No matter your preferred smoking method, if you use a smoking apparatus, you will eventually have to clean it. One hitters, pipes, and bongs all get dirty over time, and depending on how long you wait between cleaning sessions, cleaning your bong can be quite the undertaking.
Not only is cleaning your bong a messy proposition, but without the appropriate cleaning tools and technique, it can sometimes feel like you and your bong both somehow end up dirtier than when you started the process.
If you're unsure how to clean a bong, you've come to the right place. This article offers multiple fool-proof methods of bong cleaning. In addition, it provides you with important information about why cleaning your bong is important and offers tips on keeping your bong clean.
Follow these simple steps to return your dirty bong to its former glory.
How To Clean a Bong in Ten Simple Steps
Cleaning a bong is way easier than it sounds, and with enough forethought, you can complete the process with minimal elbow grease in less than an hour. As a bonus, there's a good chance you already have all the necessary cleaning supplies at home.
Before you get started, gather the following supplies:
- A sealable plastic bag large enough to enclose your bong completely. A bag with a zipper is best to avoid spilling, but any plastic bag will work. A gallon-sized bag will be large enough for most bongs, but if you find your bong is too large for standard bags, you can use a plastic garbage bag.
- Table salt. Coarsely ground salt is the best as it provides a sizablesizeable abrasive surface for cleaning and helps reduce the additional work you have to do to scrub away residue, but any salt will work.
- Rubbing alcohol. For the best results, look for a cleaner with at least 91% isopropyl alcohol content; 99% isopropyl alcohol is ideal.
- Cotton swabs. Cotton swabs help get in all the nooks and crannies of your bong. Pointed cotton swabs work best, but swabs with rounded tips are perfectly adequate.
- A bottle cleaner or pipe cleaner (optional). These tools help make cleaning your bong easier, but you can probably make do without them if you don't already have them.
- Dish soap. Any standard degreasing dish soap will be effective. The soap is used to remove any remaining residue that the alcohol and salt don't take care of, so purchasing the most heavy-duty soap you can find isn't necessary.
- A new household sponge. Although you won't use the sponge until most of the residue is cleaned away, you probably won't want to go back to washing dishes with it. Consider cutting a standard-sized sponge into halves or quarters and saving the remaining pieces for future use.
- Cleaning gloves. Whether you use latex dish gloves (again, you'll want to set these aside for future bong-cleaning use) or disposable plastic gloves, don't try to clean your bong with your bare hands. Removing the resin from your hands is almost as much work as cleaning the bong itself.
Now that you've gathered all the necessary supplies, it's time to get cleaning. Follow these simple steps:
1. Rinse Your Bong Out With Hot Water
Before you start deep cleaning your bong, dump any existing bong water and rinse it under hot water. This will help clear out any large pieces of marijuana or residue that can be easily rinsed away, leaving the tougher residue behind.
Be sure to take your bong apart and run hot water through the bowl piece and any orifices on the bong (e.g., the carb).
2. Place Your Bong Into a Plastic Bag
After you've rinsed your bong out, set it standing up inside your plastic bag, ensuring the bag is large enough to close over the top of the bong completely. Select a larger bag if you can't enclose the bong in the plastic bag.
3. Place the Removable Pieces Into a Separate Plastic Bag
You will need to shake your bong in the plastic bag, so removing any separate pieces, like the bowl piece, and placing them into a separate plastic bag to avoid breaking or damaging your bong is essential.
Moving forward, complete the same steps for both the bag holding your bong and the bag holding the bong components.
4. Pour Salt and Isopropyl Alcohol Into Your Bong
Pour your salt and isopropyl alcohol through the mouth hole into your bong. The amount of salt and rubbing alcohol you will need will depend on the size of your bong, but it's better to err on the side of too much than too little.
Typically half a cup of salt and a full cup of rubbing alcohol is enough, but if you need less or more, just keep to a two-to-one ratio of isopropyl alcohol to salt.
Note: If your bong has multiple chambers, add a salt and alcohol solution to each chamber separately for best results.
5. Shake Your Bong Vigorously for About Five Minutes
Once you've added the salt and alcohol to your bong, seal your plastic bag to avoid any of the solution spilling out. If possible, use your hands to cover the openings of the bong so that as much of the solution as possible remains on the inside of the bong.
Shake your bong thoroughly for about five minutes to begin the process of knocking large debris loose and removing sticky resin. This will be the most physically exhausting part of cleaning your bong, but this step goes a long way in making the rest of the process easier.
6. Let Your Bong Soak
Once you've shaken your bong, let it soak for about 10 or 15 minutes and shake it thoroughly for about 30 seconds. At this point, you should have a clear idea of whether or not you'll need to repeat the soaking process.
Sticky bongs may take longer to clean, and it's simply a matter of letting it soak in the cleaning solution for longer (sometimes you may even want to leave it soaking overnight) before moving on to the next step. If you let your bong soak for longer, shake the solution in the bong occasionally to aid the cleaning process.
Other times, after about 15 minutes, the cleaning solution turns a dark, murky color, and you may see large chunks floating around. If this is the case, it's best to dump your cleaning solution and repeat this step.
7. Remove Your Bong and Bong Pieces and Repeat if Necessary
If you've soaked your bong and you can see that it's almost completely clean, other than a few stubborn sections, you're ready to move on to the next step. Remove your bong from the plastic bag and set it in a container you don't mind getting dirty or that you plan to throw away. Refrain from setting your bong directly in your sink, as you may accidentally get sticky resin that's hard to clean off.
If your bong has been soaking for a while and the cleaning solution is nearly black but the bong itself is still dirty, remove it from the plastic bag and rinse it under hot water, removing any large chunks of residue that may have been dislodged. Then set your bong in a second plastic bag and repeat the process of adding the cleaning solution, shaking, and soaking. Once you've completed this step a second time, move on to the next step.
To avoid making a mess, simply dump the cleaning solution in the toilet or seal the plastic bag filled with dirty cleaning solution and throw it directly in the trash.
8. Manually Clean Your Bong Using a Bottle Brush, Pipe Cleaners, or Cotton Swabs.
Once your bong and bong components have soaked, the majority of the dirt and residue should be cleaned. However, there will probably be several places that require additional scrubbing,
This is where additional tools come in handy, as you will need to scrub these hard-to-clean areas manually. Using tools like The Dart Cleaning Kit, a bottle brush, or cotton swabs, rub any stubborn residue off your bong and bong pieces.
Simply soak your cleaning tools with rubbing alcohol and get to work. Most of the heavy lifting will have been done while the bong was soaking, so you should have an easy time getting these spots clean.
The more frequently you clean your bong, the less you'll need to focus on this step of the process. Consider using tools like pipe cleaners to reach harder-to-reach areas of your bong and bowl piece.
9. Rinse Your Bong Under Hot Water
Once you've scrubbed away any remaining grime, throw away the container you were cleaning your bong in and rinse the bong under hot water. Next, fill the bong with hot water, shake it to free any chunks, and pour it down the drain.
10. Wash Your Bong Using a Clean Sponge and Dish Soap
Once the bong has been rinsed clean, the final step is to wash the bong with a clean sponge and dish soap. This step will not only help clean off any remaining oils that are stuck to your bong, but it will also help protect your health.
Rubbing alcohol is toxic to inhale and is flammable, so it's essential you wash all of it away and allow your bong to dry before using it.
How To Clean a Bong With White Vinegar and Rice
If you don't have isopropyl alcohol and salt at home, you can also clean your bong using white vinegar and rice. With this cleaning method, the vinegar takes the place of the isopropyl alcohol, and the rice serves as an abrasive material in the place of salt.
While this method will work on lightly soiled bongs, the vinegar is significantly less effective at removing buildup than the rubbing alcohol, so you might not see the same effects as you would with the previous cleaning method.
Regardless, you can follow all the same steps using white vinegar and rice as you would if you were using isopropyl alcohol and salt; simply swap out these two cleaning agents. For extra dirty bongs, consider adding a few drops of dish soap to the mixture.
How To Clean a Bong With Store-Bought Bong Cleaner
There are numerous store-bought bong cleaning solutions on the market you can invest in if you want an easy-to-use solution. Although bong cleaners are highly effective, the results are typically not better when you use a store-bought cleaner than rubbing alcohol and salt.
However, one benefit of using a store-bought bong cleaner is that it's easy to store and contain, and you can ensure you always have the necessary components on hand when you're ready to clean your bong.
If you're curious about buying a store-bought bong cleaner, consider investing in an inexpensive option, to begin with, and test how it performs compared to the isopropyl alcohol and salt method.
If you notice the store-bought cleaner offered better results, you can feel confident in your purchase. However, always remember to wash your bong thoroughly with soap and water and allow it to dry before using it again, even when using store-bought bong cleansers.
To clean your bong with a store-bought cleaner, follow the instructions on the packaging of the cleaner you purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about bong cleaning.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Bong?
Cleaning your bong is about more than just ensuring it looks pretty and smokes easily; it's essential to your health. Fungus and mold will inevitably grow inside your bong because it's a moist and dirty environment.
If you don't regularly clean your bong, you risk inhaling bacteria, mold, and fungal growth, which can be harmful to your health,
How Often Should You Clean Your Bong?
The frequency with which you clean your bong correlates to how much you use it. If you smoke multiple times daily, you will need to clean it more frequently than if you smoke once per week.
However, a good rule of thumb is to dump and rinse your bong after each use and deep clean it whenever you notice visible residue on the inside that can't be rinsed off with water.
How Do I Keep My Bong Clean for Longer?
One of the best things you can do to prolong the periods between cleaning your bong is to ensure you don't have dirty bong water sitting in it. After each use, dump your bong water into your toilet and rinse your bong under warm or hot water.
This will help prevent residue from building and wash away any large debris that may otherwise get stuck to the inside of your bong.
However, no matter how diligent you are about dumping your bong water and rinsing it after each use, you'll still need to deep clean it fairly regularly.
Can I Use These Bong Cleaning Methods To Clean a Silicone Bong?
The primary bong cleaning method listed above involves isopropyl alcohol and salt. While this is a highly effective method for cleaning glass bongs, these cleaning solutions are too abrasive for a silicone bong and will damage it.
Instead, you can opt for the aforementioned vinegar and rice method, as vinegar will not damage the silicone. You can also use additional cleaning methods like boiling or freezing your silicone bong to clean it.
Can I Use These Bong Cleaning Methods To Clean a Ceramic Bong?
Although you may think of a ceramic bong as more delicate than a glass bong, you can clean it using the same methods listed above. Unlike silicone, isopropyl alcohol will not damage the ceramic, so you can clean your glass and ceramic bongs similarly.
However, cleaning your ceramic bong may present other challenges you wouldn't face with a glass bong.
Firstly, ceramic bongs are opaque, so you'll have to work harder to ensure it's completely clean. Use context clues like the color of the alcohol and salt solution and the color of the water poured into the bong to indicate whether or not you have effectively cleaned it.
In addition, ceramic bongs are significantly more sensitive to changes in temperature than glass bongs, which means you'll need to use caution when running them under hot water. Do not attempt freezing or boiling methods on a ceramic bong.
Can I Use These Bong Cleaning Methods To Clean an Acrylic Bong?
Acrylic bongs cannot be cleaned using many of the methods that are effective for glass, ceramic, or even silicone bongs. For example, you can't use abrasive cleaners like isopropyl alcohol and salt on acrylic bongs, and you can't boil them.
Instead, you will need to resort to cleaning your bong with dish soap and warm water if you own an acrylic bong, but this can be messy, labor-intensive, and comparatively ineffective.
Consider opting for a store-bought bong cleanser specially formulated for acrylic bongs.
How Long Should You Wait After Cleaning Your Bong Before You Use It?
You must clean your bong with dish soap and warm water after whatever cleaning method you choose to make sure any harmful chemicals are removed from the bong before using it.
In addition, if you use a cleaning method like rubbing alcohol, it's best to allow your bong enough time to dry to ensure any rubbing alcohol has evaporated, as it's quite flammable.
Allow your bowl piece enough time to dry, so you don't inadvertently moisten your weed when packing your first bowl after cleaning your bong.