We’ve all been there before. You show up to your buddy’s house with some top-shelf you can’t wait to taste test, and you walk in to see one of the most dreaded sites: a caked up bowl piece attached to a filthy, brown bong. All you’ll be tasting today is tar!
Cleaning your glass bongs, pipes, and rigs is incredibly important. Not only does a clean piece look and smell much more pleasant than a dirty one, it’s also healthier! A dirty, resinated piece can result in the ingestion of carcinogens and carbon from the tar. You know its important to clean your collection, but how do you do it? And how often?
How often you clean your glass pieces matters!
More important than how you clean your pieces is how often. The longer you let your piece sit with water in it, the dirtier it will get, and the more caked-on resin will become. Just take a few seconds after each sesh to empty the water, fill it with hot water and shake. You’ll be amazed at how clean your glass stays if you don’t give it the time to get dirty!
On the flip side, if you use your pipe every day for a few weeks without cleaning it, you’ll have to scrub the resin off when you do get around to cleaning it. Likewise, dirty bong water is your worst enemy. Especially if you pull your rips through the bowl and downstem into the base of the water pipe. These little cannabis particles will stick to the walls of your bong and breakdown into a goo, which is incredibly difficult to remove.
How to clean your glass pieces
Many people don’t know they are supposed to clean their pieces. Some will change out the water periodically, and some will even go as far as to rinse their bong thoroughly with hot water. A select few will actually take the time to try other methods – such as rubbing alcohol (91% iso-propyl) and Epsom salt.
The rubbing alcohol and salt method works magically, taking the dirtiest, gunked up pieces and making them like new in a matter of seconds. But is it safe?
Studies have shown that using a substance like salt, or any coarse material, can lead to micro-abrasions in your glass. This can lead to it deteriorating, losing its glassy appearance and becoming cloudy, or worse, breaking. Now, let’s consider the solvent you’re using – iso-propyl.
Rubbing alcohol isn’t safe to ingest. In fact, its very toxic. Some have claimed that its safe to clean your pieces with, because it evaporates quickly. We still don’t recommend taking the chance, as the risk of inhaling toxic subnstances next time you take a rip is seriously not worth it. And we can’t emphasize this next point enough – do not use acetone-based nail polish remover, or any substance you wouldn’t normally inhale or drink. There are much easier ways to clean your glass that won’t compromise your health!
The do’s and don’ts of cleaning your glass
Cleaning your glass is incredibly simple. Here are some things you should always do, followed by some things you should never do:
- Do clean your pipes after each use with a Q-tip to keep the bowl clean, and remove any particles you smoked. This will prevent build up in the long run. When it comes to water pipes, change the water after each use and run hot water through it daily. This prevents build up as well, and will allow you to taste your fresh cannabis as opposed to what you smoked last night!
- Don’t use dangerous substances to clean your glass like rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. These are not only toxic, but can result in complications later in life, according to multiple agencies such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
You can make glass cleaning simple by taking a proactive approach to cleaning. If you stay ahead of the resin, it won’t have a chance to build-up on you! We also recommend you do your research and find a cleaner that’s specifically formulated for water pipes and other smoking utensils. These are safe for the environment, your glass, and more importantly, your health!
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