How To Clean A Water Pipe: Step By Step

How To Clean A Water Pipe Quickly & Safely

Want to learn how to clean a water pipe quickly and safely? You've come to the right place. Today, we're going to teach you the best way to clean a bong in just a few minutes using safe, natural ingredients that won't harm your glass. And the end result? A perfectly clear, sparkling glass water pipe that allows you to truly enjoy the taste of your flower - uninhibited with gunked-up resin on the walls.

You'll learn the importance of cleaning all three components of a glass bong - the bong itself, the downstem, and of course, the bowl. Whether you've got a beaker bong or a tube, percs or no percs, any style imaginable - this guide will help you clean a bong to perfection. We'll also give you some of our top tips for keeping your bong clean so you don't have to clean it quite so often.

As you can see, we've got a lot to cover today and don't want to take up any more of your time than necessary. So, let's get right into it - starting with why learning how to clean a glass water bong is so important for anyone who owns one!

How To Clean A Water Pipe 

Now that you know how often you're going to need to clean your bong, it's the moment you've been eagerly anticipating. We're ready to teach you how to clean a water pipe quickly and safely. If you ask this question in a stoner forum, you'll get all sorts of different answers - with everyone seemingly having their own secret tactic. However, many of the recommendations you'll find are a bad idea.

For example - many people recommend that you use Epsom salts and an aggressive shaking motion to help scrub away the resin build-up. And it's true - this method works. But, it also creates micro-abrasions in your glass that can lead to cosmetic defects and eventually, cracks. As such, we do not recommend using the epsom salt approach.

Similarly, you'll see people recommending aggressive "magic bong cleaning solutions". And it's true - these products will certainly help you clean your glass pipe or bong with ease! But are you aware of what types of chemicals are in these cleaners? Chances are, you don't want to ingest or inhale those fumes later on.

And in our opinion, many of these cleaners are a gimmick - they're overpriced. You can achieve the same stunning results using cheap rubbing alcohol (high percentage isopropyl alcohol, to be exact) - or even scalding hot water in some cases.

The point is that there are a lot of ways to go about cleaning your bong. Every bong is different, so make sure you get an easy to clean bong. But the safest, quickest approach? In our opinion, you can't beat good old isopropyl alcohol and salt! Allow us to explain.

how to clean a water pipe

If your bong looks like this^, it's time to clean it! 

The Best Way to Clean a Bong: Cleaning Your Bong With Isopropyl Alcohol(Minimum 90% Isopropyl Alcohol)+ Coarse Salt

The method we've always used - and will continue to use - is a good old isopropyl alcohol and salt rinse. This is similar to how we clean a one hitter as well. 

Here's How to Clean the Capsule Water Pipe

  1. Remove mouthpiece and clean separately.
  2. Pour salt and alcohol into downstem and chamber.
  3. Seal with large “base” silicone cap.
  4. Shake vigorously. Let sit. Shake again.
  5. Rinse with water.

Here are the six steps on how to clean any bong with isopropyl alcohol:

  1. Start by doing a good rinse of the components in your bong. This will help remove any loose plant matter or resin and prime the glass for the more aggressive cleaning agent of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Get two plastic bags out - one for your downstem and one for your bowl. Fill these plastic baggies with a high percentage of isopropyl alcohol (the higher, the better - but use at least 90% for the best results). Throw the downstem and bowl in their respective baggies and ensure they're fully emerged with rubbing alcohol. Then, let them soak. The longer you let them soak, the better results you'll get.
  3. Meanwhile, you can fill up the base of your bong with rubbing alcohol as well. You don't need to fill it all the way up - just enough to cover the base of your bong. Cover both openings (mouthpiece and downstem slot) and apply vigorous shaking. This alone should be enough to loosen any resin on the walls and unveil a perfectly clear glass.
  4. You can dump out the cleaning agent and then repeat the process with hot water. You may need to dump and refill the bong with warm water and keep shaking to get rid of any residual rubbing alcohol. But don't stress too much - any residual alcohol will evaporate on its own.
  5. Now, back to the downstem and bowl. These two components are notoriously the most difficult to clean, as they are in direct contact with your flower. The soak will go a long way in loosening up resin and hard water stains.
  6. From there, you can get out some Q-tips or pipe cleaner to scrub away what is left. As you did with the bong, you'll want to thoroughly rinse the pieces with warm water to eliminate residual rubbing alcohol and gunk. Then, allow them to dry. From start to finish, it shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes to clean your bong (not counting soaking time).

Option #2: Cleaning Your Glass Bong With Hot Water

The method we just covered is the best way to get a deep clean. But, some people are hesitant to put rubbing alcohol in their bong - while there is really no cause for concern, we understand your skepticism. And we've got good news - there is a second approach you can take to cleaning your glass without any chemicals whatsoever: hot water.

Keep in mind, this approach doesn't work well on heavily gunked up pieces. To utilize this method, you need to stay up on your cleanings so that the resin doesn't have a chance to really take hold of the glass. With that said, you'll follow the same steps as above - but instead of using isopropyl alcohol, you'll use scalding water. Just take care not to burn yourself.

And, ensure you're not exposing your glass to extreme temperature changes. Strong glass can withstand high temperatures and low temperatures alike - but where you'll run into trouble is when you go from extreme hot to extreme cold (and vice versa) instantaneously.

When using this approach, you may need a bit more scrubbing and time soaking. However, you can get your bong to like-new condition with just this water.

Do You Really Need To Learn How To Clean A Water Pipe?

We know what you're thinking...

"My water pipe functions just fine. Sure, it looks and smells a bit funky, and maybe it doesn't pull as easily - but do I really need to learn how to clean a water pipe?"

If you want to truly experience your flower as it was intended, you need to learn how to clean a glass water bong - there is no way around it. You're not doing your flower justice by smoking it in a nasty bong.

Your only other option is to grab a dishwasher safe bong like the Capsule Bong.

Not only will cleaning your bong every so often produce better flavor in the smoke. But, you also won't deal with that off-putting, musty smell you're familiar with when you put the bong up to your mouth to take a rip.

If you have company over and let them use your bong, you owe it to your friends to keep your glass clean. Nobody likes hitting dirty glass. So, yes - you need to learn how to clean a glass water bong. Whether you have a pipe or bong, cleaning it regularly is a must. We'll get to that in just a few moments. First things first - how often should you clean your bong?

How Often Should You Clean Your Glass Water Bong?

This is one of the most common questions we see among new glass owners. How often should you clean your glass water bong? Unfortunately, the answer is not one size fits all. The best way to determine if your bong needs to be cleaned? The look and smell tests.

  1. Can you see resin building up on the glass of your bong? Is the downstem no longer see-through? If your bong looks dirty, chances are, it's due for a cleaning.

  2. When you put your nose up to the mouthpiece of your bong, what do you smell? If you're greeted by an unpleasant, damp, dank aroma - it's time for a bath. You may always smell the funk to some extent if you actually put your nose in the mouthpiece. That's not what we're talking about.

Determining when to clean your bong more or less is a judgment call. The reason we can't give you a straight answer is that we don't know how hard you are on your bong. How often are you changing out the water? How many times a day are you hitting it? Are you emptying your bowls or pulling them all the way through into the water?

These are just some of the many variables affecting how quickly your bong gets dirty - and thus, how often you need to clean it. You also need to consider your own unique preferences. If you're a neat freak like us, you'll clean out your bong every few days. If not, once a month might be your timeline.

With all this said, here are some general guidelines you can follow:

  • Heavy Smokers: every few days

  • Moderate Smokers: once a week

  • Light smokers: every few weeks or once a month

Tips For Getting Your Water Pipe Clean & Keeping It That Way

Now that you know two different ways to clean your glass water pipe, we want to leave you with a few more tips. These insights will help you enjoy an easier, safer clean - and will help you keep your bong clean after the fact. Let's start by discussing the importance of changing out your water.

The More Often You Clean Your Bong, The Easier It Is!

Ultimately, it is your choice how often you clean your bong. But think about it this way - the more frequently you clean your glass, the easier your cleaning process is. The longer gunk accumulates and hardens on the walls of your glass and within your downstem/bowl, the more difficult it is to get it off. With weekly cleanings, you can drastically trim down on the time and effort it takes to restore your glass bong to its original, beautiful condition.

Change Your Bong Water Daily

We all know that person who hasn't changed their bong water since purchasing the piece - gross. Not only does this start to affect the taste and smell of your hits, but it can also really gunk up your bong - making it harder when you do decide to clean it. So, empty out and change your bong water daily.

Remember when we said that the more often you clean your bong, the easier it is? Well, this is sort of the same idea. If you take a few moments to rinse out your bong and downstem, scrape your bowl clean, and put fresh water in, it really never has the chance to get filthy. Take a bit of time to prevent the mess before it happens, and you won't have to spend nearly as much time actually cleaning the bong!

Final Thoughts On How To Clean A Glass Water Bong

Now that you know how to clean a water pipe, there is just one thing left to do - turn that hot water on or head to your store and grab some alcohol and pipe cleaner. Remember - stay up on your cleaning and you won't have to work as hard to restore your glass to its original condition.

Change that water frequently, scrape your bowls clean after clearing them, and clean frequently to avoid more intensive work later on. Your future self will thank you! If you want to know how to clean a hand pipe with vinegar this one's for you. 

Sometimes, it's too late - you've put your bong through hell, and all the cleaning tactics in the world won't get it back to its original beauty. When the time comes to upgrade, head over to Smoke Honest and get the #1 portable water bong online! Those who have had the pleasure of ripping this piece all agree - this is the best water pipe online. And, it's just part of what you'll find at Smoke Honest. Explore all our modern smoking accessories today and see what we've got in store for you.