I’ve been getting this question on Twitter a lot recently so I felt I’d answer it in a post. I’ve gone through 4 Glass Bongs, 3 One-Hitter Pipes, and a countless number of glass bowls. I’ll admit that I have even broken my glassware in an attempt to clean it. That’s why I feel that most can learn from my mistakes and share in my victory with the flawless bong cleaning methods I now use today.
If you’re going to travel with your piece it’s best to keep it clean. Resin smells more than bud! That’s the first thing law enforcement would smell on you. A dirty piece is always considered drug paraphernalia — clean, it’s nothing more than a tobacco pipe.
Glass Bong / Bowl / Pipe Cleaning Tips:
These are the best ways to clean a bong. If you follow closely you will never need to go out and buy any expensive cleaners, even though they do work. You can use household items as mentioned below. All cleaners work BEST when the piece is warm, so running hot (not scalding) water through it before a clean will give the glass surface the optimal warm temperature.
- Don’t clean your glass under the influence.. In other words, “Don’t smoke and clean.” (I broke my first bong that way… the same day I got it.)
- When the resin drips out of your bong it’s going to get in your sink, drip on your dishes, or get stuck in your drain if you don’t clean in the right area.
- Make sure you’ll have time to let it air dry, the bigger the piece the more dry time.
- The dirtier the glassware the more time you’ll need to let it soak to get the funky discoloration and (dare I say) YEARS of resin build up to come off.
When it comes to store bought glass and bowl cleaners like “Formula 420,” you are in for a serious waste of cash.. Money that can be better spent on other things . . . Especially when the same cleaning result can be obtained using household materials. While most 420 Cleaners definitely work well it may require a trip to the shop or amazon before you can get your bong cleaned and sometimes that isn’t always the option when you’re smoking discretely. These house hold objects below will get the job done.
99% ISO alcohol (Remember: The higher alcohol % the BETTER, although most people in the states can’t get a hold of 70%+ Iso alcohol in stores) Pro Tip: If you’re cheap, you can save your dirty alcohol and it works just as good as new
Rock Salt (some people say Rice.. But personally, I wouldn’t turn my bong into a rice cooker ;))
Hot water (close to boiling water to soften resin)
Lemon Juice – (optional) is acidic and can bring a clean smell to the bong that the alcohol leaves
The Glass Pipe / Bong / Bowl Cleaner Method:
There are multiple ways to clean a bong but in this tutorial we focus on what we know is the BEST way to clean a bong.
— Always get the temperature of the glass warm to begin the cleaning process. We do this by running hot (but not scalding) water through the glass until it is warm to the touch.
— Pour some (not TOO much) ISO alcohol into your piece, followed by a 2-3 pinches of rock salt. Try to seal off the holes with some sort of plug so the mixture can stay inside. You can cork up small holes and the head of the bong. Some people prefer to use saran wrap and a few rubber bands. Whichever method you use, after the bong is full of the cleaning agent and the carb, head and mouth are sealed, you can shake the piece (albeit carefully so you don’t break it). When cleaning a small bong, simply use your fingers to seal the holes.
— Shake the solution around inside. You’ll notice that it pulls off the new resin almost instantly. To clean bong resin it may require a few rinses (or a few hours soaking) and shakes before coming off. If after a few rinses the bong is still dirty, it may require an overnight soak. The overnight soak involves fully submersing the piece in a mixture of hot water, ISO Alcohol and Rock Salt.
If you’re about to give up all hope for cleaning your piece, there’s still more you can do using different cleaning agents. Kush Clean works well on glass for overnight soaks and this allows you to avoid shaking your expensive glass bong entirely. Even dish washing detergent and clothing detergent can get tough grease buildup off your glass. Just make sure you thoroughly rinse it before using it for a smoke again. We’ve also reviewed other bong cleaning products here.
Note that I recommend the NATURAL approach first and the chemical approach if all else fails. The end result will be a good as new piece.
Remember: The liquid and resin that comes out of your piece will stain all types of materials so try to get it to go directly down the drain.
Here’s a method for the Acrylic Pipe Cleaning users:
- Consider getting a glass piece.. Think about the dangers of smoking plastic. . . Just kidding, read on:
Degreaser is best for plastic bongs. Alcohol will cause it to crack. Dollar General sells store brand degreaser in a spray bottle for about $5. At first glance, it looks like Febreeze. It is so good, the plastic will look almost new when cleaned. Best stuff I’ve ever seen for acrylic. An old toothbrush will help clean stubborn spots. A round cardboard coat hanger dowel (the kind you hang pants on) makes a good extension for a toothbrush. You can use iso on the metal parts.
Method for Cleaning a Wood Pipe
If you want to clean your wooden piece, attempting to fully soak it in alcohol will warp the wood. So if you really want to clean that wooden pipe than your going to need pipe cleaners and/or a toothbrush. Soak the pipe cleaners/brush in alcohol and use some elbow grease to work out the resin from the crevices. It may take a few brushings to get it clean as new but as always, it’s worth it.
Frequently asked Bong Glass Pipe Cleaning Questions
Q: I can’t find any alcohol higher than 70% will it still work?
A: Yeah it will work but it will just take longer.. let it soak for 20-30 minutes and then rinse.
Q: Is it true I can smoke the resin when cleaning a pipe, isn’t it just like hash?
A: Resin in your bong/pipe is the byproduct of your smoking, it is literally tar and THC. There’s something special about this byproduct however. Since it was exposed to heat, the cannabinoids have been carboxylated, making the inactive cannabinoids more potent. For the same reason that the ends of a blunt/joint are always stronger because they are packed with the resin of the smoked material.
Q: Can you collect this resin and smoke it?
A: Yeah, instead of using Salt & ISO alcohol, just use the alcohol and drain the resin filled alcohol into a glass tray. In order for the resin to be smokeable you must allow ALL of the alcohol to evaporate.
“Since concentrated forms of cannabis like kief, hash, BHO, and wax don’t contain plant matter – they leave behind little to no residue of tar. The yellow stains in a bong after a session of hash dabs is mostly THC. If you save this ‘reclaim’, you can smoke it again for a knockout high or bake it into brownies for an incred-edible experience.”
Q: Is it possible to clean a complicated glass pipe/bubbler entirely to make it as good as new?A: Absolutely YES! There are a slew of products out there that can naturally clean your your glassware. Most of the time the hardest pieces just require extending soaking.
ahh thanks so much for the tips.
@Tara517 from twitter says: Dawn Dish Soap works best
This is the method we use at home and hands down it’s the best method ever. For smaller peezies and those hard to reach places, regular Morton’s salt works great 🙂
See you in traffic on Highway420
I have a bubbler with smaller holes, and I always have trouble getting an agitator in there (salt, the crystals in the 420 cleanser, etc). First, any suggestions for items that are harder to fill? Also, I’ve taken to rinsing my bubbler every day/every other day (very heavy smoker) with really hot water down into the bowl portion and it releases _huge_ amounts of resin. If I wait even a week it’ll require cleaner.
I just put mine in a glass of saltwater and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Works like a champ. When micro is done just rinse with clean water until all the shit comes out!
I just use regualar table salt and like was said the higher % of alcohol the better. The 99% the resin just rolls off. I just put salt in the bowl, or whatever, then saturate with alcohol and stuff any salt down that doesn’t go in the hole (I use a dental pick) and then cover the holes with your fingers and shake it like hell, rinse and repeat if neccessary. Works like a charm, takes 15 minutes top, with clean up. If you make a mess, the alcohol will clean it up nice too.
Go to dollar store and get Greased Lightening cleaner it works in a matter of minutes if you don’t want to save your resin. Better than anything else I’ve used!
dude i use denture cleaners… works best 4 me
For Glass I use Cleancaf its automatic drip coffee maker cleaner it kicks that a$$ pour hot water in the bong then about a half a packet of the stuff shake well fill the rest of the way up with your bowl hole covered with alluminum foil and a rubber band. leave for 10 minutes rinse with warm water a few times let stand in dish drainer whala like the day you bought it For reals. Abosolutely no scrubbing my ice bong has a glass shelf to hold the ice and I can not get down to where the resin collects and this stuff disolves it. Peace and Excellent KARMA to all.Dezzer
After cleaning ur pipe with aclohol my friend pours it out onto a plate and puts it in micro for like 20 sec or so then scrapes it off and loads it in his pipe and smokes it.Can this hurt him you think?
If the alcohol is entirely evaporated, then no, it shouldn’t cause any harm, well no more then smoking regular resin, which is a bit harsh on the lungs.
we usually light the alcohol on fire then scrape and smoke… you could also leave it outside in the sun alcohol evaporates quickly or burns quickly and doesn’t smell or anything. tastes the exact same as scraped resin… this was fun for a while but it starts to get a little nasty.
my only problem right now is this odd nasty resin taste that i have left over from trying to clean it. so my only other advice is to have some time set aside for cleaning because if you do a half assed job you get half assed results
Dude where in the hell did you get so many bowls I want one!
That’s what’s great about cleaning out your bong or smoking device with rubbing alcohol, after a short while, the alcohol evaporates leaving no trace behind. It can not hurt your friend because it’s no longer present. I prefer leaving it overnight in a safe well ventilated area like the garage or attic for example because esp. at first it leaves stronger alcohol odors.
99% rubbing alcohol works great. I don’t use rock salt because I like to save the resin and smoke that later. After cleaning, dump dark liquid into flat pan/tray to dry. You may need larger pan to speed up evaporation.
After all the alcohol dries off, the resin is deposited on the tray/pan surface. Scrap off and smoke in bowl, use longer slower draws if just hitting resin and not herb. Resin (sticky, oily, messy) tends to smoke somewhat harsher yet last longer in the bowl compared to fully dried and cured bud.
GBL or GHB would probably work like a charm for something like this! But who’d wanna bother wasting all that.
I find that the best way to clean a glass piece is to pour in some acetone, plug up the holes, shake it around a bit, and dump it out. Repeat as needed. Resin dissolves super fast in acetone, and the acetone will quickly evaporate completely. Just make sure it is completely dry before you smoke out of it, and don’t use it on plastic (don’t smoke out of plastic to begin with).
lol to the BGL and GHB! Man, you could rinse the bong out and shoot the nasty ass res shot of GHB! Double high! jk 😉
If your not into saving resin, I would highly highly HIGHly recommend citra solv natural cleaner. Just a swish with like a tablespoon of this shit will clean almost any piece spick and span. I used to boil, but it really wouldn’t work for me… my peices get really rezzed up! This stuff works so good, I have never seen anything get and double chambered bubbler so clean so fast.
It leaves a pretty strong citrus odor/taste which I actually find quite pleasant 🙂 But you can get rid of the smell with a hot water rinse and a bowl. To me, its the only way. I’ve done it dozens of times with just one 6 dollar bottle. Seems to be the only thing that takes sap off too, a great natural household product thats quite stronger than any chem I know of. You can water it down quite a bit and it still works great. Power to the planet! Peace!
That was delightful reading your ideas. But Im a little hesitant putting alcohol in my piece. So Im going with just lemon juice and salt to see what happens. If these steps fail I will continue to utilize its potential to maximum capacity until harmfully unsmokeable (which may be impossible). When that time comes it will be time to retire it to a magical place where only few go…..But like many are not forgotten. FREEDOME?
Denatured alcohol can be bought at the hardware store, and for glass only acetone is a stronger solvent. However, both should only be used outside or near window and fan.
Its also important to note, precleaning via flushing the bong water and excessive resin with hot water can keep it clean longer if you do it regularly.
(don’t smoke out of plastic to begin with)
“Consider getting a glass piece.. Think about the dangers of smoking plastic”
this is odd. cause. how would a metal mind u, Female, n male bit. cause nething to do with the housing. is which it’s held in. EX. a acrylic bong. the plastic, gets no contact with the flame. and the water. keeps it from bringing it to the melting point. ? sound like an other mis-conception. and POT lore… it’s an option to smoke out of, what you want. Excellent page. but… dnt h8.. 1ove,,
Absolutely true, people have big misconceptions with smoking out of acrylic bongs.
But for some there are also concerns that some chemicals in plastic, which can leech into even room temperature water, will be an issue after extended use.
It’s related to the recent fears about drinking out of plastic bottles, and why you’ve likely seen a lot more metal water bottles in recent years. Certain chemicals in plastics, including xenoestrogens, leech into water that comes in contact with the plastics, but I don’t know any specifics regarding what types of plastics and if acrylic is included in that.
i use methylated spirits and salt, pour in about 1/2 cup spirits and a table spoon of salt, shake, shake, shake.. pour out under warm running tap, rinse bong thoroughly = nice clean bong… (you can throw your cone in there too, i do)… XD… happy shiny bongs everyone…
Some mad ways of cleanin my bong on here !! Sweet as fuck & happy motherfukin bong tokin ha
if i clean my bong using the alcohol and salt method will it remove the paint on the inside?
i dont want to be hitting a bowl of resin with paint in it.
Why the fuck is paint anywhere near the inniards of a smoking device ?
You got some problems if there is paint on the inside part of any of your smoking pieces. I doubt that its true, and that its on the outside and you’re too high to realize lol.
yes it will remove the paint 🙁
sorry lol :p
Is there a way to smoke the resin after you clean it out?
Depending on the chemical used (hopefully just alcohol) you can let it evaporate in front of the window for a day until it turns into moldable hash you can mix in a spliff.
I used nail polish remover, uncooked rice, zip lock plastic sandwich bag, lemon juice. Add polish remover, pipe/small bong and a handfull of rice to the bag, make sure it’s zipped. Shake until clean. Rince, and freshen up with lemon juice. Worked better then I thought it would.
this phil is trippen.
ok so… can u boil pipes and bongs and that also gets the resin out?
The resin will get stuck somewhere on the pot.. It’s not worth it.. Just get some alcohol.
How do you clean weed wax off my glass globe vape pen?
First heat up all the wax in the atomizer by running the unit for around 5 seconds, then take the Atomizer off from the battery so you can’t damage anything. Then using the highest % alcohol you can find, wipe the center area with a paper towel. For hard to reach spots use a toothpick but don’t damage the atomizer coil. If its a ceramic atomizer, heat + alcohol should do the trick. Best of luck!
High % alcohol on a q-tip and give the wick a wiping, don’t get it on the battery.