What’s the Right Way To Use a Bong?

by Emjay
Man hitting a bong correctly in a colorful forest.

Bongs are bigger and bulkier smoking tools, but they serve an important purpose. Smoking a bong changes the flavor and inhale of your weed in a way many smokers feel is incomparable to anything else. A bong hit is smooth, clean, and cool. It’s a gentle and flavorful experience that you need to try for yourself to appreciate. Make sure you’re using your bong the right way to fully enjoy its benefits. 

Why use a bong?

When you smoke weed from a paper or a pipe, it’s going directly from a burnt state into your lungs. This makes the hit hot and harsh, and the inhale will sometimes carry ash or unpleasant debris. A bong is designed to smooth out all those bumps. Everything that makes a weed hit harsh is toned down when you smoke through a bong. 

The water in a bong serves two important purposes. The first is that it cools the hit. Rather than introducing dry, hot smoke into your lungs, the hit is first passed through water. The water cools off the smoke before it reaches your mouth, lowering the temperature. 

The second thing a bong does is filter the hit. Bongs aren’t perfect filtration devices, but they do remove or mitigate some of the things that make a hit harsh or unpleasant. The water will trap the burnt flavor and dampen the scorch by providing a little more humidity.

The end result is a hit that’s easier to inhale and a lot tastier than the pot you’ve smoked from burning paper. 

Preparing your weed

Start by getting your weed ready. You’ll need to grind your weed before you can pack the bowl of your bong. Uniformly ground weed in very small pieces will burn evenly and taste better than weed in large chunks. If your weed isn’t ground evenly, some parts will scorch more than others when you light it. The first hit might be alright, but every subsequent hit will have a charred aftertaste.

Put a nug in your grinder, place the top on, and turn the grinder until your weed is finely ground into tiny pieces that are all roughly the same size. Check your kief trap to see if you’ve accumulated any. You might want to use the kief to top off your bowl once you’ve packed it. 


Preparing your bong

Start with a clean bong. If the bong you’re using has been used before, make sure any ash, residue, or resin is fully removed from all the bong’s components. When you’re sure the bong is clean, insert the bowl. The goal is to make sure the bowl’s down stem is completely submerged in water. Pour the water in through the mouthpiece until the down stem is completely underwater. Depending on the size of your bong, this could be anywhere from two to four inches of water. 

If your bong has a percolator, this changes things. You need to make sure the bottom of every percolator is submerged in water in order to make your bong work properly. This might require a little more water. Sit your bong on a table and sit in a chair that puts your bong at eye level. Slowly fill the mouthpiece with a pitcher while you watch your bong fill to the correct level.

Does it have to be water?

Some people use orange juice, cranberry juice, soda, or even beer in their bongs. You can technically do this, but you probably shouldn’t. Juice or other beverages can change the aroma and flavor of your weed. If you aren’t a big fan of the way your weed tastes, you may feel tempted to fill your bong with a flavor enhancer or disguiser. 

The main reason you shouldn’t do that is because these drinks contain sugar, and sometimes dyes. Orange juice often contains pulp. In case you haven’t noticed, bongs aren’t usually made in a convenient shape. You can’t wash it out like a drinking glass. Thoroughly cleaning a bong takes a bit more effort than stuffing a sponge inside and swirling it around.

If you leave sugars or pieces of fruit in your bong, they’ll begin to mold and breed bacteria very quickly. This is a very difficult cleanup job, and if you’re not the patient type, you might feel more inclined to replace your bong than clean it. Unless you’re willing to scrub every surface of your bong from the inside out with a small brush immediately after each use, stick to water. 

If you want to use juice because you don’t like the taste of your weed, find a different kind of weed. Flavored weed vape cartridges or naturally tasty live resin may be better options for you.

What about ice?

If you can fit a few ice cubes into the mouthpiece of your bong and you’re looking for a super chilled hit, go for it. Ice isn’t necessary for a bong, but many people appreciate the additional sensation of coolness. If you’re smoking in a hot room on a hot day, an icy bong can be refreshing.

Bongs Guide_Emjay _ Photo by Grav on Unsplash

Using your bong

When your bong is set up, it’s time to pack your bowl. Slide the bowl out of the bong and take a small pinch of weed out of your grinder. Gently pat it down into the bowl. Don’t use force. You want your bowl to be uniformly packed, but not jammed. If you smash all the weed down, there won’t be enough room for air to circulate or smoke to escape. 

If the kief trap of your grinder is full, sprinkle some kief on top of your bowl for a boost of flavor and benefits. Then, slide the down stem back into your bong. Put your mouth over the mouthpiece and use a lighter to light the bowl for a few seconds. While you’re lighting, gently inhale through the mouthpiece. This will draw the smoke from the bowl, through the water, and into the chamber of your bong. 

When you see that the chamber is full of smoke, slide the down stem out. The opening from the down stem will allow air to flow freely through the bong. Keep inhaling until you’ve cleared the smoke from the chamber. If it’s too much smoke, don’t push yourself. Inhale what you can comfortably inhale.

It might take you a few tries to determine how big of a hit you should draw each time. There’s a little bit of trial and error involved. If you don’t want to waste weed, you can pull away from the mouthpiece, cover it with your hand for a moment, and invite a nearby friend to clear the chamber for you. Nobody says no to a free hit of a weed. 

Cleaning your bong

Cleaning your bong is by far the most boring part of using it, but it’s also the most important. Bongs get dirty very quickly. They’re designed to trap moisture, which makes them susceptible to mold or bacterial growth. In a lot of ways, your bong is like your dishes. You wouldn’t pull a dirty glass out of the sink and use it, and you shouldn’t use a dirty bong.

High-quality bongs made of thicker glass can be washed in the dishwasher in a pinch, but many bongs are prone to breakage or warping. You should never put an acrylic bong in the dishwasher. 

The easiest way to clean a bong is to plug up the opening for the down stem, pour in a cup of isopropyl alcohol and a few tablespoons of coarse sea salt, and cover the mouthpiece with your hand. Move to an area where you won’t inadvertently whack your bong against a hard surface, like a table, sink, or counter. Then, with the top covered, vigorously shake the bong to encourage the salt and alcohol mixture to circulate.

The salt is coarse enough to remove buildup from the inside of the glass. After a minute or so, pour the mixture out and thoroughly rinse your bong with warm water. You might still want to go in with a soft brush to remove any remaining residue, but the salt will have already done the bulk of the work.

You can set your bong upside down to dry in a dish rack. Make sure all of the moisture is gone from the inside of your bong before you store it. 

The takeaway…

If you want a cool, clean, pure, and refreshing hit of your favorite cannabis, a bong is the best way to enjoy one. Bongs involve a little extra work, but they’re worth the effort for the experience they provide. 

If you’re ready to smoke from your new bong, Emjay is ready to deliver the weed you need. We can bring your favorite strain to your door in about half an hour. Get your bong set up. We’re not that far behind you. 

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