It's the marijuana smoker's chore that everyone hates! Cleaning out dirty bongs or dab rigs. But you have to do it if you ever expect to enjoy the flavor of the cannabis you are smoking. This article and video will show you how to clean a simple glass bong or a glass dab rig with a minimum of muss and fuss.
One tip before we begin. Don't do what I did for the video and allow your glassware to get really dirty. The dirtier the glassware, the harder it will be to clean. So clean your glass bongs and dab rigs often and you won't have to work as hard.
But for this demo I did let the glassware get dirty, just to show that with a little work and some 90% or higher alcohol, even the dirtiest of glass bongs and dab rigs can be cleaned as good as new.
(Note: cleaning the monster triple honeycomb glass bong by King's Pipes in the middle below is covered in a separate video and article, coming soon.)
Ok ready? Let's show you how to clean a glass dab rig and a simple glass bong.
Step One Gather Supplies
The first thing to do is to gather your supplies. Depending on how dirty your glassware is, you may or may not need everything here. For instance, if you take my advice and clean your bongs and dab rigs often, you can use Dawn Dishwashing liquid and forego the alcohol. The stuff is amazing (they even use it to clean wild sea birds after oil spills). Just pour some liquid into your bong or rig, add hot water, let it soak a few hours and proceed the same way as if you were using alcohol.
Of course, if your glassware is very dirty, nothing beats 90% or higher alcohol. Find it at the drug store. If you live in or near a Latin neighborhood check the botanica stores as they often sell high percent alcohol as well.
Other supplies include paper towels, coarse salt or Epsom salts to use as scrubbing agitators (I have used uncooked rice for this purpose in the past as well), and some pipe cleaners or cotton swabs, and sometimes a pipe poker is handy. And of course, gloves are a must. Cleaning glass bongs and dab rigs is dirty, stinky work, plus the alcohol is drying and can sting any cuts you may have. You are going to want to wear gloves!
How to Clean Dab Rigs and Glass Bongs Step 2: Rinse Well
I like to begin by giving the pipe a rinse in very hot water. Add hot water, cover the holes, and shake. You can eliminate a lot of gunk this way before even beginning to clean.
Step 3: Soak the Dab Rig or Glass Bong in Alcohol
Remove the bowl piece and any other loose parts and place in a small container of alcohol. Pour some alcohol into the body of the bong or dab rig and walk away for a few hours to allow them to soak.
Step 4: Add an Agitator (like salt)
After soaking for several hours, add an agitator like salt or Epsom salts, which will act as little scrubbers, and shake, shake, shake! Dump things out and rinse with hot water. Rinse and repeat as needed to get most everything clean.
Step 5: Don't Forget to Clean the Bowl
It's not unusual for the bowl of the bong to still have black buildup on it. Just dip a piece of paper towel in alcohol, swirl it around the bowl, rinse and the bowl should be perfectly clean. A pipe cleaner dipped in alcohol can ream out any clinging bits of dirt in the bowl stem or in the bong itself.
Step 6: For Dab Rigs Start by Cleaning the Outside
Use an alcohol-soaked paper towel to clean the outside of the dab rig, as these often get sticky.
Step 6: Add an Agitator to the Dab Rig
Add some salt and Epsom salts to the dab rig along with more alcohol, cover the holes and shake vigorously.
Rinse and repeat until the dab rig is mostly clean.
Step 7: Fine Detail Cleaning
Sometimes, despite all this effort, there will still be one or two "klingons" of black residue on the inside of the dab rig or bong. To get rid of every last speck of debris, take a pipe cleaner or a cotton swab, dip it in alcohol, and use to reach those stubborn last bits of dirt. They should come right off.
Another alternative is to use a small bottle brush to get inside the stems and mouthpieces of your glassware.
Step 7: Final Rinse
Give everything another good rinse with hot water to make sure you have gotten rid of any residual alcohol. Dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel and you are ready to spark it up and start getting your bong and dab rig ready for their next cleanings.