How To Clean Your Bong
6 min

How To Clean Your Bong

6 min

Keeping your bong clean might sound like an obvious task, but you'd be surprised just how many neglected water pipes are out there! So we're setting the record straight. Catering for all kinds of materials, we'll show you how to keep your bong gleaming in between sessions. If your bong needs some TLC, this article is for you.

The more you use your favourite bong, the dirtier it gets. The presence of resin and ash will not only impact the flavour of your smoke, but your bong will have a foul smell each time you reach for it. Simply put, cleaning your bong regularly is paramount to getting the most out of the experience. Trust us, a neglected bong is as good as useless. In this article, we take a look at all you need to know to get your bong gleaming.

Why do you need to clean your bong?

Why do you need to clean your bong?

While we've alluded to a few reasons you'd want to clean your bong, the main one is simply to make the most of your smoking session. With a clean bong comes fresher and smoother rips. It's no secret that stale bong water and caked-on resin result in lacklustre flavours and aromas. And, as bongs are popular in social settings, do you really want to pass your friends a disgusting water pipe to use? We didn't think so!

Not cleaning your bong is also an easy way to get sick. The dirty smoke is not only harsher on the lungs, but when you're steadily breathing it in, you potentially open yourself up to respiratory issues such as bronchitis and emphysema. While the risk is minor, it's a reminder that a clean bong makes for a happier smoker.

Believe it or not, you also don't get as high from a dirty bong. With a fresh and clean bong, you get unrestricted hits of green; with a filthy, clogged bong, you lose out on some of that THC-rich smoke and inhale more residue.

How often should you clean your bong?

So, just how often does your bong need cleaning? The answer to this is a little subjective. If you're the most casual bong user, you'll find that the gunk takes longer to build up. Ultimately, there are a few areas to consider:

  • How many people regularly use your bong?
  • Is the ash pulled through the downstem and into the bong when clearing hits?
  • How often do you change the water?
  • How often do you empty/clean your bowl?
  • Do you rinse the bong after use?

All of these factors play a role in deciding how often to clean your bong. Of course, there's no definitive rule, so if you prefer to carry out a deep cleanse after every session, there's nothing stopping you. It may even be a good practice to get into.

A dead giveaway to a dirty device is buildup. If it looks dirty, with blackish-brown specks on the walls and discoloured water, then it’s time to give it a good scrub-down. Also, note the smell. If it reeks, then you've got yourself a dirty bong.

How to clean your bong: Assessing your bong material

How to clean your bong: Assessing your bong material

The type of bong you have also plays a role in how to clean it. From glass to metal, silicone, and wood, each material demands a different level of care and attention. In this section, we'll give you an overview of the various types of bongs and what they require when it comes to cleaning.

What is your bong made of?

When we think of bongs, typically we picture glass beakers, but as we know, they can be constructed from all kinds of materials to suit all budgets and preferences. Here are the most popular materials for bongs and what can be expected when cleaning them.


Glass bongs are typically made from durable, reliable borosilicate glass (sometimes called “scientific glass”). As the glassware is similar to what you'd find in the kitchen (e.g. Pyrex), you can get your bong gleaming with both alcohol and non-alcohol cleaning solutions.


Metal also makes for an excellent bong material. With sleek looks and high functionality, a metal bong can be cleaned by being boiled and/or by using a combination of alcohol and salt.


Arguably the easiest material to clean, silicone bongs are heat and cold-resistant, and can be cleaned by boiling them, or by using hot, soapy water. Some even put the body of their silicone bong into the dishwasher, while others place it in the freezer to separate the hardened residue from the silicone. It’s worth noting that silicone should not be cleaned with alcohol, as this can degrade the material.


Although not a very common material for bongs, wooden water pipes do exist! While this type can handle hot water, it's unwise to use harsh chemicals, such as alcohol, as they can have a detrimental effect on the wood, resulting in discolouration and other issues. It's always best to err on the side of caution and use gentler solutions, like vinegar, to get your wooden bongs back up to snuff.

Cleaning a bong with a built-in percolator

Acting to diffuse the smoke to make it cooler and smoother, there are many perks to a built-in percolator—but it can become very dirty over time. While other parts of the bong, such as the bowl and mouthpiece, can be removed, a built-in percolator needs a slightly different cleaning strategy. Start by giving the bong an initial rinse, then add some isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt into the chamber where the percolator is located, and leave it to soak overnight. Once ready, just cleanse the bong and percolator with water and leave it to dry before use.

How to clean your bong: Step-by-step guide

Below, we provide a step-by-step breakdown of how to keep your bong gleaming using various methods. Fortunately, when it comes to cleaning a water pipe, you'll find that plenty of household products can do the trick. However, a few specifically designed products are also more than up to the task.

Baking soda and vinegar

As two items commonly found in your kitchen cupboard, the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar is one that's long been utilised around the home, and its efficacy when cleaning bongs is also noteworthy. Here's how it's done.

• Begin by removing the bowl and downstem, and place them in a small bag (e.g. sandwich bag).

Begin by removing the bowl and downstem

• Next, rinse the bong with warm water.

Next, rinse the bong with warm water

• Pour baking soda into the bong, covering as much of the insides as possible. The baking soda will stick to the moisture. Pour some into your sandwich bag containing the bowl and downstem, too!

Pour baking soda into the bong, covering as much of the insides as possible

• Add some vinegar to your bong and the sandwich bag, and watch as the mix begins to fizz.

Add some vinegar to your bong and the sandwich bag

• Cover the openings of the bong and sandwich bag and give them a good shake individually. Ensure that the vinegar/baking soda mixture covers all nooks and crannies.

Cover the openings of the bong and sandwich bag

• Next, take a brush and scrub the built-up grime inside and around your bong and its parts.

Next, take a brush and scrub the built-up grime inside and around your bong and its parts

• Lastly, give your bong a rinse, let it dry, and you're good to go!

Lastly, give your bong a rinse, let it dry, and you're good to go

Dish soap

Although maybe not ideal for a bong that's caked in grime, dish soap can be a great option for bongs in need of a lighter clean. Moreover, dish soap is less abrasive than some other cleaners, meaning it can be used with all kinds of bong materials.

• Similar to how you'd wash your dishes, place your bong and its parts in a basin filled with warm water and dish soap.

  • Use a sponge, brush, or cloth to scrub the bong until sparkling.
  • Make sure to give your bong a good rinse to ensure of all the soap has been washed off.
  • Allow your bong to dry before use.

Boiling water

Boiling water

Sometimes, the classics work best. With no other substances required, boiling water can often be enough to eliminate the dirt that's infesting your bong. That said, boiling water alone might not be sufficient to remove more stubborn stains, so you may need to follow it up with one of the other methods listed in this article.

  • Fill your bong with boiling water and allow the dirt to release.
  • Empty the bong once finished, give it a final rinse, and allow it to dry before use.

Isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt

A massively popular cleaning option is to use isopropyl alcohol. This chemical is used in labs to clean and sterilise equipment, so it's got to be good for your bongs, right? Indeed! Perfect for pairing with your glass devices, isopropyl alcohol is the go-to for removing tough stains and built-up resin. It can also be paired with coarse salt for the ultimate clean. We recommend using a ratio of 2:1 of alcohol to salt.

  • Similar to the baking soda and vinegar method, remove the bowl and downstem and place them inside a sandwich bag.
  • Pour isopropyl alcohol into the bong and bag to completely cover the downstem and bowl.
  • Next, add some coarse salt to both the bag and bong.
  • As before, cover the bag and bong and give both a shake to ensure all parts are coated with the isopropyl alcohol and salt mix.
  • Let your bong and bag sit for a few hours or overnight to ensure a thorough clean.
  • Afterwards, rinse with water and allow it to dry before use.

5 products for extra cleaning power

5 products for extra cleaning power

The methods above make for the perfect way to use some household items to get your bong looking brand new again; however, they may not always be successful. So, if your bong needs something a little extra, we've picked out 5 products that are bound to do the trick.

Bong Master Cleaning Concentrate

If you're looking for an all-in-one product that will restore your bong to its former glory, the Bong Master Cleaning Concentrate could be just the ticket. Simply add 1–2 teaspoons into your bong and fill it with hot water. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse. With no shaking or scrubbing required, this product goes to work instantly and will have your device spotless.

Bong Brush

There can be plenty of twists and turns in a water pipe. With that in mind, this long and narrow brush is ideal for accessing those hard-to-reach places. Tar and ash won't stand a chance!

Salt Rox (Higher Standards)

Known for their impeccable bongs, who better to turn to for a cleaning product than Higher Standards? Salt Rox is the way to go. Simply add some of these finely milled salt crystals into your water pipe, pour in a bit of isopropyl alcohol, and shake. That's all there is to it. The abrasiveness of the rock salt will have you bong gleaming in no time at all. It works particularly well on stubborn stains and residue.

Pipe Kleaner Concentrate

A 100% stain-free bong is possible thanks to Kulu Pipe Kleaner Concentrate. Not only can you safely use it on your bong, but also on other devices made of glass, plastic, aluminium, and many others. It's also non-toxic, contains no alcohol or solvents, and is incredibly simple to use. Pair it with your dirtiest bong and watch the magic happen.

Alcohol Cleaning Swabs

From the team at Zamnesia comes our alcohol cleaning swabs. Gone are the days of trying to cram your fingers into the small cavities and tight corners of your bong. Each swab is double-ended, and every tip features a 50/50 infusion of water and alcohol, perfect for precision cleaning. So, if you want to clean every speck of resin, this pack of 30 swabs is sure to do the trick.

Keep your bong clean!

Keep your bong clean!

As you can probably tell by this point, it's very important to keep your bong clean. Not only will your weed taste better, but your bong will also be much more appealing to the eyes and nose. So don't let it go too long between cleans, and you can enjoy some fantastic flavours and aromas from a device that will last you a long time. There are plenty of ways to keep your bong in top condition!

Of course, for all things bong-related, Zamnesia has you covered. Whether you're picking up cleaning supplies or a brand new water pipe that will be the apple of your eye, our Headshop has everything you could possibly need.

Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
Miguel Antonio Ordoñez
With an AB Mass Media and Communications degree, Miguel Ordoñez is a veteran writer of 13 years and counting and has been covering cannabis-related content since 2017. Continuous, meticulous research along with personal experience has helped him build a deep well of knowledge on the subject.
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