How to Clean a Glass Bong, Dab Rig, or Hand Pipe

Person cleaning out hand pipe in sink

If you’re a frequent cannabis smoker, keeping your glassware clean between uses is crucial to maintaining functionality. Bongs, dab rigs, and hand pipes can all develop build-up over time, called resin, preventing proper airflow if left uncleaned for too long.

Additionally, the build-up of residue can lead to the growth of bacteria and other gross things. Thankfully, glass is one of the easiest materials to clean as long as you handle your smoking device with care.

We’ll discuss how to clean a glass bong, cleaning a dab rig, and what is involved in glass pipe cleaning so you can take the best possible care of your precious cannabis items.

Supplies You Will Need

You can use the same basic materials to thoroughly clean things out for all three types of glassware. There are a variety of different glass cleaning solutions on the market these days that claim to work specifically on cannabis devices, but they can be overpriced and may not work as well.

Why spend extra money when you can clean your glassware with cheaper, household items that are proven to work? Below are the supplies you will need:

  • Sink with running water
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Epsom Salt
  • Q-Tips or Pipe Cleaners
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper Towels

Learning how to clean a glass bong is very similar to cleaning a dab rig. Glass pipe cleaning differs slightly, so we will address those differences when we get to them. Below are the steps to get started.

1. Empty Things Out

The first step is prep. You will need to empty the dirty water from your bong or dab rig, as well as any residue from the cannabis buds or concentrates. Wash away any big chunks you see, but be careful to hold on to your glassware tightly, so it doesn’t slip and break.

With the hand pipe, you will also want to run things underwater to push residue out.

2. Add the Solution

Next up in learning how to clean a glass bong, dab rig, or glass pipe is to create your cleaning solution. Fill your bong or dab rig up with the alcohol to around the same line as you usually fill it with water. Then, add in the salt, with a ratio of 2:1 (alcohol to salt).

If your piece of glassware is filthy, you could let the solution sit in the chamber for up to 30 minutes to loosen things up and soak.

Because there is no chamber on hand pipes and chillums, you should use a plastic bag or something similar instead. Follow the steps above, fill the bag with alcohol and salt (2:1), then add the pipe. You can also let it sit for a while if things are very dirty.

As a tip, adding distilled white vinegar to the mix can make the solution clean faster and remove tough stains.

3. Shake Vigorously But Carefully

Place cotton balls on the openings of the bong or dab rig to prevent the solution from splashing all over the place. Then, firmly grasp your glassware and begin shaking, so the solution starts hitting all the sides of the piece. The salt will scrape the residue off the sides and corners while the alcohol breaks things down and dissolves them away.

Keep shaking until you feel like things are thoroughly clean. Knowing how to clean a glass bong or cleaning a dab rig requires using discretion to determine when items are pristine.

If you notice residue stuck in any corners, you can use Q-Tips or pipe cleaners to scrub those hard-to-reach areas.

person washing hands in sink

4. Rinse With Water

Once everything looks thoroughly cleaned, you should empty the dirtied solution and rinse your glassware out with fresh water under the faucet. If you start to rinse things out but notice that things aren’t entirely cleaned, repeat the steps above until you’re satisfied.

You should make sure you rinse the glass well, and there is no smell of alcohol or vinegar (if you added some). Dry things off with a paper towel, and you’re all set to use your squeaky clean piece!

Why Is It Important To Clean Your Glassware?

Knowing how to clean a glass bong is a crucial skill to being a regular cannabis smoker. As smoke filters through the water in a bong or dab rig a few times, you’re left with dirty water. When any water is left stagnant for too long, it will develop bacteria or even fungi.

If you don’t clean out your bongs or dab rigs, you can end up inhaling all kinds of different bacteria that can be harmful to your health. There is a film that can form over the top of old bong water called biofilm.

Biofilm can contain several different bacteria or pathogens, including E. Coli and black mildew. You must learn how to clean a glass bong or dab rig to prevent exposure to these substances.

Glass pipe cleanings are also crucial because they can also develop bacteria when left uncleaned for too long, and they are more likely to lose functionality when residue builds up.

The Bottom Line

You can quickly learn how to clean a glass bong, clean a dab rig, or perform glass pipe cleanings with a few everyday household items. Old bong water or dab rig water is not only gross; it can be potentially harmful to your health if you inhale it. Keep things clean regularly, and you’ll avoid contact with bacteria and have safe cannabis sessions.