You come home after a long, stressful day. You’ve got pain in your back and a major headache. And you’d like nothing more than take a rip from your beautiful glass bong.
One look at it, though, as you walk in your home and your stress levels skyrocket – your bong looks like a clogged roof gutter after a heavy rain.
Add bong cleaning to your “to do” list.
We’ve all been there. It’s not that you don’t know how to clean a bong. But you’re so busy with life that whenever you come home, cleaning a bong is the last thing on your mind.
It’s a paradox. You know that the smoothest, best-taking bong rips come from regular bong maintenance.
Yet… cleaning a bong is no fun. It’s like doing the dishes – you know that the only way to have a good meal is to eat off of (or out of) clean dishes. Yet, it’s something you try to avoid until it’s absolutely necessary (even as you always say to yourself, “I need to wash these things.”).
5 Reasons An Unclean Bong Is Not a Good Idea
Bong maintenance. No one likes it.
But it’s a bad habit to let the water in your bong turn brown and unclean. For starters, it looks unsanitary; however, for a long-time bong user, that’s not the worst thing.
By avoiding bong cleaning, you’re letting the bong water turn nasty and repulsive. This is the best way to ruin the taste of the weed you smoke. And you’re also allowing it to become smelly, which for some people can be worse than anything.
Would you allow your car to go without regular maintenance? How about your teeth or your body?
No, of course not. You know that regular maintenance allows your car to last longer. Regular upkeep of your teeth keeps your them strong and clean for decades while regular care of your body permits you to grow old – while feeling less old than you are!
It’s the same with clean bongs, so why let yours go unclean?
Stagnant water also makes cleaning a bong harder and almost impossible to keep it fresh and sparkling so that every sesh is tasty and smooth.
Here are 4 reasons why cleaning a bong that’s unclean is important:
Risk of Bacteria and Infection
Research indicates that it takes less than 24 hours for bacteria to begin forming in used bong water, so not cleaning a bong for even one 24-hour period can start the contamination process.
Because you’re inhaling content directly from the water, it goes straight to your lungs; and so does the bacteria. This increases the risk of infection and general nastiness inside your body.
In addition, it’s not tasty. As the bacteria begin to slowly turn the bong water into sewage, the taste changes.
Which leads to…
Rancid Smell and Bad Taste
First, there’s the smell of bong itself. Dirty water emits a rancid smell, especially if it’s been standing around for a few days (and it’s even worse in hot, humid places).
Also consider, this – there’s always the potential for spilling, so if you spill dirty water from a bong, the smell from the mess will be horrific, especially if the bong water is exceptionally dirty. And that’s not even considering the stains that will mar your carpets or furniture (or even the family cat or dog!).
Second, there’s both the smell of smoke and the taste of weed from inhalation. If you’ve spent a lot of time and money either growing your own weed or making the purchase of your favorite strain of flower, why not spend a little more time on a regular basis getting rid of your dirty water and performing bong maintenance?
Otherwise, you’re constantly susceptible to having both bad smell AND bad taste whenever you take a rip.
Clean, cool water that’s changed out once a week will ensure an aromatic, great-tasting sesh every time!
The question of how often to clean a bong should be determined by your smoking habits. For example, if you regularly smoke alone, then cleaning the bong is up to you – daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly.
However, if you regularly have a group sesh (or even if you simply have it once in a while), it’s a good idea to perform good bong maintenance after each sesh, especially if you suspect someone’s got a cold or some other virus. This helps keep down the risks of transferring germs.
One other suggestion for keeping clean bongs: during a sesh, if you have some alcohol swabs or wipes handy, you can wipe the mouthpiece after each person’s rip, just to be sure.
If you’ve spent good money on your good-looking glass, why sully it with dirty crap water? It’s like not washing a quality shirt, blouse, pants, or skirt.
Show off that artwork that so many bongs are famous for. Allow your fellow sesh BFFs to admire and enjoy smoking from your fine bong (which won’t be possible if you avoid regular bong cleaning).
The Image of Weed Smokers
As cannabis goes mainstream around the U.S., the best way to ensure that it continues, and that you maintain your freedom of choice when it comes to cannabis seshing, is to do the little things that will help reduce the “stoner” image that too many people have about weed smokers: lazy, unintelligent, unmotivated, unsuccessful, unable to maintain quality of life, etc.
You know that weed smokers are perfectly capable of leading successful, “normal” lives, but you should also know that changing the image of smoking weed is important to all of us.
As acceptance grows, more and more stories emerge of business owners who’ve achieved phenomenal success while continuing to be a heavy smoker. Make sure you’re one of those who help elevate the plant’s (and the smoker’s) image and perpetuate this new image.
Not cleaning a bong is a small thing, but it maintains the negative stereotype that weed smokers don’t want as well as the image that prevents full acceptance of weed by society as a whole.
If you don’t think it’s important, then consider the alternative – buying weed on the black market (where you have no guarantees of purity or standards) and/or always having to consider the prospect of getting arrested.
Bong cleaning may not be your (or anyone’s) idea of fun, but the cleaner you keep your bong, the better your seshes, the longer they last, and the more good memories you create.
Who knew that so much could come from proper, regular bong maintenance?
What Do You Need for Proper Bong Cleaning?
You may be asking yourself, “What can I use to clean my bong?”
To be honest, you don’t need much to clean a bong, and it usually takes only a few minutes.
You also don’t need to engage in bong maintenance every day, although there’s plenty of merit in a daily session of bong cleaning.
However, just once every week or two is usually sufficient, and your trusty bong will never let you down (although see above for suggestions on how often to do bong maintenance, as it should depend on your toking habits).
Here’s what you’ll almost certainly need:
Deep sink or tub and running water
- This will aid in the bong cleaning and rinsing
Rubbing alcohol (Choose 1 of the following)
- 70%+ Isopropyl (perfect for light or daily cleaning)
- 90%+ Isopropyl (a popular choice for regular cleaning)
- 100% Acetone (such as nail polish remover, ideal for heavier cleaning)
An alternative to rubbing alcohol is very hot water, though alcohol is highly recommended for keeping your bong sparkling and super fresh.
Coarse Salt (Choose 1 of the following)
- Epsom Salt (most popular)
- Sea Salt
- Rock Salt
Material for Plugging or Stuffing Openings
- Cotton Balls (most popular)
- Q-tips (for smaller openings)
- Hand towels (for larger openings)
Now you’re ready for the main event – cleaning a bong.
How to Clean a Bong
Step 1: Prep the Bong
Make sure your bong or homemade bong has none of the old, dirty water by giving it a quick rinse with hot water to soften any leftover resin that remains. Rinse it several times to remove as much crap and debris as possible, which will help you conserve on cleaning materials during routine bong maintenance.
Step 2: Pour In Alcohol
Pour the rubbing alcohol into the bong. The size and shape of the bong will determine how much you use, but here are two things on which to base your decision:
- For a straight pipe glass bong, a common amount to use is about half the amount of water that you normally use
- For a bong with a water chamber, fill about a quarter of the chamber with alcohol
Step 3: Add Salt
Don’t just dump in a random amount of salt, however. Pour enough salt to fill up the palm of your cupped hand. For more aggressive bong cleaning, add more; for lighter cleaning, reduce the amount.
Also consider the following – are you soaking the bong for a few hours (or even overnight) or are you going to take matters into your own hands and shake it? Which one you choose will impact your bong cleaning.
For example, it you’re going to soak it, then you’ll want to add more alcohol and perhaps a little more salt. After letting it soak, then shake it up to loosen what’s still sticking to the glass.
On the other hand, if you’re going to shake it, add more salt. Then shake vigorously to loosen up the built-up resin so the remainder of the cleaning is a breeze.
Although it usually takes only one time for the bong maintenance process to get the piece as clean as you want, sometimes, the resin and other sticky remains are stubborn enough to require at least one more go-round.
Step 4: Cover the Openings
Before soaking (and especially before shaking things up), cover all openings with the material appropriate for the size of the opening. If you don’t do this (or if you don’t do it thoroughly), your bong won’t be sealed and leaking and/or spilling will make your things messier and your life less convenient.
It’s suggested that cotton balls be used to cover the bowl and/or stem openings while a small hand towel is suggested for the main tube and mouthpiece of your bong.
Step 5: Soak or Shake
If you’re soaking, let it stand for several hours, if not more. For more thorough bong cleaning, however, let it soak overnight (yes, this means you’ll have to use alternative smoking methods to enjoy the night’s sesh).
If you’re shaking it clean, then make sure you grasp firmly and cover the covered openings as you shake the bong with the solution sloshing inside. Shake hard enough that the salt will be abrasive enough to clean the stubborn remains of resin and gunk clinging to the glass.
After a minute or two of shaking, you should start seeing a difference as the debris and resin slide off the glass. You should expect that the salt and alcohol mixture becomes dark and dirty, which means that the shaking is working.
Step 6: Thoroughly Rinse the Bong
Once you’re done with your bong cleaning, and you’re happy with the results, then one final step would be a good idea: thoroughly rinse out your bong with warm water. In fact, you should take time to rinse out 3-4 times to get all the alcohol and/or salt that might remain.
To make sure all the alcohol has been rinsed out, take a sniff of the inside of the bong. Any remaining smell is a telltale sign that you should rinse at least once more, if not 2-3 times more.
At this point, your bong should look and smell fresh and clean. It might be too difficult to dry the bong manually, such as with a soft towel or cloth, so you may have to let it air dry. If you’re in a hurry to spark up a bowl, maybe let the bong air dry in a breeze or in front of a fan.
When your bong is dry, it’s ready for you to fill up the chamber and enjoy a clean, smooth sesh!
Now That You’ve Cleaned It, How Are You Going to Keep Your Bong Clean?
Upkeep of clean bongs isn’t so difficult, but, if you’re like most people, you just don’t always do it on the regular. If you follow the steps below, however, not only will any subsequent sesh taste and smell better, but your bong will also stay fresher for longer.
Fresh Water (or Even No Water) = Fresh Bong
The easiest thing to do is to use fresh water every time you spark up a sesh. To make this work even better, empty out your dirty bong water every night before going to bed, as this will help maintain its fresh, clean state for longer.
An effective way to keep your bong looking and smelling fresh is to dab a few drops of pure lemon juice (from the fruit, not from a bottle).
As a result, your next sesh will be tasty. A citrus flavor to each sesh adds a subtle appeal that your sesh buddies will appreciate. Plus, you’ll keep down the bad odor that used bong water gives off.
One last note about the lemon: the acidic quality of the citrus from the enzymes present in the juice also helps to break down the resin and prevent unsightly buildup inside the glass. Don’t overdo it, however, as you’ll drown out the taste of your cannabis (and isn’t that what you’re trying to avoid by doing bong cleaning in the first place?).