How to Clean a Bong: Foul-Smelling Resin, Mold, and Tar

(Glass, Silicone, or Acrylic We Got You Covered)

Bongs are great, but a dirty bong not so much.

 

Learn how to clean a bong and how to clean your specific bong with a method that is safe and affordable for you.

how to clean a bong

Cleaning your bong is necessary for many reasons: it removes the foul-smelling resin, mold, and tar that builds up in a bong over time.

 

Resin can cause severe lung problems if inhaled often enough. Mold and tar can also be dangerous to your health and a bong filter can only do so much!

 

If you use your bong regularly, then your baby will need cleaning fairly frequently. We’ll show you how to clean a bong whether it’s glass, silicone, or acrylic!

Why Are There So Many Ways to Clean a Bong?

There are lots of ways to clean a bong because there are many different types of materials used. Silicone, glass, acrylic all have their pros and cons when it comes to cleaning them!

 

We made this guide keeping in mind all stoners, so to save you time just select the best option for you to skip ahead in this article.

 

Why Should You Clean Your Bong Every Day?

If you want to keep your bong in tip-top shape, clean it daily. If you wait too long between cleans the resin will harden and be difficult to remove!

 

If you wait too long to clean your bong, it won’t be as effective. The resin will build up on the inside of the glass and make smoking harder or even impossible!

 

Resin can also affect how well your smoke is filtered which affects its taste and smoothness. So if you want to enjoy those terpenes then we recommend for a heavy smoker to clean their water pipe every day (or at least change the dirty bong water).

 

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How Do I Know When My Bongs are Dirty?

You’ll be able to tell that the inside of your water pipe needs some TLC if there is any kind of discoloration or build-up of residue on the glass.

 

If you use a bong that is covered with resin, mold, and tar it’s going to be harder for your smoke to travel through the water and filter out any toxins without getting dirty in the process!

 

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What Happens if I Don't Clean My Bongs?

If you don’t clean your bong on a regular basis, then it’ll start to smell and look bad. Mold and bacteria will form on the surface of your bong.

 

Resin can also build up inside of your bong and cause it to be difficult for smoke to travel through the water and filter out toxins without getting dirty in the process.

 

If you use a bong that is covered with resin, mold, and tar it’s going to be harder for your smoke to travel through the water and filter out any toxins without getting dirty in the process!

 

Not to mention possible infections you can get from a nasty bong with all the microbial growth in the dirty bong water.

 

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What Can You Use to Clean a Bong Besides Alcohol?

A common question asked by stoners is what they can use to clean a bong besides alcohol. 

 

In this section, we go over some of the risks of using alcohol and substitutes that work great for cleaning your bong.

 

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Isopropyl Alcohol for Cleaning Method

One drawback of alcohol is that it dries out the bongs and enlarges the air bubbles in it. Other than that, it has some antibacterial properties that help combat mold and bacteria.

 

It’s great for getting rid of any resin that might’ve built up on the inside of the neck. The issue with Isopropyl alcohol is it’s extremely harmful to inhale and very bad for the environment when you pour it down the drain (illegal in some states).

 

If you want to opt-out of using alcohol for a good old bong soak then we recommend some of the healthier alternatives below:

 

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Using Olive Oil to Clean Resin

Olive oil works well on silicone bongs or acrylic bongs which tend to be less porous than glass bongs and will not dry out.

 

Olive oil helps to get into the tough to reach resin build-ups and breaks them down, but it is more widely used by leaving a thin coat of olive oil in your bong.

 

This coat catches all the resin particles and makes it extremely easy for you to clean later with just warm water.

 

You can also mix the olive oil with scented extracts such as vanilla to get some amazing tastes.

 

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Find that Bottle of Vinegar

Vinegar does a great job of breaking down the buildup in your bong, but it takes an extended period of soaking to get the most out of this cleaner.

 

Vinegar is even more effective mixed with baking soda as a replacement formula for rubbing alcohol or a bong cleaning solution.

 

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Don't Forget Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil for bong cleaning

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that can work wonders on any type of resin buildup without drying out your bong. Apply it with a cotton swab just like you would alcohol to keep things from getting too dry.

 

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Lemon Juice for Cleaning a Bong

lemon juice for cleaning bong

Lemon juice is an environmentally friendly way to go green when it comes to cleaning your bong because you can use the peels for composting. It works by dissolving resin and tar deposits making them easier to clean out of your water pipe with a cotton swab or scrubber.

 

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Rock Salt, Sea Salt, or any Coarse Salt

coarse salt for bongs

Another environmentally friendly way to clean your bong is with salt. Pour coarse salt into the bowl and let it sit for an hour or so before rinsing off all of that resin you’ve been smoking!

 

The salt mixed with alcohol or Tea Tree Oil works the same way exfoliators work by “scrubbing” the resin when you shake your bong. Oh and please shake vigorously.

 

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How Do you Clean a Glass Bong?

Cleaning a glass bong is easy! You can use salt and either alcohol, vinegar, tea tree oil or olive oil to break down any residue that might be present in your bong.

 

Another option for cleaning is using a bong cleaning kit. A bong cleaning kit will have everything you need to keep your glassware clean and fresh, plus it’s easy to use!

 

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how to clean a glass bong

Steps on How to Clean a Glass Bong With Alcohol

  1. Prepare Your Bong for Cleaning: Fill the bong with warm water, a bit of dish soap, and cover the opens and shake. Dump the water out and let the glass piece air dry.
  2. Fill the bong chamber with Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol and then pour in some coarse salt (about 1/4 of the amount of alcohol).
  3. You can use saran wrap and rubber bands to cover all the openings
  4. Shake your bong like you mean it! Let the bong sit with the alcohol and salt overnight, and come back to shake it periodically.
  5. Pour the dirty water out and rinse your bong with warm water. You can detail the rest of your bong with q-tip and more alcohol if needed.

 

Pro-Tip: Use a ziplock bag with the same method above for smaller pieces like your downstem and bowl. Dry everything with a paper towel and cold water.

 

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Steps on How to Clean Your Glass Water Pipe with No Alcohol:

  1. Prepare Your Bong for Cleaning: Fill the bong with warm water, a bit of dish soap, and cover the opens and shake. Dump the water out and let the glass piece air dry.
  2. Fill the bong chamber by pouring baking soda and vinegar (mixed with water) and then pour in some coarse salt (about 1/4 of the amount of alcohol).
  3. You can use saran wrap and rubber bands to cover all the openings
  4. Shake your bong hard! Let the bong sit with the baking soda, vinegar, and salt overnight, and come back to shake it periodically.
  5. Pour the dirty water out and rinse your bong with warm water. You can detail the rest of your bong with q-tip and more baking soda/vinegar mix if needed.

 

Pro-Tip: Use a ziplock bag with the same method above for smaller pieces like your downstem and bowl. Dry everything with a paper towel and cold water.

 

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What Do You Use to Clean a Silicone Bong?

Silicone is non-porous so mold cannot grow on the surface as long as you change out your water after each session. You can use soap and water with silicone but you can also throw it in the dishwasher.

 

Pro-Tip: Cleaning a silicone bong in a dishwasher can leave some nasty resin all over your dishwasher which is incredibly hard to clean.

 

Do not ever put alcohol or bleach on rubber gaskets, tubing, mouthpieces, and other parts that come into contact with your mouth.

 

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how to clean a silicone bong

Steps on How to Clean a Silicone Bong

  1. Dump out the water from your silicone bong and leave the bong in the freezer for about 2 hours.
  2. If you look in your bong you should see some rough spots and you can use a blunt object like a metal spoon to push these particles off.
  3. Fill your silicone bong with warm water and you can use dishwasher detergent to clean out the rest.
  4. Let your clean bong air dry and you are good to go!

 

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Steps on How to Clean an Acrylic Bong:

Acrylic bongs are essentially plastic so keep in mind that salt can damage the integrity of your piece, leaving small grooves for more resin to accumulate. We recommend using less coarse salt here. Follow these steps on how to clean an acrylic bong:

 

  1. Prepare Your Acrylic Bong for Cleaning: Fill the bong with warm water, a bit of dish soap, and cover the opens and shake. Dump the water out and let the acrylic bong air dry.
  2. Fill the bong chamber by pouring baking soda and vinegar (mixed with water) and then pour in some epsom salt (about 1/4 of the amount of baking soda/vinegar).
  3. You can use saran wrap and rubber bands to cover all the openings
  4. Shake your bong hard! Let the bong sit with the baking soda, vinegar and salt overnight, and come back to shake it periodically.
  5. Pour the dirty water out and rinse your bong with warm water. You can detail the rest of your bong with q-tip and more baking soda/vinegar mix if needed.

 

Pro-Tip: Use a ziplock bag with the same method above for smaller pieces like your downstem and bowl. Dry everything with a paper towel and cold water.

 

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Can You Boil a Bong to Clean it?

Yes, you can boil silicone, glass, and acrylic bongs.

 

If you have hard water minerals in your home’s tap water supply, it will build upon silicone bong parts over time so we recommend boiling only in freshwater.

 

Soaking for an hour before rinsing thoroughly is sometimes enough if there isn’t any residue left behind or it can require an overnight soak in vinegar for cleaning relief!

 

This is the most natural method but takes much longer.

 

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How to Clean a Bong with Lemon Juice

The process of cleaning bongs with lemon juice is not exactly rocket science. All you need to do is take a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, pour it into the bong, mix it with some warm water and coarse salt, and shake the hell out of it.

 

Once your bong is looking clean then rinse it out. For really tough jobs I love using lemon as the final step to detail it.

 

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Can I Clean a Bong with Denture Tablets?

Denture tablets are very useful for cleaning dirty dishes, so you can certainly use them to clean a bong. All you have to do is fill the bong with water and drop one tablet inside of it. Afterward, just let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly until there’s no more residue left behind.

 

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Cleaning Your Bong with Acetone

Acetone is a common household item that you can use to clean bongs. However, it should be noted that acetone damages the plastic in acrylic bongs and silicone parts. In short, cleaning your entire bong with acetone will effectively turn it into an expensive paperweight since all of its pieces are ruined from being exposed to this chemical.

 

Definitely only use acetone when cleaning glass bongs.

 

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What are the Benefits of Cleaning a Bong

The benefits of cleaning your bong are numerous. The main reason you should clean it is that resin, tar, and mold can be extremely dangerous for your health.

 

Resin, in particular, contains toxins that have been known to cause cancer while tar has carcinogenic properties as well. Mold is also quite harmful since the spores released by the mold can cause serious health problems.

 

You don’t want any of that stuff in there while you are inhaling the smoke into your lung. A clean bong will prevent all of these things!

 

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Your Bong Rips Will Taste Better

Cleaning your bong will not only make it smell better but also taste better. When you rip from a dirty bong, the resin and tar build up in your piece and releases toxins into your smoke causing that nasty aftertaste. The more often you clean out your bong, the less likely this is to happen.

 

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Your Lungs Will Love a Clean Bong

Your lungs will love a clean bong. If you are smoking from an unclean or dirty piece, then your lungs may be filled with pollutants that can lead to respiratory problems down the road. Respiratory issues have been linked to tar and other byproducts of burning resin in weed pipes. Additionally, sharing pieces without cleaning them first is a great way to spread respiratory infections like the flu or colds, as well.

 

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Clean Bongs Can Prevent Infections

People who smoke from a dirty bong are more likely to have respiratory problems and infections. People should clean their bongs daily if not multiple times per day depending on how often they use them.

 

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Are There any Side Effects to Cleaning a Bong?

Yes, you should be careful when cleaning your bongs because the process of doing so involves inhaling vapors that are toxic at certain levels. Always take precautionary measures and never clean or smoke in closed spaces since this could lead to suffocation.

 

Never smoke from a bong you just cleaned with alcohol, give it some time to air dry, or rinse it off with warm water.

 

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Bong Cleaning Check List

When it comes to learning how to clean a bong it’s much more than a pretty piece, it’s a healthy lifestyle. Don’t let your lungs be tarnished by tar and resin from using tobacco products.

 

Smoking marijuana out of a clean glass bong will give you fresh air with no mold or harmful toxins that can harm your respiratory system. With so many ways to clean a bong these days, why not take advantage of all the benefits? We’re just saying…

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