We've all been there: you go to take a nice rip from your bong or pipe, only to be met with a coughing fit and a terrible taste in your mouth. This definitely means it's time to give your pieces a good scrub. You even might be wondering exactly how to get resin out of a bong without causing damage to your rig. Well, you’re in the right place! Here, we’ll be exploring various methods of how to clean your bong and pipe collection, as well as help you decide which technique is best for you depending on what kind of bong or pipe you have.
Why You Should Clean Your Pipes, Bongs, And Bowls
Cleaning your pipes, bongs, and bowls should become a regular part of your smoking routine. Having clean pieces, especially glassware, is not only prettier to look at but also far more hygienic than smoking out of dirty, tar-saturated pieces. Smoking out of clean pieces tastes much better than smoking out of a dirty one as well, and if you're shelling out for good weed, you'll want to be able to enjoy it the best you can. It's also healthier for your lungs to regularly clean your smoking devices, as the buildup of tar and resin can cause irritation of the throat and lungs.
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How Often Should You Clean Your Smoking Accessories?
You should clean your smoking accessories at least as often as you’re smoking. If you're a heavy smoker who hits a pipe several times a day, every day, then a weekly or bi-weekly clean is recommended. For someone who doesn't smoke as often, it will take longer for residue to build up in your pieces. No matter how often you smoke, however, letting your pieces get to a state of residue buildup where it looks like you bought a black bong or pipe is not good. Be kind to both your smoking devices and your lungs by cleaning your pipes and bongs regularly.
What's Your Smoking Equipment Made Of?
The method you choose to clean your pipe or bong will depend on the material of your smoking device. Bongs and pipes can be made from many different materials, so let's take a closer look at what's best for each type and how to clean your bong the right way.
Glass is a delicate material. The methods you choose to use on a glass pipe or bong will largely depend on the quality of your piece and the thickness of the glass. Because of this, we don't recommend using boiling methods for glass pieces – you don't want a beautiful bong or pipe shattering right before your eyes! Boiling a glass pipe might not be the best option, but there are also many other ways for safely cleaning glass pipes and bongs, like most alcoholic and non-alcoholic methods.
Silicone is resilient. If you have a silicone pipe or bong, you're in luck, because silicone pieces can handle pretty much anything you throw at them. They are heat-resistant, cold-resistant, and can withstand even the harshest of chemicals. Because of this, silicone pipes and bongs are the easiest to clean of all smoking devices.
Metal is a very flexible substance that can withstand a multitude of chemicals, materials, and high heat. Similarly to cleaning glass pipes or bongs, both alcohol and non-alcohol methods are safe to use with metal pieces. In addition, you can also use boiling water to clean metal pipes, whereas boiling glass pipes is not recommended. When using methods that require high heat, just be careful not to burn yourself on your own piece.
Bongs and pipes made out of wood are naturally very delicate pieces. Unlike when cleaning a glass pipe or bong, wooden bongs and pipes have a hard time handling high temperatures, so you'll want to avoid using boiling water methods. Harsh chemicals like alcohol or heavy-duty cleaners can cause discoloration and sometimes even distaste. Stick to softer methods like vinegar and baking soda with wooden pieces.
Acryl is a very sturdy type of plastic material that’s very common for cheaper bongs. However, because acryl is a type of plastic, you might be wondering how to clean a plastic bong without causing too much damage. You'll want to avoid using harsh chemicals and high heat, as this can cause plastic to erode, creating an unsavory taste and potentially damaging your piece in the long run. Instead, we recommend using a vinegar and baking soda method or an alcohol and salt method with a lower alcohol content.
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The Necessary Equipment For Cleaning Bongs And Pipes
Luckily, learning how to clean your bongs and pipes is a relatively easy process, and each method requires much of the same equipment. Before you begin cleaning, make sure you have all the necessary materials collected in front of you such as cleaning brushes, pipe cleaners, some type of scraper or knife, plenty of cotton swabs, a large tub of some sort, ziplock bags, and micropore tape. Once you have everything laid out in front of you, you can begin your deep clean.
Method 1: Vinegar And Baking Soda
You can use the vinegar and baking soda method for every kind of material, but it's especially important to use this method on wooden pieces. To get resin out of a bong, take the bowlpiece and downstem and place them in a ziplock bag. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and a splash of vinegar, then fill the bag halfway with warm water. Shake the bag vigorously and then let it sit. You can also do the same ziplock method with pipes. For bongs, add a teaspoon of baking soda into the opening of the downstem with a splash of vinegar and water. Tape the opening shut and shake it. Make sure to rinse all your pieces thoroughly before use, as vinegar has a very strong smell and taste. Use pipe cleaners and cotton swabs to wipe down any leftover residue.
Method 2: Boiling
Boiling water is the easiest method for cleaning but is not suitable for thin or delicate glass pieces, so you’ll want to avoid cleaning a glass pipe or bong with boiling water. Simply boil a pot of water and bring your bong or pipe to the sink. Pour the boiling water into the pipe or bong and let sit for about 20 minutes. You can fill up the sink with boiling water or use a large tub – just make sure your pieces are submerged. Once the boiling water has loosened the tar and resin, use cotton swabs or pipe cleaners to get all the resin out of the many crevices of your pipe, downstem, or bowlpiece. Once finished, let the pieces cool and rinse them with lukewarm water.
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Method 3: Alcohol And Salt
This is probably the most common method of cleaning pipes and bongs, as well as the easiest and best way to clean a weed pipe. It’s effective on most materials except wood. Take a scraper and get rid of the excess tar from the downstem and bowlpiece of your bong; similarly, scrape along the insides of your pipe. Rinse it with water. Next, add a good amount of coarse salt inside the bong with isopropyl alcohol, between 70-90%. Cover the opening of the downstem with tape and shake it vigorously for five minutes. Place the downstem and bowlpiece in a ziplock bag filled with isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes before rinsing with warm water (you can also do this with pipes). Use cotton swabs or pipe cleaners on the insides to remove any excess residue.
Method 4: Vodka And Microwave
Using the vodka and microwave method is not something that’s meant to be used on a regular basis, but if you're running out of cleaning supplies or you’re not at home and need to clean your piece, or even if you just want to try a fun party trick, you can try this method. Simply take a cup of one part vodka and one part water and heat it in the microwave. Soak your pipe, downstem, and bowlpiece in the warm vodka mixture for several minutes as the alcohol breaks down the tar and resin. Rinse thoroughly before your next use, as alcohol is dangerous to inhale. This method is not recommended for wooden or acrylic pieces.
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Method 5: Dish Soap
If you’re looking for how to clean a bong or pipe with household items, try basic dish soap. First, remove residue from the bowl of your pipe or bong's bowlpiece. Fill up your sink or a large tub with warm water with a squirt of dish soap. Place your items in the soapy water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. Using pipe cleaners or cotton swabs, carefully remove the resin and tar from the tight spots of your pieces and the stem of your pipe. You might have to repeat this process several times to remove all the residue. For a larger bong, use a cleaning brush to clean the inside of the neck. This method is safe to use on virtually all materials as long as the dish soap you're using isn't too harsh.
Method 6: Heavy-Duty Cleaners
Personally, using heavy-duty cleaners isn’t our favorite method because we already know how to clean a bong without alcohol or any other heavy chemicals at all. Heavy-duty cleaners are also not suitable for all materials such as wood, acryl, or thin glass pieces. If you choose to use a heavy-duty cleaner, be sure to do it outside and wear all the necessary protective equipment. Similarly to previous methods, you can let your pieces soak with the cleaner in a large tub or the sink, or you can apply a small amount of cleaner to a cleaning brush or pipe cleaner to simply scrub the tar and resin away. Many cleaners of this type are so corrosive and strong that you won't need to let them soak for so long. Make sure to rinse your pieces thoroughly before your next use, as these chemicals can be highly toxic.
Take Care Of Your Bongs And Pipes – And Yourself!
Cleaning can be a strenuous task, but nothing feels better than the first rip from a freshly cleaned bong or pipe, tasting almost brand new. Hopefully, this article has helped you find the best way to clean your weed pipe or bong, no matter what material your piece is made from. Happy cleaning!