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How To Clean a Pipe

Gunked up pipes are a real downer. You want a relaxing evening, but instead you get a clogged pipe with a bad smell and worse taste. It’s time to clean your pipe. Whether you’ve neglected your bowl for weeks or if you want to keep your new piece shiny and new, we’ve got the best tips for how to clean a pipe.

How Often Should I Clean My Pipe?

The answer to this question is personal and has a lot to do with how often you smoke and your tolerance for a dirty pipe. If you smoke once a week, think about cleaning your bowl every month or two. If you smoke every day, don’t go much longer than a couple weeks. Some people even clean their pipes once a week or even every day!

Why clean your pipe? Resin builds up over time, clogging your bowl and changing the flavor of your smoke. While a little resin can enhance smoke’s flavor, too much makes it taste skunky. Avoid these issues by cleaning out your bowl regularly. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to clean.

Soak Your Pipe

The cheapest way to clean a glass pipe is to soak it in an alcohol solution. Isopropyl alcohol dissolves resin in a few hours. The only catch is that you must soak the entire piece for best results.

To soak your pipe in isopropyl alcohol, you need a high-concentrate alcohol and a plastic bag or tub large enough to hold your pipe. Put your pipe in the bag or tub, then fill the container with enough alcohol to cover the pipe. Allow to soak for at least half an hour. Dirtier pipes need more time. Many people prefer to let their pipes soak overnight. When the alcohol changes color you know it’s working.

After soaking, remove your pipe and rinse under hot water. If you have stubborn resin spots, feel free to add salt to the alcohol as an abrasive. This works best with large rock salt and when using a bag, so that you may safely shake the solution around the pipe.

Want something a little faster? Maybe you have some hard-baked resin that needs something stronger than alcohol. Special glass-cleaning solutions, like 420Cleaner or Grunge Off, are made to cut through tough resin fast. Check out our selection of glass bong and pipe cleaners for our favorite, hand-picked brands of cleaner. These cleaners promise sparkling results in much less time than alcohol alone and work with glass, metal, and ceramic. Since these are such powerful solutions, you also don’t need to soak the entire piece, and can use much less liquid than you would using alcohol.

Use Pipe cleaners

Pipe cleaners are the most obvious (and labor-intensive) choice when it comes to cleaning your glass pipe. Thankfully, there are more sturdy options than the craft-style pipe cleaners you remember from kindergarten.

Specialized glass pipe cleaner kits are a great investment for any daily smoker. With strong bristles and flexible yet durable stems, these tools allow you to get every nook and cranny inside your bowl. Of course, it always helps to soak your pipe first, even in warm water, before attempting to scrape it with pipe cleaners.

You don’t need fancy tools to scrape or unclog your bowl, though. In a pinch, a paper clip or safety pin can save the day. We don’t recommend using these to clean your bowl complete, however, unless you have an hour of free time and don’t mind getting messy.

Keep Your Pipe Clean

No one likes a dirty pipe. Unless you’re saving up resin for a rainy day, there’s no reason to keep your pipe dirty when it’s so easy to clean. For a no-fuss solution, try soaking in isopropyl alcohol or using a specialized bong cleaner and pipe cleaner like 420Cleaner. If you want to preserve your res or can’t get your hands on some alcohol, scraping your bowl with pipe cleaners is also a tried and true, if messy, option. Finally, remember to clean your bowl regularly for the best smoking experience. Your friends and lungs will thank you.

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