How to clean a bong without alcohol: Three Easy Methods

How to clean a bong without alcohol: Three Easy Methods
How to clean a bong without alcohol: Three Easy Methods

Isopropyl alcohol is in pretty high demand these days. Being one of the key ingredients in sanitizer, smokers might find it wasteful to be using the stuff to keep their prized possession clean. That and huge demand for the stuff have meant that many shops have jacked its price up anyway!

Fortunately, WeedRepublic is here to teach you exactly how to turn a dirty bong into a sparkling clean one - without the use of alcohol. It might not be quite as quick and easy as using solvents to clean your bong, but in these “unprecedented and testing times”, you might have no other choice! 

In this article, we’ll introduce three of the best ways to clean a bong without resorting to industrial or rubbing alcohol - which is better put to use disinfecting the world right now! Which method you use will depend on the material your bong is made out of. 

clean glass natural
We're not convinced this bong was ever dirty in the first place or if they've mastered one of these natural cleaning methods! Photo: 420 Science.


Why is it Important to Keep Your Bong Clean?

WeedRepublic has seen enough filthy bongs over the years to know that not every stoner cleans their smoking equipment regularly. When smoking a bong, particles of cannabis resin from the smoke will land on any surface they come into contact with. It doesn’t matter if it’s an acrylic bong, like the Cane Bud Boy Straight Bong or an extravagant glass piece like the Snoop Dogg Pounds Mothership Double Perc bong - all bongs get dirty!

Just a bit of deposited resin on your bong isn’t going to hinder its functioning. It might make your friends insist on using their own piece though! However, if the bong is left dirty and receives continuous use, eventually airways will get blocked. This is particularly a problem on glass percolator bongs, like the elegant Glasscity Bong, that feature narrow passageways to diffuse smoke for a smoother hit. 

A clean bong isn’t a smelly bong too. If you smoke at home and keep your piece in the living room or bedroom, you’re definitely going to want to keep that thing from stinking out the place!

Why is it Important to Keep Your Bong Clean?

WeedRepublic has seen enough filthy bongs over the years to know that not every stoner cleans their smoking equipment regularly. When smoking a bong, particles of cannabis resin from the smoke will land on any surface they come into contact with. It doesn’t matter if it’s an acrylic bong, like the Cane Bud Boy Straight Bong or an extravagant glass piece like the Snoop Dogg Pounds Mothership Double Perc bong - all bongs get dirty!

Just a bit of deposited resin on your bong isn’t going to hinder its functioning. It might make your friends insist on using their own piece though! However, if the bong is left dirty and receives continuous use, eventually airways will get blocked. This is particularly a problem on glass percolator bongs, like the elegant Glasscity Bong, that feature narrow passageways to diffuse smoke for a smoother hit. 

A clean bong isn’t a smelly bong too. If you smoke at home and keep your piece in the living room or bedroom, you’re definitely going to want to keep that thing from stinking out the place!

straight bong cannabis 

This acrylic and glass combo should put any qualms about smoking from acrylic to rest - it's a great option!

The Cane Bud Boy Straight Bong is both lightweight and durable, and the spiral perc encased in glass will help cool your smoke before your inhale, ensuring smoothness with every hit.

 

snoop bong percolator

Snoop Dogg is really taking off with this Mothership Double Perc Bong!

When you light whatever you're hitting, the vapour will travel through two percolators - one slitted UFO and one perforated inline perc - then through the slim, straight tube at the top. You can bet it's going to be smooth by the time it reaches you!

 

bong smoke marijuana

As elegant as this bong is, you better believe those spiraling pipes don't clean themselves!

It's worth the cleaning efforts though, because the showerhead perc and external tubes on this Glasscity Bong make for one excellent session.


Cleaning a Bong Without Alcohol

Method One: Silicone Bongs

Silicone bongs, such as the Kirby from PieceMaker, are all the rage these days. Smokers love them because they’re inexpensive, come in loads of funky colors, and are virtually indestructible. One thing that most stoners don’t realize is just how easy a silicone bong is to clean. In fact, we don’t even recommend you use rubbing alcohol at all on a silicone bong. There’s not even any need for hot water or specialist bong cleaning solutions like Kryptonite. You won’t need to use paper towels or a sponge! The only thing you need is a freezer. 

First, remove the downpipe from your bong. Since this is probably made of metal, you can clean this with one of the other methods below. Then, put the entire bong in the freezer. Do it at nighttime so it’ll be ready to clean the following morning. 

The cold temperatures in the freezer will cause the resin on the bong to set. It’ll become very hard and brittle. When you take the bong out of the freezer, just give the chamber a good squishing around and watch the resins break off the silicone surface. Keep going until all the resin is gone. 

Protip: If you’re short of weed, you can actually smoke the resin again immediately!

silicone pipe high

Made from food grade silicone, you can feel good about smoking out of the indestructible Kirby by PieceMaker

Besides its quality build, the Kirby also utilizes Hex-TEK high perc tech, includes a silicone diffuser downstem, and has many other thoughtful features such as a lighter holder. Oh! And it glows in the dark! What's not to love?


Method Two: Glass, Acrylic, Wood, and Metal Bongs (and Bong Accessories)

This method is ideal for those with glass, wooden, acrylic, or metal bongs but who, for whatever reason, don’t want to use any chemicals to clean their bong. It will take a lot longer than using a chemical though. 

Equipment

  • Boiling water.
  • Coarse grit or sand. 
  • Saran wrap. 
  • Rubber bands. 
  • Ziploc bags. 
  • Lemon juice (optional but recommended). 

Method

  • Remove any detachable pieces from your bong. This might include a downpipe, bowl, or any other attachment.
  • Add boiling water to the main chamber of the bong. You want to use a bit more than if you were filling it to smoke.  
  • Add a handful of the grit to the bong, too. If you’re using lemon juice, add about a cupful. Lemon juice will speed the whole thing up since it helps to break down the resins.  
  • Cover any openings on your bong with saran wrap. Use a couple of layers to make sure it’s watertight. 
  • Fix the saran wrap in place with your rubber bands. You’re going to be giving the entire bong a good shake for a long time. You don’t want one of the openings to come unsealed. 
  • Shake, shake, and shake some more! You might need to shake it for up to 40 minutes if it’s really mucky. Empty the boiling water and replace it with more grit and water mixture if it cools.

dirty cleaning crystal clear

Just think of how great you'll feel when you're smoking out of a crystal clear pipe yet again! Photo: Cannabis in Real Life.

It’s really important that you keep your water hot. Heat makes cannabis resins softer, which allows the coarse grit to rub it off the surface of your bong. 

Those of you who already know how to clean a bong with alcohol or some other cleaning product, will probably be familiar with the above method. It’s exactly the same only with alcohol in the place of water. The only other difference is that it turns a dirty bong into a sparkling clean piece in about 1/10th of the time. 

Note on glass bongs: If you’re using very hot water with a glass bong, be careful. Sudden changes in temperature will cause the glass to expand and contract, this can result in cracks or even whole sections shattering.

It’s best to slowly bring the temperature of your bong up. Fill it with and sit it in some warm water to bring the temperature up slowly. Once it’s warm there’s significantly less chance of it breaking. 

The same goes for warm glass cooling. If you’ve had very hot water in your glass bong, whatever you do, don’t put cold water or ice anywhere near it until it naturally drops in temperature. It’ll be the last thing you ever do to your beloved water pipe!

cleaning simple bong

If you want to simplify your cleaning routine, get a set of bong stoppers like these silicone bong cleaning caps from Resölution.

Simply fill your bong with whatever cleaning solution you're using, place these on your bong's openings, and shake!


Method Three: Alternative for Non-Acrylic Smoking Devices

Finally, there’s another method that’s just as good at cleaning bongs as alcohol. Acetone is another solvent that’s common in paint cleaning products and nail polish removers. It’s easy enough to get hold of but it’s much more toxic to humans than rubbing alcohol is. That’s why people generally prefer the alcohol method. It might be gross if you rush smoking after cleaning that way but it shouldn’t do any damage to your lungs. Acetone, on the other hand, will not be good for your health!

Although acetone is harmful to skin, eyes, and other sensitive areas, it can be used very effectively to clean a bong. You just use exactly the same method as above but substitute the hot water for acetone. You can also use a smaller amount of solvent because it actually breaks down the resins, instead of just being a vessel to help the grit knock the gunk off. 

You can also use some form of coarse salts - such as Epsom salt - in place of grit. Chunky Himalayan salt will work just as well too. 

When you’re using acetone to clean your bong, it’s very important to be extra careful when sealing the openings. Use additional rubber bands and saran wrap to make sure none of the acetone escapes when you’re shaking the piece. You can also wear rubber gloves or additional protective clothing if you like. 

Another thing to be aware of is that the acetone will be harmful if inhaled. For this reason, give the entire bong and all components a very good rinse with warm water all over before loading up your bong water and taking a rip. 

Save Alcohol for the Fight Against COVID-19!

Although it’s by far the best method to clean your bong, isopropyl alcohol is in such high demand right now that using it for anything but disinfecting in the fight against the coronavirus seems a waste. Fortunately, thanks to the WeedRepublic, you don’t need to put up with a dirty bong just because the world needs hand sanitizer right now. Just give our hot water, freezer, or acetone methods a try next time you need to clean a bong! It might take longer this way but your piece will end up just as clean (eventually!)

 

non-toxic cleaning pipe

Never go back to those dirty bongs again, really. Photo: Big Daddy Smoke.

Cover Image: Way of Leaf
A special thanks to the suppliers of all the stock images used here.