There are many different types of bongs on the market. Some are made of glass, some are made of ceramic, and others are made of plastic or even silicone. Back in the day, bongs were mostly made from wood and bamboo, which made cleaning them impossible for the long-term. In fact, repeated exposure to wetting wood made them vulnerable to mold and mildew, making them extremely unhealthy.
Fortunately, today’s bongs are durable and are not made of organic materials that will rot with water. Every bong has a few basic components that make them all very similar. First is the elongated tube that acts as the mouthpiece and delivery for the smoke. Next is the water chamber which can hold either cool or warm water. The downstem dips into the water and holds the bowl on the outside of the bong.
Clearing the bong is accomplished by removing the bowl once a desirable hit has been reached. Some bongs, like those made of silicone, are very convenient to use in this way since the silicone absorbs the heat and makes it easy to touch after lighting the bowl, unlike glass or other materials. Of all the individual components inside a bong, the two main areas that will get the dirtiest are the water chamber and the downstem.
Of all the different types of bongs on the market, silicone happens to be the easiest one to clean for many reasons. Unlike glass, some silicone bongs can be taken apart and thoroughly cleaned in places that would otherwise be impossible in a glass bong. Silicone holds onto residue much more but can be cleaned easily with rubbing alcohol.
While glass can be cleaned very well by shaking, silicone can be easily wiped down on the inside once the pieces have been taken apart. Plastic bongs are perhaps the worst type of bong to clean since alcohol tends to mar the surface and plastics and can even leach into the plastic itself unless it is made of a certain polymer.
Ceramics are like glass in terms of structure and weight, while silicone remains the lighter of the two. Plastic is the lightest and likely the cheapest, though it is prone to cracking and breakage. The easiest type of bong to maintain is the silicone option. Unlike other materials, silicone will not warp or crack with repeated use.
The best time to clean a bong is right after it has been used, or when it is warmed up. This allows the residue to become more viscous and looser. You will also want to make sure there is no water in the chamber. Start by removing the bowl and setting it aside. If you have a silicone bong, this will be even easier as you can also take it apart. If you have a glass piece, then removing the downstem will be your next move.
You will want to have some alcohol and a few Q-tips or rags ready. All of this is much better done with a pair of gloves. The liquid gunk that comes out will stain clothes and make them stink, so be very careful not to spill any of it on yourself. You will want to do this preferably over a sink. Fill the chamber up with alcohol or pour some over a cloth and wipe the inside of your bong. A glass piece will need to be shaken.
You will see loose chunks of residue and debris float around the alcohol. Pour this out and repeat the process. For the downstem, you will want to dunk it into some alcohol while rubbing on the inside with a pen to loosen it all up. Cleaning the bowl is just as easy. Once it has all been thoroughly cleaned, rinse it with warm water and let it dry completely.
Keeping your bong clean can be easy and maintaining it can be even easier if it stays clean. You will want to make sure that you use a screen every time you use your bong. This will prevent ash and particulate matter from getting into your water chamber and downstem. It will make cleaning that much easier without having to worry about it.
If you choose to use cold water over warm water, you will come to find the gunk in your bong to be thicker and chunkier. Warm water tends to thin out and spread the residue to a film on the sides of your chamber. While you will still have thick buildup around your downstem, it will be much easier to clean if you use warm water.
We recommend using silicone bongs for their affordable durability over glass. Silicone is also much easier to clean because it can be taken apart. Glass is much more elaborate and expensive, making silicone the perfect option for first time users. Because silicone is so durable, it remains popular and an easy choice for the newbie.
Cleaning and keeping your bong clean does not have to be a tedious chore if you know how to take care of your bong. As mentioned previously, silicone will make your life easier because it can be taken apart and will not break.
No matter what type of bong you decide to get, just make sure that you clean it often enough to not create a bigger problem down the road. While it may be tedious to clean your bong after every use, it is highly advisable that you at least use clean water with every session.
Once you have had an extended smoke session or multiple sessions, that will be the best time to service your bong. With just a few cloth wipes or some Q-tips, you can have a bong that works just like new after cleaning it up!