During your last smoke session, someone in your circle of friends commented on the dire state of your bong. Not only is it grimy, it’s smelly. Sharing a dirty bong around the room is no way to treat your friends. Take a note from these friends, get off your couch and learn how to clean a bong properly. Changing the bong water is only one part of the process. Not everyone realizes the importance of deep cleaning glassware, for your health, and your pride.
There are a million and one different types of glass bongs, and a million and one ways to clean them. One method isn’t necessarily better than another; it just depends on how much time you have and how dirty your glassware is. It might also depend on what supplies you have handy.
Why Clean Your Bong?
Smoking weed naturally releases particulate into the atmosphere. These tiny incinerated molecules cling to the first surface they find, including the sides of your bong. You can argue that bongs get much dirtier than other non-water filled smoking devices because of the moist environment.
As the smoke particles filter through the water they pick up moisture and easily stick to the sides of the glass. The more you smoke, the more builds up. The dark resinous build up is technically rotting organic plant matter. As you continue to smoke, you’ll start breathing in rotting particulate.
On top of this, the dirty bong water is a cease pool, perfect for growing bacteria, mold, mildew and other noxious substances. The longer you let it stagnant, the more harmful it can become. Plus, every time you take a hit you are welcoming these dangerous creatures into your lungs. Ever heard of black mold poisoning? It’s a potentially lethal infection which can come from a dirty bong.
Keeping your bong water fresh and the bong itself clean improves not only smell, smoke, and visual appeal, but also the health of your lungs. Do yourself a favor and give all your glassware a deep clean. Set a reminder on your phone, for every Sunday, to give it a fresh lemon water bath as described below. Your friends and lungs will thank you.
How Often Should You Clean a Bong?
How long has it been since the last time you cleaned your glassware? A month? A year? Based on experience, everyone has neglected the cleanliness of their glassware at least once in their life. Your pipe clogs up with resin, and your water bongs start to stink. These are both telltale signs that you need to clean your glassware much more frequently than you currently are. A clean bong should never smell, and should always delivery a clean pull.
You should probably get on a weekly quick cleaning schedule. Keep changing the water on a daily basis to avoid the build-up of unwanted organic material, but do a quick clean at least weekly. A quick clean shouldn’t take more than ten minutes from start to finish but can make a world of difference. A weekly bong cleanse help keeps the resin buildup at bay so that when you do decide to dig deep, the cleaning process is much smoother.
How to Clean a Bong – The Quick Clean
This quick cleaning recipe is a good solution for weekly bong maintenance. It’s not going to clear away months of resin build up, but it’s a helpful routine to get into on a weekly basis. Plus, it’s such a simple process that you’ll likely already have all the ingredients on hand. Lemons? Water? You are ready to go.
Fill a kettle with water, and set to boil. If you have a powerful water heater, you can also turn on the hot water tap and allow to heat up. The hotter, the better, as this helps to loosen any sticky resin inside the chamber.
Juice two to three lemons, or add ¼ cup of pre-squeezed lemon juice into the glassware. Lemons are naturally deodorizing, and also have high acidity, perfect for combating the build-up of cannabis residue.
Pour the kettle of boiling water into your bong, up to the choke or higher if you’ve tapped over the choke.
Cover the mouth hole and shake vigorously. You may want to use plastic wrap, and hold the bong with oven mitts as it might get quite hot. After about a minute, pour the water out and run fresh water through the chamber. You’ll notice that now your bong has a lovely lemony scent and much cleaner than before.
How to Clean a Bong – With Alcohol
If you’ve neglected your month for a few weeks or more, the weekly lemon treatment just isn’t going to cut through the thick coating of resin. Yes, your bong will smell sweeter, but it’s not going to last for long with that rotting material still inside. It’s time to bring out the big guns for bong cleaning – the alcohol and salt method.
Cleaning glassware with rubbing alcohol and salt is one of the most popular and effective methods of truly cleaning out a dank bong. The alcohol helps break down the particles, and the salt acts as a natural exfoliant. The only tools you’ll need for this process are:
- Table Salt
- Rubbing Alcohol (91 percent, unscented)
- Toothbrush or other small bottle brush
- Rubber Bands and Plastic wrap
- Hot Water
This step shouldn’t come as a surprise, dump out the old dirty bong water before it gives someone a disease.
Pour the coarse table salt liberally into all chambers of the bong, roughly one to two tablespoons per area. No need to get super precise, you aren’t baking a cake. Just make sure there is enough salt to agitate the resin coating the sides.
Next pour in the rubbing alcohol, again use your best guess as it will vary depending on the bong and the size of the chamber. You likely only need to fill it part way, so that it doesn’t spill out the bowl or the mouthpiece. Gently swish around the bong to ensure it makes contact with all surfaces.
Break out your old toothbrush and start scrubbing away on all the resinous areas you can reach. Don’t worry if some areas are inaccessible; we’ll get to those. The hand scrubbing is the hardest step and does take patience and a little elbow grease. The important thing is to focus on freeing the sticky old plant residue from the sides of the bong.
Dump out the dirty alcohol and salt mixture. Repeat Step 2 to 3, adding more salt and more rubbing alcohol to the same chambers. If you feel you can keep scrubbing with a brush, repeat Step 4 as needed.
Cover all holes with the plastic wrap, securing in place with the elastic bands. Swish the mixture around once more in the bong to ensure all areas are completely coated. Leave overnight on the counter. Depending on where you see any lingering black gunk, you may wish to lay the bong carefully on one side of the other, so the alcohol mixture covers the area.
Dump out alcohol and salt mixture, and flush the entire piece of glassware with hot water at least a handful of times. This will clean on the rest of the particulate and any remaining cleaning mixture.
Take your freshly cleaned bong for a rip.
How to Clean a Bong – Without Alcohol
Not everyone wants to use rubbing alcohol to clean their glassware. You might prefer more natural methods, and wonder about how to clean a bong without alcohol. While there isn’t any risk of using rubbing alcohol for a bong (you wash out the bong after the cleaning process), alcohol isn’t for everyone. Maybe you prefer a more natural approach.
Thankfully, it is just as easy to learn how to clean your bong without alcohol, as it was with alcohol. With this more natural method, you’ll rely on two all-natural cleaning products: vinegar and baking soda.
Again, dump out the filthy bong water before starting.
Using a small spoon, add one to two tablespoons of baking soda into the various chambers. Rough estimates work perfectly.
Pour roughly ¼ cup to a ⅓ cup of white vinegar into each chamber. You’ll notice that the mixture quickly starts to react chemically. This is a good sign because it means it’s doing its job. The tiny bubbles begin to work into the resin build-up and break it down. Shake gently to make sure all areas are covered.
Using a small bottle brush, pipe cleaner, or toothbrush, scrub the accessible areas free of resin. Don’t be afraid to get into the deepest regions of the bong.
Dump out the remaining dirty vinegar mixture, and repeat Steps 2 to 4 as needed.
Rinse the entire bong clean with warm water, and that's how to clean a bong without alcohol.
Don’t forget, fill the bowl and enjoy the sensation of a clean bong rip.
Do You Need any Products?
If you frequent head shops and dispensaries, you are likely pretty familiar with the many cleaning products displayed next to the glassware section. Do you actually need these specialized cleaning products to clean your glassware? In all honesty, the salt and alcohol or baking soda and vinegar methods work pretty well on their own.
But having a pre-mixed bong cleaning solution on hand can make it easier. And the easier the process, the more likely you’ll follow through. You won’t need to stock up on any other household items, like course table salt or rubbing alcohol, and bong cleaners often come with natural scents you won’t get from the do it yourself methods.
Piece Water is a two-step solution. Not only does it replace the need to use unfiltered tap water as the bong water, but it also cleans while you smoke. They have a developed a unique formula of non-toxic, all-natural ingredients which should leave your dirty bong cleaner than when you started. Just pour into the water chamber, and take a hit. Some of the ingredients in their Piece Water products include vegetable extracts, fruit extracts, and minerals.
Another bong cleaning product which simplifies the process of cleaning your bong is the Resolution Gel and Cap system. Pour the single-use gel into the dirty bong, place the provided silicon caps over the mouthpiece and shake. The caps are also helpful to help keep the foul smell from emitting throughout your room, or for keeping the bong water secure during travel.