If you are a lazy pipe smoker just like ourselves who can't even bother to put glass screens or glass filters in, or if you happen to be the person who tends to leave that mysterious liquid in your bong or water pipe for a little longer, you would most likely find your glass pipe or bong tastes different and not quite working as well as once it was. That's because gunk builds up over the time from all the smokes and burnt materials. Not only the taste becomes funky, but it also increases the chances of growing molds and bacterias, which is extremely harmful to health.
That's why we would like to share with you a few tips on cleaning your glassware from years of our experience, and we can guarantee that this is the only glass pipe cleaning guide you will need.
The major few common hurdles you will find when it comes to cleaning a pipe or a bong is probably that you can't reach a dirty spot when applying with a q-tip or toothpick, simply impossible for you to scrub off the resins. That's why the main method we would like to introduce is by using the right solution, and following the rules of thumb: soak it, rinse it, and scrub it.
Choosing the cleaning solution
When it comes to choosing your perfect solution, there are two main combinations we recommend. Either to use isopropyl alcohol with salt or to use white vinegar with baking soda.
Quick and aggressive: isopropyl alcohol with salt
If you are looking to speed-clean your gears, isopropyl alcohol with salt is the best option. The combination of these both creates an abrasive solution, your dirty glass pipes and bongs will be shinning in a blink (not really). We recommend using any rubbing alcohol you could buy from a pharmacist or supermarket with at least 70% alcohol, preferably 91% of alcohol. The higher the percentage of the alcohol content, the quicker cleanse of glassware you will likely to get. Salt or essentially sodium, acting as a rough medium not only helps to remove the tars physically but also covers the tough part of the gunk. When it reacts with alcohol, it creates bubbles of hydrogen gas and a corrosive sodium ethoxide. This process helps with softening the tars and the remain solution is also great for cleaning the residuals. Any iodine-free table salt will work just fine. We highly suggest choosing fine salt over rock salt, since smaller salt can cover more areas.
However, using isopropyl alcohol can be a little dangerous. Inhaling alcohol with high percentage content is bad for health. 70% of alcohol is also highly flammable. You will need to make sure giving a thorough rinse with water after cleaning with alcohol because the remaining alcohol on your gears can catch fire in the worst case scenario. Nobody wants to set fires on your bongs or glass pipes when you just want to sit back and chill, what a disaster would that be just by imagining.
Ease of cleaning: ★★★★
Health and Safety Hazards: ★★★★
Cleaning time: Short
Safe and house-friendly: white vinegar + baking soda
If health and safety is your main concern, or maybe for some reasons, alcohol is forbidden in your area, you may want to look for these two items you can find in your house: White Vinegar and Baking Soda. Vinegar is the perfect remover for resin and wax, it is also a natural deodorizer, while baking soda acts as a water softener. When you try to mix baking soda with vinegar, it immediately creates a frizzly reaction that produces gas carbon dioxide and slightly abrasive solution. This helps to cut through any forms of grease and leave your bongs or glass pipes gleaming. It may not work as fast as using alcohol, but It's 100% safe with zero hazards. Unlike alcohol, it absorbs odors leaving with no smells on your pipe.
Ease of cleaning: ★★★
Health and Safety Hazards: None
Cleaning time: Allow at least 1 to 2 hours for soaking
Choosing your cleaning equipment
Besides the cleaning solution, you may also require two other items to help you clean:
- A Ziploc bag or a plastic food container: This is perfect for cleaning a glass pipe, bubbler, bowl piece or any attachments of your bongs and dab rigs.
- Cotton tip or brush: Some gunks may be stubborn to come off, that's why you may need a little physical assistance.
How do you clean them?
Using a Ziploc bag for cleaning glass pipes, bowl piece, Ash-catcher
Cleaning bongs and dab rigs
What we do recommend
We all know that it takes so much effort to clean, but the longer you leave it the more difficult it will be. So we recommend to clean your glass pipes or bongs daily, it takes only 10 minutes and you will appreciate it.