Let's face it: pipes get dirty. It's inevitable. Every time you smoke weed, a bit of residual resin (or res, as it's called) remains inside of the pipe. That sticky black stuff that smells like burnt weed and death? That's what we're talking about. Smoking bowl after bowl of weed adds up, and soon enough you're coughing up a fit after every hit, wondering why your lungs hurt so badly. The answer is no secret! Smoking cannabis itself is one thing, but smoking years' worth of res on top of it? That's just unhealthy, not to mention gross. Why waste good weed on a dirty pipe? A clean pipe hits better, looks better, and allows you to actually taste the cannabis you're consuming (instead of the residue from countless bowls before it). There's no excuse for a dirty pipe — not when cleaning it is so easy – So, clean your weed pipe!
Follow these tips and tricks for how to clean your weed pipe. You won't regret it.
Table of Contents
Why Should You Clean Your Weed Pipe
More to the point, why shouldn't you clean your weed pipe (and everything else you smoke from too)? It can only help, and smoking weed from a pipe filled with res can actually hurt. Of course, all smoke, weed or not, is bad for your lungs. But res is worse. A res-filled pipe creates harsh hits that can leave even the most seasoned stoner coughing. Past that, res smoke is just flat out unhealthy.
And if that isn't convincing enough, consider all the germs that could be festering on your pipe. Maybe you touched a bathroom doorknob, a bus rail, a school keyboard, even shook someone's hand who touched all three — and then you smoked, and everything transferred to your pipe. Do that a few times and your pipe is as dirty on the outside as it is on the inside.
So, a dirty pipe tastes bad, feels bad, and is even bad for your health! What benefits are there? None whatsoever. Just clean your pipe!
The Materials For Cleaning Your Weed Pipe
What you use to clean your weed pipe is important. Anything you smoke from (be it a pipe, bong, bubbler, etc...) should be thoroughly cleaned using only safe products. When you smoke weed you're consuming whatever else is inside your pipe as well, sending it directly into your mouth, lungs, and bloodstream. So be careful! The safest, most effective tools for cleaning your pipe are as follows:
- Rubbing Alcohol: Good for more than just doctor's visits, rubbing alcohol is the best solution to a dirty pipe. While water won't really do much to rid you of that sticky res, rubbing alcohol is immediately and visibly effective. Try to aim for one with a high alcohol percentage, 90% plus if possible!
- Epsom Salt: Though any salt will do, Epsom salt is ideal due to its availability, affordability, and just because it really does work the best. Most outlets carry Epsom salt for close to a dollar, so there's no reason not to get some. It's good for relaxing baths too!
- Pipe Cleaner: There's a reason pipe cleaners exist, and it certainly isn't for children to use during arts and crafts. Yes, those colorful, fuzzy wires actually serve a purpose! You ever wonder why you can't get to that one, stubborn spot in your pipe? It's probably because you're not using the very thing designed to get to them.
- Q-tips: When all else fails, Q-tips are a great tool for hard-to-get smudges. Most people already have them lying around too, which is always a plus.
The Methods For Cleaning Your Weed Pipe
A few tips to keep in mind! First of all, res is sticky. Really sticky. Try not to touch anything that comes out of your pipe during its cleaning. It may be tempting to study the gross nugs of res up close, but trust me, it isn't worth the hassle. Be careful at every stage of this process so you don't drop, crack, or otherwise damage your precious piece. Also, remember that rubbing alcohol is flammable (which shouldn't matter since fire isn't involved in cleaning a pipe, but you never know).
Step 1: Soak
You could skip this step, but I suggest you don't. A good soak in rubbing alcohol eats away at the res inside your pipe, making the next steps infinitely easier. To clean your weed pipe, soaking a pipe is simple, just:
- Put your pipe into an appropriate container (something not too important) and pour enough rubbing alcohol to cover the entire pipe.
- Swish the alcohol around to get the rubbing alcohol into the pipe. Then leave to sit overnight if possible. If not, leave soaking at least an hour.
- Remove pipe from alcohol and rinse with hot water.
Step 2: Shake
After a good soak, your weed pipe should be more than ready for the next step — shaking! Rubbing alcohol and salt, when combined, make an awesome abrasive formula that scratches away stubborn spots. This trick only works because salt doesn't dissolve all that well in alcohol, believe it or not. So shake away, and make sure not to splash anyone:
- Using any hole, pour a few teaspoons of salt into your pipe. This step works best with a dry pipe so the salt doesn't stick or dissolve on the way in.
- Rinse salt down with twice as much rubbing alcohol. You want to make sure the liquid still has room to slosh around.
- Cover any holes on your weed pipe and shake vigorously. Think bartender here! We want this pipe shaken, not stirred.
Step 3: Scrub
Your weed pipe should be close to clean by now, but maybe a couple stubborn spots of res remain. This is where the pipe cleaners, q-tips, and elbow grease come into play:
- Locate remaining trouble areas and determine the best angle to clean from. Pipes come in many unique shapes and sizes so each pipe may require a special cleaning touch.
- Dip your pipe cleaner, Q-tips, or both into rubbing alcohol. This makes the res give way easier than it would otherwise.
- This is the hardest part, but also the most rewarding. Scrub away at the spots until they disappear entirely. Another round of shaking may be necessary at this point if res stays stuck.
Step 4: Rinse
Rinsing is crucial when cleaning your weed pipe. Nothing sounds worse than a hit of weed mixed with rubbing alcohol and salt. Except maybe a dirty pipe:
- Using cold water, rinse the pipe thoroughly of any residual rubbing alcohol or salt.
- Let pipe dry before using.
Is Cleaning Your Weed Pipe Worth The Work?
Cleaning your weed pipe is absolutely worth the effort. Fresh, tasty hits are just a few steps away — take advantage of it! And don't worry about getting things dirty while cleaning your pipe. Rubbing alcohol cleans res off of hands, sinks, and countertops just as well as pipes.
Follow these tips and tricks to clean your pipe and reap the rewards. Just remember to be careful; a broken piece is the only thing worse than a dirty one. And if pipe cleaning isn't your thing, just roll yourself a nice joint!