Guide to Bleeding and Cleaning a Butane Lighter

A clean burn

Like any other piece of equipment, the butane lighter you depend on to give your cigars a quick light that is free from residual aromas needs an occasional bit of “tender loving care” in the form of maintenance. While butane lighters used for lighting cigars have a minimum number of moving parts and will give good service for years if not decades, they still need to be cleaned and have the fuel line bled every few months. Butane does leave a residual film when it burns and not all of the butane sold on the market is completely free of contaminants. What that means is that your torch lighter or dual torch will need to be cleaned and bled if you want the flame to be optimal for cigar lighting. Many cigar smokers will tell you that they smoke for the sense of relaxation and calm that is associated with a good quality cigar. One would certainly not want that pleasant experience to be marred by a lighter that is not working properly, so let’s take a look at how to bleed and clean your butane lighter.

Bleeding:

  • What is bleeding?
    The process of bleeding your lighter should result in getting rid of old fuel and air that may have built up over time. Old fuel and air in the system will cause the flame from your lighter to flicker and sputter, making it difficult to get a nice clean light of your cigar.
  • Tools required.
    Typically, the only tool required for the bleeding process is a small screwdriver. You will use the screwdriver to depress the filler nozzle at the bottom of the lighter while you are holding the lighter upside down. When you depress the filler nozzle you should hear a hissing sound, which is the sound of air escaping from the fuel reservoir. Now, remove the screwdriver and vigorously shake the lighter. Next repeat the entire process one or two more times or until no hissing is heard.
  • Frequency.
    It’s a good idea to bleed the lighter every time the lighter gets low on fuel. If your lighter doesn’t have a way to see when the fuel level is getting low, then you will likely be able to tell by the color or quality of the flame itself. If the flame starts to burn erratically, it probably means that it’s time to bleed the system.

Cleaning:

  • Tools required.
    It doesn’t take much of a tool kit to clean your butane lighter. A matchstick, a clean cloth and a source of compressed air will be all you need to get the job done. If you don’t own an air compressor, small cans of compressed air are available for purchase at most hardware and home improvement stores.
  • Safety First
    Before you start cleaning your butane lighter, take a moment to turn down the flame so that in the event something ignites the lighter while you are cleaning it, there won’t be a flame large enough to hurt anyone.
  • Step One Use the wooden end of the matchstick to press down on the butane valve, located on the top of the lighter where the flame would normally come out of. This is to let excess air out of the system and should be repeated twice.
  • Cleaning the combustion chamber.
    To clean the combustion chamber, you will need to use the compressed air to blow out all of the dirt, soot, and other contaminants that have likely built up over time. Once this is done it is a good idea to inspect all the surfaces to make sure that they are clean. If they aren’t, you may have to repeat the procedure until satisfied that your efforts have left the lighter in a "like new" condition.
  • Final Step
    Now take that cloth and go over the entire lighter, ensuring that all of the surfaces are free from dirt, lint, dust or anything else that may impact the performance of your lighter. If you need to refill your lighter, now is a good time to do that as well. Be sure to use only the highest quality butane fuel to refill your lighter as inferior grades will contain higher levels of contaminants. Also, be sure to reset the flame to the desired height.

There, you’re all done! A butane lighter is the preferred method for lighting high quality cigars as they don’t contaminate the cigar with impurities that could change the flavor of the cigar itself. Cleaning your lighter regularly is a great way to ensure that there won’t be any off flavor or impurities imparted to the cigar during the process of lighting it. Regular cleaning will also ensure that your lighter will provide many trouble free years of dependable service with a minimum of hassle.