Glass cleaning 101: Three ways to clean your glass cannabis accessories
Accessories like glass bongs, bubblers, and pipes should be cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning your glassware regularly may prevent the buildup of resin that may contain tar and carcinogens. While pipes should generally be cleaned once a week, water-based pieces like bubblers and bongs should be cleaned more regularly. The more ornate or detailed your piece is, the more challenging it will be to clean.
Bongs require more attention than pipes as they can be a bit harder to clean. For best results when cleaning a bong, remove parts like downstems, bowls, and other attachments and clean them separately.
Always refer to the manufacturer’s website for cleaning instructions for your specific accessory. The following methods can also be used to keep your glassware clean.
Method 1: Dedicated cannabis cleaning products
Tools required: Dedicated cleaning product, pipe cleaner, or cotton swab.
Cannabis accessory cleaning products are available on our website, including out-of-the-box cleaning solutions. For the most part, these dedicated cleaning products do not require you to scrub or shake your glassware. Different products may require different processes, but most call for a simple soak of the accessory and a brief clean with pipe cleaners and cotton swabs (or included cleaning cloths). Keep in mind that soaking for a few hours may be necessary depending on how dirty your piece is — check with the manufacturers of the cleaning products and your accessory for more information. View our current selection of cleaning products here.
Method 2: Homemade salt and isopropyl alcohol solution
Tools required: Resealable bag/container that is big enough to hold your accessory, isopropyl alcohol (90 percent concentration, available at most grocery stores and pharmacies), salt, pipe cleaners, or cotton swabs.
This method can be used to remove the resin that builds up in a glass accessory after repeated use. The protocol will vary slightly depending on the accessory that you are cleaning. Check with the manufacturer for details before using this technique on your glassware.
Place the pipe or bong in an appropriately sized resealable bag or container and fill it with isopropyl alcohol so that it is completely submerged (the more concentrated the alcohol] , the less time required to clean). The concentrated alcohol breaks down built-up resin and tar. Adding a tablespoon of coarse salt (the coarser, the better) will help to loosen excess grime.
Seal the bag and shake it thoroughly, ensuring that the salt works its way into the chamber. If it is very dirty, you may have to repeat this process a few times, or soak it overnight. Once you are satisfied with the cleanliness, rinse thoroughly with hot water. If you notice water stains on your pipe or bong, use a solution of water with a squeeze of lemon juice to remove them.
Method 3: Boiling
Tools required: Large cooking pot, water, pipe cleaner or cotton swabs
Check with the manufacturer that your glassware is suitable for this cleaning technique and can be submerged in water. This method is best used with smaller glass accessories that will fit into a pot on the stove. Bring a pot of water to a boil, filling it with enough water to guarantee your accessory will be fully submerged. Gently tap out any loose resin first, and then rinse your accessory with warm water from the tap. It’s important to use warm water to rinse your accessory before placing it in the pot of boiling water as using cold water could cause the glass to crack.
Once the water has boiled, reduce to a simmer and submerge the pipe in the water; always remember to use extreme caution around hot water. Be sure not to stray too far from the pot as the boiling water will eventually evaporate, which could potentially break your pipe or bong. Leave it in the water to soak at a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, drain the water, and then carefully remove the pipe or bong using an oven mitt, tongs, or other heat-resistant tool. Resist the urge to rinse your accessory in cold water right away as this could shatter the glass. Repeat as required.
Finally, use a pipe cleaner or cotton swab to remove any remaining residue.