How To Clean Your Bongs And Bowls
If your guests are hesitant to hit your bong or bowl, this may be a sign that it’s time for a cleaning session. You have a lot of options for your preferred method of cleaning, however, what is the best way to clean your pieces?
Some agree that cleaning your bong or bowl with a combination of rubbing alcohol and salt is the best method. Others claim that soaking your piece in boiling water will do the trick. On the other hand, you have the option to go to a head shop and purchase some cleaning formulas.
Nonetheless, these methods are tried and true if you want to de-funk your smoking apparatus. Your choice, however, will depend on the amount of time and money you wish to dedicate to this tedious task.
The Old-Fashioned: Rubbing Alcohol And Salt
If you want to clean the tar from your bong or bowl, you should consider using the Old Fashioned method. This method is extremely easy to perform, and you can let your bong sit while you tend to other tasks.
First, you’ll need to gather a few supplies:
- One-two large zipper storage bags
- Two rubber stoppers (or a wad of paper towels) if cleaning a bong
- 75-99% rubbing alcohol
- Coarse sea salt
So, if you’re working with a bong, you’ll begin this method by removing the bowl piece and downstem. You’ll want to place both items in separate bags filled with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and salt. The exact proportions of the mixture are not crucial to this recipe.
Then, you’ll want to give the bags a good shake. This will help break up the tar that’s clenching to your bowl piece and downstem. Once you’ve given them a good shake, you can put those baggies to the side.
Next, you’ll want to clog your bong with rubber stoppers, or if you’re cheap like me, wads of paper towels. Begin filling the bong with another mixture of rubbing alcohol and salt, and shake it for about 60 seconds. Once this has been completed, put your bong to the side.
Now, if you’re just cleaning a bowl, all you have to do is submerge it in a zipper storage bag filled with rubbing alcohol and salt and give it a good shake. You can also put this to the side when you’re done.
Again, the great thing about this method is you’re able to put your pieces to the side and tend to other tasks in the meantime. This isn’t the case with every method, and if you don’t feel like dedicating a good portion of your day to cleaning tar, the old-fashioned method may be for you.
After you’ve let your pieces soak for a couple of hours, you should give them one last good shake before dumping the crap down the drain and rinsing your glass. Additionally, depending on how bad your piece is, you may need to do a rinse-and-repeat.
How to Clean a Bong with Boiling Water
If you don’t feel like trekking to the store, and your bong or bowl isn’t that bad, you may want to consider using the Lazy Man’s method.
The Lazy Man’s method is perfect for those who need to do a quick cleaning session. First, you’ll want to boil some water on the stove, and afterward wait for it to cool for about two minutes. It also helps if you have a wide bucket of some sort to put your bong or bowl into.
If you’re cleaning a bong, you’ll want to separate the bowl piece and the downstem and place them into the bucket. Then, place your bong into the same bucket. Once your water has cooled for a bit, you can gradually pour it into the bucket to submerge your bowl or bong. Afterward, you should take a spoon and periodically stir your concoction.
Sadly, this method does not allow you to leave your bong or bowl to sit for a couple of hours. The hot water is the only thing breaking up those tar chunks, and if you let it sit, they’ll just get hard again and clog your piece.
I would suggest using this method if you:
1. Don’t feel like going to the store.
2. Have an hour to kill.
Additionally, depending on the condition of your piece, you may need to do a rinse-and-repeat.
Mr. Convenience: Store-Bought Bong and Bowl Cleaners
So, you’re not too keen on creating a concoction for your bong or bowl, but you also need a little more elbow grease than water has to offer. Well, Mr. Convenience may become your go-to method.
You can find cleaning products for your pieces at any head shop, and they usually run anywhere from $5-$50. However, don’t feel like you need to buy the most expensive formula to get the job done. The most important thing to look for is what types of chemicals it uses. If you’re unsure of where to begin, check out this article on the best cleaners for your bong or bowl.
Every cleaner is different, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ll need to complete the same tasks for the steps listed above in the Old-Fashioned method (minus the rubbing alcohol and salt, of course).
Additionally, don’t try to cut corners and use random cleaning products you found around your house. That’s extremely dangerous because you’d be inhaling harmful chemicals that can cause damage to your lungs, brain, and other parts of your body.
How to Clean Bong Stem
Due to its location closest to the bowl, the downstem of a bong tends to trap a lot of sticky resin and clogs up easily. A regular cleaning of your downstem is important for you to fully enjoy that smoking experience. Here I’ll explain how to clean downstems in a simple manner. Some items that you’ll need to clean the stem are:
- 90% isopropyl alcohol; or cleaning solution
- Coarse/Fine salts
- Medium-large Ziploc bag
- Pipe cleaner
1. Soak the stem
Put the iso+salt solution into the zip lock bag or food container. The stem should be submerged for an hour. This allows resins to break down for easier cleaning later.
You can replace the regular tap water with formulated water such as Resolution. This makes your stem and bongs look as clean as the day you bought them.
2. Brush & scrub stem
Get a small brush and use it to scrub off excess resins that are left off on the outer and inner walls of the stem.
Rinse and dry the stem
Remove all the dirt and alcohol from the stem by rinsing it thoroughly under running water. Allow the stem to completely dry before you insert it back to the bong.
The Bottom Line
Each cleaning method is different, and it all depends on how much time and money you feel like contributing to this tedious task.
So, the Old Fashioned method is great for saving some time and money. Then, the Lazy-Man’s method will save you the most money, but it requires more time. Lastly, Mr. Convenience excels in performance and time saved, but it can get kind of expensive with endless options.
And good luck to all of you stoners out there who just want a nice, shiny piece that’ll stop scaring your guests away.
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