Smoking a bong has many benefits over other smoking methods like joints and blunts. It’s easier on your lungs and doesn’t require your body to ingest any substances besides smoke straight from your ganja. While bongs are a premium piece of stoner gear, they do require a little upkeep.
Sanitizing your bong is something that seems like common sense, but knowing how to clean a bong properly (and extending the life of your piece) is something that not too many people know about. A bong has multiple smoking compartments, each of which needs to be regularly cleaned out — especially if gunk and black resin start to accumulate inside. If you’re a heavy smoker, you’ll want to clean it weekly. Otherwise, biweekly or even monthly may be enough. Just remember that light cleanings and maintenance will avoid and more major deep clean.
Besides being paper-free, another benefit of bongs is that they can filter the smoke and cool it down. But with a dirty bong, it can’t filter effectively and can even make you sick with respiratory infections. Let’s be real — no one wants to inhale a moldy hit. A sparkling smoking device allows you to actually taste the terpenes in your strain rather than the nasty bacteria and stale water that a dirty one will harbor.
There are many ways to clean out a bong, from swift chemical-based solutions to all-natural alternatives. With these cleaning hacks, your bong rips will be smoother, cleaner and tastier.
Ready to dive in? Read on for our guide on how to clean a bong.
1. Invest in a bong cleaner with a foolproof formula
If a DIY cleanup method sounds messy or like too much effort, turn to Formula 420 for a flawless bong cleaning job. No matter what your piece is made out of, this #1 best-seller and five-in-one cleaner will get your glass looking spic and span in no time. Apart from being a no-mess solution, it’s also a timesaver. All you need to do is shake and rinse, and their unique abrasion technology will completely remove the need to soak and scrub.
2. Invest in a good scrubber
Whether you choose to use baking soda, coarse salt or rubbing alcohol, shaking debris loose will only get you so far. Q tips work but can be wasteful. You can also use paper clips to clean your bowl out effectively. When your bong has sufficiently shaken away the first layer of grossness, use these silicone brushes to really sanitize them. The wire straw cleaner can get into the bowl or nooks and crannies, while the larger, flexible silicone brush can enter through the mouthpiece.
3. Keep your bong sealed with plugs
Shaking your bong when it’s filled with some sort of cleaning fluid is an important step when washing out any kind of bong. Although plenty of DIYers utilize saran wrap or a Ziplock bag and a rubber band, it’s much easier to purchase plugs and caps that were actually meant made for glass water pipes and rigs. It creates as tight a seal as possible and speeds up the cleaning process significantly. It also allows you to transport your bong, or store it in a sanitary manner.
4. Strain out all the nasty stuff with a cheesecloth
To conserve more rubbing alcohol, you can reuse it by pouring it into a mason jar. Just rubber band a cheesecloth over the jar and pour the used alcohol through your bong to avoid any particles. You can also use the cheesecloth method with boiling water or place the cheesecloth over the bong in place of a cap or plug — either way, the resin will sit on top of the cloth and shouldn’t be difficult to scrape off.
5. Use an abrasive agent like coarse sea salt
When mastering how to clean your bong, you’ll need something that can provide the right level of abrasion. Coarse sea salt is the perfect way to do that. First, take out all the removable pieces. Combine it with rubbing alcohol, shake and soak. After the mix becomes tinted brown, you can rinse and scrub. We recommend using plugs during the shaking process, but you can always place the entire bong in a large Ziplock bag. Himalayan salt is also a good option.
6. Rubbing alcohol as an alternative to bong cleaning formula
Although it doesn’t have the best aftertaste and you do need to give it a good rinsing post-cleanse, rubbing alcohol is pretty much the most effective way to get your water pipe looking brand new. This one comes in a one-liter bottle, so you never run out at the last minute. It also has a purity of 99%, which is ideal. Anything less than 91% is a waste of money when it comes to bong cleaning.
7. Get it squeaky clean with dishwasher tablets
Dishwasher tabs are a little-known but useful hack when it comes to cleaning your bong without a pre-made formula or rubbing alcohol. Just place a Finish dishwasher tab in your bong, and pour a few cups of warm to hot water. Gradually increase the temperature of the water if your bong is cold. Let the pod fully dissolve, and plug the hole shut. Shake vigorously, soak, and rinse. Here’s a fun fact: if your bong is silicon, you can place it directly in the dishwasher.
8. A high quality, easy to clean bong
The first step to making sure your smoking device lasts is buying a high-quality bong. It’ll be easier to clean, sturdier and won’t get dirty as fast. Cheap materials can also cause permanent stains. This coffee-table-worthy bong has a unique shape that makes it extremely easy to clean, and it’s made from thick borosilicate glaze. One buyer says, “The mouthpiece is well-sized, shaped, and angled. Cleaning’s a breeze. I dig this bong.”
More from SPY
Best of SPY