How to Clean a Bong?

dirty bong

Whether you're a casual or everyday smoker, it’s important to learn how to clean your bong properly. Beyond occasionally rinsing it or dumping out the dirty bong water after each use, you'll want to take steps to remove the built-up gunk and residue—both for your health and the quality of your smoke sesh. 

It's important to routinely clean your bong in order to keep this smoking accessory in good working condition. Regular maintenance will also help extend its life, as well as provide a smoother, healthier, and better-tasting smoking experience.

The good news is, there are plenty of fast and easy ways to clean your bong.

Household Products You Can Use to Clean a Bong

You can find a variety of effective bong-cleaning products on the market. But you can also use simple, everyday items that you probably already have lying around in your kitchen.

These household products include:

  • liquid dish soap
  • rubbing alcohol 
  • table or sea salt (preferably a courser salt as the abrasive texture helps remove resin)
  • vinegar
  • cotton swabs or pipe cleaners (great for hard-to-reach spots)
  • lemons or bottled lemon juice
  • Ziploc bags or Tupperware containers
  • small pieces of cork or cotton (to be used to plug the mouthpiece/stem, carburetor, and other holes when soaking the bong)
  • rubber bands (in case your bong has fragile pieces that need to be banded together)
  • plastic or rubber gloves

What is the Best Way to Clean a Bong?

How to Clean a Bong

There are several ways to clean a bong. Whether you have a glass, acrylic, ceramic, metal, plastic, or silicone⁠ water pipe, the cleaning procedure is pretty much the same. However, keep in mind that glass bongs should be made of tempered glass to ensure that they can withstand a hot water rinse.

How to Clean a Bong Without Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is one of the most popular and cost-effective cleaning solutions for a putrid pipe. But what if you don’t have it on hand or it’s not available at the store? We are in a pandemic, after all.

If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol at home, here’s what you need to do to get your bong squeaky-clean once again.

Use liquid dish soap and run your bong under hot water.

Place two to three drops of liquid dish soap on the inside of the top of the bong. Then, turn on the tap water and let it run hot. Place the bong in the sink under the flow of water and allow it to run through the bong for a few minutes. The water will help loosen and flush out the black tar and other resin through the carburetor and the hole in the bowl. 

Take the bong apart and soak in a hot, soapy solution.

Fill the sink with hot water or heat up some water in a pan on the stove. Add a few more drops of liquid dish soap to create a soapy solution. Then, take the water pipe apart and soak the pieces in the solution. They must be completely submerged. 

Make sure the water is hot enough to loosen any stubborn residue inside the bong, but not too hot where it can melt a plastic or acrylic bong or crack a glass pipe.

Let the items soak for 10 to 15 minutes. 

Use cotton swabs to remove any visible residue.

While the pieces are soaking, use a cotton swab to rub away any residue that you can reach. You should start to see black specks of residue flaking off in the water.

Continue to work on stubborn stains and residue until you’ve removed all the nasty stuff. You can also use pipe cleaners if you have them. 

Place the pieces on paper towels and allow to dry before reassembling.

How to Deep Clean a Bong with Rubbing Alcohol 

How to Clean a Bong

As previously mentioned, rubbing alcohol is a popular cleaning agent for removing gunk and residue from a bong. The stringent alcohol works on a variety of bong materials and is especially effective in cleaning glassware. 

Use 70% alcohol for lighter cleaning or go for 99% for more stubborn stains.

Remove the detachable parts and place them in clean containers.

Begin by removing all detachable parts⁠—such as the stem⁠—and placing them in separate Ziploc bags or covered Tupperware containers. Add a mixture of coarse salt and rubbing alcohol into each container, making sure both items are submerged.

Set the containers aside.

Rinse and soak the piece in hot water. 

Do a pre-clean by rinsing and soaking the bong in hot water. Follow the steps outlined in the previous procedure.

If there’s some leftover water in your bong, make sure to pour it out into the sink beforehand. 

Add coarse salt and rubbing alcohol to the inside of the bong.

Use small pieces of cork (or purchase appropriately sized plugs) to plug the holes in the tube and stem of the bong. Then, add a tablespoon or two of coarse salt⁠ and about a quarter cup of isopropyl alcohol to the bong. 

Shake vigorously.

Let the inside of the bong soak in the cleaning solution.

Let the salt and alcohol mixture soak the inside of the bong for a few minutes. This should take care of all the caked-on residue. However, if it doesn’t get everything during the first soak, you can simply repeat the process⁠—pour out the dirty alcohol and salt and add in a fresh mixture of solution. 

You can repeat this procedure several times until your piece is spotless. For extremely stubborn gunk, try soaking the bong overnight.

Rinse and allow to dry.

Rinse the stem and any other detachable parts under warm water and dry with a paper towel. Do the same with the body of the bong before reassembling it for your next smoking experience.

How to Clean a Bong Natural Cleaning Items (Vinger or Lemon Juice)

How to Clean a Bong

As mentioned, there are some household products that can be used to clean a bong. Items like vinegar and baking soda can be substituted for isopropyl alcohol. Lemon juice can also be used as its natural acids can both sanitize and add a fresh smell to your bong.

Household vinegar has long been used as a cleaning solution for everything from windows to clothing. So, why not use this powerful cleaning agent on your bong? Distilled white vinegar is especially useful at removing hard water stains, which makes it ideal for regular bong cleaning.

Cleaning a Bong with Vinegar

First, plug the holes of your bong and fill the pipe with distilled white vinegar. Let it soak for 10 to 15 minutes. You may also need to shake the bong a few times to swish the vinegar around. 

Then, unplug the holes, flush the bong with hot water, and allow it to dry. 

Aside from using the vinegar to deep clean your bong, you can also use it in between smoking sessions to help combat residue build-up and hard water stains. After each use, simply pour some vinegar into the bowl of your bong and swish for a minute or two. 

Cleaning a Bong with Lemon Juice

Another standard technique for cleaning a glass bong without using alcohol is to use the natural acids from a lemon. The acid in lemon juice has long been used as an agent to clean copper pans. The oil in the juice contains a natural acid with anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties that clean and sanitize, making it a perfect cleaning agent for bongs.

Soak and clean a bong with lemon juice by plugging the holes of the bong and pouring a mixture of hot water and lemon juice down the mouthpiece. Let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes before emptying it and drying off any excess residue with a paper towel. 

Your bong will not only be sparkling clean⁠—it’ll smell great, too.

Why You Should Clean Your Bong Regularly

How to Clean a Bong

The primary reason to keep your bong clean is to get rid of any dirt, dust, and bacteria that will inevitably accumulate as you use it. A clean bong will help ensure the smoothest, most satisfying smoking experience possible.

Here are a few other reasons to clean your bong regularly:

Improved Smell

Doing a thorough cleaning makes the overall smoking experience better by getting rid of the stench of the dirty bong water. This also helps save your upholstered furniture, drapes, and clothing from absorbing the smell.

Better Taste

If you've ever smoked regular cigarettes and then tried menthol or a flavored brand, then you know just how much smoke does indeed have a specific taste. Removing tar build-up and old, burnt herb that fell into the bong chamber lets more pure smoke reach your senses⁠—which makes for a better-tasting smoke sesh.

Healthier Smoking Experience 

If you were paying attention in biology class, then you know that stagnant water is a natural breeding ground for mold and bacteria. And we probably don’t need to tell you that inhaling, ingesting, or even touching anything that has mold and/or bad bacteria can be hazardous to your health.

How Often Should You Clean Your Bong?

Many smokers will usually wait until their bong water starts to emit an unpleasant and pungent odor before they decide to clean it. But, ideally, you should dump out any used bong water and rinse the device with hot water after each use.

Wipe it dry with a towel or turn it over and allow it to air dry so it'll be clean and fresh for your next smoke session.

If routine cleaning is too time-consuming, another option is to clean the bong after every two or three uses to keep the tar buildup from getting out of control and ruining the taste of each hit.

Or better yet, buy some back-up bongs. That way, you can just reach for a fresh one whenever you don't feel like cleaning the one you just used. Check out our list of the best bongs on the market to find some great options to add to your collection.

Check out Slyng for the latest bongs and smoking accessories.

Photos: Pixabay; Slyng