How to Clean a Bong with Percs in Three Easy Steps
Cleaning a bong is actually incredibly easy. However, like with many things, if you try to do it without the proper technique, you’ll find it all but impossible.
When we talk about cleaning a bong, we’re not referring to you giving the glass exterior a polish - although you can certainly do that too. We mean removing the resins that build upon the inside through frequent use. The resins contained in cannabis smoke set hard against any glass it comes into contact with. The smell alone can make for a less appealing smoking experience but, left alone, the build-up can actually block the narrow passageways of percolator bongs.
Image credit: 420 Evaluations Temecula
In this guide on how to clean a bong percolator, WeedRepublic will share with you the trade secrets of bong cleaning. No longer will you hide your filthy piece in shame when your friends come over!
In the next few hundred words, we’ll cover:
- The reasons why it’s good to clean your bong.
- How to clean any bong in just three steps, including:
- How to clean a percolator bong.
- How to clean a tree percolator bong.
- How to clean a bong with multiple percs.
- Things to avoid doing when you clean your bong.
If you’ve tried and failed to clean your bong before, you probably think it’s not possible to turn a gross piece caked in months-old resin into a brand spanking new bong in less than five minutes. You’d be wrong though! Read on to learn exactly how (even if the bong you want to clean has a lot of percs!)
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Why Should You Clean Your Bong Regularly?
To many of you, this will be a no brainer - dirty bongs are gross, right? However, with the amount of stinking, filthy bongs WeedRepublic has seen in our time, we thought it best to give some of the lazier smokers out there some reasons why bong cleaning is important:
- The bong will function better. The resins that build up over time might not seem like they’re causing any issues with your smoking but they will do eventually. Too much resin can block percolator tree pipes, downstems, and other important parts of the smoke diffusion system in a bong. You probably won’t feel any drag when hitting the bong for quite a while but you will notice the smoke becoming hotter and harsher quite quickly.
- It’ll smell nicer and be more inviting to smoke. We all love the smell of cannabis and although resin can definitely smell nice, it’s usually better as a block of creamy Nepalese charas than caked to the insides of a bong.
- People will be more likely to smoke with you. Are you really going to invite your crush over to hit your six-year-old percolator bong that has never seen a cleaning solution? Thought not!
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The domed UFO perc has diagonal slits, optimizing this glass piece for hits of only the smoothest quality. Pair that with an ice pinch, a splash guard and you've got an exceptional toke with every hit.
Image credit: Moose Labs
How to Clean a Bong with a Lot of Percs (or Any Bong for that Matter!)
- Isopropyl alcohol (the higher the percentage, the better).
- Some form of coarse salt (Epsom salts or regular chunky salt work good).
- As many Ziploc bags as there are detachable pieces to the water pipe (downstem, bowl, any other attachments).
- Saran wrap.
- Some rubber bands.
- A jug to mix your cleaning solution in and pour it into the neck of the bong.
- About five minutes (seriously!)
Note: If you don’t want to make up your own cleaning product, you can use one of the many cleaning solutions made especially for bong cleaning. Products like Kryptonite and [insert product] also do a pretty great job of cleaning bongs. If you’re using one of these cleaning solutions, skip right ahead to step two.
Whether your piece is glass, metal, silicone or some other material, one of the simplest ways to clean it is by pouring Kryptonite into it, giving it a little shake, and letting the resin peel away.
To properly care for your glass smoking wares, this Gel Solution Glass Cleaner is a non-toxic, non-alcoholic option. Even the design of the bag is thoughtful, as you can either pour the gel straight into your pipe, or you can drop pieces into the bag itself. How easy is that?
Step One: Make a Cleaning Solution
If you’re going to make your own cleaning solution, follow the steps below. There really aren’t very many!
- Pour about a cupful of isopropyl alcohol into the jug.
- Add a generous handful of coarse salt. You don’t need to mix it. The salt acts to agitate the resins to make them easier to remove.
- Pour the mixture into the bong.
That’s literally it. To be honest, you don’t really need the jug either. You can pour the alcohol directly into the neck of the bong and then add the salt. That’s even fewer steps!
Before you do add anything to the bong, make sure to remove any detachable components. This can include a downpipe, ashcatcher, or maybe just the bowl. You’ll be cleaning these separately later.
Step Two: Seal it and Shake it
With the alcohol and salt mix in the bong, you now need to seal it all up. Place saran wrap pieces over every opening - add a couple of layers for extra peace of mind. Fasten the saran wrap in place with rubber bands. Make sure to cover all the openings on the bong. You’re going to be violently shaking the bong shortly and you don’t want a leak!
With all the openings sealed, shake the bong hard backward and forwards. Make sure to work the solution through the percolator several times so that the isopropyl alcohol can remove all the resins from the intricate glass passageways.
As you shake, you’ll notice that the liquid in the bong becomes a very dark brown or black color - that means it’s working! You should also see the glass getting that much cleaner with every shake!
As long as you make sure to use a very high percentage of alcohol and pay attention to working it through the percolators on your bong, they should come clean just as quickly as the rest of the glass. It sounds like some sorcery, we know, but when you’ve seen how clean this method makes bongs, you’ll never try any other way again.
Once it’s all nice and clean, just empty that dirty mixture away. Give it some time before smoking or a good rinse with some warm water.
Step Three: Clean Your Bits
Finally, we need to clean all the other components of the bong. This is just as easy as cleaning the main chambers though.
Put each of the glass pieces in a separate Ziploc bag and add about half a cup of whatever product (homemade or something like the Kryptonite or Gel we mentioned above) you’re using. Then, you just need to shake some more! Shake each bag until the liquid gets filthy and the glass comes clean.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning a Bong
If you can only get your hands on some lower percentage industrial alcohol (70%+), you can still use it. You might just need to give it a little extra help.
You can use hot water to help soften the resin first. However, never use actually boiling water unless you’re very sure the entire bong is made from tempered glass. The sudden temperature change can cause the glass to shatter and that’s never good when you’re talking about a potentially pricey piece of glassware!
If you do use hot water, make sure you allow the bong to cool naturally before adding any ice or very cold water too. A temperature reduction can damage the glass in exactly the same way as a sudden increase.
Smoking too Soon After Cleaning
When you’ve seen your beloved bong restored to its former glory, it’s tempting to fire that thing straight up. However, there will still be alcohol that is yet to evaporate in the bong. Believe us when we tell you that huffing a load of almost pure alcohol with your weed is not as fun as it might sound!
It’s best to give the whole bong and all components a good rinse with warm water. Again, be careful with hot water at this point. You don’t want to cause the glass to expand and contract too much.
Trying to Use Pipe Cleaners or Similar to Clean Your Percolator
Alcohol and salt, or purpose-manufactured products like Kryptonite are by far the best way to clean a bong. Although pipe cleaners were probably your first thought when you looked at the thin tubing or your percolator bong, trying to use them will at best just be a waste of time, and at worst damage your beloved bong. Trust us, the alcohol and salt, seal and shake is the best method to use!
Image credit: Have a Heart