Nothing is worse than tepid, foul bong-water smell. Toking up should be a pleasure, not a chore. No one likes spilled bong-water and no one wants to have to clean up such a mess. Puffing can be much more enjoyable when the taste is coming from your clean glass bong. Cleaning glass may be a chore, but much worth while with these steps.

I’ve tried boiling small hand-pipes in a water-pot on the stove which can definitely lead to a clean-as-a-whistle pipe. But I’ve found that the smell generated by so much heat can stink up a kitchen pretty badly.

I have also witnessed a friend pouring boiling water into a bong and swishing it around a lot. This worked to some extent, but the heat generated from such hot water can make glass a bit more brittle. This can contribute to accidental breakage depending on the glass.

Cleaning Glass The Right Way

Using nail-polish remover (acetone) can work really well. But I recommend using soapy water afterwords so your bong doesn’t taste of acetone. Bottles of pure acetone can be found at Home Depot or Lowe’s for around $6. Pure acetone with some rock-salt added cleaned that bong in less than 5 minutes of shaking. Wearing gloves is wise when handling acetone.

There are loads of reasonably priced commercial products available at your local smoke shop that will work just fine. 

Bottles of 99% isopropyl alcohol are around $1 and most households have salt around although rice can be substituted as a reasonable facsimile in a pinch.

An alcohol and salt solution, when added to the inside of your bong and shaken vigorously, will clean even the toughest caked-on residues.

Cleaning glass can be tough, but it's possible with these steps!

Cleaning glass can be tough, but it’s possible with these steps!

It may be wise to cover any holes or openings with your fingers while shaking.

Hard To Reach Areas Of Glass

In the past 20 years the majority of broken pipes I’ve come across happen during cleaning. Avoid poking and prying with coat-hanger wire or other metal pieces to reach difficult spots or tough residue locations, as such actions could lead to a cracked or broken piece. I’ve found that extra care and extended vigorous shaking can eventually rid you of even the toughest build-up using just a little patience and determination.

Small Pieces

For smaller pieces that have little areas that are hard to reach I’ve had lots of success cleaning the pipe as described above then running hot tap water into the bowl-hole for two to three minutes by placing the pipe in my sink directly below the water flow, letting gravity loosen the remaining residue stuck in corners or edges with heat and the friction of the flowing water.

A good rule of thumb when cleaning glass pipes is: better safe than sorry! Use a modicum of patience and a measure of elbow grease and before you know it you’ll have a sparkling clean pipe ready for a fresh packing. If you have gloves, use them. Getting residue off of skin can be harder to accomplish than with glass!

For pieces that have become coated with residue that are separate from the bong itself such as stems, sliders and pullers it can be necessary to use salt-and-alcohol solution in conjunction with a plastic baggie. Place the glass inside the bag, pour the solution inside the glass and seal the bag. Shake carefully but vigorously for 2-3 minutes for satisfyingly clean pieces.

To avoid cleaning glass at all, try butter for edibles with this recipe!

Patiently allowing glass to dry or hand-drying is a must. Moisture left inside can skew the taste of the next bowl you pack.


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Aaron Capener

Author Aaron Capener

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