How To Clean A Bong In 6 Simple Steps

by Emjay
How to clean a bong. Photo by Grav on Unsplash.

It’s easy to figure out how to wash a plate or a cup. It’s easy to figure out how to wash your hair. But what in the world do you do with a bong? Bongs come in complicated shapes and have tons of tiny pieces, and they all seem to get filthy so fast. If you’ve never cleaned a bong before, you might not even know where to start. There isn’t always an obvious answer. 

Keeping your bong clean is important, and there’s more than one right way to do that. Plain old soap and water will get the job done if you’re willing to be patient and thorough.

Why do bongs get dirty so fast?

Smoking cannabis is messy business. Even though you don’t see it, your bud is full of natural waxes and fatty acids. You burn your weed down to ash, which combines with the fats and waxes to make a tar-like resin that sticks to everything it touches. It’s most noticeable after you’ve used the bong a dozen times, but it starts happening with the very first hit you take on a brand new bong. 

This means that not only is your bong getting dirty fast, but it’s getting dirty much faster than you realize. It just takes a while for you to be able to see what’s been slowly accumulating with each use.

Why is it important to clean a bong?

When your bong gets dirty, the bowl and the downstem get clogged up. You can’t pull up a hit. If you use a half measure to clean them, you’re impacting all of the resin until cleaning your bong becomes almost impossible. 

If your bong has multiple chambers or a percolator, that’s also going to collect the same resin. If you don’t clean your bong often enough, it might escalate to the point where it feels more worthwhile to throw it out and buy a new one. 

Outside of practicality, there are also some health risks of using a dirty bong. Bacteria, dirt, and dust stick to the resin. Residual moisture can cause mold to form inside of your bong. These are all things you don’t want to be breathing in. 

How often should I clean my bong?

You don’t necessarily have to clean your bong every time you use it. It’s a bit of a hassle that many people would rather not put themselves through. 

If you use your bong on a daily basis, you should change the water on a daily basis. In fact, you should change the water every time you use it, even if you’re using it three times a day. You should, at minimum, clean your bong three times a week to prevent buildup from accumulating. 

You should also clean your bong before switching strains. You don’t want the skunky flavor of your favorite indica to mix with the lemony flavor of your favorite sativa haze

If you are an infrequent smoker, you should clean your bong every time you use it. Never put it away dirty. Storing a moist bong in a dark cabinet is a recipe for disaster. Mold can begin to form very quickly, and when it does, it might feel a little dangerous to reuse your bong. You can’t fully disassemble it to remove all of the mold, so you’ll never know if it’s truly gone. Putting your bong away fully clean and fully dry is always the best bet. 

Can I put my bong in the dishwasher?

If you have a bong made of anything other than glass, don’t put it in the dishwasher. Plastic doesn’t respond well to the heat and pressure of the water jets. Chances are high that your bong will warp and crack.

If you have a thick, high-quality glass bong, you probably shouldn’t put it in the dishwasher. But you totally can. It’s always better to wash your bong by hand to avoid the risk of shattering delicate glass and to assure the bong is thoroughly clean.

If you have a simple, sturdy glass bong, you can take a few shortcuts. Put some bong cleaning solution (which is a real thing you can buy) in your bong with some warm water. Cover the openings and shake it up. Let the solution sit for a few minutes. Then, turn your bong upside down and put it in the dishwasher. 

If you have any concerns about the glass, design, or general fragility of the bong, don’t take the risk. It’s better to spend ten minutes thoroughly cleaning it by hand than it is to replace it due to a dishwasher mishap. The dishwasher method is totally at your own risk. 

How to clean a bong. Emjay guide. Photo by Cannabox on Unsplash

The easy 6 step method of cleaning a bong

When you clean your bong, you need to be able to get all the resin out. You can’t take the glass apart and put it back together, so you need to be using cleaning supplies that are effective enough to remove resin from places that are hard to reach. You’ll need a lot of sea salt, rubbing alcohol, hot water, and some pipe cleaners to get the job done.

Step 1

Clear out a sink with a flat bottom and set your bong in the sink. Fill the base of the bong with sea salt. You’ll want at least an inch of sea salt in the base of your bong, but a little more is even better. 

Step 2

Pour isopropyl alcohol over top of the sea salt, coming up about half an inch above the salt line. Be careful not to overfill the bong. You want plenty of space between the base and the mouthpiece to remain empty.

Step 3

Hold your bong above the sink and cover the mouthpiece with your hand. Slowly start shaking the bong. The sea salt acts as an abrasive, gently scrubbing away resin and film from the inside of the glass. The alcohol helps the sea salt move around while simultaneously sanitizing the bong. Swirl and shake for a minute or two to weaken film and dislodge resin. 

Step 4

Pour the sea salt and alcohol down the sink. If the bong looks mostly clean, move on to step five. If it doesn’t, repeat steps one through three until it does.

Step 5

After you’ve dumped out the salt solution, thoroughly rinse your bong with warm water. You can use a pipe cleaner to remove any remaining resin, which should be soft and broken down. The pipe cleaner will easily and gently fish out all of the remnants. If any resin falls back into the bottom of the bong, rinse it out with more warm water.

Step 6

Place your bong upside down to dry on highly absorbent towels or let it rest in the dishrack for a few hours. You want all the water out of your bong before you put it away.

Can this method be used for all bongs?

Acrylic or plastic bongs may not stand up to this cleaning method. Acrylic or plastic bongs don’t really stand up to anything. In fact, avoid using a bong that isn’t made of glass. If you’re worried about glass breaking, use a silicone bong. Plastics don’t withstand frequent heat exposure or constant temperature changes. Get yourself a pretty new glass piece. 

If you’d rather go the silicone route, this method will work just as well. In fact, you can be a little less gentle with a silicone bong. If you accidentally smack it against the counter while you’re shaking it, there are no serious consequences. 

The takeaway

Cleaning your bong is more time-consuming than difficult, but it’s very important. A dirty bong can ruin the flavor of your weed. Even worse, it can make you really sick. Bongs are a lot more high maintenance than rolling a blunt or a joint, but the smooth smoking experience can’t be beat. If you love a cool, refreshing pull, you know a bong is worth the extra effort. 

If you’re looking to pack your next bowl, Emjay has dozens of strains of cannabis for you to choose from, and we can deliver it to your house in about half an hour. If you start cleaning your bong now, you’ll have weed to fill it at your doorstep by the time you’re done. Talk about perfect timing! If the idea of cleaning your bong feels exhausting, we understand that, too. We also have pre-rolls if you’d rather just relax. Either way, Emjay has you covered.

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