Glass pipes are beautiful but they can get dirty rather quickly. It is even easy to see the dirt and grime that builds up, so keeping them clean is important. Cleaning your pipes can be very time consuming if you let them get really funky, but there are fast ways to clean your pipe in between major cleanings. These shortcuts will help cut your cleaning time down quickly for an ‘in betweener cleaner’.
Cleaning Your Glass Pipe with Alcohol
One of the best ways to clean your pipe is with isopropyl alcohol. 70% is more common, but 90% is even better. You can find the 90% at Pharmacies. This eliminates grime but also disinfects the pipe to make it as good as new. First, get a strong Zip style bag like a Smelly Proof or be eco-conscious and re-use that bag from the dispensary. Then add enough alcohol to completely cover your pipe when it is in the bag. Add a teaspoon of course salt to the bag. The salt does not dissolve well in alcohol and acts as an abrasive to cut slits in the resin, allowing the alcohol to penetrate and dissolve the underlying oil and wax. Add a few drops of a common dish detergent like Dawn. Allow your pipe to soak for a few minutes. After the pipe has soaked, shake the bag gently to dislodge any dirt and grime that is on it. Remove the pipe from the bag and rinse thoroughly with hot water.
The solution you just made is 98% of the generic pipe cleaners on the market today. I keep my solution in a mason jar and use it at least five times before I dispose of it down the drain.
Organic Cleaning with Vinegar
Another way to clean your glass pipe is to use vinegar. Add equal quantities of water and vinegar (Clear/White Vinegar is best because it has no other dissolved solids like Apple Cider Vinegar or Wine Vinegar) to a saucepan enough to cover your pipe. Put it on low flame, and allow the water-vinegar mix to simmer on low for an hour. The water should be dark amber after it has simmered. You can swish the water to help remove any large build-up and then rinse your glass pipe with hot water.
Cleaning with Baking Soda
You can use baking soda or even denture tablets to help clean resin or other substances from inside your handmade pipe. First, add the baking soda or the tablets to the bowl of the pipe. Then, cover them with warm water and allow them to fizz for a bit. After the baking soda has dissolved a bit, add some vinegar to help dislodge the residue further and to help make sure the pipe is squeaky clean. See FAQs below.
Routine quick cleans are the best way to help make sure that you are not going to spend hours doing a cleanse. These are just a few quick methods that will make your cleaning time easier and faster.
With any pipe, it is important that you take the time to make sure it stays clean and that you have found the right cleaning method for your type of glass pipe.
FAQ: ‘What if my pipe is too big to be cleaned in a Bag or a Saucepan’?
That is an important question! 50% or more of all bong breakage is during cleaning. If your glass water pipe has build up, you can invest in a few tools to help, like; a cleaning plug, a keck clip to securely seal the plug in the reservoir of your bong, and finally a Buddy System internal scrubber.
FAQ: ‘What about using powders like OxyClean and tablets like Efferdent to clean glass pipes?’
These commercially available cleaners are ok for quick clean only. Allowing OxyClean or Efferdent to soak overnight may cause etching of glass and/or calcium build up on percs. I should know, I lost a beautiful custom reverse axis wig wag top, twin section palm tree percolated Lux to OxyClean. Grrr…