how to clean a glass bong water pipe

Face it… you haven’t been taking care of your bong like you used to. When it was on the shelf in the store it was immaculate; the kind of glass that spoke to your soul and may have slightly emptied your wallet. Hit after hit, it has been a reliable vessel for getting water-filtered smoke into your lungs, but it has also been caked up by a LOT of resin throughout the smoke seshes. 

Resin is basically a residue that builds up when smoke passes across the surface of something. It begins to turn your water brown, sticks to the inside of your piece, and can make your smoke taste really nasty. If you feel like your bong isn’t hitting like it used to, it’s because it isn’t! Resin buildup definitely alters the way you experience your herb, and nobody wants to smoke out of a grungy bong. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of cleaning your bong - get to it!

DO! Use a cleaner meant for smoking accessories

Cleaning a bong may seem daunting, especially if you’re only used to the sea salt and isopropyl alcohol method. Cleaners have definitely improved throughout the years, and have become less dependent on harsh chemicals and more focused on a resin-destroying, painless cleaner to utilize. Most of them are even soak-and-rinse products, like the Resolution Gel, that you don’t have to worry about shaking up and hitting your counter with. An even better plus is that a lot of them are also re-usable! 

When picking out a cleaner, it’s best to not use ones with grainy particles in them, as they can scratch the inside of your glass; creating more surface area for resin to build up on and becoming more difficult to clean in the future. Stick to gel cleaners that don’t have harsh chemicals and are meant to soak all of the gunk off over time!

Also, always make sure that the cleaner is meant to be used on the material that you are cleaning. If you have a silicone water pipe, some cleaners can degrade the silicone, so an alternative cleaner like coconut oil the would be safest to use. Do your research when figuring out which cleaner would benefit you and your lifestyle the most!

DON’T! Use isopropyl alcohol and salt

We’ve all done it. Although iso may be very effective at removing resin, it is a hazardous chemical when inhaled, and can compromise the integrity of your herb. Even though alcohol evaporates (for the most part), who knows how long it takes to evaporate when it’s concentrated within a bong? Isopropyl alcohol is also rare due to sanitation being increased in homes and businesses, and is hard to come by. Skip out on buying it and save it for the people who need it the most during these times!

As stated above, salt is an abrasive and can cause micro-scratches in your glass. Nobody wants to scratch up their expensive pieces! The iso and salt method is pretty archaic and can take a couple of rounds to completely clean your piece. With new and improved cleaners on the market, you’ll save time and money when cleaning your bong, and won’t hurt your health by using a cleaner that contains harsh chemicals!

DO! Utilize cleaning caps

To get clean, you must first get messy. It’s true that cleaning a bong can be a somewhat chaotic experience, and to minimize that mess from becoming overwhelming, cleaning caps like Resolution Caps are the way to go! If you’re shaking your bong or flipping it to make sure your gel cleaner coats every surface, you’ll want to prevent any cleaner from spilling out. These are LIFESAVERS for people who used to just stuff paper towels in the mouthpiece and ground joint and hoped for the best.

DON’T! Forget to remove bowls and downstems

Go ahead and set your bowl to the side, and a downstem if you’ve got one. These are the pieces that get the most amount of resin built up on them, and will need a little extra TLC. The ResGel cleaner comes in a pouch, so you can soak the downstem and bowl without needing extra supplies. 

If you’re using another cleaner, you’ll want to grab a freezer bag and carefully submerge the pieces in the cleaner, and leave them alone for a couple of hours. Once they’re done soaking, rinse with warm (not hot) water, and use pipe cleaners or Q-Tips to remove any extra residue that may be lingering around. This ensures that each piece gets the love and care it deserves - for an overall cleaner smoking experience.

DO! Use warm water to rinse your bong

After soaking or shaking the cleaner in your piece, it’s now time to rinse it out. Start by adding warm water to your piece and letting the water fill up and overflow. You’ll want a constant flow of water, making sure that all of the percolators in your bong are residue-free. After rinsing and dumping the warm water a few times, go ahead and fill your piece up with some fresh, cold water. Throw some ice in if you’re feeling snazzy! At this point, your piece should look brand new again.

DON’T! Boil your glass

We’ve seen this floating around the internet a few times and are here to inform you that this is NOT it, chief. Boiling your piece in hot water on the stove is not only ineffective for the most part, but is also pretty risky. Depending on the thickness of your glass, it’s very possible that your piece may crack or break. Not all glass is the same, and the integrity of your glass can wear down over time. It’s best to avoid contact with hot water when cleaning your glass pieces.

DO! Try to have fun!

We know that cleaning is considered a chore and is usually the last thing on our to-do lists. But, there is a sense of accomplishment achieved when you finally get around to taking care of your bongs. Having a disgusting piece that is so caked up that you would be embarrassed for your friends to see it is not ideal, and after you see your piece shine again, you can reward yourself with a fresh, clean hit out of it. Some pieces (especially fumed ones) go through massive transformations after they’ve been cleaned. Share your before and after pictures with us by tagging @boomheadshop on Instagram; we would love to see your sparkling-clean bongs!