Cleaning bongs keeps glass pristine, but what about the planet?
There are a lot of rituals baked into cannabis consumption. Choosing a device or method is a personal journey, and then it’s time to select a strain from the long list of options. People form specific preferences all the way down to how they cleaning bongs and other pieces. And when it comes to bong cleaners, there are only a few truly earth-conscious options.
Alcohol and rock salt have been the cannabis glass cleaning duo for generations, but over the years options like Formula 420 and Orange Chronic started popping up at head shops promising a quick, thorough cleaning. They even took away most pesky resin without any brushing.
These cleaners take less time, require less effort, and leave a stunning end result. With such legendary results, there wasn’t a lot of room for questions. But maybe there should have been questions posed about what these cleaners were made of exactly.
Cleaning bongs: safety and toxicity
In large quantities, isopropyl alcohol is damaging to the environment. However, it’s generally safe in small amounts. That said, it isn’t the best ingredient for the local waterways. If alcohol and rock salt may be harmful to the earth, it’s easy to begin questioning those brightly-colored cleaners marketed to cannabis consumers.
Few of the cleaner manufacturers make their ingredients list public, but many claim that they are non-toxic. Formula 420 is one such product with four variations: Original, All Natural, Daily Use, and Soak N Rinse. All are listed as “Non-toxic*” with an asterisk to indicate they cannot be eaten but won’t cause irreparable damage if they get on the skin.
Companies like 420 Brands have been around for 25 years, which means they’ve published extensive Safety Data sheets on their products that indicate what the ingredients are, or whether they’re dangerous.
Best cannabis glass cleaners 2023
When it comes to cannabis glass cleaning solutions, there’s more options year after year. From brightly-colored liquid solutions to dissolving white powders, here’s the classics and the newcomers worth watching.
Formula 420 Original cleaner contains 2-butoxy ethanol, a combustible carcinogen that may explode in the event of a fire. It can be harmful to eat or get in your eyes and irritating to skin or when inhaled.
Basically, wear gloves and open the windows while working if cleaning glass with these products. These tips were confirmed by a Formula 420 representative. But while these may not be the best ingredients for the human body, the fact sheet confirms this formula is biodegradable.
Sudz by Budz
Sudz by Budz is an earth-conscious bong cleaner that lists the ingredients right on the package. The multi-purpose cleaner is a white powder made from sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate, carbonic acid sodium salt, and sodium silicate SiO2/Na2O. These ingredients show a low environmental impact and aren’t hazardous to human health provided it stays out of everyone’s eyes and nobody drinks it.
Klear Kryptonite Cleaner is nontoxic and the only one listed here that’s clay-based. The brand offers Kryptonite Naked and multi-purpose cleaners. The multi-purpose cleaner can be used on glass, ceramic, metal, and more. The Naked cleaner is scent and dye-free but is only for glass. However those who have smelled the immense chemicals while cleaning with Formula 420 and Orange Chronic know why that might be a draw for low sensory people.
Kryptonite Cleaner claims to be the lowest VOC cannabis glass cleaner on the market, with less than three percent. These are also the only bong cleaners to pass the Colorado Health and Safety Board’s tests. The bottle has a green leaf on the front with the words “all-natural,” but the ingredients aren’t listed. A request for the ingredients on these products has been sent, and we will report back with a response as it comes.
Blazy Susan Resin Blaster
The brand new bong cleaner from pink joint paper purveyors Blazy Susan, is a proprietary pink version of Kryptonite. That means that Resin Blaster is non-toxic. The company also states that the cleaner is reusable, but when it comes time to clean my pieces the resulting solution is generally so black I rarely take companies up on this offer.
Resinate Cleaning Solution is advertised as earth-friendly and biodegradable with no VOCs or alcohol, but the ingredients list isn’t readily available.
Randy’s has two solutions available for cleaning bongs, orange and not orange, neither of which says anything about environmental impact.
When shopping for a glass cleaner, it’s best to go for a brand that tells exactly what is in the bag or bottle. This doesn’t seem to be the norm in cannabis cleaners, but it might be if people continue to ask what things are made of.
Orange Chronic is another classic bong cleaner that’s been around for over 20 years. The company has one Green version that is biodegradable, but the rest are either listed as “Earth-friendly” or mention nothing about sustainability.
There isn’t a safety data sheet readily available only for these formulas, but some Reddit users speculate that d-limonene and/or alcohol could make the ingredient list. Either way, use the glove and open ventilation rules with this cleaner as well.
Accessories for cleaning bongs
The cleaning solution is important, but there are also accessories to consider before dumping a bunch of bong cleaner into the tube. First up: plugs. Hemper makes plugs in various sizes for down stems and mouthpieces to keep all of the cleaning solution where it belongs.
Use the Yew Yew Cleaning Pouch for spoon pipes, chillums, downstems, and bowl pieces. Its claims to be leak-proof hold up in the resounding reviews. As the brand tagline says: “Say goodbye to wasteful single-use ziplock baggies!” Sealable bags or resin-relegated Tupperware have long served as vessels for these items.
Even the best cleaning solutions don’t get every last bit, and that’s where brushes come in–or duckies. The local hobby beer brewing shop will have bottle brushes perfect for cleaning bongs and downstems of all sizes. Those thinking, “I don’t have one of those near me,” right now, look for one, I swear they’re everywhere.
For those still wondering where ducks come into play, Scrubber Duckies is a brand that sells duck magnets that act as resin-removing brushes. Remove goo by dragging a magnetized duck inside of the bong using a magnet from the outside. It’s an effective way to remove hard-to-reach places, though it takes some patience and learning to get it right.
The best bong cleaners of the year are the transparent ones. They pay attention to consumer needs and obviously get glass, ceramic, or metal cleaned. These are some options, but there’s always new technology hitting the headshops. For now, this list covers the extent of earth-friendly or just downright effective cannabis glass cleaners on the market today.