Glass pipes are exactly what they sound like - they are small glass pipes that are used to smoke tobacco or dry herbs. What makes the glass pipe so popular is the fact that, unlike wood or clay pipes, the glass doesn't alter the flavors of whichever dry herb you are enjoying.
Each glass pipe is unique.The majority of glass pipes are made by hand and no two are exactly alike. Glass pipes come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes and fall into five distinct categories.
Chillums - Chillums, are small, simple glass tubes. To use, simply pack smoking material into the end, apply flame and inhale.
Spoons- Spoon pipes are the most common and possess a carburetor (the small hole on the side). Carburetors on a glass pipe allow additional air to be drawn in. When the carburetor is covered, air is drawn through the bowl and burning material -drawing smoke into the glass pipe. When the carburetor is uncovered, all of the smoke in the pipe can be rapidly inhaled.
Steamrollers- Steamrollers have bowls or glass on glass fittings on one side of the pipe. Both ends of the pipe are open, and the open end near the bowl functions as the carburetor. Steamrollers have a reputation for hard, hot, rips and are not recommended for beginners.
Sherlock/Gandalf- The most whimsical of the bunch, Sherlock/Gandalf pipes have a large bowl with a gracefully arching stem. Both of these pipes may or may not have a carburetor.
Bubblers -Bubblers, or water pipes, diffuse the smoke through water before it is inhaled. This removes tar and resin and causes the smoke to taste smoother.
Your glass pipe should be cleaned regularly. If it is not, a few things will happen. First, tars and resins will begin to accumulate within the glass pipe and begin to affect the taste of your tobacco or dry herb. Second, as those tars and resins continue to build and will begin to inhibit the pipes airflow making it more difficult to use. Third, the pipe will begin to grow harmful bacteria and appear dirty and dingy.
There are two main ways you can clean your glass pipe - boiling and alcohol.
Boiling: Fill a pot with water and slowly place the glass pipe into the pot until it is submerged. (You don't want to bring the water to a boil before adding the pipe as the drastic temperature change could cause the glass to shatter.) After placing the pipe in the water, tilt it from side to side to remove any air bubbles. Heat the water over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Allow the water to boil until all the remaining residue is removed.
After the pipe appears mostly clean, turn off the heat and allow the water to cool for 10-15 minutes. Use kitchen tongs to grab the pipe and shake it back and forth under water to remove any remaining resin.
Empty the pot and refill it with warm water and a dollop of dish soap. Gently wipe away any remaining tar or residue, rinse the pipe and allow to dry.
Alcohol: The second method of cleaning glass pipes is to soak it in a mixture of two parts 91% or higher alcohol and one part coarse salt. The alcohol will loosen the resin and the salt acts as an exfoliant, removing the loosened resin from the pipe. We suggest you put this mixture in a large resealable bag, place the pipe inside and give the bag a good shake for the best results. For suborn residue. Use a Q-tip to scrub the glass pipe with the salt-alcohol mixture. Once the pipe is clean, rinse with water and allow to dry.