Old bong water is a special kind of gross. It’s the type of thing you’d have to drink as part of a stoner frat initiation. Perhaps we won’t take it that far, but getting a whiff of old bong water while you’re going for a hit isn’t exactly pleasant. When you leave a bong dirty for long, you risk letting bacteria and mold take root in all the build-up, and even inhaling something you’re really not intending to.Keeping your bong clean is a lot more important than you might think. Here’s the best method to use to get things right.
How Often Should You Clean Your Bong
You should clean your bong after a few days to a week of use, depending on how much you’re using it. It’s also best to replace the water after every use, but at least after a few bowl-fulls. If a little ring starts forming around the usual level of your water, or if you get some floating bits when it’s freshly-filled, this is a sure sign you need to clean your bong. You can also generally tell by the color of fresh water in the bong – if it looks a little murky, it’s picking stuff up from the inside of the bong and it’s time to clean. Here’s What You’ll Need
You need to gather a few things before cleaning your bong: Isopropyl alcohol: Really, the higher the percentage the better, but anywhere above 90% is ideal. Coarse salt: Whether it’s table salt, Epsom salt or Himalayan salt, you need some rocky salt to help scrub the bong clean. A big zip-lock bag: It needs to fit your whole bong in it, but it makes the process much easier. Dish soap Bottle brush/pipe cleaner: To get down into the harder-to-reach places. A sponge Paper towels
How to Clean Your Bong
The method involving isopropyl alcohol and salt is considered the best way to clean a bong, but if you have an acrylic or plastic bong, you can just clean it with a bottle brush, warm water and dish soap (see below for more information).
Step 1: Disassemble it Take the bowl, stem and any other removable components (e.g. mouthpiece) off the bong, separating it into individual pieces. If there’s any water left in there, empty it out and quickly rinse it off. You should ideally avoid pouring bong water down the drain, so if possible you can put it in a sealed bag and leave it in the trash.
Step 2: Half-Fill it With Alcohol Open up your zip-lock bag and put the bong in there, standing it up so you can fill it up to around half way up with isopropyl alcohol.
Step 3: Add Your Salt Add a few tablespoons of coarse salt to the inside of the bong. The alcohol does the disinfecting work, but the salt gives some roughness to the mixture and helps get up more stubborn residue.
Step 4: Seal and Shake Now close up your zip-lock bag. You’re going to shake the salt and alcohol mixture inside the bong, so it’s best to cover the open top with your hand first. Also try to cover the spots for the mouthpiece and stem if possible. Shake it vigorously, making sure to get the mixture all the way up and down the bong. If you don’t have a zip-lock bag, you can either do it over your sink or potentially just use a regular trash bag with some extra care.
Step 5: Leave it to Sit Leave the alcohol and salt mixture in the bong to sit for around 30 minutes. You might not really need to do this but if you have the time it’s definitely worthwhile.
Step 6: Take Your Bong Out Remove your bong from the zip-lock bag, keeping the old alcohol and salt in there. You shouldn’t really just throw this down the drain, but luckily you can just zip up the bag and throw it away directly.
Step 7: Clean it with Warm Water and Soap Rinse your bong in warm water and soap to remove any of the residual alcohol and to give it an extra clean. Make sure to thoroughly cover the whole inner and outer surface of the bong. This is where a bottle-brush or pipe-cleaner and a sponge come in handy: you can physically scrub any of the rest of the bong to make sure you get everything. Paper towels are also really useful at this stage to both clean and dry the bong.
Step 8: Soak the Bowl and Stem in Alcohol For the bowl and stem, you can just soak them in isopropyl alcohol to clean off any build-up. A zip-lock bag is perfect for this too: just put them in there, cover it over with alcohol, zip it up and leave them to sit for around 10 minutes. You can also add salt and shake at this stage (as with the bong) but you don’t really have to do this in most cases.
Step 9: Rinse the Bowl and Stem As before, you can just remove the pieces, zip up the bag and throw it away when you’re done. Once you’ve gotten the pieces out, rinse them with warm water and use a pipe-cleaner if necessary to scrub off any lasting residue.
Step 10: Leave Everything to Dry Once you’ve done this, you can just leave the stem and bowl to dry and do the same with the bong if needed. When they’re dry, re-assemble and you’re good to go.