How to Clean a Weed Pipe in 30 Minutes (House Hold Items)

How to Clean a Weed Pipe in 30 Minutes (House Hold Items)

In this guide I show you how to clean a weed pipe in under 30 minutes, using only the most common household items.

I’ve used all the brand-name cleaners, and the truth is they work great but you don’t need them. This article focuses on saving you money using only the most common items you most likely have.

how to clean a weed pipe

What you need:

  • Salt: sea salt is meant for bongs, not pipes, smaller grains are better.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: used for breaking down resin from the pipe (vinegar works as well).
  • Q-tips: Used for detailing in the final stages (rolled paper towels work too).
  • Ziplock: Larger is better for salt cleaning (any bag is ok).
  • Dirty Pipe: The pipe you want to clean.

Cleaning delivers more THC

An experiment by NORML found that the resin in your pipe reduces the THC transfer rate. What that means is the sticky build-up in your pipe, actually steals THC away from the smoke that passes through.

Cleaning your pipe is not only good on a bacteria level, but also helps keep your hits ultra strong on the cannabinoid and terpene levels.

In this guide, we are cleaning the Gravs Spoon pipe which is #3 on our best weed pipes list. If you are new to the world of hand pipes check out our visual guide on how to use a weed pipe

If this is your first time smoking weed, you may need to backtrack a bit and first learn what is a weed pipe.

How to clean a pipe with alcohol and salt

Here is the complete visual guide for cleaning a cannabis pipe. From correctly salting, dissolving, cleaning, and detailing.

All of the steps together can be done in less than 30 minutes, bringing your pipe back to it’s original pristine shape.

Click any of the links above to skip below.

Step 1 - Add pipe and salt to your bag

how to clean a spoon pipe

Start by placing your pipe into the Ziplock bag.

You can use any bag that doesn’t leak. I even used grocery bags when I was short on Ziplocks, but I wouldn’t recommend it because it could leak.

But in life … do what you must.

how to clean a weed pipe with salt

Begin pouring salt into the bag. Try to get some of the salt into the pipe’s bowl.

Pour a generous amount and then check to see if the amount matches the image below.

how to clean a pipe with salt

There is no right or wrong with how much salt you put into the bag so don’t worry about measuring.

You just want a generous amount, similar to the image above.

The Isopropyl alcohol will be used to break down the salt to create a slushy liquid that will exfoliate the resin off the interior surfaces of your cannabis pipe.

2. Use alcohol to dissolve salt

how to clean a pipe with alcohol

Now you want to pour Isopropyl Alcohol into the bag.

Again there is no right or wrong about how much to pour, but ideally you want to pour less so you don’t waste any alcohol.

how to clean a spoon pipe with alcohol

I like to get about 70% of the pipe submerged. Later you can push the bag together to submerge the pipe fully.

how to clean a bowl

Next, you want to take your fingers and begin pushing the Isopropyl alcohol into the salt grains.

Goal: You want to break down the salt with the alcohol, effectively creating a “slush” like mixture of salt and alcohol.

This mixture works as an exfoliant, scrubbing the resin from the interior surfaces of the pipe.

I spend about 2 minutes here and then I sway the bag (next step) to dissolve the rest of the salt.

3. Sway the bag to exfoliate the pipe

how to clean a cannabis pipe

After you have about 50% of the salt dissolved the mixture will be perfect.

You can’t see it, but there are tiny salt particles not yet dissolved in the mixture.

Lift the Ziplock bag and begin swaying the bag from left to right, in very ample swings.

Think big arcs, you want to hear the alcohol and salt move.

You should hear a swishing sound as the salt and alcohol moves through the pipe’s bowl and pathways.

You can spend about 2 minutes swaying the bag left and right.

how to clean marijuana pipe

Next, you want to compress the bag by twisting the top (make sure to release any air build-up so the bag can compress).

Goal: You want to compress the bag so the pipe is now completely submerged in alcohol and salt.

how to clean a hand pipe

Next, I like to sit the Salt bottle on the end of the bag to hold it in place.

Set a timer on your phone for 20 minutes to let the Isopropyl alcohol break down the more stubborn resin build-up.

If you haven’t cleaned your pipe for over a month I recommend you let it sit for about 40 minutes.

4. Wash and detail your pipe

clean weed pipe

After you have waited 20 minutes you can remove the pipe from the Ziplock bag.

Be careful not to inhale any of the Isopropyl alcohol.

cleaning weed pipe

Run your sink water to a nice warm/hot temperature.

Let the water hit deep into the bowl for a few seconds, shifting the angle so it begins pushing salt out the carburetor hole and the mouthpiece.

cleaning spoon pipe

Next, you want to let the warm water run straight down through the mouthpiece, pushing any salt and alcohol out of the bowl and carb hole end.

I like to switch back and forth a few times until I see most of the salt and dark alcohol liquid is gone.

detailing cannabis pipe

If there is any stubborn ash and resin buildup left in the bowl (where most of the resin is), you can use your Q-tips to detail them.

I only needed 1 Q-tip to detail the bowl.

cleaning pipe with alcohol

The end result is a clean spoon pipe, brought back to it’s original pristine quality.

All resin has been removed from the surface of the pipe and now when I smoke it I will get the full burst of THC.

4. Air dry to evaporate IPA

The most common type of Isopropyl Alcohol is 99%.

It’s uber important you do not smoke from your pipe until the IPA has completely evaporated. Each IPA has a different evaporation time.

Concentration (%)Evaporation Time
70%10 – 30 minutes
91%30 – 60 minutes

60 – 120 minutes

Make sure to let your pipe air dry to the exact amount of time it would take for the Isopropyl alcohol to fully evaporate.

You do not want to inhale any vapors left on your pipe, your lungs will not be happy.

If you see any water left inside of your pipe, you also don’t want to smoke from a wet pipe, as damp plant particles are what cause mold and bacteria growth (similar to dirty bong water).

You can speed up the drying process with a blow dryer if there is any remaining water left in the pipe’s chamber, but I recommend waiting the appropriate time for the IPA to evaporate.

FAQ for cleaning pipes

Isn’t Isopropyl Alcohol bad?

Isopropyl alcohol gets a bad rap for cleaning bongs and pipes because it’s terrible for aquatic and terrestrial life if you pour it down the drain. Make sure to never pour IPA down the drain, or to never inhale it. The vapors are also bad but will evaporate after air-drying for the appropriate amount of time. You can safely use IPA to clean your spoon pipe, as good as any paid cleaning product, and as safely.

Do I have to use alcohol?

You can also use vinegar and lemons, which is a much slower process and take a few hours to break down and dissolve the resin. For an all naturally clay-based cleaner I recommend Resolution cleaner, as it can clean any pipe in less than 60 seconds.

Why should I clean my pipe?

Resin buildup reduces the THC transfer rate. The dirtier your pipe is the less THC you get whenever you smoke.  Cleaning your pipe also rids the ash smell that most diry pipes emit. Next time you take a hit from a fresh pipe, notice how much higher you get compared to when it becomes dirty and caked up with resin.

What if my pipe still comes out dirty?

The steps above were for cleaning a pipe after 1 week of usage. The dirtier your pipe is you will want to extend the steps above. So you may want to sway the salt bag longer and let the pipe sit submerged longer as well.

Final Thoughts

Jake Dela Cruz

Jake Dela Cruz

Organic cultivator

My name is Jake Dela Cruz and I’m an organic cannabis cultivator, so not only do I grow my own weed I also have been smoking from spoon pipes for over 20 years. I’ve tried all the brand name and off-brand cleaners, and while they work great you don’t need them.

If you know how to use household salt and Isorpoyl alcohol, you can clean any pipe and get it back to its original glory without having to buy any cleaning products. In this guide I show you visually, step by step, how I salt, dissolve, clean, and detail my pipe to perfection in all less than 30 minutes.

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