What is the best cleaner for bongs?

13 min read
What is the best cleaner for bongs 1
It’s not the most glamorous part of being a cannabis enthusiast, but we all have to do it. Yup, we’re talking about cleaning bongs and other smoking accessories. Regular cleaning is essential for keeping your bong in tip top shape and functioning at its fullest, plus, no one wants to look at (or smell) a bong that hasn’t been cleaned in ages. After reading this article, you’ll know all about the best cleaner for bongs, why you should frequently give your bong a general cleaning, and how to clean glass and silicone bongs. We’ve even listed a few of our favorite brands so you don’t have to do any online research at all!

4 reasons you should regularly clean your bong

Yes, it’s one of the most annoying parts of using glassware, but having to regularly clean your bong is an essential part of the 420 lifestyle and may even become something you look forward to because of the fresh, full-flavored rips you’re gifted with afterwards. Besides just looking absolutely disgusting, there are several other reasons you’ll want to make bong cleaning a frequent habit.

  1. A dirty bong can make you sick - If left for a really long time, it is possible for bacteria and fungus to grow, just like any other moist, dank environment. Water-borne fungus like fusarium (the same one that grows in the shower or bathroom) are typically the most common in stagnant bong water. When inhaled, this can cause a plethora of problems including headaches, allergies, coughing or chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, or in the worst cases, a lung infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Be sure to change the water after every session and give your pieces frequent deep cleaning. It’s really not worth getting sick.
  2. Uncleaned bongs are really gross to look at (and use) - Have you ever been at a party and someone passes you a filthy bong that has black build-up on the sides, ash floating in the water, and resin stains from ten smoke sessions ago? It’s absolutely disgusting and embarrassing for the bong owner too, especially if they’re trying to impress you with their bong collection. If you empty the water and swish around some hot water, but still see debris or build-up, it’s time to give your glassware a full cleaning.
  3. Your rips will be tastier - No one buys a new Ferrari, but never changes the oil or takes it in for a tune up. For a bong to work at peak performance and produce the highest quality tokes possible, you’ll want it to be sparkling clean and filled with fresh water each smoke sesh. Old water, an unclean bong, and a dirty bowl are some of the culprits that will sour a hit, no matter how great your bud is. Rips from a bong that hasn’t been cleaned will not taste fresh and the flavor will start to change as well.
  4. Your bong will work at its best - If you don’t know by now, cannabis flowers produce a lot of resin, which is where the cannabinoids are the most potent. If left uncleaned, this sticky resin or large pieces of ash can clog up percolators, restrict airflow in the downstem or bowl, and cause other issues. You didn’t splurge on a one-of-a-kind heady glass bong just to have it working at half capacity. Clean your bong long before it gets anywhere near clogging up for optimal performance and top-tier tokes.

Types of bong cleaners

All bong cleaners can be categorized into two groups based on the type of ingredients it contains. These are alcohol and salt or an organic bong cleaning solution. Both types of bong cleaners are used at home with simple ingredients you can find at the store or can be purchased as a branded product like the list of best bong cleaners linked in the following section. The alcohol and salt method is very straightforward and yup, you guessed it, uses isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt as an abrasive. An organic bong cleaner is any formula that uses natural ingredients such as minerals, plants, and fruit like the citrus used in Orange Chronic. While the rubbing alcohol method is cheap, easy, and you probably already have the materials at home, most smokers like to use organic bong cleaners since they are eco-friendly and non-toxic, so there’s no chance of accidentally inhaling any residue left behind by harsh chemicals.

Best cleaner for bongs

Answering the question of “what is the best bong cleaner?” is actually a tough one and there is no right answer as long as harsh chemicals aren’t used for safety purposes. When it comes to choosing the best cleaner for bongs, it really depends on the material you’re trying to clean. As mentioned previously, glass and silicone are the easiest to get looking like new and glass cleaners are easy to come by, but there are great bong cleaning formulas for metal, ceramic, acrylic, and even wood. We’ve broken down each of our favorites based on bong material and even threw in a budget-friendly option and a complete cleaning kit that every stoner will love.

Best glass bong cleaner

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Watch the gunk melt away with the Ooze Resolution bong cleaner solution. As one of the best bong cleaners around, it won’t take long to see results with this thick, gel formula that doesn’t contain any isopropyl alcohol. Made from clay that is naturally abrasive, this cleaning solution is non-toxic and safe for the skin, so it can even be used to clean resin from your fingers. It comes in a convenient pouch that can be used for soaking, but also has a resealable spout for easy pouring. Quickly add Ooze Resolution Gel to your cart, as one of the best glass cleaner for bongs it won’t be in stock for long!

Best silicone or acrylic bong cleaner

Randy’s Bong Cleaner is the perfect pick for getting silicone, ceramic, wood, acrylic, glass, or metal bongs looking like new. There are several types, but you’ll want to reach for the Green Label, which is the most environmentally friendly and works on all of the materials mentioned. The formula is biodegradable, non-toxic, reusable, and won’t leave a smell or taste behind! It comes in a 12 oz bottle that’s meant to be used as a soaking solution, filtered of large debris, and reused again and again.

Best metal and ceramic bong cleaner

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If you left your bong way too long between cleanings and need something that’s extra tough, you need the Pink Formula. This is the strongest bong cleaning solution and is formulated for immediate results with little to no scrubbing. This quick, and easy-to-use solution is definitely the best water bong cleaner when it comes to strength, but won’t corrode the inside of your metal bong or degrade the ceramic. In addition to ceramic and metal, the Pink Formula can also be used on pyrex and glass bongs as well.

Best cheap bong cleaner

There’s a reason Orange Chronic Cleaner is called the “superhero of water pipe cleaners”. The earth-friendly formula is made with natural ingredients like oranges and smells amazing too! Great for those in a rush, Orange Chronic Cleaner has near instant results that typically doesn’t require soaking or scrubbing unless your bong is exceptionally gunky. We’re still trying to figure out how they do it! Available in 16 oz, 12 oz, and a travel-friendly 4 oz bottle, this is an overall great choice for a glass bong cleaner. Orange Chronic is also an affordable option and the cheapest cleaner on the list that will fit with any budget, so there’s no excuse to have a dirty bong.

Best bong cleaner kit

For the ultimate package, the Resolution Bong Cleaning Kit has everything you need to get your water pipes squeaky clean! With this kit, there’s no need to visit different aisles at the store or shop on multiple sites to get all of your cleaning supplies. This high-quality kit contains one of the best bong cleaners (the Resolution glass cleaner), three silicone bong caps of various sizes, two long cleaning brushes, and a pack of cotton swabs. It’s a great price for everything you’re getting and makes an awesome gift for the stoner in your life. The Resolution cleaning solution comes in a pourable or soakable bag to make things easy and the formula is non-toxic and reusable!

Must have bong cleaning accessories

You may be focused on finding the best bong cleaner, but you’ll also want to pick up a few cleaning tools that will make the entire process a lot quicker and easier.

  • Silicone Bong Caps - Instead of using plastic bags, silicone bong caps fit right into the openings and can be used over and over again no matter how big your bong is!
  • Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes - Keep these alcohol wipes handy for when your mouthpiece, bong, or fingers are getting sticky and you need a quick touch up until you can do a full cleaning session.
  • Ooze Resolution Res Wipes - These large bong cleaning wipes are great for getting rid of resin on just about anything including bowls, herb grinders, glass pipes, ashtrays, table tops, and more!
  • Glob Mops XL Cotton Mops - These extra large cotton swabs are heavy duty and a must-have for any smoker.

How to clean a glass bong

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Glass is the most popular material chosen for bongs, pipes, dab rigs, and other smoking accessories used for enjoying cannabis and one of the most annoying parts of owning these devices is the cleaning process. All smoking devices require frequent cleaning to maintain their functionality and longevity in addition to having the most flavorful rips possible. While it may be fragile, glassware looks as good as new with just a simple cleaning process that’s cheap and anyone can do at home. The best methods are either using isopropyl alcohol and salt or purchasing a branded bong and pipe cleaner made for glass. Here’s how to do it:

Isopropyl alcohol and salt method

Materials:

  • Hot or warm water
  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Coarse salt
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Cotton swabs
  • A large sealable plastic bag or silicone bong caps
  • Small sealable plastic bag

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Remove the bowl and any other removable parts such as an ash catcher or downstem. You will clean these smaller pieces separately in a small sealable plastic bag.
  2. Rinse each component individually using hot or warm water to remove any loose ash or debris. Once rinsed, place the bong into a large plastic bag and the smaller pieces in another sealable plastic bag to ensure they don’t hit each other and crack.
  3. Pour the salt and isopropyl alcohol into the bag, making sure that the mixture gets into the inside of the bong. If you have silicone bong caps, you can use this instead of a bag by pouring the mixture inside the bong and sealing all openings with the caps. The alcohol will melt away the residue, while the salt works as a mild abrasive when shaking to clean out the inside.
  4. Seal up the bags and start shaking for at least five minutes. The glassware should be pretty clean by now and the solution will have turned a brownish yellow. Take a look. If everything looks like new, move on to step five. If not, let the bong sit in the mixture for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Remove the bong from the bag and see if there are any stubborn areas where resin and build-up still occur. Use a pipe cleaner and cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to pick away the remaining resin. The bowl is often the dirtiest and a pipe cleaner will get the job done.
  6. Once the bong and components look like new, give everything a final rinse in hot or warm water and lay them out to dry. That’s it!

Bong cleaner method

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If using a store-bought bong cleaning solution to clean your bong, the process is nearly identical to the one mentioned above. You’ll need the same materials, but you’ll be swapping out the salt and alcohol for the cleaner. One of the best bong cleaners for glass due to its strength is the Pink Formula, but the Ooze Resolution Cleaner is another great option since it comes in a convenient pouch with a spout and is reusable. To reuse the solution, simply strain out any large debris and save it for next time!

How to clean a silicone bong

Cleaning a silicone bong can be a bit tricky because of the material, but there are several methods to safely get your piece clean without damaging the silicone with harsh chemicals or leaving toxic residue behind. There are several ways to do this, but two of the most popular are using a bong cleaner made specifically for silicone (be sure it says silicone on the bottle) or if it can come apart, using the dishwasher. The freezer method is also an easy one for silicone pieces due to the flexibility of the material. Steer clear of alcohol, bleach, acetone, hydrogen peroxide, or any bong cleaner that is not made for silicone. Let’s get into it!

Silicone bong cleaner method

Pick up a cleaning solution that’s made for silicone like Randy’s Green Label, the best bong cleaner for silicone pieces in our opinion. If your bong can come apart, do so, then put the pieces into a large sealable plastic bag (it’s okay if the pieces are squished). Fill the bag with the bong cleaning solution, seal it up, and start shaking for a few minutes. This may already be enough to clean off resin, but if your bong is extra dirty, you can leave it soaking in the bag for an hour or overnight to really melt away any stubborn gunk. If your bong does not come apart, remove the bowl and downstem to clean separately, then pour in the cleaner, cover up the openings and shake vigorously. Once clean, rinse it well with warm water and set it out to dry before using it again.

Dishwasher method

Did you know that high quality, heat-safe silicone can go right in the dishwasher? This method works best if your bong can come apart into smaller pieces so the hot water can reach the interior. Be warned that cheap silicone can get damaged with the dishwasher’s high temperature and sometimes a bong can get out of shape, so use this method sparingly and be sure to still give your piece a deep clean every once in a while too. Some stoners have said that they cleaned a super filthy bong in the dishwasher and while it got clean, the dishwasher was covered in resin, so keep that in mind as well. If you’re still sold on this quick method, here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove any dishes from the dishwasher. You want it to be completely empty. Take your bong apart and remove the downstem and bowl. If these smaller pieces are metal or silicone, place them on the top shelf of the dishwasher. If they are glass, we recommend cleaning them separately. Place the bong on the bottom rack with the openings facing down, so the hot water can reach the inside of the bong.
  2. Choose a medium or medium-high water temperature setting and a very short cycle of no more than five minutes. Start the dishwasher.
  3. The silicone will be very hot, so after the cycle has ended, carefully remove the pieces with tongs or an oven mit. Rinse the inside and outside of each piece with warm water and set it on a dish rack to dry. If there is still stubborn buildup, use dishwashing soap, a bottle brush, and hot water to remove it.
  4. Once dry, it’s time to put the pieces back together and pack a bowl!

Tips for keeping your bong clean

Because of the sticky nature of cannabis, all reusable water pipes and smoking accessories will get dirty and need to be cleaned. However, there are ways to ensure that your water pipes stay cleaner for longer, so you won’t have to pull out the alcohol and salt or bong cleaner too often. These are just a few helpful tips and tricks for keeping your bong cleaner for longer between cleanings:

  • Pick a bong made from an easy-to-clean material - Not only does the material of a bong make a difference in aesthetic and how it hits, it can also make it easier or more difficult when it comes time to clean it. The easiest material to clean are silicone bongs. This is because most styles can come apart easily for cleaning and silicone is dishwasher safe! Glass bongs are also pretty easy to clean, though you’ll need to be careful not to put too much elbow grease into it since they can crack or break. In addition to material type, some styles like straight shooters, beaker bongs, mini bongs, and those with few delicate percolators are easier to clean than recyclers, percolator bongs, large bongs, or character bongs with odd shapes.
  • Change your bong water often - One of the easiest ways to keep your bong clean for longer is simply by changing the water frequently. Not only can old, dirty bong water that has been sitting become a breeding ground for bacteria and be disgusting to look at, but it will also begin to emit a strong, unpleasant smell. It’s best to empty the used water into the sink, rinse the bong out a few times with hot water, and refill it with fresh water after each use. Hot water will loosen any sticky residue from inside the bong and help to sanitize it. Ash and resin get caught in the water during each hit and if there is too much build-up, it can start to stick to the inside of the bong’s water chamber, making it harder to clean later on.
  • Use a pipe screen - One of the best ways to keep your entire bong cleaner for longer is to start using a pipe screen, especially if your bowl has a larger hole that sometimes lets debris through. Pipe screens are small, metal screens that fit snuggly at the bottom of your bong bowl below the ground dry herb and will keep larger pieces of ash and other debris from getting pulled down into the bong water with the smoke when you take a rip. Since less sticky material is entering the interior of the bong, there will be less build up and your water pipe will remain cleaner for longer. As the name suggests, pipe screens can also be used for dry pipes and bubblers, are affordable, and can be cleaned and reused over and over again.
  • Clean the bowl regularly - The bowl is an essential piece of any bong since it holds the dry herb and it will get dirty very quickly. If you don’t have the time to give your bong a full cleaning, clean the bowl at the very least. Since air flows through the bowl during each inhale, pulling smoke and pieces of ash with it, the cleaner the bowl is before it’s packed, the less debris will end up in the water. Use a cotton swab, alcohol wipe, or pipe cleaner to clean out the bowl frequently, removing any ash or debris that may have accumulated at the bottom or along the sides. If you use your bong regularly, it’s a good idea to have at least two compatible bong bowls so you don’t have to interrupt your smoke sesh if your one and only bowl gets too dirty or clogged.

Ready to get cleaning? Visit the Everything 420 online smoke shop for the best bong cleaners available and all the cleaning accessories you’ll ever need. You can even pick up a new bong or dab rig while you’re at it.

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