Happy 4/20, smokers, tokers, and dab-rippers! Today is your day to be completely faded from morning till night, but there’s nothing that blows a perfectly good
high vibe like hitting a grimy bong, my dude. (It defffffinitely didn’t used to be that color when you first copped it). Same goes for your pipes and one-hitters; your pieces need proper TLC to keep functioning like they did the day you christened them, and if you take proper care, they’ll last you a whole lot longer.
But if you’re all “OK, but how do I clean it, brosef?”, we’ve got answers. Don’t worry: We would never kill your buzz with a 20-step cleaning routine. We're lazy enough to have tried running our bong through the dishwasher before (sadly, it doesn’t work). With our previous cleaning failures in mind—and while waiting until they invent a bong-cleaning robot— we’re digging up some of the most ingenious products to help you maintain a pristine collection of smoking accessories sparkly enough to display on your shelves like postmodern art.
In our pursuit of pipe-and-bong cleanliness, we spoke to two experts on the topic—Jenny Wichman, founder and designer of Yew Yew, and Go Easy founder Molly Mathias, who know just as much about creating cool smoking accessories as they do about caring for them. They’ve spilled all their secrets and favorite cleaning routines for getting the most out of your glass pieces. It’s inevitable that they’ll get grimy, but there are a few things you can do to get ahead of the problem.
Grab some mesh filters
Mathias’ hot tip is to buy a cheap pack of mesh filters, or even glass filters “if you are sensitive to plant matter in your mouth.” Not only do they keep keef off your tongue, but they also keep your bong water cleaner and clearer for longer, and you won’t waste as much broccoli.
How to clean a bong
Alright, down to the nitty gritty: how to clean a bong. Both Wichman and Mathias are proponents of good old-fashioned isopropyl alcohol and salt. “It’s all you really need,” says Wichman. “Pour the salt inside the piece, add a good splash of isopropyl, cover any holes, and shake!” She even made a little video tutorial for visual learners. “The salt scrubs off the resin, so the coarser the better—let that sit for an hour or so then shake again and rinse.” To make your life even easier, there are ingenious little accessories to help you get into all the hard-to-reach spots—like bong plugs—so you can shake it like a Polaroid picture without getting old bong water everywhere.
Magnetic scrubbers are also useful for giving the inside walls a good wipe (from the outside!), and “a reusable straw cleaner works wonders on a downstem,” according to Wichman.
When it comes to those expensive bong cleaning solutions, Molly Mathias has tried plenty, but her “favorite is Grunge Off, which you just need to let sit for an hour then rinse with hot water,” which “leaves [her] pieces squeaky clean, with a minty smell.” A bottle lasts around three months.
For smaller pipes and one-hitters, Matthias loads them into a Tupperware container and shakes until they’re good as new, and Yew Yew makes a silicone pouch for cleaning pipes and small glass pieces.
So the big takeaway here from both experts is, simply, to clean often. “I have friends text me all the time that they are having ‘issues,’ and my first question is, when was the last time you cleaned it?” says Mathias.
You’re going to get build-up after every use, which means, long-term, your piece’s pull won't be as good or effective if you aren’t cleaning often. According to Wichman, you should give your bong or pipe a good cleaning session at least once a month. “Just don’t let your bong get nasty,” she says. “It’s not good for your lungs or for your life.” She also recommends filling your bong with fresh water before each use because “bong water can grow mold overnight—so gross.”
Ideally, you’re also emptying your bong after each session, but, as Wichman jokingly quips, “Who can remember that?” For in-between heavy-duty cleanings, toker pokers and alcohol-filled cotton swabs are good to have on hand, and if you’re really lazy, there are ultrasonic cleaning kits, but they’ll cost you.
Blaze on, cheeba hawks.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.