Learn | 09.21.2022

Stonerpedia: How To Actually Clean Your Pipe

Whether glass, wood, or ceramic, cleaning your pipe is almost as important as choosing the perfect strain to smoke in it.

If you have a pipe or are thinking of getting one, we have news for you. First, they need to be cleaned regularly.

A dirty pipe should never stand between a person and their cannabis-induced state of bliss. While cleaning isn’t usually on the list of fun stoner activities, it’s a necessary task that will significantly improve the quality of your next session.

If not cleaned regularly, pipes accumulate residue that causes clogs and negatively affects the flavor of the smoke, as well as can be very harmful to your health.

If you are looking to enjoy an optimal smoking experience, it is important to clean your pipe regularly. So here are a few tips to take your dirty pipe from dreadful to attractive.

Glass or Ceramic Pipes

These are perhaps the most common types of pipes, and it is important to know how to clean them well to have smoking sessions full of clean flavor.

The best-known and perhaps ancientest method is the old reliable technique of mixing alcohol and salt. This is one of the simplest methods, requiring only common household materials and a little energy.

What You'll Need To Clean Your Pipe

  • Pipe cleaner and/or cotton swabs.
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Plastic bag and plastic bowl
  • Salt
  • Dish soap

Now, let’s get to work.

Step 1. Turn the pipe upside down and blow out any excess pieces of herbs that may be stuck inside the pipe. Use a pipe cleaner and/or a cotton swab to clean out any remaining large pieces or surface dirt.

Step 2. Add a good amount of alcohol and a few tablespoons of salt to a plastic bag or bowl. This will form the basis of the cleaning solution.

Tip: Use the strongest concentration of alcohol you can find (90% is preferable), and the largest grains of salt (try kosher or sea salt, but at the end of the day, either is fine).

Step 3. Place the pipe in the bag and shake vigorously. You can count this as your exercise for the day. The more you shake the bag, the more the alcohol and salt can work their magic and clean the pipe. Please be careful and don’t hit anything.

Step 4. Let the pipe soak in the bag. How long you leave the pipe in the bag depends on you and how dirty the pipe is.

Tip: For pipes that only need a little touch-up, proceed to step 5. For pipes that have been neglected for a long time and need a complete change, keep them soaking overnight and go back to step 1.

Step 5. Fill a bowl with hot – not boiling – water and a drop or two of dish soap, and place the pipe in the bowl. The heat of the water combined with the dirt-removing ability of the soap will be the finishing touch needed to rinse the pipe.

Step 6. Use a pipe cleaner or cotton swab for a final touch-up, and pour some hot water over the pipe to remove the last traces of soap. Be sure not to douse the hot pipe with cold water unless you plan to make a stained glass window out of the shattered fragments of what used to be your pipe. And voila, you have a beautifully clean, like-new pipe.

Alternative Methods For Glass And Ceramic Pipes

Photo courtesy of Chill Steel Pipes

For the cleaning indicated, you can use the traditional method of salt and isopropyl alcohol. If you do not have them at hand or prefer other methods, you can also use baking soda and vinegar.

For this, cover the piece with a good amount of baking soda and then pour white vinegar over it. You can expect effervescence in all its splendor. You can do this in a plastic bag or directly in a bowl. Let it soak for 20 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. You can repeat the procedure as many times as you need.

If you want to use another method, vinegar alone could also work. For this, you should mix one part vinegar and one part hot water in a container large enough to submerge the pipe. Let it soak for 12 hours, and scrape off the resin residue with a cotton swab.

Nowadays, there are also many ready-made mixtures that are specially designed for cleaning pipes, look for some at your local dispensary and follow their instructions.

How To Clean A Wooden Pipe

Wooden pipes are a classic of the cannabis scene.

They require a little extra maintenance, but a dirty wooden pipe can be restored to its former glory by following these steps.

What You'll Need

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Step 1. Turn the pipe upside down and shake it gently to remove loose ashes and debris. Don’t hesitate to give a gentle puff from the top.

Step 2. Twist in the center to disassemble the pipe into two pieces. Once the pieces are separated, shake and blow gently again to dislodge any bits of resin that may have been trapped inside the pipe.

Step 3. Dip the pipe cleaner in a solution of half water and half isopropyl alcohol and let it soak for one minute.

Step 4. Thread the pipe cleaner through the pipe stem, gently twisting and scraping off the resin layers. Thread the pipe cleaner through the pipe stem and repeat the operation. Wrap the paper towel around the outside of the pipe to make sure none of the isopropyl seeps into the pipe varnish.

Step 5. Take a new pipe cleaner and soak it in the water and isopropyl solution. Fold the pipe cleaner in half and gently rub it over the sides and bottom of the bowl. Be careful not to completely remove the “cake” buildup on the bottom of the bowl. Cake adds character to your smoking experience, and many pipe enthusiasts consider it an essential part of a wood pipe.

Optional: Coat the outside of your pipe with a thin layer of olive oil. Some pipe users strongly oppose this step, while others swear by it, so take it as optional. It adds a nice sheen and can help preserve the appearance of the pipe, but it is by no means mandatory.

Tips

Photo courtesy of Chill Steel Pipes

Tip 1: When dealing with glass or wooden pipes, it is best not to boil them. Using boiling water risks weakening the glass or warping the wood if you do. And you certainly don’t want this.

Tip 2: Instead of making a pipe soup, the key is to soak and vigorously shake the pipe and use a mixture.

Tip 3: he most important part of cleaning is to do it consistently. If you clean your pipe once a year, your smokes probably won’t be the best, and we can imagine the harsh, bitter taste. Constant maintenance may seem like a daunting task when you’re on a delicious high, but add it to your to-do list and give your pipe regular care.

Is It Bad To Smoke From A Dirty Pipe?

The experience of smoking a dirty pipe is quite unpleasant to the senses. The burning taste and some pieces of resin getting into your mouth are not fun experiences.

In terms of negative health consequences, dirty pipes can harbor toxic substances, plus it is preferable to avoid spreading germs, mold, or tar residues.

Regular cleaning of your smoking elements is very important and will ultimately only improve the overall experience. It’s a win-win wherever you look at it.

Plus, you can always reward yourself with a fat bowl of weed when you finish.

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