How to Clean a Bong - Best Tutorial for Bong Cleaning

Read the quick breakdown, or read the step-by-step process on How to Clean a Bong. Get all the tips, proper procedures, plus how to clean the bong bowl piece, percolators and other parts.

by: Robert H. | 06/24/19 1:30PM


Best Way to Clean a Bong

Bongs are simple, powerful ways to consume dry herb. They require very little technical knowledge and can be found almost anywhere. Keeping your bong clean is going to be vitally important – because the cleanliness of the water and parts of the bong will almost certainly affect the flavor (and your experience). The basics of cleaning your bong or really any smoking pipe at that is a universal and simple – just make sure you are properly removing built-up resin and residue and removing smelly, tainted bong water. Important places to pay attention to are the stem, bowl, and water chamber and any additional modifications such as an ice catcher or percolators. The specifics of different cleaners, scrapers, types of bongs, etc. will all vary and require a little more research (thoughtfully explored throughout this article). Just make sure you are cleaning your bong regularly and often enough to avoid substantial buildup of resin and other materials.


Step-by-Step Bong Cleaning Guide

Step-by-Step Bong Cleaning Guide

Here we will outline the specifics, step-by-step, of cleaning your bong. Before going into detail, you should obtain some sort of cleaning materials and cleaner for your bong. As far as materials, other than cleaner, you will probably want some kind of rag(s) or paper towel(s) to make sure that you are going to be wiping away the resin, cleaner, and water. As far as rags are concerned, just make sure you don’t get something that will leave behind fibers because this could affect your bong’s taste or performance later.

When considering cleaners, there are multiple options available including: isopropyl rubbing alcohol, bong cleaners, pipe cleaners, baking soda, vinegar, or a liquid-and-salt solution. These can be accompanied, or used instead of, various mechanical cleaners such as a Happy Daddy scraper tool or a Four20 Rod that help get those hard to reach places. Now, let’s explore the steps themselves:

  1. Dump out the dirty bong water (and any residues in the bowl). Naturally, gather your cleaning materials together.
  2. Rinse everything with hot to warm water.
  3. Now, remove your bong bowl, downstem, and other small pieces like a percolator or ash catcher. These can be placed inside a container (or plastic bag) to soak and allow the resin and residue to break down while you go to tackle the main bong chamber. All should be soaked with your preferred cleaner to soak.
  4. Now, place the 420 cleaner or whatever else you are using, in the main chamber of the bong and get ready to shake. Shaking should also be done with the loose parts as well. This allows your cleaner to pass through and more easily remove the resin built-up versus soaking without movement. You can also add coarse salt for grit which well help act as scrubbers.
  5. If necessary, scrape and wipe away any resin you can, especially if you have determined that it can’t be easily shaken away by your cleaner.
  6. Once you are satisfied that your bong and its parts are sufficiently clean, remove all the cleaner. You are going to want to rinse, thoroughly, with more hot water to remove your cleaner and salt. To avoid any unhealthy vapors, flavors, or additives make sure to rinse and dry your bong well.
  7. If needed, for an ultra-clean bong, you can repeat the process, or allow the bong to soak for very long periods of time, giving the cleaner more time to do its job.

Bong Cleaners

Bong Cleaners

As mentioned earlier, there are a couple of different bong cleaning methods. Listed below are some good options for cleaning your bong:

  • Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol: this is the classic go-to. Make sure to rinse thoroughly afterward to ensure there are no residues and this should serve you well. Can be purchased at any grocery store and it is usually cheap.
  • Vinegar: some folks prefer a more ‘natural’ option to alcohol. Vinegar’s acidity makes it useful for cleaning and will not cause any harmful side effects from inhalation or combustion of any residues. This can also be purchased at any grocery shop for a fair price.
  • 420 Cleaner: This is an example of a purpose-driven, manufactured bong cleaning liquid. 420 cleaner is specifically designed to maximize bong cleaning power and minimize toxicity to the owner. There are many similar brands and products available that can perform well, some even made for specific types of bongs like silicone or glass. These can be purchased at smoke shops or head shops, either local or online.
  • Salt/Rice: This is more of an additive to the cleaner, but coarse salt and rice are natural ‘grit’. Just as with mechanical scrapers, there is value to adding some grit, or friction, to your cleaning liquid to help remove resin buildup in the hard-to-reach areas of your bong. Salt is certainly affective, but rice has also been used. If choosing rice, make sure to quickly use and then remove the grains before they have a chance to soak in the liquid and soften. Also, DO NOT under any circumstances use the rice (or coarse salt) afterward for consumption.
  • Mechanical Scrapers there are a ton of household or purpose-built tools to use to scrape your bong. Some, as noted above, like the Four20 Rod or a Happy Daddy scraper are built to handle these sorts of messes. Neither is necessarily better than the other but keep in mind that Q-Tips and pipe cleaners, while handy, might not provide the same advantages as a metal scraper and vice versa.

Cleaning a Bong Bowl Piece

We talked a bit about making sure that you remove the bowl piece and allow it to soak inside a container of some sort. Especially because this small piece is more intricate than your bong and builds up more resin, it is a good idea to spend a little more time soaking, definitely scraping and rinsing.

Cleaning a Bong Stem

The downstem is going to also have heavier amounts of resin buildup because of the constant contact with dry herbs and smoke, just like the bong bowl piece. Because of this, make sure to spend some extra time here too. Be careful, the downstem is also delicate and shouldn’t be handled roughly.

Cleaning a Bong without Rubbing Alcohol

Cleaning your bong with rubbing alcohol is not a problem at all. Just make sure you understand that there are other options that are advertised as being less toxic in case there are residues. As listed above, these options include vinegar, 420 cleaner (and other brands), and the scrapers. Deciding which to choose will depend upon your preferences. Just make sure to remember that you will probably find it difficult (if not impossible) or spend too much time trying to clean your bong without liquid and only scraping. So make sure to look into some form of liquid whether it’s vinegar or a cleaning solution if you’re not a fan of using isopropyl alcohol.

How to Clean a Glass Bong

Clean a Glass Bong

Glass bongs are handy and nice to clean. This is because it is much easier to see any residual resin on glass pipes or bongs when compared to other types of bongs. But, you need to remain careful and vigilant when you’re cleaning your glass bong. Too many bong owners have suffered terribly when they have broken their bongs while cleaning them. This isn’t because glass bongs are weak or unable to handle the pressures of cleaning – it’s because the owners were not careful enough when either shaking their bongs, or their parts, or maintained a good grip on the wet glass. This should not freak you out, but you must remember to be extremely careful when handling your glass (especially in unusual ways). Otherwise, use the same steps listed above to clean your glass bong.

How to Clean a Silicone Bong

Clean a Silicone Bong

Silicone bongs do not suffer, at all, from the break-ability issues that could plague your glass bong, but resin build up may not be as visible. Additional perks to having a silicone bong is that they are flexible, bendable, and allow you to reach into places that might not be an option with glass or plastic. Silicone is also considered an effective non-stick material. You may also purchase a silicone bong that is able to be disassembled and easier to clean effectively. In these ways, silicone bongs can be rather useful purchases from a maintenance end. Silicone bongs are cleaned using the same steps as any other bong.

How to Clean a Plastic Bong

A plastic bong, much like silicone, is not as breakable as a glass bong. Also like a silicone bong, plastic bongs are sometimes able to be disassembled, but if not, they are often see-through like glass bongs, so resin detection is pretty easy.; Plastic bongs should also be cleaned, like any bong, using the steps listed above. The only difference would be whether or not you can dissemble the bong itself and clean the main chamber in separate parts.

How to Clean a Percolator Bong

Clean a Percolator Bong

A percolator bong is going to be cleaned using the steps listed above. The main idea, however, is that greater attention to detail is necessary when cleaning these bongs. Your percolators perform admirably at distilling and adding oxygen to your hits, however, this means that it takes more work to make to get them super clean and working as they should. Don’t be afraid to spend a little time to make sure the percolators are properly cleaned and properly rinsed, it will be worth it.

Best Way to Clean a Bong

Where to Buy Bongs and Bong Cleaners

Purchasing your bong and bong cleaners is a simple process. They can be found at your local smoke shop around the corner or on the multitude of websites online. Remember, however, that at all shipping with the USA is always FREE and there is a wide selection of glass, silicone, and percolator bongs as well as cleaning products and more useful information!

Related Blog Posts

How to Use a Bong - Instructions from the Experts

How Much Water to Put in a Bong

How to Clean a Smoking Pipe - The Best Way

Ice Catcher Bongs and Why There is Ice in a Bong