A pristine bong is a thing of beauty. The glass chamber is clear. The smell is clean. The pieces slide together smoothly. And you can see straight through the clean water at the bottom.
Until you use the thing.
Bongs get dirtier, nastier, and fouler than any other type of pipe. It doesn’t take long, either. Wet ash and other unidentifiable gunk gets splashed up the side of the chamber, the slide gets greasy and harder to pull, and the bowl gets a crusty layer of ash that no amount of scraping will remove.
So what to do? Small bongs are pretty easy to clean, but big glass pieces are another matter. There’s more to clean, and unless you can plug the stem hole, you can’t fill the chamber with water – or anything – to rinse it out.
If you’re wondering how to clean your bong, there are some reliable methods for keeping it looking almost brand new. Here are some tips.
- First, remove the slide, the bowl, the ash catcher (if you have one), and any other movable pieces. Set them aside to clean separately.
- Then empty out the bong and rinse it with clean water. Pour from the top and let the water flow out the stem hole to remove gunk that could clog your stem.
- The next step is to put a solution in the chamber and let it soak. You can use an organic bong-cleaning product like Smoke Soap, which is highly effective when mixed equal parts with water. But there are also other options, made up of more readily available ingredients. Many people attest to rubbing alcohol and salt as their solution of choice.
- It should go without saying, but avoid viscous products like dish soap. These will leave unpleasant grime on the inside of the bong, and that’s hard to remove. It also tastes nasty. Don’t use bleach or other caustic chemicals, either. You’re liable to get a lungful of toxic vapors, especially if you toke too soon after cleaning. If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, you could also try using denture tablets, baking soda and vinegar, or a mixture of water, vinegar and table salt. Soak and rinse.
- The tablets and the baking soda mix are best for large pieces, as they produce a fizzing effect that cleans more of the chamber. The salt solutions are best for smaller pieces.If you use alcohol, remember that it’s highly flammable. It also evaporates quickly, but it’s probably not a good idea to light a bowl immediately after cleaning.
- While your solution is doing its job, put the slide and bowl in a Tupperware container or plastic sandwich bag. Add the solution and seal. Let it soak for about half an hour, shaking the container to remove the stubborn gunk.
- Finally, use alcohol wipes to clean out the grime that remains on the bowl after soaking.
Your bong is your baby, and you should clean it with care. These methods should give you a pipe that looks, smells, and tastes like new. Enjoy!