How to clean a weed bowl

How to clean weed bowl

Wondering how to clean a weed bowl? Those who own a pipe, bong, or other piece probably will eventually. There are nooks and crannies in every smoking device, bowl, and downstem–getting it all clean may seem impossible.

Luckily for stoners, it’s not. Certain cleaning methods, solutions, and tools make it easier to clean a glass pipe, even the ones with extra nooks and crannies.

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How to clean weed bowl
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All bongs, pipes, and other smoking devices develop buildup after each use. This unwanted growth comes in the form of resin, ash, and reclaim, and both should be cleaned out regularly. These things develop with each hit as a result of the burning resin from the flower and whatever it picks up along the way. Between breath and water in a filtered piece, the resin can hold moisture which can lead to harmful bacteria. The most effective way to avoid mold, bacteria, and other unwanted pipe hitchhikers is to keep a clean bowl.

Why clean a pipe?

Pipes, bongs, and other smoking pieces should be kept clean. This is the best way to avoid inhaling unhealthy compounds along with thick, delicious pot smoke. Resin buildup and ash buildup can be dangerous to inhale, but avoiding it is as simple as keeping a pipe clean.

All ash has some carcinogens, compounds that have proven harmful to the lungs. Another thing to look for is mold. If the pipe or bong is water-filtered, change the fluid in the chamber after every sesh. Only one use opens the water up to microbes and mold buildup. The risk of inhaling spores increases as more resin builds on the inside of the chamber.

Resin buildup poses its own danger. The buildup collects microbes, bacteria, and compounds from the air and weed. As a piece sits in its stash box, the buildup ages, which only gives it room to turn into harmful bacteria–nobody wants that. Keep pieces sparkling clean to reduce the impact on your lungs.

Aside from health, a clean weed bowl leads to the best smoking experience. Resin and dirty water get pulled into the of a hit, muddling the natural flavor. Next time the terpenes aren’t hitting like they should, it’s probably time for a deep cleaning.

Ridding a glass piece, ceramic bong, flower bowl, or dab rig of resin and reclaim requires a unique cleaning procedure to get each millimeter clean. Let’s get into how to clean a weed bowl.

How to clean a weed bowl

To clean your pipe, first, it’s important to identify what kind of cleansing method fits your lifestyle. There are tried and true resin solutions like 420 Cleaner and rubbing alcohol with coarse salt. These aren’t the most sustainable options, anyone seeking an environmentally-friendly cleaning solution might need to do a bit more research.

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Rubbing alcohol and salt

Let’s break down the classic method that uses 99 percent isopropyl alcohol, a teaspoon of salt, and hot water. To clean a weed bowl like this, soak the piece in alcohol for 15 to 30 minutes in a sealable freezer bag or a reusable option like the Yew Yew Cleaning Pouch.

The next step is to add coarse table salt, seal the container, and shake the pipe in alcohol to agitate more resin buildup. Shake the downstem, pipe, or bowl in the alcohol until it turns black or the pipe is clear.

At this point in the pipe cleaning, go in with a pipe cleaner for the hard-to-reach spots. This works well in combination with warm water. Either submerge the bowl in water and use the pipe cleaner, or detail the pipe under the running faucet. Before packing a bowl, make sure the bowl is completely dry or you may waste some green.

Vinegar and baking soda

Another method uses vinegar and baking soda to bubble resin and reclaim away. Pour enough vinegar to submerge the weed bowl or other accessories into a resealable pouch or bag. Add a teaspoon of baking soda.

Combining the ingredients creates a bubbling reaction, so work outside or in the sink to avoid a big mess. Shake the bag a bit, and then let the pipe sit in the mixture for five minutes. Use a pipe cleaner, cotton swab, or toothpick to remove the buildup.

Cleaning solutions

Cannabis glass cleaners come in many colors and types. There’s the full spectrum of Formula 420 solutions to the aptly named Orange Chronic. There are also powder solutions like Sudz by Budz that offer something more environmentally friendly.

Glass cleaning solutions bottle up everything you need. With the vinegar and rubbing alcohol methods, baking soda and salt are required to get sticky buildup off of the piece. These cleaning solutions contain both. Give the liquid bottled solutions a shake before using, as sediment that helps agitate resin off of bong walls can settle into the bottom.

The potential major issue with these products is their environmental impact paired with possible inhalation of the air while cleaning. Only use products like Blazy Susan Resin Blaster and other solutions in a well-ventilated area or outside.

Magnetic bong cleaner

Magnetic bong cleaners offer a fun way to clean a glass piece, but they only work in a bong with a large chamber. To use these gadgets, pour warm, soapy water into the chamber and drop a magnet in with it. Press another magnet to the outside of the bong and get the other magnet to connect. Once connected, run the magnets through the resin, which scrubs off the buildup. Any leftover resin can be removed with a bottle brush and pipe cleaner.

There are many methods for cleaning pipes and bongs, and these are some of the most popular. However, many of these methods have been developed for glass pieces, leaving ceramic, wood, and metal pipe owners wondering how to clean their pieces.

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How to clean weed bowl
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Cleaning non-glass weed bowls

Earthenware like ceramics and wood are porous and might take more care in the pipe cleaning process. These alternative cannabis pieces require warm water, isopropyl alcohol, and pipe cleaners (or reusable brushes).

The only difference between cleaning glass and other materials is how hard you scrub. Don’t scrub the outside of a wood or ceramic pipe with the same voracity as you would glass, and be careful not to scratch the surface of a metal weed bowl.

How to clean a weed bowl

When figuring out how to clean a weed bowl, the first thing to do is identify the cleaning method. Choosing between isopropyl alcohol, vinegar, solution, or magnets comes down to personal preference, but also which is best for the pipe or bong in question.

No matter what the method, there are few regrets after cleaning a pipe. The crisp, clear flavor of the weed shines through in that first hit after removing resin buildup. If that isn’t enough to entice people to keep their bongs and pipes clean, maybe the potential for mold, bacteria, and carcinogens will do it.

Those asking themselves how to clean a weed bowl, downstem, or bong should figure out what their piece is made of, pick a preferred bong-cleaning method, and go for it.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.