If you're in a bind and looking to clean resin off your glass piece, you'll likely resort to vigorously chipping your way through the hard and sticky substance. Doing this can work, but is more laborious and least effective than learning how to clean resin with isopropyl alcohol. Don't throw away your resin-encrusted glass pipe quite yet. A quick and easy isopropyl alcohol solution can do most of the heavy lifting for you. You can have a clean and spotless glass pipe that looks like when you first bought it.
The Benefits of Smoking Out of a Clean Glass Piece
After many uses, you'll likely develop resin from the flower or concentrate reclaim in your glass piece. Smoking resin can dramatically alter the natural aromatic profile of the flower or concentrate you consume. That means you won't get the full sensory experience provided by pungent terpenes. Smoking out of a dirty glass piece, rig, or vaporizer can also make your hits feel harsher than they should.
In order to maintain your glass piece in pristine fashion, you should clean your piece every week or two, if you don't use it as often. Cleaning your glass pipe with isopropyl alcohol regularly can
make your job easier every time as opposed to cleaning caked-on resin that's been building up for months.
Step 1: Collect Materials and Pre-Rinse
Isopropyl alcohol, commonly known as rubbing alcohol, helps disinfect and sterilize many home surfaces. While you may be able to purchase specialty cleaning formulas at various head shops, isopropyl alcohol is more affordable and readily available. These are the materials you'll need to clean resin with isopropyl alcohol:
- Reusable and resealable zipper storage bag
- 90-99 percent isopropyl alcohol
- Cotton swab or pipe cleaner
- Paper clip or steel wire (optional)
If you don't mind dealing with resin, feel free to scrape any fresh layer of resin using a sturdy object like a paper clip or your favorite cannabis paraphernalia. Scraping off the top layer of resin can reduce the time it takes for the isopropyl alcohol to break down the resin. You can extend a paper clip so that it can reach into the piece and get those hard-to-reach spots. If possible, soak or rinse your glass piece in hot water before soaking it in the isopropyl and salt mixture.
Step 2: Create Isopropyl Alcohol and Salt Solution
Now that you've removed as much resin as you can, place your glass in the resealable zipper bag. It's important to ensure that the entire glass piece is submerged in the isopropyl alcohol since rubbing alcohol acts as a solvent to break down non-polar molecules like resin. This makes sure that every inch of the glass piece is exposed to the anti-caking mixture. After this, pour a tablespoon (or more) of salt and seal the bag entirely.
Many people prefer to use coarse salt types like Kosher salt when they clean resin with isopropyl alcohol. The larger salt grain is ideal for cleaning purposes. It's even been used on heavy-duty surfaces like cast-iron skillets to remove stuck-on food. If you don't have any Kosher salt around the house, sea salt is a runner-up option since it's salt grain is larger than regular table salt. Make sure to carefully add salt throughout, especially in the mouthpiece to clean the inside of your pipe.
Step 3: Shake and Soak
Once you've ensured there are no leaks in the bag, shake the bag to move the salt so it can dissolve resin throughout and leave it to soak for a couple of hours (or as long as you can). Depending on the amount of resin the glass had to begin with, you may need to shake the bag multiple times throughout the day. At a certain point, the bag will turn a murky, brown color making it hard to see the progress. If by the end of the process your pipe still has resin left, you can go back through the steps and add a new solution until you're satisfied with the end result.
Last but not least, give your glass pipe a final rinse with gentle soap and wipe with a cloth to dry. Keep in mind, isopropyl alcohol can be flammable, so avoid cleaning near direct heat sources since they can come in contact with alcohol fumes. Since alcohol evaporates quickly, try to avoid breathing the vapor directly to avoid headaches. If you can, choose a well-ventilated area to do your glass cleaning.
Now that you have your bong, pipe, or bubbler looking crystal clear, you won't have to deal with the smell and look of resin. If you clean resin with isopropyl alcohol frequently, you won't have to do deep cleaning routines as often. Removing the collective resin over years of use may be a low priority for many, but can make a world of difference for cannabis smokers.