Cleaning your Bong, Pipe and Accessories
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A simple but regular cleaning ritual is all you need to increase your puffing pleasure. Trust us, a good cleaning is totally worth it. Sure it sounds cliché but seriously, friends - it will help your gear do better for you and be better for you! Read on and we’ll tell you some pro tips to properly clean your bong, pipe, and other accessories.
Happy Summer, Flamingo Fam! We all know there’s nothing like a good ol’ backyard BBQ and leisurely smoke sesh with our stoner besties, right? Well imagine your buddy takes out a bodacious juicy burger patty and plops it onto a slimy black, crusty old grill, then serves your bevvie in a gritty, brown stained cup that hasn’t seen the inside of a dishwasher since pandemic wave #2.
Eww, right?! So why would you possibly pay good money for fresh, aromatic weed and put it in a cloudy dank vessel that’s all gunked up with a filmy brown mystery-build-up? You wouldn’t and you shouldn’t!
A simple but regular cleaning ritual is all you need to increase your puffing pleasure. Trust us, a good cleaning is totally worth it. Sure it sounds cliché but seriously, friends - it will help your gear do better for you and be better for you! Read on and we’ll tell you some pro tips to properly clean your bong, pipe and other accessories.
First, we’ll discuss why and when. Then you’ll feel motivated enough to want to know how. (Spoiler: it’s much easier than you think!)
The first reason to keep your piece clean is an obvious one - aesthetics. We all love looking at the beautiful clear glass of a new bong or pipe. There are so many cool designs out there – all to help us be mesmerized with each toke, as we watch the water bubble, the smoke curling and dancing its way into our lungs. I mean, c’mon, you paid good money for that piece of art; why not keep it looking as beautiful as the day you found it, all shiny and gleaming.
The next reason is all about getting your purest pleasure experience. It doesn’t take long for tar and resin to build up inside the walls of glass pipes and bongs. That ick will then seep in to your smoke, dulling your flavour and clouding your experience. Gross. When your tools are clean, your hits are clean too - less harsh, more flavourful and rich. You’re better able to taste and feel the quality of your fresh flower, and fewer potential coughing fits from all that extra junk.
Finally, the most important reason - do it for your health. Inhaling whatever has been collecting in that old gunk brings a risk of ingesting nasty toxins, bacteria, or carcinogens; and, geez, haven’t we been working so hard to avoid all that?!
Okay, so you’re convinced it needs to get done. But how often should you do it? The answer to that depends on how often you use your sweet tool. Heavy hitters may want to do a thorough cleaning at least once or twice a week; random puffers may be able to wait a bit longer between cleanings. In any case, it pays to finish each session by tapping out debris and wiping out the bowl of your pipe, or emptying the water from your bong and giving it a rinse. As for when to perform your thorough cleansing ritual, just keep an eye on your glass. As soon as you notice something is amiss inside - like slimy film, specks or blotches of buildup, mould, discoloured or smelly water - it’s cleaning time, baby!
Gather your supplies. You don’t need much. Yes, there are lots of handy products on the market that promise to glam up your goods, and you can get some from Flamingo+ if it helps. However, we know you might rather save your money for all the other good products we offer. We’re here to help you get the job done with whatever you probably have in your pantry!
Your actual technique might vary and you can experiment with what works for you, but you will start with two main characters: a liquid and an abrasive.
The best liquid to use is isopropyl alcohol (your mom probably called it rubbing alcohol), but if that’s hard to come by or you’re concerned about the environmental impact of its disposal, you could opt for natural liquids like vinegar or lemon juice. Just think acidic liquids. Warm tap water itself may not cut it here.
Your options for abrasives include salt (table salt works but it’s even better to use coarse salts like kosher salt, rock salt, or Epsom salt), short grain white rice . . . or even baking soda if you’re a fan of kitchen experiments that involve frothy volcanic eruptions. Choose wisely. The chunkier the better, as the abrasive is your heavy hitter – it chips away at caked-on resin to dislodge it for a quicker and more noticeable clean.
You’ll also want some cleaning aids. You can buy brushes and swabs designed for this task, or you can go to your junk drawer and collect things like: Q-tips, soft cloths, rubber bands, fabric, cotton balls, ziplock bags, twist ties and pipe cleaners (not just for Kindergarten crafts, people – the name says it all).
Now let’s get to it. Here are some simple steps to clean a glass bong or pipe.
Give it a good rinse with hot water and wipe down what you can. Use a pipe cleaner, twist tie, or tiny brush to gently scrape off any residue you can reach. If you’re cleaning a bong, dump the old water first and remove any detachable parts.
Pour your liquid and abrasive of choice* into the bong. For pipes, pour your solution into a ziplock bag – enough to submerge your pipe completely.
*Hint: 90% isopropyl alcohol and moderately coarse salt are the top choices for many of us, but experiment with your options as mentioned above.
Don’t skimp on the abrasive, you can dump quite a bit in there; remember, it’s doing the scrubbing action for you, and you don’t want it to dissolve instantly in your liquid. Make sure the bag can be sealed tightly and, yes, please reuse the bag next time!
Seal the bag well, with your pipe swimming inside. For your bong, seal any openings by stuffing them with pieces of fabric or cotton balls, and secure with rubber bands or your hands.
You may want to use gloves, as the alcohol can be hard on your gorgeous soft skin and killer on a hangnail!
Now the fun part. Shake. Shake vigorously. Keep on shaking. Take your time and do this for several minutes. Think of it as your arm workout for the week; heck, make it a total body workout by dancing around the room while you shake what your mama gave you. The more you shake it up, the more you’ll see the grime shedding and the glass clearing. Depending on the state of your tool, you may need to shake longer or take some shake breaks to let it sit and soak as long as necessary.
Repeat steps 2 to 4 as often as needed. (Maybe you just want to keep dancing. We support that!)
When you’re fully satisfied, properly dispose your magical solution (down the toilet is best) and give your gear a simple wash with soap and water. If you still notice any murky remnants, try to scrub it off with your pipe cleaner or brush. Rinse it very very well and air dry, then buff it up with a soft cloth and Q-tip. It will be looking so dang pretty that you’ll be dying to use it immediately, but be patient - make sure it’s completely dry and there is no smell of alcohol before your next hit.
One last word: now that you’re on the cleaning bandwagon, don’t neglect your other accessories! Your grinder, for example, can have a buildup of mould, dirt, and debris, making it less efficient and more .. well .. dirty! Dump the debris regularly, and every once in awhile disassemble and submerge your grinder in isopropyl alcohol (for metal grinders) or soapy water (for plastic grinders). Soak for about 20 minutes then use an old toothbrush to clean up all the yucky stuff, and of course rinse and air dry it thoroughly.
We think you get the idea. It’s both important and easy to properly clean your gear as often as possible. If you have a great tip about how you keep your bong/pipe shimmery and shiny, leave a comment and share your wisdom. Then get back outside and enjoy those sweet summer sessions with fresh, clean, flavourful hits time and time again.
Oh, and when you need to get out of the sun for a bit, stop by one of our Flamingo+ locations or shop online to see what’s fresh and fun on our shelves this month.
Here's a list of useful items that will help you get your gear clean:
RANDY'S BLACK LABEL CLEANER
RANDY'S NYLON & GALVANIZED CLEANING BRUSH SET
RANDY'S BLACK LABEL SNAPS
OOZE RESOLUTION CLEANING GEL
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