Taking a dab is pretty hard on your nail or banger. Not only do you raise the temperature to the point the glass glows red, after that you place some thick concentrate onto the hot surface and vaporize at least most of it to inhale. Both of these things can cause issues: overheating the banger can cause it to turn cloudy, and in combination with the dab itself this can create a black, tarry residue. Luckily, learning how to clean a quartz banger is a very straightforward process, and it will be fairly familiar to you if you’ve ever cleaned a glass bong, rig or pipe before. Here’s how to do it.
What You Need
You’ll need a few things to keep your quartz banger clean, but most of them are easy to obtain and you’ll likely have at least some of them already.
Isopropyl (“rubbing”) alcohol (at least 90%, but stronger is better)
Coarse salt (e.g. kosher salt or coarse sea salt)
Dab tool (or similar – even a straightened paperclip could work)
Zip-lock plastic bag or resealable container (big enough to hold the banger)
Access to warm water
How to Clean a Quartz Banger (6 Steps)
Create the Cleaning Solution
Get your zip-lock bag ready to fill. The overall plan is to soak your banger in a solution to loosen up the caked-on gunk, and then give it a final clean once this has done its work. So the bag only needs to be big enough to comfortably hold the banger. Add isopropyl alcohol to the bag, making sure it’s enough to cover the banger. Add some coarse salt to the bag. There’s no definitive amount to shoot for, but since you’re only cleaning a banger, 3 to 5 tablespoons will be more than enough. Finally, give the mixture a good shake to dissolve the salt.
Add Your Banger and Soak
Put your banger in the solution, close it up and leave it to soak. It’s recommended to do this overnight or for 24 hours, occasionally giving the bag a shake. The longer it soaks; the better. However, at a bare minimum (unless your quartz nail isn’t especially dirty), you should allow it to soak for a few hours.
Rinse Your Banger in Warm Water
Once the banger has finished soaking, you need to rinse the cleaning mixture away. This is a very important step because you don’t want to inhale alcohol fumes the next time you go to take a dab. Just run it under the warm water from the tap, making sure to get into all of the cracks and corners.
Remove Loose Residue
Now any remaining material on your banger should be loose enough to bring up with a dab tool, straightened paperclip or something similar. You don’t have to get it perfect at this stage, but make sure to remove any substantial chunks that are caked on.
Heat Your Banger
Use your dab torch to heat your nail to 600 to 700 °F (315 to 370 °C), so a little higher than a normal dabbing temperature. This alone is enough to clean a dab banger if it isn’t too dirty, since it burns up any remaining residue and makes it much easier to remove in the next step.
Clean with a Q-Tip
After leaving the nail for enough time to cool (be careful, but it’s best if it’s still a little warm), you can get at anything leftover with an alcohol-soaked q-tip. Only soak one side of the tip, so you can use the other to dry up the alcohol afterwards. You can repeat this with as many q-tips as you need, but hopefully one or two will be enough to finish the job.
If Your Banger Isn’t Too Dirty, Just Torch it
A quicker and easier approach if your nail isn’t too gunky is to just go through steps 5 and 6 of the above. Heat the banger with your torch and clean with an alcohol-soaked q-tip, dry up and you’re done. This is a big benefit of staying on top of maintenance.
Maintenance – How to Clean a Banger After Dab
The best way to keep your dab nail clean is to clean it after every use or at least after every session. Like the simple torch cleaning method, you take advantage of the fact that it’s easier to clean when it’s still warm. So when your nail has cooled enough to safely handle, go at it with an alcohol-soaked q-tip, then dry it with the other side as above. This might seem like a lot of work, but it prevents the sort of build-up that requires the much bigger cleanup described above.
A Note on Other Materials
This is a guide for a quartz banger, and will work for any glass or ceramic nail, but not for titanium. This is because the alcohol can damage the protective coating of the titanium and lead to oxidation. Essentially you can ruin your nail that way. For titanium, it’s best to torch it (similar to above, without the alcohol) or boil it in water.
Conclusion – Keep it Clean and Save Yourself Work
Cleaning your nail after taking a dab isn’t always practical – I get that – but where possible, it’s best to wipe or clean your dab nail somehow after each use. Not only does this make sure you get smooth, clean dabs each time, it really saves you work in the long term. You should still do the occasional deep clean, but most of the time your nail will be looking and performing its best anyway.