Learning how to clean a lighter properly ensures that you get the maximum possible life out of one of these devices. Where high-quality lighters are concerned, there are basically two types. There are butane lighters, which use high-pressure gas for fuel and there are Zippo style lighters, which use liquid lighter fluid. Each has its own maintenance procedures.
One of the first things you need to do when you are cleaning a lighter is to dial down the flame of the lighter. The main reason for doing this is related to your personal safety. It is critical that you use the utmost care whenever you are cleaning a lighter to avoid getting severely burned. Make sure that you set the length of the flame on the smallest flame setting so that if something should cause a flame to spark you will not get burned or burned badly.
It is first important to remove a lighter from the pockets of a coat or jacket when the clothes are not being worn. Lighters are often found at the bottom of a washing machine or in the deepest channels of a coat. Normally this is the result of an individual failing to remember where they last placed their beloved lighter. Store the lighter in a dry area such as a kitchen cabinet. This will ensure the lighter stays dry and free of debris.
To remove obstructions, simply turn the lighter upside down and tap it - very gently - on a hard surface. This usually frees the obstruction. If you have an obstruction that won't come out at all, you might want to straighten out a paperclip and try fishing it out of the jet. Just make sure you don't do it so hard that you end up ruining any of the inner workings of the lighter.
Cleaning a lighter where the case is concerned depends upon what type of lighter you have. Make sure you check with the manufacturer's instructions to see if there are specific cleaning options that would end up damaging the finish. If there aren't any dangers listed, the best procedure is usually to still use the least intensive form of cleaning possible. This usually means warm water and a soft cloth. Using detergents or polishes may end up ruining the finish. Make sure that you always check the can receptacle on the bottom of butane lighters before you refuel them so that you don't have any trouble with obstructions. The butane comes out under great pressure, so clean seals are a must.