It’s that time of year, Spring Cleaning! And it’s probably much overdue for your pipe cleaning. If you can’t get air through your pipe or have noticed some build-up, you’ll need to give it a deep clean to get it working again. Here’s what you need to do.
When Should You Clean a Pipe?
Realistically, you should do a deep clean of your pipe roughly every week, ideally sooner (especially if you smoke through it a lot). However, this is highly variable and provided you keep on top of basic cleaning and don’t smoke too often, you can leave it a little longer with minimal issues. Basic cleaning is simple: empty out any ash when you finish a session, and give it a little scrape as needed. If it’s starting to get blocked, you can also cover the carb, hold the bowl upside down over the trash and blow through the mouthpiece. However, if you’re getting to the point where you have to scrape or blow out compacted material, this is a very good sign you should give your pipe a deeper clean. Since there’s no water involved with most pipes, it’s not as urgent as the need to clean a bong can be, but it’s still best to stay on top of it.
What You Need to Clean a Pipe
There are many different approaches to how to clean a glass pipe, but most sources recommended the isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt method. For this approach, you’ll need to gather the following items: Zip-lock bag (big enough for your pipe), or a resealable container of some type 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol (i.e. “rubbing alcohol”) Coarse table salt, epsom salt, kosher salt or similar Dish soap Sponge Pipe cleaners, toothpicks, paperclips or similar (to help with stubborn patches) Alternative methods generally involve very similar processes, so you will generally only need to replace the isopropyl alcohol and salt with something else. For example, a common solution for how to clean a pipe without alcohol is to use white vinegar and baking soda, so you can literally just replace these ingredients. We’ll cover these methods in separate sections if you’re interested.
How to Clean Your Weed Pipe
This approach is best if you’re interested in how to clean a glass pipe, or a wooden one. If you have a metal or ceramic pipe, you can check out an alternative method below.
Step 1: Clean Out Anything You Can First off, make sure you’ve gotten any debris you can out of the pipe. Give it a good tap on the side of the trash can, cover the carb and blow in through the mouthpiece, and give the bowl a scrape to remove anything you can.
Step 2: Cover it in Isopropyl Alcohol Put your pipe into the zip-lock bag or resealable container you’re using. Pour in enough isopropyl alcohol to cover the pipe, and then add a couple of teaspoons of coarse salt. Try to get good coverage of your pipe with the salt, at least so it will find its way into most of the inside. Close up the bag or container.
Step 3: Soak it For 12 Hours Leave it to soak for around 12 hours – overnight is a good idea, or while you’re out at work.
Step 4: Shake it After the 12 hour soak, give the bag some firm shakes, giving the salt mixture more chance to rub up against hard-to-reach places on the pipe.
Step 5: Wash it Down Remove the pipe from the bag and give it a thorough rinse with hot water and dish soap. This is your final opportunity to get any resin or build-up off the pipe, so if you have a pipe cleaner, paperclip or anything to use, make sure you get it up. It should be easier after the alcohol and salt have worked on it for all this time. You can also use a sponge on the outside or any spaces you can reach. Make sure to rinse it with warm water when you’re done cleaning. You’ll be inhaling things directly from this surface so you don’t want to leave any chemical residue.
Step 6: Let the Pipe Dry Now it’s clean, you only have to wait for a little bit for it to dry. With pipes, it’s generally better to leave them to dry on their own rather than doing it with a towel. However, if you’re in a rush, you can certainly help the process along.