The pipe, a small, handheld device used to smoke cannabis, is one of the oldest and most common smoking methods in the world. Pipes remain popular cannabis smoking devices today, largely due to their availability, affordability, ease of use, and wide range of types, colors, and styles.
Part of using a pipe, bong, dab rig — or virtually any other smoking device — is knowing how to clean it. With frequent use, and without regular cleaning, pipes will build up residue that leads to clogging and affects smoke flavor negatively. For an optimal smoking experience, it’s important to clean your pipe regularly. Below is a step-by-step guide to cleaning and maintaining a pipe for optimal performance, smoke purity, and longevity of use.
What You’ll Need
Before you begin cleaning your pipe, gather the following ingredients and materials:
- A sealable plastic bag
- Paper clip
- 99% Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- Table salt (sodium chloride) or epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
- Dish soap
Cleaning Your Pipe Step by Step
Now that you have what you need to adequately clean your pipe, follow the steps below:
Step 1 – Place the Pipe in a Sealable Plastic Bag with Alcohol
Carefully place the pipe in a sealable plastic bag and fill it with rubbing alcohol until the entire pipe is submerged. If you don’t have a baggie on hand, you can also use a small sealable container.
Step 2 – Add a Teaspoon of Salt
Add a teaspoon of table salt (sodium chloride) or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Either will work. Salt will act as a scrubber or sponge on resin where an actual sponge or brush can’t reach. Work the salt into the pipe as much as possible to ensure it’s fully doing the work of deep cleaning.
Coarse sea salt is typically used to clean bongs and other water pipes, but table or Epsom salt is usually enough to clean a pipe. If your pipe is particularly dirty or filled with old, hard resin, try using coarse salt.
Step 3 – Let the Pipe Soak
Leave the pipe to soak in the bag or container for about 12 hours. This will give the alcohol enough time to thoroughly dissolve the resin.
Step 4 – Shake the Bag
Shake the bag vigorously to loosen residual resin. If you’re using a container, skip this step to avoid breaking your pipe.
Step 5 – Remove the Pipe from the Bag and Wash
After you’ve let your pipe soak for 12 hours and given it a good shake, remove your pipe from the bag and wash with hot water and dish soap. If you have any stubborn resin still clinging to your pipe, try removing it with a paperclip or pipe cleaners, but only if it won’t do damage to your pipe. You can also try using a pipe cleaner or cotton swab. After you’ve washed the pipe, give it a final rinse with just hot water.
Step 6 – Let the Pipe Dry
Give your pipe ample time to sit and dry before you use it again. If your pipe isn’t totally clean before you begin drying, repeat the previous steps and make sure to add new salt, as the salt from the first round of cleaning will have been largely dissolved.
In both their material build and wide variety of unique designs, pipes are typically designed to last a long time. They also need regular maintenance to keep up their full function and deliver a clean, flavorful smoke.