Why keep my glass clean?
Lots of people don’t bother to clean their bongs or rigs until the smell & appearance are unbearable but this may be a dire mistake. A moderately dirty bong can be the fast track to getting sick, or worse contracting a serious disease.
The moist environment inside of the pipe chambers & the introduction of organic material (the ashes and residue left behind) provides the perfect environment of stagnant water for parasites, bacteria, mold, & other dangerous pathogens like Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, Streptococcus, Aspergillus, & Black Mildew to thrive in. These nasty pathogens can cause illnesses like typhoid, malaria, strep throat, pneumonia, emphysema cholera, and hepatitis A. The best way to prevent this is to regularly clean your glass water pipes.
How not to clean your glass
Boiling: This outdated method is actually flawed because when you boil a piece it’s likely to break due to the turbulent environment of boiling water & the hard surfaces of a pot or pan. Also, you might accidentally break your piece due to thermal shock by pouring cold water in it when it’s hot. Other than that, it makes your entire house reek like a dirty bong, yuck!
Dishwasher: This method simply doesn’t work, for several obvious reasons need we say more?
Lemon Juice: Although lemon juice has some amazing cleaning properties, it or any kind of organic liquid does not belong in a water pipe. In a nutshell, all this does is add more fuel (in the form of organic liquid) for pathogens to thrive in. The only liquids going in & out of your piece should be purified water, a cleaning solution of alcohol & kosher salt, or a reputable bong cleaning product.
The Sink Method (The best way)
What you’ll need for the job
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Box of coarse Kosher Salt
- Plastic Wrap, Paper towels, Res Caps or Corks to plug openings
- Paper or Cloth Towels
- Small Tupperware or plastic container with lid
- Sponge/Scrubbing Brush for clean up
- Flexible Pipe Brush, flexible Pipe Cleaners, or a Wood Skewer (optional)
- Disposable Gloves or Dishwashing Gloves (optional)
- Start with an empty sink, Turn your faucet on full hot. It’s recommended you wear dish cleaning or vinyl type gloves. But it’s not necessary.
- Remove the banger or bowl & downstem (if removable), Empty your dirty bong water into the sink compartment.
- Next, fill you small plastic container with 1-part coarse kosher salt to 3-parts rubbing alcohol. Put the bowl or banger in this solution & shake for a while. Remove the accessory & set aside the rubbing alcohol solution. If there is still a lot of gunk built up on the bowl or banger you can use a flexible pipe brush or flexible pipe cleaner to detail problem areas [never use metal tools or tools made of hard materials], they can break your accessories. Rinse & dry with a towel (old shirts work great). If it also has a removable downstem the process is the same.
- Flush it by letting hot water pour through the mouthpiece & drain out the joint. Depending on the design you may want to perform this in reverse, pouring hot water into the joint & letting it drain out the mouthpiece. Flush it until it all inner surfaces are nearly clear. If your piece is very dirty this will take a while.
- Next pour some coarse kosher salt in the mouthpiece using the metal spout that comes with the box. Add a generous amount of rubbing alcohol. Plug the mouth piece with balled up plastic wrap & shake vigorously. You can use running hot water from the outside to target hard to clean residue on the inside of the piece. If the outside has residue on it use rubbing alcohol & kosher salt solution from step 3 to scrub it off with your hand or a brush (if you diluted it too much with water you may have to make some new rubbing alcohol solution). Repeat if necessary. Rinse & dry with a towel.
- Use the rubbing alcohol solution to clean the sink (& your hands if you didn’t wear gloves), rinse the sink. Enjoy a tasty smoke.
NOTES & TIPS:
Bong or Rig water needs to be changed daily or even after every session with purified or distilled water to prevent the formation of biofilm & water stains.
Even the dirtiest bongs can be cleaned to a nearly new state with a little elbow grease & a lot of patience.
The same method may be used with a trusted bong cleaning product in place of the rubbing alcohol & salt solution. One advantage of using one of these cleaning products is no mixing is required.
Cleaning your bong or rig often is the way to go, from preventing dangerous illness & disease to the ease of cleaning it. (we recommend cleaning it weekly or bi-weekly but you may have to clean it more often if you reside in a party house & lots of people are using it).