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How to Clean Pipe

January 28, 2022 8 min read

How to Clean Pipe

With countless ways to enjoy dry herb, pipes may seem like an outdated way to smoke, but many cannabis enthusiasts still love using pipes. Smoking pipe designs and technology have come a long way since your grandpa’s old long-stemmed wooden pipe. Pipes have remained a favorite smoking accessory due to its affordable price in comparison to dry herb vapes and bongs, portability (no water needed), discreet size, and endless styles available.

Just like any other smoking device, pipes will get dirty and filled with gunk during normal use. Cleaning a pipe is often the most annoying part of owning a pipe, but it’s crucial! If you’re worried about how to clean a weed pipe, don't be! Learning how to clean your pipe is easy and takes just a few minutes. Keeping your pipe clean is vital, not just because it can be embarrassing and disgusting to share a dirty pipe with your friends, but it also assures that you will have the best tasting hit. If not cleaned regularly, build-up can clog the inside of your device, limiting airflow and making the smoke taste stale. Below, we explain how to clean a glass pipe and how to clean a silicone pipe. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to clean a weed pipe of any material, shape, or size, and will probably be able to do it with your eyes closed.

How to clean glass pipe

After the initial excitement of getting a new pipe has worn off, you may begin to wonder how to clean weed pipes. There are a few different methods, tips, and tricks to make cleaning quick and mess-free.

Equipment list

  • Ziplock bag or other sealable plastic bag that will fit your pipe
  • Isopropyl alcohol (99% is best)
  • Coarse grain salt (table salt and epsom salt also work)
  • Paperclip, pipe cleaner, or cotton swab
  • Optional: Bong cleaning solution in place of salt and alcohol.
How to Clean Pipe 2

How to clean pipe step-by-step

Once you’ve gathered the materials listed above, you’re ready to master how to clean a glass pipe. Remember that you may not get it right on your first try, and that’s okay.

  1. Soak the pipe - Start by cleaning out any large bits of flower or ash that is loose. Place the pipe in a sealable Ziplock bag and add enough isopropyl alcohol to cover the pipe entirely. Be sure that the inside of the pipe is also completely filled with alcohol. If you don’t have a sealable plastic bag on hand, you can also use a normal plastic bag and set it inside a container or bowl. Just don’t go crazy on the shaking step!
  2. Add the salt - Don’t forget to add about one spoonful of coarse sea salt to the bag before sealing it up. If you don’t have coarse salt, epsom salt or table salt works too, though not as well as coarse. The salt helps to scrub away the buildup, so be sure that salt gets into the pipe as well as on the outside.
  3. Wait- The time you should wait really depends on how filthy your pipe is and how long you’ve waited between cleanings. Leave the pipe soaking in the alcohol bath for roughly five or six hours. If your pipe is extra dirty, leave it soaking overnight for at least 12 hours so the solution can work its magic.
  4. Shake- After the time is up and it looks like most of the residue has melted away. Add another spoonful of salt to the bag (most of it should have already dissolved) and check to see that the bag is sealed before giving it a long hard shake for at least a few minutes. This should get the last bits of resin to lift from the glass. Skip this step if you soaked your pipe in a bowl or rigid container since it can easily crack or break your pipe.
  5. Fine detailing - Dump out the alcohol and salt mixture and give your smoking pipe a once over. If you see any stubborn buildup still hanging on, use an alcohol soaked cotton swab or pipe cleaner to remove it. Extra-long pipe cleaners are super handy to scrub the inside of a pipe or vaporizer. If you don’t have any of these available, a paper clip also works, though you will need to be careful not to scratch your pipe.
  6. Rinse and dry- Once your pipe is resin free, rinse it well (both inside and out) with hot water. Set your pipe on a dry dish towel somewhere where it is out of the way and will not get accidentally knocked over and let it air dry. Drying will take some time and you need to wait until it is fully dry to use it again.
  7. Repeat if needed - If you waited too long between cleanings, your pipe may need an extra round of cleaning. Repeat the process from the beginning using fresh alcohol and salt.


Pro tip - How to clean pipe fast

Want to know the secret of how to clean a glass pipe fast? The best thing you can do is to clean your pipe regularly, even if it’s just giving the mouthpiece and bowl a once over with an alcohol wipe. To save time and avoid having to soak the pipe twice, always clean your pipe fully following the steps above as soon as you see that it’s getting dirty on the inside. While annoying, it will save you time in the long run.

Best products to clean weed pipe

Best cleaning solutions

An alcohol and salt bath will definitely do the trick, but if your pipe or bong has been used for what seems like ages and is starting to perform poorly, you may need something that’s a little stronger to scrape and dissolve residue from the inside out.

  • Resolution Gel Cleaner - Get a clean glass pipe in minutes with this gel bong cleaner that comes in a resealable bag with a pourable spout. The formula is made from abrasive natural clay and does not contain alcohol.
  • Pink Formula Cleaner - Pick up a bottle of the Pink Formula Cleaner that requires no scrubbing and near immediate results. This bong cleaning solution is designed for glass, metal, and ceramic smoking accessories and never leaves a taste or smell behind.
  • Randy’s Black Label Cleaner - Made specifically for clearing off resin and goo from glass, metal, and ceramic surfaces,Randy’s Black Label Cleaner works like magic and only requires soaking for just a few minutes. Don’t forget to also pick up Randy’s Extra-Long Pipe Cleaners for the complete pipe and bong cleaning set.

Best pipe cleaning accessories

  • Randy’s Extra-Long Pipe Cleaners - When it comes to clean pipes,extra-long pipe cleaners are a lifesaver. Use these to scrub away grime from hard to reach areas inside your bong, pipe, bubbler, or vaporizer airpath.
  • Piranah 90% Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes- When figuring out how to clean a smoking pipe, you may also wonder how to clean your sticky fingers. Alcohol wipes quickly clear away resin from your hands and the table, plus are perfect for cleaning the outside of your pipe and bowl.

How to clean pipe with a pipe cleaning machine

Zen Ultrasonic Pipe and Glass Cleaner

If you hate having to constantly clean your glass pipe, it’s time to invest in the Zen Ultrasonic Pipe and Glass Cleaner. All you need to do is fill up the machine with tap water, drop in your glass pipe, mini bong, bowl, dab rig, banger, glass tip, or other glass smoking accessory and press start! This pipe cleaning machine has five settings and uses ultrasonic 42,000 Hz frequencies to slough away the gunk and grime for sparkling clean glass pipes that look like new. The best part is that you don’t need to buy a special pipe cleaning solution, worry about leftover residue or the environmental impact of using packaged solvents. Forget searching the cupboards for your bottle of alcohol and leave the salt for cooking when the munchies hit. This is the absolute best thing that’s ever happened to stoners who love smoking with a pipe.

How to clean silicone pipe

Stoners always have a silicone pipe in their arsenal since the durable material makes it a great piece for traveling or if you often smoke with accident-prone friends. After purchasing a silicone pipe, most people have questions like is it safe to smoke from, but at the top of the list is how to clean a pipe made of silicone. Common bong and pipe cleaning solutions that are safe for glass are usually not safe to clean a silicone pipe. You should steer clear from hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, or any oil based cleaning solutions, which are too harsh for silicone and can eat it away. Because of its material, it’s important to know how to clean pipes made of silicone the right way. There are three common methods to choose from:

  1. Soap, water, and vinegar - Cleaning a silicone pipe by hand will get you the best results. Combine one cup of very hot water (as hot as your tap will go) with three drops of dishwashing liquid and two teaspoons of vinegar (white or apple cider). Use this solution like you would with a glass pipe. Place the pipe and solution in a Ziplock bag, let it sit for an hour and give it a good shake. Pick out only residue using a soaked cotton swab and rinse with fresh water before allowing the silicone pipe to dry out complete. 
  2. Dishwasher- Yes, you can put heat-safe silicone in the dishwasher, however it will not get your silicone pipe as clean as handwashing will. The dishwasher method is a time-saver, but it works best with new dishwashers that work well. Be sure to remove the bowl if possible so the hot water and detergent can get inside the pipe and always place it in the utensil basket or on a shelf with something holding it down so it doesn’t move during the wash cycle.
  3. Freezer method - If your silicone pipe is extremely filthy on the inside (like never been cleaned before dirty), use the freezer method. Remove the bowl if it’s not made of silicone, then rinse the inside and outside of the pipe under the sink and immediately toss it into the freezer. Don’t let it dry out at all. Let the pipe freeze for at least two or three hours. After the time is up, take it out and immediately begin to squeeze and bend the pipe. You will hear cracking sounds as you bend it, which is the ice and resin breaking away from the inside. Be sure to do this part thoroughly or you’ll still have residue built-up left on the inside.

How to clean a pipe without alcohol

If you don’t want to clean your pipe with alcohol, own a silicone pipe, or you simply don’t have any rubbing alcohol at home, you can try one of these alternatives:

  1. Soap, hot water, and vinegar
  2. White vinegar and coarse salt
  3. Boil water, then turn it down to a simmer and “cook” your pipe in a pot on the stove (glass or metal pipes and bowls only)
  4. Warm water, baking soda, and vinegar bath
  5. Two or three denture tablets in water (glass only)
  6. Put it in the freezer
  7. Put it through a cycle in the dishwasher (food-grade silicone pipes only)

You should now understand how to clean a weed pipe, whether it’s made from glass, metal, or silicone and have a list of backup methods in case you don’t have time or can’t find the alcohol bottle. Test out a few of these methods and try one of the specialized pipe cleaning solutions to figure out what works best for your type of pipe and lifestyle. For a huge selection of smoking pipes including character pipes, steamrollers, metal pipes, dual bowl pipes, heady glass pipes, silicone pipes, ceramic pipes, and more, visit the EF420 online smoke shop.


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