By Robert Bergman, ILoveGrowingMarijuana.org
If you are someone who enjoys smoking marijuana, you are inevitably going to need to clean your pipe or bong at some point. The more frequently you use your favored smoking device, the more frequently you are going to have to clean it. In this article, we will look at the best ways to do it.
Why you need to clean your pipe
Knowing how to clean a bowl, glass pipe or bong is important because it affects your smoke. When you first started using your device, you likely were able to perfect the hit exactly to your liking, giving you the ideal smoke each time you did it. But over time something likely started to change — it probably started clogging up frequently, making it more and more difficult to hit. That is how you know it’s time to clean — and if you don’t clean it, then you will keep having trouble each time you want to smoke.
Some people just try scraping out their glass pipe or bong when it gets to this point, but unfortunately, that is only a temporary fix — and a mediocre one at best. Scraping it out does not adequately get the resin out, meaning it will clog up again soon enough.
Methods for cleaning
If you have admitted that it is indeed time, you probably will need to know how to clean a glass pipe or bong. Some people prefer to buy a professional product from the store (or order it online) and use that for maximum speed and ease of use. While this should effectively get the residual resin out of your bowl, it’s also a very expensive method for doing so. A bottle of store-bought cleaner often has a price tag starting around $20, which can get pricey if you are a frequent user. That being said, if that is the way you’d like to go, there are some good options here.
Luckily, the home recipes for cleaning out your pipe are easy and inexpensive, and barely more work than simply ordering a bottle of prepared cleaners.
The salt and alcohol method
For this method, you will need rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) and table salt.
To clean a bong, simply pour in some of the rubbing alcohol and add a lot of salt. Swish the mixture around until the resin is gone or at least looser, then flush everything out with some regular, warm water.
To clean a smaller pipe like a bowl, you will need the alcohol, salt, and a zip lock bag. Pour the rubbing alcohol and salt solution into the bag (or just do it separately; it will mix in the bag), and then drop the pipe into the bag. Seal it off, then shake the entire contents around intensely for a while. If your pipe is caked in an unusually thick layer of resin, it may need to sit overnight in the bag with the alcohol and salt solution to soak and loosen the resin enough to come off. Finish by rinsing the glass pipe with warm water. Inspect the pipe to make sure there wasn’t some resin left behind; if there was, repeat the method again until there is not remaining resin.
Some people prefer to try scrubbing the resin instead of only shaking the bag and its contents. If you want to take this slightly more active route, you can use Q-tips or pipe cleaners (or both).
The boiling water and dish soap method
First, fill up a pot with lukewarm water. Submerge your glass pipe into the water before you bring it to a boil (otherwise the sudden temperature change will cause the glass to crack). Heat up the pot (with the water and pipe inside) over medium heat. Use tongs to inspect the glass pipe — it should be filled with water, allowing no air bubbles inside. Move it around to get air bubbles out if you have to.
Bring the water to a boil and let the glass pipe sit in the boiling water until the resin is mostly disconnected from the glass. Remove the pot from heat and let it sit — leaving the glass pipe in the water — for five to ten minutes. After you have waited (it is crucial to wait, as sudden temperature changes might crack the glass), use the tongs to latch on to the pipe by its stem and shake it around within the water, causing the resin to break off and float away from the pipe. Be careful not to slam the pipe into the sides of the pot, or else that could damage it as well.
Allow the water to cool down fully, then pour it down the drain and remove the pipe. Put new water into the pot (at room temperature) and add some dish soap, and put the pipe back in. Use Q-tips and pipe cleaners to scrub your pipe in the water until you have gotten all the resin off. Rinse with warm water.
Keep in mind that these cleaning methods are specifically for cleaning metal or glass only. Any other materials, such as acrylic, should simply be soaked in hot water with a bit of dish soap, then scrubbed with a soft brush.
If you have a bong that is longer than average, you can fill it with the rubbing alcohol and salt solution and, using your hands to cover the openings on both sides, shake it around vigorously to loosen up the resin.
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Be sure not to get any of the resin onto the floor or carpet — it is a nightmare to attempt to get it out once it is clinging to your carpet.
When you are boiling your glass pipe, keep a very close eye on it — cracks in the glass are not too uncommon. For that reason, heat up the water at medium heat (as opposed to high heat).
Once your bong or glass pipe is completely clean, you will notice the difference immediately. It will seem like a brand new pipe, making smoking all the more enjoyable again.
Thanks for reading. Got any more tips for cleaning your smoking device, leave them in the comments below or want to know about the evolution of the Bong, check this article.