How to Clean a Bong
So if you've owned bongs for any length of time, you've reached the point where you looked down and your water was closer to brown than clear. If you haven't owned a bong before and are reading this to see if cleaning your glass is important, yes, it is very important. Let's repeat that - Yes! You Need to Clean Your Bong! But don't let a fear of having to clean your bong keep you from buying one, they are very easy to keep clean and you won't regret having one once you've felt the difference a bong makes. Personally I use a Snoop Dogg Mothership on a daily basis, and keeping it clean through all that use is essential to good smoke sessions. In this article we will talk about what creates a dirty bong, how to prevent resin buildup, and finally how to clean your bong for peak performance.
Why You Need to Clean a Bong
First, lets talk about what makes your bong dirty. Whether you're taking dabs or burning high THC herb, a small amount of the oils and resin from your weed will vaporize when you burn it. These vaporized oils and resins then travel through your water pipe and at some point some of it will cool down and stick to the inside of your bong. This goes double for you glycerin owners out there, keeping your frozen glass clean is important to your airflow. On top of the resin build up, your down stem (if your piece has one) and bowl will also get caked with layers of burnt grass. Keeping all of these things out of your bong will:
1) Make your weed taste significantly better and improve your overall smoking experience
2) Keep your smoke and bong clean
3) Extend the life time of your pipe
So, how often should you clean your bong to keep it shining? A personal recommendation would be every three to five days, however cleaning your glass bongs once a week is enough to keep it hitting like a champ. Keep changing your water either every day or every few times you smoke. By keeping the water clean you will stop residue build up more than anything else. Clean water is essential. No matter how much water you put in your bong, it will get dirty and leave water stains at various levels of the piece. (Have we made it clear? Change your water, everyday. Go do it now before you keep reading, you're welcome)
Alright, well we have talked about what causes your pipes to get dirty, why you should clean them, and a few tips for keeping them clean. Now lets get onto the next step, how do I actually CLEAN my bong? Well, lets talk about a few key things everyone will need:
1) Heat is important for loosening up the resin in the bong, so hot water will always be essential. Preferably cleaning pieces in a large sink or bathtub. I personally use a bathtub as it is far easier to clean out afterwards. If you have medical conditions or soft hands, warms water will do the trick as well, as long as the water is hotter than room temperature you should be good to go.
2) Salt, or something coarse to shake around inside of your piece. You'll need something small and coarse to knock and rub all of that resin off the sides of your bong. Salt, sea salt specifically, has been the long time choice for this as it can get into any part of your bong and is relatively coarse. Salt and alcohol will dissolve very quickly in your bong without any water stains and get rid of much of the gunk, which is a huge benefit. Alternatively to sea salt, kosher and regular salt will work equally well if that's what you have to work with.
3) (Optional) Bong cleaner. Now a lot of people will say that you can clean a bong with just warm water and salt, and they would not be wrong. But, with that being said, it is our recommendation that you use a cleaner as they are both cheap and make a major difference in cleaning your bong compared to just warm water. (A few of our Pro Team's favorite pipe cleaners and other bong cleaning products that we recommend are listed below.)
Isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol are some long time staples of pipe cleaners. Cleaning your bong with isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol is extremely safe, and makes getting small pieces of resin on the inside walls out significantly easier. Like all the other bong cleaning options, isopropyl alcohol is acidic, so make sure you don't have any open cuts. It feels like lemon juice does when it lands on you, not fun.
- Acetone. Personally I use acetone from Walmart (about $7 per can, and a can will last you a couple months) which cleans out my Snoop Dogg Mothership like I just pulled it out of the box. Seriously, it's crazy. Wash your bong and rinse out with COLD water COMPLETELY and several times after using the acetone and it will be completely fine to hit. A quick smell test will tell you when all the acetone is out. The only thing worse than a dirty bong is a clean bong with cleaning chemicals in it. They are not pleasant. You can also do an additional rinse to make sure all's cool by using warm water and lemon juice to give it that nice fresh smell of cleanliness.
Steps to Clean Your Bong
Now on to the process and method of how to clean a bong. By now you are most likely already on your way to Walmart to get some salt and acetone, but if you're still with us, this is how we recommend cleaning your piece out, step by step:
Wash & Rinse
1) Wash it out a few times with hot water until residue stops coming out of it. Usually a few quick washes will get most of the big chunks of residue and ash out of your piece.
2) Fill all your chambers with a little bit of salt. If you have a few chambers and/or can't get your salt into a chamber, just use the water and cleaner to filter the salt into those chambers. If you only have a one chamber piece, or a straight shot piece, make sure you get enough salt in the bottom to really clean off the glass. This will take a few tries to make it perfect, but just make sure your salt can get to all parts of your bong and you will be off to a good start.
Rubbing Alcohol & Other Cleaners
3) If you are using rubbing alcohol or a bong cleaner, this is when you put a little bit of that in the pipe. We usually recommend about 1/3 to 1/2 of the left over volume in your bongs be filled with cleaner. (make sure you read your bong cleaners instructions however as some of them may require either more or less of the cleaner than others)
The combination of alcohol and salt can do amazing things for getting your bong clean and back to what it looked like when it first arrived!
Hot Water Time
4) Now, pour (hot) water (note we said hot, not boiling water) in the bong swirl and swirl it around by tilting your water pipe to one side slightly and moving your pipe in circular motions. The goal of this is to have your bong water, cleaner and salt on the inside walls of your old bong so they can strip away all that resin build up. Ideally you will see little tornadoes of bong cleaner and salt in your bong as you shake it. Let them go to work on your dirty bong and get it looking cleaner and ready to use!
Repeat as Needed
5) Repeat steps 2-4 until your bong is completely clean. You should only need one maybe two repetitions of this until your piece is completely clean, unless you've let it get a little too crusty, and then you may need a few more rinses before you have a clean bong. Make sure to rinse the bong out until it only faintly smells of bong water.
Eliminating Resin Buildup Tip - Add Lemon Juice
When you are using your bong on a regular basis, add a couple of lemon juice drops to the water. Not only does it make your water fresh smelling, the enzymes in the juice help break down the nasty resin build up within the bong.
And btw - when we say small amount, that's exactly what we mean! As in a couple of drops only. More than that and it will begin to overpower the taste of the marijuana strain.
Other than that, you now have a 100% clean piece ready for you to get your asthma medication, grind it, put it in your bong, and send it directly to your lungs. Any questions on how to clean a bong and the best pipe cleaner method, just let us know and we'll see if we can help!