A Complete Guide To Cleaning Your Glass Water Pipe
You should clean your glass water pipe as frequently as you can. Glass bongs and hand pipes are easier to clean if you don’t allow residual stains to build up over time. While cleaning every day isn’t necessary, you should at least wash the glass pieces after a few long sessions.
Here is a complete guide to cleaning your glass water pipe:
1. Arrange All the Cleaning Solutions and Tools
There are at least 3 types of cleaning solutions you can use for a glass water pipe, such as the following:
- Baking soda, coarse salt, or rice for abrasion
- Some dish soap, glass cleaner, vinegar, etc.
- IPA in a concentrated form
You will need a basin or sink. You may use a regular faucet or a handheld sprayer to clean the glass water pipe with regular tap water. Plus, you will need warm water before the final rinsing.
Here are the tools you will need to clean a glass water pipe:
- Cotton swab or Q-tip
- Latex or nitrile gloves
- Mask, if you use IPA
- Paper towel or a rag
- Zipper bags and pans
2. Choose the Most Effective Cleaning Method
You may use only soap and water to clean a glass water pipe that isn’t extensively stained and the residual buildup is relatively easy to eliminate. Rigid stains will likely require a more abrasive cleaning method, so you might need to use baking soda, coarse salt, rice, etc.
Combining baking soda and vinegar works well because they create an abrasive and bubbling effect that can clean the stains, both inside and outside a glass water pipe. A glass cleaner may work for many smokers if their bongs or hand pipes are reasonably clean or the stains are mild.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will probably have to use IPA. Get IPA that is at least 91% concentrated. You don’t need 99% IPA, but 70% won’t work effectively. Also, you may have to combine IPA with other cleaning agents.
Combinations dilute the strength and, thus, effects of IPA. Since you need IPA at a rather high concentration, you will encounter significant fumes or vapors of the strong solvent. It is quite possible you are unfamiliar with these fumes. Hence, wearing a mask is recommended.
3. Remove Every Detachable Pipe Component
You must never clean or wash a glass water pipe with the removable components attached. All glass water pipes with detachable pieces can have these parts damaged when you try to clean the whole device as a single unit. Take apart the pieces carefully, so they don’t chip or crack.
4. Soak the Glass Water Chamber of Your Pipe
Once you have all the smaller parts removed, such as the bowl, stem, mouthpiece, etc., you can soak the glass base or chamber of the pipe in warm water mixed with some dish soap. Use very little dish soap so that there are no residual traces. You don’t want soapy smoke after cleaning.
You can plug a sink’s drain with its stopper, fill the basin with enough water to soak the base. Or, you can use a pan or pot of a sufficient size. Soaking the smaller parts isn’t necessary, but you may do so. However, don’t exclude percolators from soaking if you remove them from the pipe.
You must use warm water to soak. If you don’t have hot water or a faucet with a mixer, heat the volume you need on a stove and then add a bit of soap. Let the glass water chamber soak for 1 to 2 hours while you proceed with cleaning the smaller parts.
5. Clean, Scrub, and Rinse All the Smaller Parts
Get one zipper bag and pour sufficient IPA to submerge all the smaller parts. Close the bag and let IPA do its job for 5 to 10 minutes. Bring the pieces out and use the cotton swab to scrub their surfaces gently. If the IPA is too dirty, dispose of it, and empty the bag. Get some clean IPA.
Dip every small part in the IPA bath in the bag, one at a time, and scrub until all of them are clean. Dispose of the used IPA, wash the small parts with clean water. If you have any water stains, use a bit of lemon juice, swish the parts, and give them a final rinse.
6. Use a Cleaning Solution and Swish the Base
After soaking, wash the glass pipe base or water chamber. Use a combination of baking soda and vinegar or coarse salt and IPA. Fill a zipper bag with this cleaning solution up to the extent necessary for a thorough cleaning. Put the glass pipe into the bag and seal it.
Hold the pipe and the bag securely, swish it rigorously to cleanse the glass. Pour the cleaning solution out and check the bong or hand pipe. You may have to repeat this step a few times for impeccable cleaning.
7. Wash the Glass Water Pipe Base Thoroughly
Wash the glass water pipe thoroughly so that the device is squeaky clean. Don’t drop the pipe if you shake the base or any other part while rinsing. If you are uncomfortable wearing any latex or nitrile gloves at this stage, you can remove them and feel the glass when you hold the pipe.
8. Wipe and Air Dry the Glass Water Pipe’s Parts
Use a clean rag or paper towel to clean the glass water pipe and its parts. Don’t use any tissue paper that might leave streaks or other traces. Air dry the parts before reassembling your pipe. Wait for the glass water pipe to be completely dry before you embark on a session.