA to ensure that there are no banned ingredients. As we have our own flavour house and produce out flavouring from scratch, we control everything that goes into our flavours.
We also test all of our vape juices. We have our own flavour house, so we mix our flavours from scratch, meaning we know exactly what goes into our e liquid. The tests we perform are
- Nicotine Testing
- Emissions Testing
- Refractive Index & Density
In addition, we pride ourselves on being able to ensure all our flavours are free from any CMRs (carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic substances) and we can verify this through our industry-standard GC systems. Upon testing, it was proved that our e liquid produces 99.73% less toxicants than cigarettes do.
What goes into Vape69 E liquid?
All of our e liquids are made with the following ingredients;
EP/USP Vegetable Glycerin
EP/USP Propylene Glycol
EP/USP 99.5% Nicotine
Inhalation Safe, CMR Free Flavourings
To go back to the article question. “Is making your own vape juice really worth it?” our honest opinion is no it is not.
Unless you are a highly experienced vaper, or have the knowledge of a chemist, making your own vape juice can lead to serious implications if not done correctly.
The risks of becoming unwell from vaping homebrew vape juice is fairly high if recipes and formulas are not followed to the exact point, or the use of highly dangerous chemicals within a non sterile home environment that can easily be cross contaminated from a multitude of factors just isn’t worth it for saving yourself a few quid from buying a bottle of pre mixed vape juices from companies who have made their liquids in the correct way.