A bong is a great way to get your smoke on, but if you want to get consistently good highs and flavorful hits, you’ve got to maintain your equipment. If you go too long without cleaning your precious bong, resin from the cannabis causes a sticky residue on the glass, which discolors the water and dilutes the taste of your weed.
It’s also about safety. The key component of your bong is water, which filters out all the gunk from your weed smoke. Clean water gives you the best filtration and flavor, but a dirty bong gives you dirty water, no matter the purity of H2O you use.
Forgetting or being too lazy to change your bong water or clean your bong can lead to mold and bacteria growth. Inhaling common bacteria like Strep and E.coli, as well as the likes of black mildew, is not just super gross but can also cause strep throat, pneumonia, or worse. The more you smoke with the same water, the more chance these harmful microbes have to reproduce to be inhaled with each hit.
Of course, there is also smoking etiquette. You do not want to be that person that pulls out the dirty bong. No one is going to want to hit that. Thankfully, the ingredients you need to clean your bong are usually found around the home, and specific bong cleaning products are available to give you that clean high.
When to Clean Your Bong
Cannabis experts say you should change the water after every smoke session to avoid mold and bacteria and clean your bong after a few days to a week of use.
You can usually tell it’s time to clean your bong if a ring of scum forms around the waterline, you see specks of residue, weed, or resin in the water, or clean water turns brown quickly.
How to Clean a Bong or Dab Rig
Now that we’ve convinced you to clean your bong, here’s how to do it so every time you smoke, you’ll experience the full flavor profile of the cannabis, and your bong will serve you effectively for much longer.
What You’ll Need
- Isopropyl alcohol at 91% to 99%
- Salt, such as table salt, rock salt, or Epsom salt, basically a salt that is coarse enough to scrub away stick-on residue but won’t scratch the glass.
- Standard dish soap
- A large resealable plastic bag
- Pipe cleaner or small bottle cleaner
- Disposable gloves (optional)
How to Clean a Glass Bong
This quick and effective method will give you a shiny, hygienic bong every time. If you don’t want sticky cannabis residue on your fingers, put on some disposable gloves before you start cleaning.
- Carefully remove the bowl and stem where you place your cannabis. Removing this piece along with the mouthpiece and other accessories makes cleaning your bong much easier.
- Pour out the old bong water. As bong water is sticky and full of resin, if you can avoid pouring it down the sink, you should. You can pour it in a sealed container to throw away or dispose of it outside, just not on your favorite plants - bong-water bacteria can also harm your plants. Rinse the chamber with clean water.
- Place the bong in a resealable bag to help contain the mess. If you don’t have a zip-top bag, you can do it in a regular plastic bag over the sink.
- Pour isopropyl alcohol (92-96%) into the inside of your bong, enough to fill it about halfway. If you don’t have isopropyl alcohol, you can also use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda, which requires longer soaking.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of coarse salt to the bong. The alcohol acts as a disinfectant, breaking down the oil in the weed residue and loosening the sticky residue, while the salt acts as an abrasive to remove the resin build-up.
- Seal the bag and shake to get the alcohol and salt mixture around the entire inside of the bong and all of its crevices.
- Leave it to soak for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how dirty your bong is. Take the bong out of the bag, reseal the bag and throw it away.
- Rinse the bong with warm soapy water. You must thoroughly rinse all the isopropyl alcohol before using your bong again, as it’s super flammable. Plus, dish soap will break down any residual oil remaining on the glass.
- Soak the bowl, stem, and any other loose pieces in alcohol to clean them using the pipe cleaner to clear the stem of any stuck-on resin. Rinse well with soapy water and let all the pieces of your bog dry out completely before using it again.
How to Clean a Silicone Bong
The traditional method for cleaning glass bongs is too abrasive for silicone bongs. However, there are several easy methods for cleaning your silicone bong to keep it in shape, hit after hit:
How to Clean a Dab Rig with Steam
While dag rigs provide that powerful, concentrated, and flavorful hit of your favorite cannabis wax, they probably seem like a pretty complex device to keep clean. But, just like your bong, it’s important to keep your dab rig clean, maintain proper function, get maximum flavor, and give you the best dab experience.
You can clean your dab rig the same way you clean your glass bong with isopropyl alcohol and coarse sea salt. But if you don’t have any cleaning solution available, you can clean your dab rig using the simplest method possible - with your stove and water:
Bring water to a full boil on the stove, letting the steam build up.
Hold your dab rig over the steam using some kitchen tongs to prevent burns. You’ll see the heat from the stream break down the oil and gunk.
Take your dab rig off the steam and let sit for a minute; any longer, and you’ll lose all the heat.
Pour hot water into the dab rig. You’ll want to make sure it’s made of tempered glass first to avoid cracking.
Swill the water around the dab rig to detach the loosened patches of residue.
- Pour the water out and allow it to dry. Easy!
It’s simple to clean your dab banger nail too. After each dab, while the banger is still warm, use a cotton swab to clean out any puddles of oil or charred residue.
Tips for Keeping a Clean Bong
If you don’t want a reputation as the person who always whips out a dirty, clogged-up bong, there are plenty of low-maintenance things you can do to keep it fresh and fine tasting:
- After every smoke, dump out the dirty water and rinse out your bong.
- Keeping your bong out of direct sunlight will slow down the growth of mold and bacteria.
- Add a little salt to your bong water which will help stop residue from binding to your bong.
The Main Takeaway
Cleaning your bong is key for your enjoyment and health. A dirty bong produces dirty smoke and harbors bacteria that can make you ill when inhaled.
While there are cleaning products on the market specifically designed for cleaning bongs, it’s easy to clean a glass bong yourself at home effectively using a combination of isopropyl alcohol and salt.
For acrylic or silicone bongs, you’ll need a less abrasive cleaning method, such as using hot water and soap or running it through the dishwasher.
It can be a sticky job, but it’s worth it if you want to have the best smoking experience.