Beginner’s guide to lighter maintenance and cleaning

March 12, 2024

Beginner’s guide to lighter maintenance and cleaning

Delve deeper into cigar smoking and culture with our beginner’s guide to lighter maintenance and cleaning.

Whether you’ve just started your smoking journey or are a seasoned aficionado, understanding the intricate details of lighter care is imperative. Knowing how to effectively clean your lighter can help ensure your cigar burns evenly, avoiding those potential unwelcome cigar problems.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to clean your lighter to ensure each cigar smokes like a charm.

Why is it important to maintain a lighter?

When smoking cigars regularly, your lighter can begin to experience a build-up of fuel in the tank. This build-up will eventually start to impact the performance of your lighter, significantly affecting your smoking experience.

Poor flame performance can sometimes cause common cigar burn issues like canoeing or tunneling, negatively impacting the cigar’s aroma and flavor profile.

Maintaining your lighter ensures the flame consistency remains the same and will prevent contaminants that may ruin your cigar flavors.

What causes lighters to need cleaning?

The controlled flame of your lighter influences how your cigar burns. When you’ve used a lighter for a while, it can start to flicker, splutter, or produce a weak flame. This is a key indicator that your fuel is running low, so you’ll need to keep topping it up.

After multiple refills, an air pocket will form. This is why bleeding your lighter is essential in the maintenance process (more on that later).

Smokers often keep their lighters in a pocket. Regularly cleaning your lighter will clear out any dust or other materials building up on the burner.

Types of cigar lighters

Before we outline best cleaning practices, let’s explore the two most commonly used lighters among cigar smokers.

Zippo lighter

Zippo lighters are a classic style of lighter that has been used to light up tobacco since 1933. Zippo lighter maintenance is simple, and their style has distinctive features. When you flip the safety lock back, the lighter makes a satisfying ‘click’ sound, which can symbolize the start of a great smoke.

It has been suggested that the Zippo isn’t suitable for lighting a good cigar, but many have done it without tarnishing the tobacco taste.

Torch lighter

A torch lighter is essential to your smoking kit in the cigar industry. They have an intense flame that burns blue and hot, which is also windproof.

Torch lighters use a different kind of fuel than your standard gas lighter. They also carry incredible heat and strength, making them perfect for lighting up a stogie.

The style of lighter uses butane fuel, which causes the lighter to burn much hotter, reaching temperatures of up to 2,500° Fahrenheit. It’s a straightforward lighter to maintain if you’re a frequent cigar smoker. Read on to find out how to clean a torch lighter and keep your flame ignited.

Maintenance and cleaning tips for cigar lighters

Proper maintenance and cleaning of your cigar lighters is essential for a pristine smoking experience. Here are some must-knows for how to effectively clean your cigar lighter.


Bleeding your lighter releases unwanted pockets of air. To bleed your lighter, flip it upside down and depress it with a small screwdriver or a thin tool, allowing the air to escape. Be careful, as there may be residual fuel.

When it’s happening, you’ll likely hear a hissing noise. If the hissing remains after refilling the lighter, this suggests you have a broken gasket.

A broken gasket means butane leaks out, which is dangerous as it can be set on fire. If your gasket is broken, send it for repair or throw it away. The hissing noise won’t stop even if you refill it.

Once you’ve managed to bleed your lighter, it’s time for the cleaning process.


Cleaning is an essential step you may be tempted to skip. However, butane can create a residue that builds up over time, and it’s important to regularly clean your lighter for long-term use. Fortunately, you can clean off any residue with a can of compressed air and a clean cloth.

  • Step one: Turn down the flame control to its lowest setting.
  • Step two: Use a small screwdriver head to depress the nozzle at the top of the lighter.
  • Step three: Clean the chamber using your compressed air to remove any dust or residue that may have been stuck.
  • Step four: Wipe down your lighter with your clean cloth to remove any excess. Once cleaned, your lighter is ready to be refilled.


Following the steps above, you can be confident your lighter is now clean and ready to be refilled.

Fill the fuel chamber with two to three-second bursts from your butane can. It can take a few times to confirm your lighter is complete, and we’d recommend stopping filling your lighter when butane escapes from the fuel opening.

Different lighter types carry additional features, so it is possible your lighter may have a helpful fill window for you to check.

How to stay safe when maintaining your lighter

Maintaining your lighter may seem simple, but lighters are incredibly flammable and can cause harm if you’re not careful. Cleaning needs to be handled with extra care and attention for safety, and we recommend following these steps to avoid any accidents.

  • Do not smoke when re-fueling your lighter.
  • Always refill a lighter in an open or well-ventilated space with good air circulation.
  • Keep all butane away from any heat, spark, or direct sunlight source, and thoroughly read the instructions before refilling.
  • After refilling, the lighter will feel cold from the butane. Wait a few minutes to allow the lighter to reach room temperature before use.

How to keep your lighter in good condition

After you’ve bled, cleaned, and refilled your lighter, you may wonder what the next steps are to keep your lighter in good condition. The answer is simple — regular maintenance.

Every time your lighter begins to show signs of low fuel, it’s the perfect opportunity to rewind and follow this process again. Regular cleaning and maintenance will provide minimal hassle when you’re ready to kick back and indulge in a premium stogie.

For general maintenance, keep your eye on the surface of your lighter for spilled fluid, wiping down when needed. If using a zippo lighter, make sure to regularly replace the wick and flint. This will encourage a consistently strong flame and avoid over-burning.

When to seek professional help for cigar lighter maintenance

Cigar lighter maintenance can be a straightforward process once you’ve mastered the smooth operation of it. However, there may be occasions when you need to seek professional help or advice if you’ve struggled at any point in this process.

Suppose your lighter is making a hissing noise, and you have discovered you may have a broken gasket during the bleeding process. In that case, we’d recommend checking your warranty and contacting the manufacturer to help fix any issues you may have experienced. You could even try visiting a local lighter store to seek advice.

Failing fixing your current lighter, why not treat yourself to something new? We sell a wide variety of high-quality cigar lighters at JR Cigars, with plenty of stogies to use them on.


2 responses to “Beginner’s guide to lighter maintenance and cleaning”

  1. Tracy Phillips says:

    A great torch lighter is indispensable. I’ve found that the cheap ones, like Torch Blue, never work well after using up the factory fill. My Rocky Patel dual flame was pricey, but worth it. No matter how much I maintain and fiddle with the cheaper ones, they’re never reliable after the first refill.

  2. Jesus Vazquez says:

    Well I thought I knew about how to keep my lighter clean. Apparently, I learned more about reading this article. Thank you for the lesson.

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