The bong, also known as a water pipe, is one of the oldest and most commonly used tools for smoking cannabis. Using water to cool and filter smoke, the basic bong mounts a bowl of packed cannabis on top of a downstem, which directs the smoke through water at the base then up the neck of the bong and through the mouthpiece.

One of the reasons glass bongs have remained a popular way to smoke for so long is that they’re easy to use. They require less prep work than a joint and are generally easier to learn to use than other smoking devices or methods. Unfortunately, they can also be exceptionally difficult to clean due to the immense amount of resin buildup, particularly when they have more complex filtration features. 

Part of knowing how to use a bong properly is knowing how to clean your bong. Below you’ll find a step-by-step guide to cleaning and maintaining a bong, along with a quick explanation of why it’s so important to clean your bong in the first place. 

This is why it’s important to avoid that nasty buildup in your bong and use the right cleaning products in order to keep up with the cleanliness of your glass piece. In this guide, you will learn how to clean your bong as well as the best cleaning solutions for you to choose from and why keeping your bong clean is vital.

In order to efficiently clean your bong, you’ll need to be knowledgeable about the many different types of cleaning options as well as what products you should steer clear from at all costs. Let’s take a further dive into what you should be avoiding before we get into how to properly clean a bong.

Why Should I Clean My Bong?

how to clean a bong

If you understand why you should regularly perform maintenance on your car, then it should be easy to understand why you should clean your bong. Just like a car has many moving parts that will eventually need to be cleaned or even replaced, the same is true with your favorite glass bongs.

Glass bongs are great smoking tools, but because their primary feature is the ability to filter the smoke and cool it down, or keep it warm and moist. But let’s face reality, bongs get dirty… fast. All the stuff that used to end up in your lungs when taking a hit is now caught in the water at the bottom of the bong and stuck to the sides of the glass interior.

There are a few benefits to using a clean bong and not all of them are obvious.

The Water Filters Better

The water also filters better when it’s clean than when it isn’t. There’s only so much trash one fill up of water can filter out and after that, the amount that it can filter degrades significantly. Change your water often!

A Dirty Bong Will Make You Sick

Another benefit of having a clean bong is that you avoid the risk of respiratory infections when you use a clean piece. Mold loves to grow in damp locations, so you don’t want to store your bong full of water. It should always be stored empty. You should also be aware that not all mold is green; some molds are black, white, gray, and even pink. When you use a dirty bong, you may be inhaling mold spores and that could land you in the hospital.

You should also clean your bong after a session that’s shared with others. When you share your bong with other people, you run the risk of getting sick if they’re sick. If you’re willing to risk that, fine, but clean your piece immediately after you’re done so you don’t expose yourself to whatever they had more than once.

After 24 hours or so, biofilm will start to build up on the inside of your bong. It’s nasty and it’s bad for your lungs. This is why you don’t store your bong with water in it.

Hits Will Be Smoother

The most obvious benefit is that your hits taste better because they’re not being contaminated with the stench of old weed, old water, and old resin buildup.

The more complex the air path from the bowl to your mouth, the more resin and ash your bong is going to collect and the harder it’s going to be to clean. But, don’t worry; done correctly and often, your bong can look and feel like a brand new piece every single time you use it. How? Learn the basics below.

You’ll Get Higher

Your smoke will be smoother, so you’ll take more hits than you would if it was nasty. You’d rather taste the fresh sour diesel you just picked up than the old stuff from last week, right?

A Dirty Bong Smells Horrible

If you’re wanting to be at least somewhat discreet about your cannabis usage, keeping a dirty bong around isn’t going to help you there. The smell is unmistakable to anyone who has ever smelled it.


how to clean a bong

So, what are the two products you should never use to clean a bong? It’s simple, isopropyl alcohol and salt.

Believe it or not, as common as this method is for cleaning acrylic bongs, silicone bongs, and glass bongs, they are actually doing more harm than good. While they may do the job or ridding your bong of build up or residue, it’s also causing scratches and damages to the bong itself.

This will effect the longevity of your piece, which is why it’s important to stress to our users that they should avoid using this method if possible. Keep reading below for more facts and information on the dangers of using such products.

Dangers of Isopropyl Alcohol

No, no, and no. Isopropyl alcohol is generally everyone’s go to as soon as their bong gets dirty, and we are here to inform you, that it is never recommended. For starters, isopropyl alcohol contains high levels of VOC which is harmful not just to your bong but the environment as well. Fumes that are released from the alcohol is terrible for you and should never be inhaled.

Damages of Salt In a Bong

Sea salt which is typically used since it is more coarse, harsh, and larger in size when compared with regular salt, works in conjunction with the alcohol and functions as an abrasive which is used to remove the build up or mold. The issue however, lies in how tough the product is on your bong no matter the material.

If it’s glass you can count on it being scratched, if its acrylic you can also count on it scratching and deteriorating. If your acrylic water pipe is pigmented, that color will leak into your water chamber where you’ll be experiencing a whole set of other problems. All in all, avoid both coarse salt and alcohol.

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