As most cannabis consumers know, smoking out of a dirty bong or water pipe can really put a damper on your smoking experience. Dirty bongs are harsh, foul-tasting, smelly, and might even put you at greater risk of developing a lung infection. But, how often should you clean your piece? And what’s the best way to do it? Here’s how often you should clean your bong or water pipe.
How often should you clean your bong?
For heavy consumers, the correct answer to this question is once every one to two days. At a bare minimum, heavy consumers should use fresh bong water every day. For everyone else, the healthiest way to smoke out of a bong is to clean it after each use and let it dry completely before storing.
Not only does fresh water make your smoking experience tastier and more pleasant all around, but keeping fresh water in your bong helps stop the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. If you let your bong go long enough without being cleaned, a slimy biofilm can develop.
This biofilm is similar to the pink discoloration often found in bathtubs and showers. Biofilm can contain both bacteria and fungi, depending on what happens to be hanging around your home or environment. Because it is difficult to tell what microorganisms may be making a home inside your bong, it’s best to avoid inhaling smoke from dirty, water-exposed pieces.
For more information on what types of microbes may be present in your bong and how to avoid them, check out the full article.
Signs you need to clean your bong
Changing bong water daily and cleaning once a week can drastically improve the smoking experience. Yet, for some, refreshing your piece daily might seem like overkill.
To improve your health and the taste of your bud, here are some key signs that you’re in need of a change:
- Slimy film inside the bong
- Heavy resin buildup
- Brown, discolored bong water
- Especially smelly bong water
- White or gray mold fuzz on resin build up
- White or black specks along bong or water pipe walls
How to clean your bong or pipe
When you’re finished with your bong for the day, a simple way to clean your piece is to rinse it out with hot, boiled water. Extremely hot water causes resin droplets to bead and run out of your bong. After rinsing with hot water, simply let your bong air dry completely.
With heavy use, it is recommended to clean your bong with salt and isopropyl alcohol about once per week. While hot, boiling water does get out a fair amount of resin buildup and plant materials for daily maintenance, sticky cannabis oils tend to coat the sides of bongs as well as buildup on percolators and ice catchers.
Isopropyl alcohol and salt scrub and dissolve resin residue, leaving your piece squeaky clean.
To clean your bong, water pipe, or rig with the alcohol method, simply:
- If possible, remove your bowl and down stem to clean separately
- Pour rock salt, sea salt, or table salt into the bottom of your bong
- Pour 70 to 90 percent isopropyl alcohol in bong
- Hold on to your bong by covering the top and down stem hole with a towel
- Give the piece a few good shakes and swirl the mixture around
To clean your down stem, bowl, or pipe:
- Soak your down stem, bowl, or pipe in boiling water to remove the bulk of the buildup
- Place pieces in a plastic baggie or plastic container with salt and rubbing alcohol
- Shake vigorously
- Rinse clean
- Spot clean with pipe cleaners or a bottle brush
- Let dry completely before using
For more information on bong care, check out the full article.
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