Cannabis How-Tos

How to Clean a Bong

You can extend the shelf life of bongs and other cannabis accessories by using the proper cleaning tools and regular maintenance.

How to Clean a Bong

  • Cleaning cannabis accessories regularly is an easier job than scrubbing away built-up grime.
  • Basic items such as rubbing alcohol and rock salt can be used to clean a bong and cleaning kits with wipes and brushes are also available.
  • Never use a household cleaner—the chemicals can be harmful to your lungs.

As with any tool, proper cleaning and regular maintenance are key to keeping cannabis accessories in good working order—and protecting your health. Here are the basic ins and outs on  how to remove grime from a bong.

What is a bong?

A type of water pipe, a bong is a device used for smoking dried cannabis flower. It’s usually made up of four components: a bowl, downstem, base and tube. Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, and can be made of glass, acrylic, wood, metal, silicone and other materials.

Parts of a Bong

Why should it be cleaned?

The simplest reason is to protect your health: Bacteria and mould can grow inside the device, increasing your chances of developing a lung infection; and any residues coating the bong will affect the flavour of the cannabis. Just like your home, cleaning it regularly is an easier job than scrubbing away built-up grime.

How often should I clean it?

There is no definitive answer to how often it should be done, but if you’re using the bong regularly, it’s a good idea to wash it every two days or so. If the bong is only used sporadically, clean it after every use to avoid bacteria growth.

DO: If you’re not using your bong regularly, clean it after every use.

What tools do I need?

Because cannabis oils cannot be removed simply with water, a solution is required to dissolve them. The cheapest option is basic rubbing alcohol (its main ingredient is isopropyl alcohol, also called isopropanol), which can be combined with an abrasive material, such as rock salt or uncooked rice. Alternatively, you can use a fizzy combination of baking soda and vinegar. For tougher jobs, try special soaking products, as well as wipes, brushes and pipe cleaners. Shop for cleaning products here.

DO: Look for special cleaning instructions provided by the producer.
DON’T: Do not use any household cleaning products, as they contain chemicals that could be harmful when breathed in.

How do I clean it?

If you are using a prepared cleaning solution, read the instructions on the package. To use rubbing alcohol and rock salt, follow these five basic steps. (Note: These steps follow what is shown in the video.)

Descriptive Video: How to Clean a Bong
  1. Remove all moving pieces, including bowl and downstem. Place in a deep container and set aside.
  2. Add rubbing alcohol and salt to base (about ¼ cup alcohol to 1 tbsp salt). Insert stoppers (if you have them) into holes in base. Swirl solution around base until grime is dissolved.
  3. Use soft cloth to wipe to clean away remaining dirt, then pour out cleaning solution.
  4. To clean individual pieces, such as the bowl and downstem, place in a container and repeat steps two and three. Use cotton balls or swabs to clear grime from tight spaces.
  5. Rinse base and pieces under hot running water until you can no longer smell alcohol. Let dry thoroughly before reassembling. (Note, the rinsing step is not shown in the video.)

DO: Allow all the parts to dry before reassembling them, to prevent bacterial growth.

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