So Long Dirty Bong: How to Clean a Bong and Pipe

You’re cleaning your bongs and pipes regularly, right? It’s the key to a smooth, pleasant smoke every time, and it’s easy to do. But it’s also easy to forget about, and some people find the idea intimidating. But don’t worry. We can show you how to clean a bong and how to clean a pipe in just a few easy steps. 

It’s not just about how smooth your hits from a clean bong or pipe are, it’s also about the flavor. When you use a clean, well-maintained piece, you’ll have a better experience overall, including the natural flavors of your flower. Dirty pieces can get in the way of the unique terpene profiles and flavors we experience when smoking from a clean piece.  

That’s why we’re teaching you how to clean a bong or pipe. Smooth hits, here we come!

How often do I need to clean my bong or pipe?

Whether you’re a daily smoker or an occasional toker, you should have a cleaning rhythm that matches your habits. If you smoke regularly, you’ll want to clean your piece every few sessions for the best experiences. You can do a quick rinse and then a deeper clean every month or so. If you only smoke on occasion, you can get away with cleaning your piece on occasion as well, with the frequency depending on how often you smoke. 

You should notice clear indications that it’s time to clean your piece. Resin and burnt bits will be visible, and though they can be cleared in the short term by scraping, the taste will improve by far if you give your piece a thorough clean. 

If your smoke sessions end up tasting unpleasant or different than usual, it’s also a good idea to clean your piece. You don’t want to ruin the pleasant natural flavor of cannabis by smoking it through a dirty pipe or bong. 

Beyond tasting bad and producing harsh hits, a dirty bong can also collect contaminants like bacteria, fungi, and unwanted microbes. You should replace your bong water regularly to avoid any issues. 

How to clean a glass pipe

Although the steps for cleaning a pipe and bong are similar, we’re breaking them into two sections. We’ll start with how to clean a pipe.

  • Start with a pipe cleaner or flexible scrubbing tool that can run through the holes in your pipe and clear any buildups. 
  • Scrape the tar and residue off of the bowl with a scraper tool if thick, or wipe with a q-tip dipped in vinegar if the buildup is moderate. 
  • Add warm water and a tablespoon of both baking soda and vinegar to a bowl and submerge your pipe. 
  • Allow to soak for at least ten minutes. 
  • Repeat the first two steps if necessary until all of the residue is clear. 

How to clean a glass bong 

Cleaning a glass bong is just as easy as cleaning a glass pipe. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the bowl piece and scrape the residue off with a scraper tool if thick, or wipe with a q-tip dipped in vinegar if the buildup is moderate. 
  • Pour any water out of the bong and rine with warm water. 
  • Fill a small bowl with warm water and one tsp of both baking soda and vinegar. Place the bowl piece in the bowl to soak. 
  • Add a tsp of baking soda to the mouthpiece, cover the mouthpiece and downstem hole, and shake the piece around to distribute the baking soda. 
  • Use a pipe cleaner or similar tool to scrub the inside with baking soda. 
  • Fill the water chamber with warm water and a tbsp of vinegar. 
  • Cover the holes and shake vigorously. 
  • Dump the contents, rinse, and repeat as necessary to clear all of the solution. 
  • Remove the bowl piece from the water and dry. 
  • Reassemble. 

Tips for cleaning a bong or pipe

While you can find some material suggesting to clean a bong or pipe with rubbing alcohol, we advise against it because of the potential for leaving residue behind. It’s why we opt for vinegar and baking soda, two ingredients that are safe for human consumption. Of course, you should rinse your newly-cleaned piece thoroughly enough that no residue remains either way.  

Soaking is a powerful method to clean your smoking devices. If your bong or pipe has a heavy buildup, you may want to leave it soaking in vinegar, warm water, and baking soda for longer than we suggested previously. Leave your pieces long enough that the residue easily dislodges when you poke at it. Test it every half hour or so and don’t be afraid to get a little messy with a q-tip. You shouldn’t need to use anything sharp to chip away at the residue as your cleaning solution should dislodge it thoroughly enough. 

While it may seem like a hassle to clean your piece regularly, it’s better than having to deal with unpleasant sessions that eventually require a deep clean. Cleaning your piece on a regular schedule can help you prevent excessive buildup and keep your hits tasting good. 

These tips are only for cleaning glass bongs and pipes, not devices of other materials. Metal, wood, ceramic, and other pieces are likely to require different cleaning methods to keep them in good shape. This article features glass because we most commonly hear of smokers using glass devices. 

Stop by The Healing Center 

Once you clean your device, you’re going to need some quality flower to smoke! Need weed? We’ve got you covered. Stop by our Fitchburg dispensary for all of your cannabis needs. And if you have any questions, we’re always here to help and direct you to the best products on the market. 

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