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How to Clean a Glass Bong

Cleaning a Glass Bong

How to Clean a Glass Bong


Bongs and water pipes are often the crowning jewels in a weed smoker's collection of marijuana paraphernalia. Knowing how to clean a bong is the key to making sure you get the most from your water pipe. For weed enthusiasts, bongs and water pipes offer a smooth, clean way to enjoy their herb. However, they do need looking after and care, to maintain that high standard of the smoking experience. 

The reason for that is that when marijuana combustion takes place, a waxy residue and tar are created. As this gets pulled through the pipe, some of it will get left behind, slowly accumulating over time. This gunk will impair the function of the bong and can negatively impact the flavor of future hits. 

But all is not lost, as you can efficiently clean most bongs with a little effort. Glass bongs are perhaps the easiest to clean as the non-porous glass doesn't collect the dirt as much as some metal, wooden, or even silicon bongs do.

There are several commercially available bong cleaners. Formula 420, Grunge Off, Dr. Greens, and Orange Chronic are just a few of the ones that will do a great job cleaning glass water pipes. If you have silicon, metal, or wooden pipe, these may not be suitable. You should check for another appropriate cleaner that won't damage your bong.

These commercial bong cleaners can be a little expensive or may not be available in your smoke shop. If that's the case, you can easily make your own. 

How to clean a bong

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Homemade Bong Cleaner

You can easily make a DIY bong cleaner. Mix four parts very hot (but not boiling) water with one part washing-up detergent. Boiling water may cause uneven thermal expansion in cheaper glass bongs not made from borosilicate glass, which could break your glass water pipe.

You can submerge your water pipe in this homemade cleaner overnight and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. This should remove the majority of residue from your pipe. 

If stubborn spots need cleaning, you can try the following bong cleaning method. 

How to Clean a Bong

About 20 minutes
If you enjoy tasting all the flavors of your herb, then you need to have a clean bong. Nothing beats rips from a sparkling clean bong for maximum taste. So here's how to easily clean your bong.

Necessary Items:
Coarse sea salt
91 to 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
Rubber stoppers or bong plugs or a plastic bag and rubber band
Large bowl/sink
Pot or kettle of hot water
Small nylon brush/Q-tips/cotton buds.
Small plastic or Ziplock bag

Remove the bowl, down-stem (if removable), if it has any other movable or removable parts take those apart too and set to one side.

Empty The Bong
Empty any contents (dirty bong water) out of your bong by tipping it upside down so the water can drain out from the down-stem or mouthpiece. This is best done over an empty sink. You may need to shake it a little to remove all the water and ash.

Rinse the bong in hot water. This heat will help loosen the resin. When rinsing the bong, pour in water from the top through the mouthpiece, swill it around, and empty it from the side opening where the bowl or down-stem would go. If cleaning a percolator bong, this may not be possible, in which case, drain the water through the top.

Remove Bowl/Downstem
Take the bowl/down-stem (if removable) and ash catcher (if removable) and empty them out as well.

Clean Mouthpiece & Bowl
Take the Q-tips or a small nylon brush, dip in the rubbing alcohol, and then begin to clean any residue away from around the mouthpiece, bowl, and down-stem.

Discard Dirt
Once you have scraped as much of the residue and gunk off as you can, discard any of the dislodged dirt

Rinse Removable Parts
Rinse the down-stem, flower bowl, and any other removable parts, then put each into its own zip lock or plastic bag. You don't want them knocking together and cracking or breaking

Add Sea Salt & Alcohol
Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of coarse sea salt into each bag and at least 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is slightly acidic, so it will start to breakdown the built-up resin. Salt dissolves less easily in the alcohol, but you still want to put plenty into work as an abrasive.

Shake each bag vigorously for 4 or 5 minutes. The salt will act as an abrasive and help dislodge the gunk and residue. Then set aside to soak for at least 15 minutes while you get to work on the bong.

Add Salt & Alcohol To Bong
Pour at least two (three or four for big bongs) tablespoons of coarse sea salt into your bong, followed by at least 1/2 a cup of rubbing alcohol. The ratio of salt and alcohol isn't so important just so long as you have enough of each to get a good sloshing action going.

Plug Bong Hols
Plug the hole with rubber stoppers or bong plugs if you have them. If not, you can use a plastic bag and rubber band.

Shake Bong
Shake your bong vigorously so that the salt and alcohol solution gets to all the inside surfaces. Keep shaking for at least 5 minutes. If your bong has complex parts or recycling chambers, you may want to focus on these areas a little more

Drain Bong
Once you're satisfied that you've got the bong as clean as you can, remove the stoppers and pour out the salt and alcohol solution

Rinse Bong
Rinse your bong thoroughly inside and out with hot water. Rinsing will help remove the dislodged resin and clean away the salt and any alcohol residue. You can use a bottle brush or q-tips to remove any stubborn parts

Rinse Removable Parts
Remove and rinse the flower bowl, down-stem, and any other parts that you put to one side earlier to soak in the zip lock bags

Dry all the parts and let them cool down and dry out naturally.

If you have a particularly dirty bong that hasn't been cleaned for some time, you may have to repeat this process a few times. 

Why You Should Clean Your Bong

 5 Reasons to Clean your bong

1. Smell
If you leave dirty water in your pipe it will go stale and start to stink out your home. That's often really off-putting when you want to smoke and a real turn off. But it is easy to rectify and you can ditch that stink by replacing the old water with new every day. 

2. Bacteria

Blow, blow, pass. Pipe sharing is part of the smoking experience. There's nothing wrong with sharing a pipe as long as you keep it clean. This has been the long, smoky history of the bongsBut when you use a water pipe bacteria from your breath will pass into the pipe, this will inevitably accumulate and then start to grow.

It happens surprisingly quickly and in just 22hours the water in your bong can start growing into a petri dish of bacteria colonies and potential viruses and pathogens like streptococcus, E. coli, and black mildew. 
You can eliminate the chance of catching or spreading diseases, such as the common cold, or even worse: cold sores, by cleaning regularly. In extreme cases, the dirty bong water when vaporized with your smoke can cause lung infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
So you should clean out the water daily, and don't leave dirty bong water sitting in your bong for days or weeks on end, that is just nasty. 

Imagine if you caught a case of pesky herpes and could have avoided it by simply cleaning up? You'll be angry with yourself. If that's not a compelling enough reason to stay clean, what is?

3. Taste

In addition to preventing infectious diseases, cleaning pipes can also eliminate carcinogens. You won't have dirty ash and bits of a partly burnt flower floating around. The removal of ash and dirt will greatly improve the taste of your hits. You'll be able to enjoy a fuller flavor and enjoy the terpenes much more. If you can afford to buy a bong then you owe it to yourself and your weed to clean it.  Keeping your pipe clean is a must for those concerned with taste.


4. Less residue means better smoking

It's that simple. When there is less dirt, resin, and gunk in your glass pipe, the smoke will spread in a smoother manner. A clean pipe will provide better performance than a blocked pipe. and thus improve your smoking experience. If you spend a few minutes every day or two cleaning your pipe then it's really easy to manage and the resin will not have time to build up and cause you to curse when you have to spend the better part of an hour cleaning out a rank pipe. 


We fully understand (and cherish!) Smokers develop a relationship with their pipes. For many, it was love at first sight. For others, it's love after a few good puffs of smoke. Cleaning your pipes regularly will help you appreciate the sculptural art of glass pipes. Finding the right bong isn't just about performance it's about the aesthetics of the piece. Why not wash it regularly to give it a fresh look and enjoy the beauty of your pipe. 


How Often Should I Clean My Bong

Heavy users (defined as daily users of marijuana) should actually replace old water with new water for every new user, or at least replace the water daily. If you smoke daily, then you should also clean the pipe thoroughly every few days. 

For those who smoke less frequently, maybe a few times a week, you can get away with cleaning the pipe on a less frequent basis providing you don't leave dirty bong water sitting in the pipe for more than a day. You should also empty and clean the bowl between uses. 

As a connoisseur, you will notice the difference when you spend some time looking after your water pipes.