How to Clean Your Bong, Bowl or Pipe
We’ve all been there. It’s time for another smoke, but your glass bong is no longer transparent and far from smell-free. Plus, every hit scratches the throat. It’s time for a major clean. Your lungs will thank you for it!
Nothing beats smoking weed from a brand new bong or pipe. Your new glass piece glistening on the coffee table before you is a sight to behold. The first few hits are crisp, clear, and smooth. But it doesn’t take long for this transparent work of art to transform into a tar-stained mess. We’re all guilty of neglecting our smoking accessories from time to time. Using your pipe or bong for a few days in a row is no big deal, but things start to turn ugly in a matter of weeks.
It’s easy to determine when a glass piece is ready for a clean. Silicone and wooden pieces are a different story. Users of the latter can remain blissfully ignorant until they receive a lungful of tarred smoke. In this article, we’ll discuss why it’s essential to keep your smoking apparatus shiny and clean. Then, we’ll explore the best ways to clean them.
WHY KEEPING YOUR SMOKING ACCESSORIES CLEAN IS SO IMPORTANT
There’s a bunch of reasons to keep your smoking gear clean at all times. Aesthetics are a major motivation, especially when it comes to glass. What’s the point of investing in an intricate glass rig just to let it stew in ash and tar? Respect the artwork!
Regularly cleaning your smoking gear will also lead to better-tasting hits. If you grow your own, you’ll know how much time and effort is required to produce high-quality cannabis. It takes skill and patience to nurture a tasty terpene profile. Don’t waste these exquisite tastes by smoking with a dirty bong or pipe.
A dirty bong won’t just ruin the taste; the buildup of tar and resin will irritate your throat. Clean bongs offer buttery smooths hits that go down a treat. Overall, cleaner equipment makes for a more pleasant smoking experience.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR BONG, BOWL, OR PIPE?
How often you clean your smoking gear should depend on how frequently you use it. If you’re blazing massive bowls every day, then tar and resin are going to build up fast. If you hit a pipe or bong once a week, it’ll take longer for the residue to build up. With that said, leaving it dirty and unused isn’t hygienic either.
The more often you clean your gear, the better. Give your bong or pipe a quick rinse after every smoking session to flush out some of the tar and resin. When the buildup starts getting severe, it’s time to give your gear a proper clean.
WHAT IS YOUR PIPE OR BONG MADE OF?
Different materials require different cleaning methods. You run the risk of damaging your rig if you apply the wrong kind of cleaning agent or technique. Check out how to clean different materials below.
GLASS & METAL
Glass bongs and pipes are on the delicate end of the spectrum. Although they often look prettier, they’re the most susceptible to damage. Glass pieces can be effectively cleaned using both alcohol and non-alcohol methods. However, you’ll want to avoid boiling techniques. Metal pipes, on the other hand, are safe to boil.
Silicone bongs are the easiest to clean. These pieces are heat and cold-resistant and can handle (pretty much) anything you throw at them. You don’t have to overthink things when cleaning a silicone bong or pipe.
Wooden pipes can handle hot water, but harsh chemicals can damage them. High-proof alcohol can discolour wooden pipes and also leave behind residue. When cleaning a wooden piece, it’s best to use softer agents such as vinegar.
HOW TO CLEAN A BONG, BOWL, OR PIPE
Now that you know what to avoid, let’s get some cleaning done. Cleaning out your piece is an easy step-by-step process. To begin, you’ll need to gather the following items. We’ll discuss specific cleaners in each method.
- Cleaning brushes/pipe cleaners
- Plastic tub
- Cotton swabs
- Ziplock bag
- Micropore tape
Alcohol-free methods are effective at removing ash, tar, and grime. These techniques use less-harsh chemicals and require stuff you can find in your kitchen at home.
VINEGAR AND BAKING SODA
- Use a cotton swab to clean out the residue from the bowl. You might need to use a scraper if things get too sticky.
- Rinse out your bong with lukewarm water over a sink.
- Remove the bowl and place it in a Ziplock bag. Add a teaspoon of baking soda, a splash of vinegar, and fill the bag halfway with lukewarm water.
- Shake the bag, then let it rest.
- Now, back to the bong. Empty a teaspoon of baking soda into the mouthpiece. Cover the mouthpiece with your hand and the downstem hole with micropore tape; shake vigorously.
- The baking soda will stick to the wet surface inside. Use a long cleaning brush to scrub the inside surfaces.
- Next, pour in a tablespoon of vinegar and fill up the chamber with lukewarm water.
- Cover the holes again and shake.
- Pour out the solution and rinse the bong with lukewarm water.
- Remove the bowl from the Ziplock bag and rinse under the tap. Use a cotton swab to remove any sticky remnants.
- Run a pipe cleaner through your piece a couple of times to remove any blockages.
- Fill up a container or jar with lukewarm water. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and an equal amount of vinegar.
- Place your pipe into the container and let it soak for five minutes.
- Remove the pipe and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Repeat step one.
- Fill your sink with lukewarm water. Add a squirt of dish soap to create a bubbly solution.
- Use a cotton swab and scraper to remove residue from the bowl of your bong or pipe.
- Carefully place your piece into the water and let it soak for 20 minutes.
- Return to the sink armed with a cleaning brush or pipe cleaner.
- If you’re cleaning a bong, use a brush to thoroughly scrub the inside surfaces clean. Use a pipe cleaner to clean out the ownstem.
- For pipes, run a pipe cleaner through the piece 3–4 times. Dunk your pipe into the water between each clean to flush out the stem.
- Empty the sink and rinse your piece with lukewarm water.
Boiling water is an easy way to clean a piece. Remember, it’s not suitable for thin glass pieces.
- Place your bong or pipe into an empty sink. Clean out the bowl with a cotton swab and scraper.
- Boil the kettle and fill up the bottom of the sink with boiling water.
- Let your piece sit for 20 minutes, or until the water has sufficiently cooled.
- Empty the sink.
- Use a pipe cleaner and brush to remove tar and residue.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL METHOD
Isopropyl alcohol is a harsh cleaning agent. Use gloves when you’re dealing with it, and avoid using it on wooden pipes. It also helps to have some coarse salt at hand when using this method.
- Remove the bowl and clean it out with a cotton swab and scraper. Then, rinse it under the tap.
- Add a tablespoon of coarse salt, followed by a generous glug of isopropyl alcohol.
- Cover the downstem hole with micropore tape and the mouthpiece with a gloved hand. Shake vigorously for a total of five minutes.
- Empty the solution into the toilet and rinse the bong thoroughly with lukewarm water.
- Soak a tissue with isopropyl alcohol and wipe down the bowl and downstem.
- Soak a pipe cleaner with isopropyl alcohol and scrub the inside of the downstem. Rinse thoroughly.
- Use a cotton swab and pipe cleaner to remove residue from the bowl and the inside of the stem.
- Place your pipe into a Ziplock bag. Add a tablespoon of salt and enough isopropyl alcohol to cover the piece.
- Shake the bag for five minutes, then let sit for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove the piece and rinse thoroughly under lukewarm water.
- Scrub out the bowl and stem using a pipe cleaner and brush.
- Rinse thoroughly.
CLEANING BONG STEMS AND OTHER HARD-TO-REACH PLACES
It’s important to thoroughly clean bowls, downstems, and other hard-to-reach places. Although we mentioned it above, it’s worth repeating; you might get caught out by hidden residue. Disassemble your piece (if possible) before cleaning, and go to work with a brush and pipe cleaners to make sure your pipe or bong will provide clean and smooth hits.
IS IT TIME FOR A SMOKE YET?
Once your piece has been rinsed and dried, it’s ready for action! Investing a small amount of time into thoroughly cleaning your piece is well worth it. The next few hits are going to be so damn smooth. Going forward, try and clean your piece as regularly as you can. Cleaning your bong or pipe after one or two sessions is easy and only requires a small rinse. If you let it build up, then you’ll have to get scrubbing again!
Grimy bongs and pipes look bad and taste worse. Use these tips to give them a thorough clean and experience smooth hits again.
How to clean a pipe
Copy article link to clipboard.
Link copied to clipboard.
- What you’ll need
- Cleaning your pipe step-by-step
The pipe, a small, handheld device used to smoke cannabis, is one of the oldest and most common smoking methods in the world. Pipes remain popular cannabis smoking devices today, largely due to their availability, affordability, ease of use, and wide range of types, colors, and styles.
The pipe, a small, handheld device used to smoke cannabis, is one of the oldest and most common smoking methods in the world. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Part of using a pipe, bong, dab rig — or virtually any other smoking device — is knowing how to clean it. With frequent use, and without regular cleaning, pipes will build up residue that leads to clogging and affects smoke flavor negatively. For an optimal smoking experience, it’s important to clean your pipe regularly. Below is a step-by-step guide to cleaning and maintaining a pipe for optimal performance, smoke purity, and longevity of use.
What you’ll need
Before you begin cleaning your pipe, gather the following ingredients and materials:
- A sealable plastic bag
- Paper clip
- 99% Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- Table salt (sodium chloride) or epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
- Dish soap
Cleaning your pipe step-by-step
Now that you have what you need to adequately clean your pipe, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Place the pipe in a sealable plastic bag with alcohol
Carefully place the pipe in a sealable plastic bag and fill it with rubbing alcohol until the entire pipe is submerged. If you don’t have a baggie on hand, you can also use a small sealable container.
Carefully place the pipe in a sealable plastic bag and fill it with rubbing alcohol until the entire pipe is submerged. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 2: Add a teaspoon of salt
Add a teaspoon of table salt (sodium chloride) or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Either will work. Salt will act as a scrubber or sponge on resin where an actual sponge or brush can’t reach. Work the salt into the pipe as much as possible to ensure it’s fully doing the work of deep cleaning.
Salt will act as a scrubber or sponge on resin where an actual sponge or brush can’t reach. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Coarse sea salt is typically used to clean bongs and other water pipes, but table or Epsom salt is usually enough to clean a pipe. If your pipe is particularly dirty or filled with old, hard resin, try using coarse salt.
Step 3: Let the pipe soak
Leave the pipe to soak in the bag or container for about 12 hours. This will give the alcohol enough time to thoroughly dissolve the resin.
Step 4: Shake the bag
Shake the bag vigorously to loosen residual resin. If you’re using a container, skip this step to avoid breaking your pipe.
Shake the bag vigorously to loosen residual resin. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 5: Remove the pipe from the bag and wash
After you’ve let your pipe soak for 12 hours and given it a good shake, remove your pipe from the bag and wash with hot water and dish soap. If you have any stubborn resin still clinging to your pipe, try removing it with a paperclip or pipe cleaners, but only if it won’t do damage to your pipe. You can also try using a pipe cleaner or cotton swab. After you’ve washed the pipe, give it a final rinse with just hot water.
Step 6: Let the pipe dry
Give your pipe ample time to sit and dry before you use it again. If your pipe isn’t totally clean before you begin drying, repeat the previous steps and make sure to add new salt, as the salt from the first round of cleaning will have been largely dissolved.
In both their material build and wide variety of unique designs, pipes are typically designed to last a long time. They also need regular maintenance to keep up their full function and deliver a clean, flavorful smoke.
How to clean a pipe Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What you’ll need Cleaning your pipe step-by-step The pipe, a small, handheld device