How to Clean Glass Bongs and Pipes in 7 Easy Steps
Just about every cannabis smoker out there is all-too-familiar with the grimy, green-tinted look of a dirty bong or pipe. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to thoroughly clean glass bongs (aka water pipes) – all you’ll need are the right tools and the proper technique. In just an hour or so, you can transform your bong from a smoker’s nightmare into something that looks brand new.
How to Clean Bongs with Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is your best friend when it comes to taking care of glass pieces. It’s strong enough to break down even the toughest, stickiest gunk, and it’s also able to sanitize your piece from the inside out.
Below are the steps you’ll want to follow if you’re ready to get to work on your bong using alcohol. These tips are generally applicable to other cleaning methods, too, so take note of them even if you’re low on the isopropyl.
Step 1: Gather Your Bong Cleaner and Start Prep
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure you have what you need for a thorough cleaning. We recommend using 91-99% isopropyl alcohol for the best results. You’ll also want to grab a plastic bag, your bong, and a pair of gloves, if you’d like.
It may be wise to set up your supplies by a sink in case of any mess. Your plastic bag should help you avoid spilling stinky resin or bong water in your home, but still – better safe than sorry.
Before you get started, remove your bong’s bowl (the part you put your flower in) and stem (the long piece the bowl is attached to). You can set these aside to make things easier later on. You may want to clean them separately if they look like they could use some TLC. Dump out any old water, too.
Step 2: Do a Water Rinse
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty, though not literally, we hope! Start out by doing a simple rinse of your bong with some warm water. Add some to the inside of your bong and give it a few gentle shakes to distribute the water around.
This should help you remove any large chunks of flower or other non-sticky particles that are hanging around. Empty the water out before you move on, then set your bong inside of the plastic bag you grabbed earlier.
Step 3: Add Some Salt and Alcohol
Place your bagged bong in the sink, then pour in your isopropyl alcohol to a point that’s about half of the usual amount of water you’d add in to smoke. Bigger pieces might warrant more alcohol, but a small amount can go a long way.
Next, add some coarse salt through the mouthpiece (the part you place your lips on to inhale) and into the bong. Kosher or sea salt are good options, but in a pinch, just about any salt can work.
Step 4: Get Shakin’
Carefully shake the salt and alcohol mixture in your bong to ensure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. You can repeat this process a few times if your piece is especially dirty. Remember to be careful, too – spilling your concoction at this point will not be fun to deal with.
Step 5: Let it Soak
This is really where your plastic bag can come in handy. After you’ve done some shaking, allow your bong to sit and soak for around 30 minutes or so. You may even want to add some additional alcohol to your bag to fully surround your piece.
Step 6: Empty, Rinse, and Repeat
Once about half an hour has passed, it’s time to check in on your bong. Carefully remove it from the bag and empty the salt-alcohol mixture inside. Rinse the entire piece with warm water until all residue is gone.
After you’ve done that, you’ll likely be able to tell if your bong needs another alcohol and salt bath. Most pieces can be cleaned pretty easily in an hour or less, but if it’s been a while since you’ve been able to do a thorough cleansing, it might take a few soaks and rinses to remove all the gunk.
For stubborn chunks of resin or dirt, pipe cleaners can come in clutch – they’re thin and flexible enough to slide through your bong, and they’re great at catching sticky stuff.
No matter what, make sure you very thoroughly rinse your bong. Alcohol or salt residue can be unpleasant and even harmful to inhale, so don’t cut corners on this step.
Step 7: Dispose of Your Bong Bag
Once your bong has been sufficiently de-slimed, you can toss your plastic bag. Wipe down any surfaces that you’ve cleaned on, and voila – cleaning completed!
Other Ways to Clean a Bong
Don’t have isopropyl alcohol on hand but still want to scrub down your glass piece? No problem – here are few more options for cleaning a bong effectively:
- Dish soap and warm water can be useful for breaking down excess oily and sticky stuff.
- In a pinch, white vinegar and baking soda can be used in place of alcohol, but you’ll probably need to let things soak longer for a crystal-clear piece.
Why Does Knowing How to Clean Bongs Matter?
Aside from aesthetics and social pressure (because who wants to be the person who pulls out a grimy bong?) it’s important to keep glass pieces clean for your own safety.
There are things a lot more nefarious than stale odors and gloopy resin lurking in a dirty bong. Bacteria and mold can begin to grow within just 24 to 48 hours, which means old water can be home to a whole ecosystem of its own.
So, if you’re not looking to smoke tiny living things alongside your favorite bud, it’s time to give your bong a spa day. Plus, lots of residue build-up can make things taste and smell unpleasant, which is the last thing you probably want when it’s time to unwind.
How to Use a Bong the Smart and Safe Way
What other bong tips should you keep in mind as you navigate the big world of cannabis? In general, there are a few key things to know:
Change your bong water regularly, ideally between each use.
Remember that mold we talked about above? It’s not the only threat to your health that old bong water can pose – biofilm, a layer of microorganisms like bacteria, can begin to grow in moist areas and adhere to the surfaces around them in just a day’s time.
Dirty bong water is basically an apartment complex for all of the yucky, potentially dangerous things we often try to avoid in food, so it’s wise to change it as often as you use your piece. You’ll be doing yourself (and your lungs) a favor.
Don’t use just anything to clean a bong.
While it might be tempting to reach for antibacterial cleaners you use in your home to give your bong a makeover, doing so can cause more harm than good. Remember that any chemicals or residue left behind on your piece could end up in your lungs, so it’s best to stick to safe options like those described above or products meant specifically for cleaning glass bongs.
Choose high-quality smokables.
To maximize the appeal of your newly-cleaned piece, pack it full of only the best flower. Remember, too, that it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor before adding anything new to your lifestyle. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD can interact with prescription medications, so it’s always better to be sure that your smoke sessions won’t interfere with your health. That’s especially true if you’d like to use cannabis to medicate.
Use the Best Products for Your Squeaky Clean Bong
The THC and CBD markets are full of flower and other smokables that just don’t hit the mark. If you’ve just gone through all the work of cleaning your bong or pipe, you probably are only interested in flower that will taste and smell amazing. To find options that tick these boxes and more, feel free to contact us for a consultation.