So you order some bulk unflavored NIC juice from your supplier. How do you know what you ordered is what you got? Unless you test it, you don’t. Suppliers are only human. They can make mistakes. Even if they are very sure they are mixing the proper ratio of NIC to PG/VG, and don’t make a mistake, they are also trusting that their supplier is correct in their NIC strength as well. There are just to many places where mistakes can be made, and there is no real regulation on the selling of NIC juice.
NIC Juice Too Strong Can Be Hazardous
So you make your own eliquid, and you just purchased a 500ml bottle of 50mg unflavored NIC juice. You plan on mixing it with plain PG with a 2 to 1 ratio to make approx 24mg eliquid. But will your final ejuice really be at 24mg strength? Well it all depends on if the 50mg bulk NIC juice that your purchase really is 50mg, and also if you properly mixed the NIC juice and the plain PG/VG in the proper amounts.
If that NIC juice was mixed incorrectly from the supplier, and is actually around 100mg NIC, then you are vaping 48mg eliquid. That can be very bad. Also, most DIY’ers don’t take proper precautions when working with NIC under 50 or 60mg. If you get 50mg on your skin, no big deal, you wipe it off and you’re ok. But what if that was 100mg NIC or higher. That is dangerous.
NIC Juice Too Weak Can Cost You $$$
Take that same bottle of 50mg NIC you bought. What if it is weaker than its advertised strength. Well it’s not dangerous, but you end up paying too much for low strength juice. Either by accident or on purpose, suppliers can easily provide low strength NIC.
Save $$$ With No More Messed Up Batches
Have you ever been making a batch of DIY eliquid, and loose track of the amount of nicotine you are adding? Do you just ‘wing it’ and hope for the best, and continue to make it and still vape it? or do you play it on the safe side, and throw it out? Well if you test it, then you know what the NIC content is, and you don’t have to throw it out.
Store Bought Flavored eLiquid
Even if you don’t make you own eliquid, and you buy store bought pre-mixed/flavored eliquid, how do you know what your vaping is what you bought? Unless you are really sensitive to NIC, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between, lets say, 12mg and 16mg eliquid, or 8mg and 12mg eliquid, and so forth. Your supplier can easily make a mistake and sell too high NIC content eliquid, which can be dangerous, or to low NIC content and cost you money.
THE SOLUTION….. Always Test Your eLiquid First!
-eLiquid Nicotine Test Kit which contains:
(2) 3ml syringe with 0.1ml graduations.
A white 16 oz plastic cup.
All-in-One Test Solution.
Note: The calculations in the instructions only work for the All-in-One Test Solution. They will not work for .10N acid or .12N acid and Bromothymol Blue.
Rinse all supplies well with water a couple times.
Use a small accurate syringe to measure EXACTLY 1ml, 2ml or 3ml of eliquid. (detach the needle from the syringe when measuring the eliquid) See next section for more information on which amount to use.
Put the measured amount of eliquid into your cup.
Add about 5ml distilled water to the cup. (use more if testing VG) This amount does not need to be precise.
Swirl in cup to mix well.
Using a new/clean syringe, with a small gauge needle attached, measure EXACTLY 3ml of the All-in-One Test Solution. Tap out any air bubbles in the syringe for more accurate reading. (Do not use the same syringe you used to measure your eliquid)
Slowly add the test solution from the syringe to the nic solution, stopping and swirling the cup in between little adds at a time. (When you first add the test solution to the nicontine it will turn blue, but as you add more it will go from blue to green to yellow).
When you are getting to the yellowish-green color, the test end is near, so now its time to get more precise when adding the test solution via the syringe 1 very small drop at a time.
Keep repeating step 7; add then Swirl, until the solution turns all yellow.
Make note of how much test solution is left in the syringe. Subtract that number from the starting amount of test solution originally in the syringe (3ml). This is how much test solution you added. (note: if you had to ‘refill’ the syringe because you ran out during the test, don’t forget that amount) (example: I’m using a 3.0ml syringe. I measured EXACTLY 3.0ml of test solution and used all of it in the mixture. I added EXACTLY 3.0ml more test solution to the syringe. Adding the test solution, the mixture turned yellow, and there was 1.8 ml of test solution left in the syringe. So I used a total of 4.2ml of test solution in this test)
-If you used 1ml of eliquid, Multiply this number by 17.4.
-If you used 2ml of eliquid, Multiply this number by 8.7.
-If you used 3ml of eliquid, Multiply this number by 5.8.
-Or compare that amount to this pre-made chart.
The resulting number is the mg/ml. (example: 4.2×17.4 = 73mg/ml. … round to the nearest whole number)
Testing 1ml of eliquid carries a +/- 3-4mg margin of error, and is recommended testing eliquid strength greater than 36mg. (uses least amount of test solution)
Testing 2ml of eliquid carries a +/- 2-3mg margin of error, and is recommended testing eliquid strength 18mg-36mg.
Testing 3ml of eliquid carries a +/- 1-2mg margin of error, and is recommended testing eliquid strength up to 18mg. (uses most amount of test solution)
When adding the test solution and mixing, the color will go from blue to bluish-green to green, to yellowish-green, to yellow with still a tint of green, and when you’ve reached the ‘magic drop’, it will turn all yellow. If you are using a clear glass, place it on a white piece of paper to see the color change easier (not needed if using a white plastic cup). Using a white plastic cup makes seeing the color change easy.
If you are testing 1ml of NIC Juice, then with about every 1 ml of test solution added, that will be around 18mg of nicotine be tested. So if you are testing eliquid that should be 50mg, then it is pointless to repeat steps 7-9, a little bit at a time in the beginning. I’ll bulk add like ml of test solution initially, then mix, then do it at 1 or 2 drops at a time after that.
If you are testing 2ml-3ml of NIC Juice, then with about every 1 ml of test solution added, that will be around 6-9mg of nicotine be tested. So if you are testing eliquid that should be 24mg, then it is pointless to repeat steps 7-9, a little bit at a time in the beginning. I’ll bulk add like 2ml of test solution initially, then mix, then do it at 1 or 2 drops at a time after that.
You can do the test a few times and average out the results if needed. As you do the test several times, you’ll get a feel for it, and become more accurate.
Before using your syringes, put some clear nail polish over the black numbers, and let dry. This will protect the markings so they don’t eventually wipe off after several cleanings.
The All-in-One test solution is designed for use by average home owners, and not super dangerous. The test solution is very diluted, so it won’t eat holes in things. If you get it on your skin, it might itch. If you get under your fingernails it can sting. Just wash your hands with water.
Test Solution will stain anything it gets on especially on porous counter tops/wood/etc, and clothes.
The real danger of testing is posed by the e-liquid. If you’re testing high nicotine content liquid, a ml would be enough to kill children, pets, animals, even you. If you’re working with very high strength, I’d caution you to use latex, rubber, or vinyl gloves and do the test in a well ventilated area. (But if you make your own juices, then you already know this)
Disposal of solution after test you should be fine pouring it in the drain, so long as you flush the drain after with some water.
Rinse your testing equipment clean with plain old tap water, shake off excess water, and let air dry. The liquid does get sticky, and gets hard to clean, if left to dry on.
These are DIY nicotine test procedures designed for the average person. Due to the nature of the procedure, there is a margin of error, however with my testing, and feedback from people using the kit, the margin of error is about +/- 2mg, which is typically ‘good enough’ for the average person. Most of the ‘faults’ in this test are explained in the F.A.Q’s and the tips/tricks below. And as explained, I did not come up with this procedure. It was developed by DVAP and refined by Pornbjorg of ECF.
A full detailed video of the test can be found on You Tube Here.
- 10ml graduated cylinder with .1 ml graduations
- .12N Sulfuric Acid (referred to as ‘acid’ in the document)
- Bromothymol Blue (referred to as ‘blue’ in the document)
- 3ml pipette
- Mixing rod
- Distilled Water
- Read this entire document from start to finish.
- Rinse the cylinder/pipette/stirring rod with distilled water.
- Repeat step 2.
- Repeat step 2.
- Vigorously shake out excess water from the cylinder and pipette.
- Shake your eliquid well and put EXACTLY 1ml of eliquid in to the cylinder.
- Add 2 drops of blue. (when testing 60+ mg nicotine, you can add 4+ drops of blue)
- Fill cylinder to the 3mL mark with distilled water
- Mix using the rod and lightly swirling the cylinder, making the entire mixture blue.
- Add a drop or two of acid
- Mix well using the rod (twirl rod between finger tips while moving up and down)
- Repeat steps 10-11 until the entire solution turns pale yellow.
- Measure the final volume and subtract 3. (this is the amount of acid you put in)
- Multiply that number with 19.47 (or compare that amount to this pre-made chart.)
- The resulting number is the mg/ml
- Cylinder is rinsed well.
- 1mL of eliquid labeled 24mg is added to the empty cylinder.
- 2 drops of blue are added
- Distilled water is added until its at 3mL
- The solution is mixed.
- Since I know it should test around 24mg, I add .9 ml of acid initially and mix.
- To be more precise now, A drop of acid is added, then its mixed, and this is repeated …
- The solution turns yellow after several ‘drop and mixing’
- The final volume is measured at just over 4.2mL
- Subtract 3 to get 1.2
- Multiply this by 19.47 to get ~23.3, which is the actual mg/ml
- It is important to rinse the supplies well with distilled water to clean out any remaining acid/juice/’outside’ factors/etc..
- Always measure from the meniscus. (The bottom portion of the ‘bubble’ in the center of cylinder) not the sides. However you might find that some thicker liquids, or that contain some thick VG, a good meniscus does not form. Also plastic cylinders sometimes to do not a meniscus. If this is the case, measure from the top of the liquid.
- It is important to shake/mix your eliquid well before testing.
- Avoid dribbling liquids down the sides, as it will skew results, since some will add to the amount when you mix. Use the pipette to add the eliquid (if it is not already in a dropper bottle) and water because you can insert way down into the cylinder before putting it in to avoid getting on the sides.
- If using the pipette to add the eliquid in step 6, make sure you rinse it out well with distilled water before adding the water in step 8 because you don’t want to introduce additional eliquid in to the mixture skewing your results.
- When doing steps 10-11, make sure to mix the solution WELL using the rod. Some of the thicker eliquid will be at the bottom not mixing with the acid. You might see the top 2/3’s of the solution yellow, and the bottom 1/3 still blue. Everything needs to be mixed so ALL the eliquid comes in contact will ALL the acid.
- Also when doing steps 10-11, its best to try and leave the mixing rod inside the cylinder at all times. If you remove the mixing rod, I notice about .05 or so of the solution sticks to the rod, and is removed. That means if you remove it several times throughout the test you could be removing as much as .1 -.2 ml of volume, throwing off your results as much as 2-4mg or so.
- When adding the acid and mixing, the color will go from blue to bluish-green to green, to yellowish-green, to yellow with still a tint of green, and when you’ve reached the ‘magic drop’, it will turn all yellow. Holding the cylinder up to a white background, you will be able to tell the different between yellow, and yellow with a tint of green.
- With about every 1 ml of acid added, that will be around 20mg of nicotine be tested. So if you are testing eliquid that should be 24mg, then it is pointless to repeat steps 10-11, 1 drop at a time in the beginning. I’ll bulk add like .8 ml of acid initially, then mix, then do it at 1 or 2 drops at a time after that.
- Remember, this is a simple DYI test. Most of us didn’t ace chemistry in high school, but I think the average person should be able to read within .1ml of accuracy, making the margin of error less than 2mg of nicotine content, which is ‘close enough’ . Do the test a few times and average out the results if needed. As you do the test several times, you’ll get a feel for it, and become more accurate.
- The .12N sulfuric acid and blue are designed for use by average home owners. They are quite safe to use. The acid is very diluted, so it won’t eat holes in things. If you get it on your skin, it might itch. If you get under your fingernails it can sting. Just wash your hands with water. Actually, lemon juice is more irritating than the .12 Acid.
- Bromthymol Blue will stain anything it gets on. There is no hazard with blue (its actually sold with children’s chemistry sets), but will stain if spilled. (even on porous counter tops/wood/etc..)
- The real danger of testing is posed by the e-liquid. If you’re testing high nicotine content liquid, a ml would be enough to kill children, pets, animals, even you. If you’re working with very high strength, I’d caution you to use latex, rubber, or vinyl gloves and do the test in a well ventilated area. (But if you make your own juices, then you already know this)
- Disposal of solution after test you should be fine pouring it in the drain, so long as you flush the drain after with some water.
- Rinse your testing equipment clean with plain old tap water, shake off excess water, and let air dry. The liquid does get sticky, and gets hard to clean, if left to dry on.
Q. How many test’s can I get out of a single test kit?
A. It all depends on the strength of the eliquid, and the amount you use for each test, but around 30 on average per test solution bottle. You will use about 1.5ml of test solution for about every 24mg of NIC strength you are testing, if you test 1ml of eliquid at a time. So about 45 tests per bottle if only testing 24mg nicotine. If you are testing 36mg eliquid you will use about 2ml of test solution per test, which is about 30 tests per bottle. If you are testing 60mg eliquid you will use about 4ml of test solution per test, which is about 15 tests per bottle.
Q. How accurate is the test?
A. When done properly, the test is very accurate, normally within 1mg of actual strength. However most people, on average the results are going to be within +/- 2mg of actual strength. Most common errors that throw off the result are adding to much or to little eliquid to be tested, and not reading the yellow color change accurately.
Q. Can I test already mixed juices with flavoring already added?
A. For the most part yes. This test works best with a plain nicotine/PG/VG mixture. Some of the acids in certain flavors might skew results slightly, or make a test reading not possible. With colored ejuice, especially the typically yellow to yellow-brown liquids, bromothymol blue may appear green when it would be otherwise blue (yellow and blue makes green, remember that?), in this case, you might have to slow down and the green to yellow transition isn’t so easy as with a clear liquid. I have personally tested many already mixed juices and have yet to have one that gave results way off, but had read on some forums that it is possible that certain flavors can throw the results way off.
Q. I’m having a hard time with the ‘Yellow’ color change.
A. This is understandable, especially for the ‘first-timer’. Sometimes it can he hard to tell the difference between ‘yellow with a tint of green’ and ‘yellow’. As you do the test a couple times, it will become very clear when the change happens to all yellow. It really helps if you hold the cylinder up to a white paper background. Remember to, the color change might be harder to see, or really different if you are using colored juices. Again, once you do it a couple times, it will be clear to you. If you are color blind, and have a hard time seeing Blues/Greens/Yellows, well don’t know what to say, maybe the test won’t work so well.
Q. Can I use tap or filtered or boiled water instead of distilled water?
A. No, you shouldn’t. The key for this test to work accurately is the PH level. Its important for the PH of the water to be EXACTLY 7.0. The PH of public water sources varies greatly. If you know your water is exactly 7.0PH, then you can try it, but don’t blame me if the results are not accurate. Remember, distilled water is CHEEP. It can be picked up are almost any grocery store for like $1.50/gallon.
Q. What strength NIC juice can be tested?
A. I have personally tested 0 to 100mg strength NIC juice. With 0mg, the solution will turn yellow with the first drop of acid. 100mg works well to, although since over 5ml of acid is added, the solution gets very diluted and the blue and yellow colors become very dim and hard to see. Extra drops of blue can be added to make the colors stand out more without effecting the results. Your average Joe is never going to need to test higher than 100mg, but you can do it. Unless you are a professional, and have proper safety equipment, etc, you should NEVER handle NIC higher than 100mg.
Q. Can I use extra ‘Blue’ to see the color change better?
A. Yes, but not too much. The blue is really just a PH indicator, but does have some acidity to it. As the PH changes in the solution when adding the acid, the color changes from blue to yellow (goes from a base (i.e. the nicotine) to more acidic (i.e. the acid). You can add up to 12-14 drops of blue when testing high strength NIC juice. Adding extra blue when testing low or normal strength NIC juice is not recommended.