Yes, we’re talking about cleanliness again! We’re sorry to keep donging on about it, but it’s a very important topic. No-one should ever have to use a dirty pipe, they should be cleaned regularly as clockwork. As well as affecting the quality of the smoke itself, an unclean pipe has a vast array of germs on the mouthpiece which you could catch. Accumulated deposits of tar and resin also inhibit airflow and ruin the marijuana’s flavor.
Because glass hand pipes are smaller than bongs, and are, for the most part just a simple bowl and tube, they’re pretty easy to clean. There are two basic methods to do that, and we’re going to cover them both now.
Think of your glass pipe as a baby bottle. You’d never give a baby a bottle that’s dirty or has been slobbered all over for several hours to a child, you always sterilize it first in hot water, then you leave it to cool and fill it with goodness before handing it back to the infant. The same thing can apply to your pipe. The great thing about cleaning it in boiling water is that the high temperatures essentially denatures the bacteria’s proteins, causing them to become ineffective and thus killing them. Here’s our teeny guide on how to properly clean your glass pipe through sterilization.
- Gently place your pipe into a pot of water on the stove.
- Make sure the pipe is completely submerged, and tilt it back and forth at an angle to make sure there are no trapped air bubbles in it.
- Once completely under water, and free of air bubbles, heat the pot over a medium heat until the water is boiling. Don’t worry, because these types of pipe are made of such strong, heat resistent glass, it won’t break. Just never, ever drop a pipe into already boiling water, as the shock in temperature change could cause it to crack.
- Leave it to soak in the boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until you notice that the resins in the pipe are dissipating
- Once cooled, grip the pipe in the water with some tongs, and give it a shake. This will help wash out lumps of debris.
- Dump the dirty water down the drain, and refill the pot, or a clean bowl, with warm top water. Add some dish soap, and gently, either using a brush or q-tip, scrub away the remaining deposits of resin.
Do NOT use your mother/girlfriend/wife’s best pot to do this in. Boiling glass can cause the removed resin to stain the pot. Also, because sterilizing a glass pipe can cause quite an unpleasant smell, open your windows and turn on the extractor fan before boiling.
This method is arguably the easiest of the two. All you have to do is soak your pipe in an alcohol that’s 91 per cent proof, and add rock salt to the mix. In the same way that high temperatures kill bacteria, alcohol too denatures their proteins, so your glass pipe will always come out just as hygienically clean as when you boil it. Here’s another short guide, this time on using alcohol to clean your pipe.
- Get a ziplock bag and place your pipe inside it.
- Fill the bag with coarse salt and alcohol, then shake the hell out of it. The alcohol kills the bacteria, whilst the salt scrubs away at the resin deposits.
- Once you’ve done that for a good 5-10 minutes, empty the contents straight down the drain, give your pipe a rinse, and if needed, scrub away at any of the more difficult deposits.
- After you’ve done that, clean it with alcohol using a paper towel, then give it a final rinse with clean water.
Ta da! Clean as a whistle, and it’s looking brand new!
So now you know how to care for your glass pipe, it’s best to get some practice at doing it, because you’re going to be doing it often. Pick whichever method is best for your circumstances, and get your pipe back to pristine condition.