It’s an age-old question for many people who consume cannabis with glass pipes, bongs and bubblers – how do I keep my supplies clean? Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a myriad of answers. Watch the video at the bottom of this post or keep reading on for the best tips on how to keep your pieces sparkling.
We already know that resin has a strong, unpleasant odor and can make your items look dirty. But, even worse, continuing to burn resin’s tar compounds, such as carbon and carcinogens, can have an array of negative health effects. In other words, don’t keep adding fresh cannabis to an old pipe – not only will this minimize your new flower’s flavor, but it’s not healthy to inhale the old remnants of previous smoke sessions.
Remember, no one wants to sit down with some fresh flower and pack it in a dirty pipe, bong or bubbler. And you certainly don’t want to be the person to pass that off to a friend or neighbor. Keep your pieces clean and enjoy your bud – each and every time.
How to clean your pipes, bongs and bubblers
The best way to prevent resin build-up is to keep your pieces as clean as possible by taking care of them after each use. After knowing the material of your pipe, bongs and/or bubbler, it is time to take an approach to clean your supplies.
Isopropyl alcohol and salt
This is a classic approach. Merry Jane recommends taking table salt, sea salt or Epsom salt and pour it into your pipe. Fill the pipe with around 10 to 25 percent salt and then pour in the alcohol. You will want to still see that there are salt crystals present because if they all dissolve, the salt can’t act as an abrasive to scrub off the tar. Plug all open ends on the pipe and then shake! Another option is putting a bowl, bubbler or small bong into a Ziploc bag and shaking vigorously. You’ll want to do this for a minute or two before checking how the solution has done its job. Once you feel the piece is clean, rinse it thoroughly in water to make sure all the excess alcohol and salt are gone, as well as, any leftover odors.
This is a relatively easy approach to cleaning any ceramic or metal pipes. Simply, boil water in a pot on your stove, drop your pipe in and monitor the process. While the resin and tar will still be present on your pipe, it will be loosened and swiping it with a Q-tip or pipe cleaner (once cooled) will wipe it all away. Just be careful with handling pipes as they come out of boiling water, as the items will be hot! You can pour your hot water out of the pot in the sink, with the pipe still in it, and run cold water to bring the temperature down. Once the pipe or bubbler has been cooled, then take your Q-tip or pipe cleaner and finish up the job.
If you choose to boil your pieces, remember, with glass pieces, you will want to be careful, as high temperatures can shatter or crack glass pipes. We recommend using a cleaner or doing the technique described above. Also, be aware that this method can create an odor that may have a negative effect on roommates, partners, family and neighbors. In addition, we suggest using a designated pot for this activity as resin will often stain the perimeter.
There are many cleaners on the market to tackle the resin, tar and other gunk that can get caught up in a pipe, bong or bubbler. At the Wellness Connection, we have Formula 420 Pipe Cleaner, which is biodegradable and earth-friendly. You can use it on your ceramic, metal and glass pipes, rigs, bongs and nails. It helps to eliminate the need for soaking and scrubbing.
It’s important to note, that when cleaning a bong, you’ll want to take the slider and bowl out and clean those separately. Thrillist suggests sealing with a cleaning agent of choice, shake and rinse. Next, dump out the bong water and rinse the chamber with water by filling from the top and dumping from the slide opening to avoid getting dirty water in the lip of the mouthpiece. Since many bongs are on the large side, it can be hard to contain them in a plastic bag like you would with a pipe. Instead, use baking soda and vinegar or denture tablets, along with a pipe cleaner or narrow bottle brush to give it a good scrub. Soak, rinse and dry!
DO IT YOURSELF
Watch our step-by-step video explaining how to clean your glass pipes using our preferred method: