If you use hookah regularly, you will soon notice water damage to the smoking device. Tap water used for smoke filtration can turn pipes and bubblers into dewy caves unless the pipes are regularly emptied and deep cleaned.
Stoners should be diligent about sanitizing their pipes, bubble blowers and straw pens or suffer from using foul-smelling dirty pieces that can plummet their chill. Here are some tips on how to keep these important tools clean so you can fully enjoy them without inhaling a mouthful of mud.
Why clean your pipes?
Bongs are probably the dirtiest because they are the largest glass pipes. It is vital that anything you smoke out is filtered with clean water. Like stagnant water, bong water can harbor mold and fungus (according to Herb.co, a pink fungus called Fusarium tends to grow in moist environments and prefers to grow in and around bong percolators).
Needless to say, it’s important to separate the mold from your leaf-smoking habits. According to the CDC, exposure to mold can cause “congestion, wheezing, redness and itching of the eyes and skin,” and some people are more prone to this symptom than others. The CDC notes that overexposure to “sensitizing agents such as bacteria, fungi, organic dusts and chemicals,” such as hypersensitivity pneumonia, can also lead to pneumonia-like symptoms such as fever, cough and chills.
Overall, common sense dictates that if the water left at the bottom of the pipe is opaque and cloudy, you may be gambling by not cleaning it before your next session.
How to clean pipes and foamers
Fortunately, sanitation isn’t complicated. Most experienced pipe smokers recommend using two simple items to clean their pipes: 99% isopropyl alcohol and rock salt. Alcohol is used as a disinfectant, while rock salt adheres to the glass walls of the water pipe and absorbs dirt.
To clean your water butt or bubbler, follow these guidelines
- Remove the lower limb stem and bowl and completely soak them in a plastic bag filled with alcohol.
- Make sure the bong is empty, then pour in the rubbing alcohol and rock salt – Weedmaps recommends using about 1/4 cup of each, but the amount depends on the size of the bong, so estimate wisely.
- Once the alcohol and salt have settled, shake the cylinder vigorously until the resin has been fully evacuated. At this point, the hole should be plugged so that no water droplets remain.
- Use both hands when shaking. Since it is a glass vessel, it should not fly away.
- Rinse everything out, including the downspout and bowl.
Alternative method: Boil the frother
An alternative method is to boil the hose with apple cider vinegar and water.
As Weedmaps explains, you’ll only need a few supplies (although you do run the risk of smelling the kitchen for a moment). Here’s how to do this.
- Combine 2 cups of water and 2 cups of apple cider vinegar in a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil, then let it sit and simmer.
- Place the water hose in the pot and simmer for one hour. (Weedmaps notes that the pipes should be at room temperature before they are placed in the water because they may break if they are cold.)
- Remove the pipes with tongs and place them on a towel to dry.
How to clean the tank
If you’re partial to modern weed technology, you can use a straw pen to consume tetrahydrocannabis. Whether you use hash oil or regular e-cigarette juice, cleaning these devices is a little more complicated than bongs, but it won’t make much of a difference.