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Bubblers are portable, convenient, and great for delivering the smoothest hits. Many of them also come in beautifully intricate designs—which makes them an aesthetically pleasing addition to your display shelf. However, that’s also exactly why they’re very challenging to clean.
As with anything that is often exposed to dirt and moisture, your bubbler can get quite grimy—and ultimately unsanitary—if not cleaned properly. Its small, enclosed chamber also involves the mixing of water and hot smoke, making it the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Ew!
So how do you clean a bubbler? Read on to learn how to give your bubbler a good wash using cleaning solutions you can make using everyday household products. Hopefully, by the end of this guide, you’ll be able to keep your bubbler looking good as new every time!
Like many different types of bongs, a bubbler is commonly made up of several components—a bowl for your ground weed, a stem where the smoke passes through, a chamber that holds the water for cooling down the smoke, and a mouthpiece from which you can inhale the resulting smooth, buttery hits.
Now, imagine this: Every time you use your bubbler, the moisture inside gets hot, evaporates, condenses on the top, trickles back down the sides, and pools back up at the bottom again. After prolonged use, sticky gunk can clog the stem and affect the quality of your smoke. The bubbler doesn’t have a wide opening either, so it’s not easy to just pour used water out after use.
But don’t worry—similar to cleaning your bong, this step-by-step guide can help you get rid of stubborn resin build-up, keep bacteria at bay, restore the flavor and smoothness of your hits, and ultimately extend the lifespan of your bubbler.
There are a few quick-and-easy solutions you can whip up (all using products you’ll likely find in your kitchen or pantry) for the bubbler cleaning process:
This is by far the best and most commonly used solution for cleaning bubblers and bongs. However, it’s not the best choice for silicone devices as it can dissolve the material and render your bubbler useless.
We recommend you try this one as it’s the most effective way to clean a bubbler, aside from the one with alcohol. It’s also the ideal solution for silicone bubblers, in case they are not safe to clean in dishwashers.
Should you decide to do without salt and alcohol altogether, the universal vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution seems to work just as well on bubblers.
The lemon water solution takes the longest to work (2-3 hours or longer) and you’ll need just the right amount of warmth so you don’t break your bubbler. Nonetheless, it will clean and even remove unwanted odors.
The best way to clean a bubbler is to use your choice of liquid solution before actually getting into cleaning its intricate parts. Not only is it super effective, but it also reduces the risk of breaking your glass or quartz bubblers compared to boiling.
However, if you’re going to clean a silicone bubbler, check first to see if it’s dishwasher safe. If it is, then you can simply take the pieces apart, chuck them in with the rest of your dirty dishes, and you’re done.
For other types of bubblers, you will need:
Mix your cleaning solution in the container. Make sure to prepare enough to allow you to submerge your bubbler.
Stir the mixture to dissolve any grains of salt or baking powder, then let it sit for a while.
Gently place your bubbler in the container until it is fully submerged in the solution. Leave to soak for about 30 to 60 minutes—or better yet, overnight.
Alternatively, you can fill your bubbler with the solution, take plastic bags to cover the holes and keep the solution inside, and then wrap the bubbler with rubber bands to keep the plastic cover secure. Again, allow to soak for the same amount of time.
Take the bubbler out of the cleaning solution, empty it, then rinse with warm water (make sure that it’s not too hot or cold). Next, check if it still looks dirty. If it does, you may need to soak it again.
You can move on to the next step if you can see just a few dirt spots left.
It’s time to remove grime and debris from hard-to-reach areas of your bubbler. Using your pipe cleaner, scrub the dirty spots while rinsing with warm water or in your cleaning solution. If it doesn’t work, perhaps you can try soaking the bubbler again to loosen up the nasty gunk.
While your bubbler probably looks good as new by this time, don’t skip this step! Make sure you wash off any alcohol and salt solution since it can be dangerous if smoked. And finally, dry your bubbler completely to get rid of all moisture before attempting to use it again.
Now that you know how to clean a glass bubbler, you can better maintain it not only for long-term use but also for your own safety. The general recommendation for cleaning your bubbler is every 3 to 6 months, or more so if you use it frequently—this is so you don’t end up with bacterial growth.
Don’t forget to be careful with its parts, take your time so you don’t have to keep redoing it more often than you should, and use the right solution so as not to damage your bubbler.