How To Clean A Pipe Overview
There are many benefits to knowing how to clean a pipe and which method works best for you. For starters, there are few things better than the first toke out of a brand new pipe or bong. Smoking out of a newly cleaned piece allows you to relive that experience time and again. Every terpene, every bit of that skunk comes through loud and clear. We all deserve to take fresh greens all the time, so why is cleaning your glass pipe considered to be such a nuisance? It all comes down to dealing with the resin build up, and there are about as many ways to dispose of it as there are ways to smoke.
I can remember the first time my pipe clogged on me, and I was too young and naïve to know what lay ahead. I had no idea how to clean a pipe. Sitting in my car, I got a paperclip out of my glovebox and began to scrape the bowl, mouthpiece and the carb of my pipe hoping to jar loose any large clumps of resin. After two minutes of scraping, I started smacking the bowl against my hand to catch any loose pieces, and another two minutes later I sat confused and stinking, sticky with tar on my hands, clothes, steering wheel and my seat. A very valuable lesson was learned that day and I determined I was going to learn how to clean a weed pipe.
If you have ever encountered resin, not the delicious live resin that you would buy at a dispensary but the residue of your burned buds, you understand its ability to stick to, stain, and stink up everything in its vicinity. It requires heavy duty soap and lots of scrubbing to get off your fingers, and forget about removing the pungent trail of destruction from your clothes or couch without a deep shampoo or wash and odor removal sprays. Because of this, cleaning resin out of your pipe or bong is not a particularly cherished and celebrated event. It doesn’t have to be a disaster, however. Here are a couple friendly tips we’ve learned along the way, and a breakdown of a few popular methods on how to clean a weed pipe among the many that exist.
Depending on which method someone will choose when learning how to clean a weed pipe will depend on the type of pipe being cleaned. In this article we will go over how to clean a glass pipe, how to clean a silicone pipe, and most importantly how to clean resin out of a pipe.
Things To Remember When Cleaning A Weed Pipe:
- Be prepared – Keep a kit and store it somewhere convenient, whether it’s just an extra lighter and a pack of paperclips or your heavy duty cleaner and industrial hand soap. Put on an old shirt, and you might even want to use gloves. You’ll want to have paper towels on hand, regardless of the method.
- Heat is your friend – Whether it’s a lighter to use with your brush or toothpick, or boiling water to submerge your piece, that resin is a pain in the neck to remove without some heat to loosen it up.
- Use an environmentally safe cleaner – If you have access and the time to use a cleaner you buy at the head shop, make sure it’s non-toxic. Some brands brag about strength, but you don’t need to inhale nasty fumes or pour unsafe liquids down the drain.
Keeping those tips in mind, let’s have a look at some of the many ways of how to clean your pipe.
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How To Clean A Pipe Methods
- Scraping – This is possibly the most common method. It’s also the most labor-intensive and has the highest risk of making an absolute mess. This method involves heating up your glass, Pyrex, or ceramic with a lighter, torch, or candle, and using anything ranging from a toothbrush to a toothpick to a pipe brush, scrape and gather the heated and clumped resin. Don’t forget to heat the bowl itself so you can take a paper towel and clean it out easily. It doesn’t come out without a fight and requires a recipient for the extracted goo. It will smell of burnt resin so keep a window open. This will not fully clean your pipe in any substantial manner, but you will have clear passage for smoke. Some people choose to collect the resin and smoke it on those days where there’s no other option. No judgment here.
- Boiling – Get an old pot, put your pipe in it, and add enough water to submerge your piece and then boil it for 20-30 minutes. Turn off the flame and let it sit in the water for another ten minutes before you carefully remove your pipe and bring it to the sink or an old towel. You’ll still have to shake loose, and possibly scrape, most of the resin to come out, but you’ll find it comes out a little easier. You’ll still have a somewhat dirty pipe, but you’ll have none of those big clumps and it’ll be a lot longer until you need to do it again.
- Isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt – Fill an old Tupperware container or a Ziploc bag with 91-99% alcohol and a few tablespoons of coarse salt. Then disassemble your pipe or bong and put it in the container, and make sure the container is securely closed. Shake the container for a few minutes, and let it sit for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight. Open the container over the sink and empty the alcohol and salt and rinse the container and pipe thoroughly with hot water. Then rinse it again. You’ll still need to swab out some clumps with a q-tip, and then rinse your pipe again. Finally, leave your pipe on a clean towel to dry for a couple hours to make sure the alcohol has evaporated. This should leave your pipe looking close to new.
- Designated pipe cleaner – In my opinion, this is money well spent. It took me being a daily smoker for over a decade to finally break down and buy one from a head shop, and I have never looked back. I now consider this the answer to the question of how to clean a glass pipe. The instructions should be clearly stated to shake vigorously or mix with boiling water and let soak, but simply pour the liquid out once you’re done and rinse and you have a pipe that is essentially brand new again. You can wholly welcome back all those distinct flavors and aromas.
Of course, there are other methods of how to clean resin out of a pipe, like putting magnets on either side of your bong and dragging them along to collect the resin using some sort of black magic, and you should feel free to explore any method that interests you.
How To Clean A Silicone Pipe
Freeze your pipe to then scrape out crispy flakes of resin, run your pipe through the dishwasher, or use hand soap, these methods are all available ways of cleaning resin out of a silicon pipe that I would not recommend to clean a glass pipe.
There are also a couple things to avoid when you want to clean your pipe. You might think hand or dish soap would work in a pinch, but unless you are cleaning resin out of a silicon pipe or bong it’s a poor solvent and your pipe will taste like soap until you properly clean it out. You’ll also want to avoid areas without good ventilation or lots of open air. The stench from heated resin is enough to clear a room, and inhaling fumes from a cleaner, though safe, is sometimes quite unpleasant as well.
Why Should I Clean My Pipe?
In today’s cannabis world, every strain has a distinct and delicious taste and aroma, to say nothing about their effects. At some point, though, you’ll notice that you can’t really tell the difference between Urban Poison or Strawberry Cough or Lemon Haze, and if you’re unable to savor the flavor, you do yourself and your weed a major disservice.
When Should I Clean My Pipe?
In short, when the resin builds up enough to motivate you to clean it. Eventually, the resin builds up, and you’ll have to dispose of it. If you have a nicely blown piece, you’ve enjoyed watching the colors change and fill in, so you are not interested in cleaning it right away. On the contrary, maybe you clean out the water in your bong daily and you like to taste every terpene of every strain. Or maybe you’re like me and you just clean it when it gets to be a little much to look at. It’s up to you. Find the way that best suits your needs, but if you don’t come prepared you might end up looking like a Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood.