Bongs can get notoriously dirty and stinky. The resin that builds up on the inside of your bong is a tarry mess and can be extremely difficult to clean. Some have turned to harsh chemicals (like carburetor cleaner) to remove the grime but this can leave a dangerous residue that is toxic when heated.
Instead, use some natural ingredients and a bit of elbow grease to get your bong spic and span clean.
How To Clean A Bong: The Ultimate Guide
Cleaning a bong may seem like a daunting task. And in some respects, it is. It’s not like you can get your hand down in there to scrub out all the gooey mess. But just because it’s daunting doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.
In this section, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to get your bong spic-and-span clean like the day you bought it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Hot water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton balls
- Hand towels
- Small Ziploc bags or tupperware containers with lids
- Bottle brush or pipe cleaners (optional)
Now that you’ve assembled all your supplies, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to clean your bong.
1) Dump Out The Dirty Bong Water
You’d think this would be a given and not worth mentioning, but the simplest thing can be overlooked when you’re flying in a blue dream. We want to be thorough so here’s your reminder: dump out the bong water first.
2) Take Apart Your Bong
Separate the bowl and the stem from the bong proper. If your bowl and stem are two pieces, separate those as well. If your bong has any other movable or removable parts, guess what? You need to take those apart too. Your bong should now be completely disassembled.
3) Rinse Everything With Hot Water
Hot running water is a great way to start the cleansing process. It dislodges some of the surface resin that has built up with repeated use and starts to dissolve the bonds that bind the gunk in place.
Get the water as hot as you can tolerate and consider wearing dish-washing gloves (those ugly yellow things). The gloves allow you to make the water hotter which turbo-charges the process.
If you think about it while you’re rinsing, fill from the top and empty from the slide opening. This will minimize the chances of the loose residue getting caught anywhere else.
4) Put Each Loose Piece In Its Own Container
And no, you don’t want to use the same baggies your weed came in. We’re trying to clean things here folks. Tupperware containers with lids also make for a great reusable, earth-friendly alternative.
And, no, you don’t have to put the bong itself in a baggie or plastic container. We’ll clean that by itself in a later step.
After you’ve got each loose piece in its own baggie or tupperware container, pour in at least ¼ cup of your rubbing alcohol along with at least one tablespoon of salt.
For larger pieces, go with ½ cup rubbing alcohol and two tablespoons salt. The proportions aren’t really important, just so that both ingredients are there.
Rubbing alcohol is mildly acidic which helps to breakdown the sticky resin that builds up inside the bong.
Salt is an abrasive that works in concert with the acid to add scrubbing power to the solution.
As an alternative to the rubbing alcohol, you can use vinegar which is also a mild acid. As an alternative to the salt, you can use rice to help scrub the bong clean.
If you choose to use rice, don’t let it sit too long in the alcohol (or vinegar) because it will start to absorb the liquid and soften. This will decrease its abrasive power.
And if you do decide to use rice, don’t eat it no matter how hungry you get. Those pesky (or awesome) munchies can make you eat some really weird stuff. Resist the urge to make stir fry with the rice you use to clean your bong…no matter how delicious it looks
After you seal the baggies or plastic containers, shake them vigorously. This moves the alcohol and the salt through all the tiny curves and crevices and breaks up the marijuana resin that has gathered there.
When you think you’ve shaken enough, shake more. You may have to do this for at least five minutes to really dislodge the sticky mess.
If you’ve added enough alcohol to completely cover each piece, you can let them soak for 10 to 15 minutes, and then come back and shake some more. This is especially useful if you’ve built up layer upon layer of bong resin from years of use.
Once the small pieces are clean to your satisfaction, set them aside (still in their baggies) and turn your attention to the main event: the bong itself.
6) Pour Salt In The Bong
Add at least two tablespoons of salt into your bong; three would be better. Depending on the size of the pipe you’re using, you may want to add four or five.
Remember, salt will dissolve in liquids, so put enough salt in the bong that some stays out of solution (not dissolved). This helps increase the abrasiveness of the solution you’re making.
7) Pour Alcohol In The Bong
Pour at least ½ cup of rubbing alcohol into your bong. Again, depending on the size of the pipe itself, you may need to add more. Don’t worry about the ratio of salt to alcohol. It really doesn’t make any difference as long as there’s enough of both to get a good swishing going.
8) Plug The Holes
Using the hand towels, plug all the holes in your bong. You can also use plastic wrap and rubber bands to seal the holes. If the holes are small enough, you could also use cotton balls. If you really wanted to get fancy, you could purchase a few beaker stoppers from your local beaker store.
If you live in an area with no beaker store (we feel sorry for you), just place one hand over the mouth and one hand over the hole where the stem goes. Don’t forget to put a finger over the carburetor hole.
Just like you did with the small pieces in their baggies, shake the bong vigorously so that the alcohol and salt solution gets moved around on all surfaces. Continue to shake the whole thing for at least five minutes. Then shake longer.
While you’re shaking the bong, you can be satisfied that you got your exercise for the day. Who knew shaking would be such hard work?
10) Rinse Everything With Hot Water
Remove the small pieces from their baggies and dump the alcohol/salt solution from the bong. Rinse everything with the hottest water you can get.
Rinsing helps to remove the residual resin, the salt, and the alcohol from the surfaces of your bong. If some stubborn pieces remain (particularly in the bowl or the stem), use a Q-tip or a bottle brush (probably available at your local beaker store) to pick away at the mass.
After you remove that last little piece, rinse again with hot water and let everything air dry before using again.
11) Repeat (Optional)
If it’s been years or since last you cleaned your bong (first, ewww), you may have to repeat the entire process again (or even several times). Eventually, the alcohol, the salt, and the repeated agitation will peel away the layers of goo to reveal the sparkling glass underneath.
The above process can take some time, especially if you’ve gone a while without cleaning. To avoid a difficult mess, clean your bong regularly (as in after every use) rather than once a month or longer.
And before you say, “No way,” cleaning after every use is as simple as rinsing with hot water because you don’t have all the gook built up from repeated use. Cleaning it like this will drastically reduce the time you spend on this activity.
Think about it this way: would you rather spend three minutes or less cleaning your bong after each use (you’re washing pizza plates anyway) or an hour or more after a few weeks of resin build-up? The answer seems obvious to us.
Here are some other tips to make keeping your bong an easy job.
1) Use Vinegar Or Lemon Juice For Hard Water Stains
Hard water stains can be difficult to remove, especially from the inside of a bong. What’s more, they make your bong look dirty even when it’s not.
To combat the build up hard water stains, pour some vinegar into the bowl of your bong and swish for a minute or two. For added cleaning, let the bong sit with the vinegar in the bottom for a few minutes after you’re done swishing. Finally, rinse with hot water and let the whole thing air dry.
Another method for combating hard water stains is lemon juice and hot water. Combine the hot water and lemon juice in the bowl of your bong and then swish. Let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse with hot water.
2) Add Two Drops Of Lemon Juice To The Water While You Smoke
Fresh lemon juice contains enzymes that break down the gooey resin that builds up on the inside of your bong. Adding just two drops to the water you use while smoking, prevents the gunky mess from forming. The lemon juice also helps kill the disgusting bong water smell and keeps things fresh.
It only takes a few drops to achieve the desired effect. In this case, more is not better. Too much lemon juice will start to overpower the flavors of your favorite strain. Two small drops is enough.
3) Store Your Bong Empty
Again, this may seem like common sense, but we want to be sure and cover all our bases. After you’ve come down from your date with Mary Jane, just empty your bong and rinse it out as outlined above. This will keep everything clean and tidy and ready for your next smoke.
Putting It All Together
Cleaning your bong doesn’t have to be a major undertaking and you don’t have to use specialized cleaners with all kinds of toxic chemicals. Just a quick rinse with a few natural ingredients after every use (or every other use) will have your bong sparkling and crystal clear as the day you bought it.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100-percent all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.