TL;DR | When to clean | What you need | How to clean your pipe (6 easy steps) | FAQs
Pipes get right to the point. There’s no need to roll, fill and prepare a bong or dial in settings on a fancy vaporizer: you just fill the bowl with weed and start smoking. This is why they’ve remained popular despite the many advances in the way people enjoy cannabis. They do exactly what you need them to, are relatively affordable and work in a very straightforward way.
But over time, your weed pipe will become dirtier and dirtier, even if you do mini-cleans between bowls, things start to degrade over time. You know there’s a problem when you struggle to get airflow through the pipe, and really you should clean before this ever happens.
Here’s a guide to the most popular methods for cleaning your pipe.
- You need isopropyl alcohol, a zip-lock bag, coarse salt, dish soap, a sponge and pipe cleaners (or something similar) to get started.
- Empty any obvious debris and place the pipe inside your zip-lock bag.
- Cover the pipe in isopropyl alcohol and two teaspoons of salt, then close the bag.
- Leave it to sit for around 12 hours.
- Shake the bag vigorously.
- Wash it down with warm water and dish soap, using a pipe cleaner and sponge as needed.
- Let it dry before using it again.
- For a metal or ceramic pipe, you can just boil it in water for 30 minutes to an hour.
- You can also do the above process except with baking soda and white vinegar.
When Should You Clean a Pipe?
Realistically, you should do a deep clean of your pipe roughly every week, ideally sooner (especially if you smoke through it a lot).
However, this is highly variable and provided you keep on top of basic cleaning and don’t smoke too often, you can leave it a little longer with minimal issues.
Basic cleaning is simple: empty out any ash when you finish a session, and give it a little scrape as needed. If it’s starting to get blocked, you can also cover the carb, hold the bowl upside down over the trash and blow through the mouthpiece.
However, if you’re getting to the point where you have to scrape or blow out compacted material, this is a very good sign you should give your pipe a deeper clean. Since there’s no water involved with most pipes, it’s not as urgent as the need to clean a bong can be, but it’s still best to stay on top of it.
What You Need to Clean a Pipe
There are many different approaches to how to clean a glass pipe, but most sources recommended the isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt method. For this approach, you’ll need to gather the following items:
- Zip-lock bag (big enough for your pipe), or a resealable container of some type
- 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol (i.e. “rubbing alcohol”)
- Coarse table salt, epsom salt, kosher salt or similar
- Dish soap
- Pipe cleaners, toothpicks, paperclips or similar (to help with stubborn patches)
Alternative methods generally involve very similar processes, so you will generally only need to replace the isopropyl alcohol and salt with something else.
For example, a common solution for how to clean a pipe without alcohol is to use white vinegar and baking soda, so you can literally just replace these ingredients. We’ll cover these methods in separate sections if you’re interested.
How to Clean Your Weed Pipe (6 Steps)
This approach is best if you’re interested in how to clean a glass pipe, or a wooden one. If you have a metal or ceramic pipe, you can check out an alternative method below.
- Clean Out Anything You Can
First off, make sure you’ve gotten any debris you can out of the pipe. Give it a good tap on the side of the trash can, cover the carb and blow in through the mouthpiece, and give the bowl a scrape to remove anything you can.
- Cover it in Isopropyl Alcohol
Put your pipe into the zip-lock bag or resealable container you’re using. Pour in enough isopropyl alcohol to cover the pipe, and then add a couple of teaspoons of coarse salt. Try to get good coverage of your pipe with the salt, at least so it will find its way into most of the inside. Close up the bag or container.
- Soak it For 12 Hours
Leave it to soak for around 12 hours – overnight is a good idea, or while you’re out at work.
- Shake it
After the 12 hour soak, give the bag some firm shakes, giving the salt mixture more chance to rub up against hard-to-reach places on the pipe.
- Wash it Down
Remove the pipe from the bag and give it a thorough rinse with hot water and dish soap. This is your final opportunity to get any resin or build-up off the pipe, so if you have a pipe cleaner, paperclip or anything to use, make sure you get it up. It should be easier after the alcohol and salt have worked on it for all this time. You can also use a sponge on the outside or any spaces you can reach.
Make sure to rinse it with warm water when you’re done cleaning. You’ll be inhaling things directly from this surface so you don’t want to leave any chemical residue.
- Let the Pipe Dry
Now it’s clean, you only have to wait for a little bit for it to dry. With pipes, it’s generally better to leave them to dry on their own rather than doing it with a towel. However, if you’re in a rush, you can certainly help the process along.
People Also Ask
How to Clean a Pipe Without Alcohol: Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
If you want to clean a weed pipe without using alcohol, you can basically go through the same process as above except with baking soda and white vinegar instead of the mixture above.
Add the baking soda first, and when you add the vinegar, close up the bag and leave it for at least half an hour. Then shake it, remove the pipe and complete a final clean as before.
How to Clean a Bowl Made of Ceramic or Metal
If your pipe is made from ceramic or metal, you can clean it in a bit of a simpler way. All you have to do (after clearing any obvious debris) is boil a saucepan of water, and then insert the pipe using a pair of metal tongs or anything similar.
You don’t have to be too careful if it’s metal, but you should lay ceramic pipes down gently and carefully. Leave it bubbling away on low heat for 30 minutes to an hour.
As before, rinsing and using something like a pipe cleaner afterwards will help remove any remaining patches of resin or debris.
Yes, you can clean a weed pipe with baking soda and white vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol. This method works just as well.
First, clean any obvious debris. Then boil a saucepan of water and leave your pipe in the boiling water for 30-60 minutes. Make sure the pipe is fully submerged in water.
Conclusion – Clean Regularly and Clean Well
Even though you’d rather be smoking through your pipe than cleaning it, the truth is that regular cleaning helps you get the most enjoyment from it for the longest time. If you keep to a consistent cleaning schedule, it will stay a pretty easy process. The less time you give resins and other gunky bits to build up, the easier every clean will be. So enjoy your pipe as much as you want, but just remember to give it a weekly or at least bi-weekly scrub with some rubbing alcohol and salt. Keep your glass looking and performing its best.
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