Let’s talk about something vitally important for a second — bong hygiene. The majority of people out there either don’t clean their bongs at all or don’t clean them often enough. However, not cleaning your bong can be bad for your health, as well as make your flower taste and smell bad. Here’s everything you need to know about how to clean a bong along with some bong cleaning tips and tricks to make sure yours stays fresh and you stay healthy.
Why it’s important to clean your bong regularly
Cleaning your bong regularly is important for lots of reasons. The most important of which is that it can make you sick if you don’t clean it often. As a smoking apparatus that you put your lips and hands on, it’s exposed to all sorts of germs and bacteria. Your bong gets just as dirty to the touch as your toilet seat. Further, the water inside it is resinous, room temperature, and stagnant most of the time making it a perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasty bacteria.
If germs don’t bother you, you should also consider that a dirty bong is going to alter the taste of your flower. A big inhale of smoke that passes through a festering slough of bacteria water isn’t going to taste good. It’ll take your terpy flower and give you a musty, resinated flavor.
Not to mention, the smell. If you’ve ever tipped over an old bong, you’re probably familiar with how difficult it is to get that smell out of the carpet or off the furniture. That’s the scent you’re inhaling with your flower, and it often tends to overpower the flavors from the terpenes in your bud.
Last but not least, it’s a lot harder to keep your glass looking nice if you don’t clean it regularly. If you paid good money for an expensive piece of glass, you want to keep it looking its best. If your bong has unique percolators or other features, it can be difficult to clean the resin fully if you let it sit for a while, leaving you with subpar flavors and resinous glass stains.
How frequently should you clean a bong?
When it comes to bong cleaning, a good rule of thumb is to clean it once a week if you’re a regular user. However, if you use your bong all day every day, you should take care to clean it more often than that. Try to aim anywhere between every 3-7 days for best results. However, there are some things you can do to put off cleaning it as regularly. We’ll touch more on that later.
Signs that you should clean your bong immediately
If you start to notice your water changing color from clear to a yellowish color, you might just need to change the water. However, you’ll notice that it’s time for a thorough cleaning when you see resin start to build up inside the bong. If your water turns completely brown and you see resin building up on the sides of the glass, it’s time for a bong cleaning. You can tell the situation is becoming dire when a resinous ring begins to form around the waterline.
How to clean a bong — a step by step guide
If you’re ready to clean your bong, you’ll be pleased to know that you probably already have everything you need to do it on hand at home already. Here’s a complete rundown on everything you’ll need to clean your bong.
What you’ll need:
- Your bong
- Ziplock baggies
- 91% isopropyl alcohol (70% works, just not as well)
- Table salt
- Paper towels, pipe cleaners, q-tips, or cotton balls
- Hot water from the sink
How to clean a bong:
- Take apart your bong. Separate the bowl and the downstem from your bong.
- Place your bowl and downstem in ziplock bags. Keeping them separate prevents them from grinding against each other or breaking during the cleaning process.
- Fill the bags with rubbing alcohol and salt. Use about 2 parts alcohol per 1 part salt. You don’t need to fill up the bags all the way. Just make sure that you use enough to submerge the pieces about half way and seal the bag. From there, set them aside to let them soak while you clean your bong. These parts of the bong are usually the dirtiest and usually need a little extra time and effort
- Add salt and alcohol to your bong. Use about 2 parts alcohol per 1 part salt. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way. You’ll rarely ever need more than a dash of salt and a few ounces of rubbing alcohol.
- Plug the holes with your hands and fingers and shake the bong. The salt is going to help remove resin as an abrasive while the rubbing alcohol will help break it down. With enough agitation, the resin will be removed. Keep shaking until the alcohol and salt looks dirty and the glass starts to look clean.
- Rinse the bong with hot water. Once you’ve cleaned the bong with the alcohol and salt, rinse it with hot water using your sink. Keep rinsing until all the salt and rubbing alcohol is removed. If you still see resin, repeat steps 4-6 until clean.
- Agitate the bowl and downstem. After soaking, you’ll shake your bowl or downstem the same way you shook the bong itself. Just double check that your bags are fully closed before you start!
- Rinse the bowl and downstem. Using hot water, rinse the bowl and downstem until they’re clean. If they don’t come fully clean, proceed to the next step.
- Use paper towels, pipe cleaners, or cotton balls. If your bowl and downstem are mostly clean but still have some buildup in hard to reach areas, dip a paper towel, q-tip, pipe cleaner, or cotton ball into some of the leftover alcohol and salt from the bag. Apply it to the bowl or downstem and rub, scrub, and twist until clean. Rinse with hot water and repeat as necessary until clean.
- Put your bong back together and refill. Once everything is clean, fill your bong back up with cold water as you normally would to use it and voila! You have a clean bong. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to the water to improve the smell and reduce the likelihood of your bong water growing bacteria or mold.
Tips for keeping your bong clean in the meantime
If you’re trying to hold off on a thorough bong cleaning, there are a few steps you can take to prolong the inevitable. The first thing you can do is change your water after every use. Mold can form in a bong after just two days, so try and get into the habit of rinsing your bong out with hot water after every use. This can help remove some of the resin building and remove plant materials from the water that cause mold, keeping your bong cleaner for longer.
Another way to keep your bong fresher is to add a couple drops of lemon juice to the bong water when you’re using it. Lemon juice is naturally acidic and acts as an antibacterial in bong water. Lemon juice also contains limonene terpenes which are also found in citrusy weed strains, boosting antibacterial effects and helping to keep your bong smelling and tasting great.
Our favorites: best bong cleaning products
While salt and rubbing alcohol are staples in any stoner household, there are lots of other great products out there that can help you keep your bong clean and fresh. Some of which are antibacterial and can help your bong taste and smell better even after your first use. Below we’ve outlined some of the best bong cleaning products.
Can’t get hold of isopropyl and salt? This all-in-one cleaner works as a great alternative and cleans your glass pieces in seconds.
This salt works as a great abrasive to remove those tough stains.
Perfect for scrubbing those hard-to-reach spots, these cotton swabs are also completely biodegradable.
Ideal for reaching any grime that’s difficult to reach.
These plugs are designed to block the holes in your bong while you fill it with isopropyl and salt to make it easier for you to shake it to remove those stubborn stains.
If your bong has stains that cannot be removed no matter how hard you try, consider investing in a water pipe made from higher quality materials. Cheap glass is generally more porous, allowing resin stains to become baked in and impossible to remove. Instead try a Terp Tube, made of high-quality boro glass that stays looking brand new for longer.