Remember the last time you cleaned your bong? If the answer is no, it’s alright. You’re not alone. But you should remember, especially if you’ve been sharing your piece with your friends.
Along with all the germs that come from their mouths, your long-neglected bong can become a haven for dirty old resin. You wouldn’t eat a 5-star meal off a dirty plate, so why smoke your hard-earned weed from a nasty bong?
There are a few ways to get the job done, and fortunately, they’re all pretty easy. Here are some pointers on how to clean and disinfect a bong so you live to sesh another day (and another, and another).
The Shake-And-Scrub Method
This method is designed to attack all that built-up resin on the innards of your piece. You just plug the holes, fill your bong with your homemade solution, shake it, and rinse.
Start by taking the piece apart and giving the components a preliminary hot water rinse to wash off anything loose. Next, you’ll want to add an abrasive: rock salt, table salt or Epsom salt are all good choices. Follow it up with some isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) – 91% is best but any kind will work. If you have a small pipe you can use a MouthPeace as a funnel to make filling easier so you don’t waste the rubbing alcohol.
Then, cover all the bong’s openings so you can shake it without making a mess. We like Res Caps but depending on the size of your piece, you could use a cork, some cotton, or bunched up paper towel.
Once everything’s covered, take a firm grip of your bong and shake it hard for several minutes. The combination of the salt and isopropyl alcohol will gradually loosen the resin, after which you can rinse it away with hot water. Finish off any leftover resin with a pipe cleaner or a small bottle cleaner.
The Chemical Reaction Method
This way is fun, but less effective and more time consuming than the first method. Get some vinegar and baking soda and get ready to explode the resin off your piece. Remove the downstem and bowl and place them in Ziploc bags. Then, fill the bags and the bong with vinegar first and then a small bit of baking soda. Be ready for the reaction!
Once the fizz has begun, you’ll want to leave them sitting for at least 30 minutes. This will give time for the chemical reaction to eat away at the resin build-up. After that, you can finish the job with a hot water rinse and some scrubbing.
The Dishwasher Method
Every new smoker has had the thought “Can I just put my bong in the dishwasher?” We don’t recommend it. Here’s why.
Although this is probably the easiest way to clean a bong, it is not the most effective. The water and detergent will have a hard time cleaning out the resin inside the pipe. Plus, glass bongs aren’t always dishwasher-safe — Pyrex should be fine, but thinner glass runs the risk of cracking from the temperature change. The other reason is that resin WILL get all over the inside of the dishwasher. Little brown specs of gross resin all over your dishes, glasses, and silverware is just the worst.
IF you are set on cleaning your piece this way, and again we don’t recommend it, here’s how to do it: place the bowl and downstem in the basket where you’d normally put your utensils, and place bong upside-down like a drinking glass. Run a rinse cycle on a high-temperature setting (at least 176°F or 80°C).
Cleaning and Disinfecting the Mouthpiece
If you like to share a bowl with your buddies (and they don’t all have their own MouthPeace), keep in mind that you’re also sharing their germs. Be sure to clean the top of the bong with alcohol or antibacterial soap, which will finish off any lingering bacteria their lips have left behind.