Whatever type of rig you use to smoke concentrates, it will need to be cleaned periodically. The sticky consistency of reclaim, or the caked-up material that collects on the sides of your dab rig, can be challenging to clean if you do not know the correct cleaning products to use. It’s quite simple; if you have cleaned a glass bong before, you are already familiar with the process. The only variable is the type of nail you use to dab with, titanium, quartz, ceramic, electronic, etc. This will determine how you clean said nail, respectively. Depending on the size and height of you rig, you may also want to grab some pipe cleaners for satisfactory cleaning of all nooks and crannies.
When’s the right time to start thinking about cleaning your dab rig?
This will be visibly obvious, as concentrates tend to build up in the down stem and in the nail. The glass will turn brown or black due to the collection of reclaim within the rig. This reclaim can be used to bake with, just make sure to drain into a glass pan and cook in the oven at 220 degrees F. This step is called decarboxylation and will activate the THC for proper edible baking. There is nothing wrong with reclaim, aside from the taste if you were to dab it, hence the idea to recycle via cooking or baking. As I write this piece, I am staring at my own personal rig that desperately needs to be cleaned. Ever the pragmatist when it comes to cannabis, I definitely try and recycle reclaim for baking when cleaning my dab rig (if I have the time).
What should you use in order to best clean your glass rig?
You will need hot water, salt, 91% isopropyl alcohol, and a pipe cleaner or Q-Tips. Clean your glass rig in the same manner as you would a bong, only it may take several passes to filter out of the caked-up concentrates along the walls of your rig. In the first pass, run hot water through the entire piece. This will be the first step in loosening the oil from the sides of the glass. I personally like to pour in the salt next; cover the rig mouthpiece with your hand or finger and shake the rig around to circulate the granular pieces of salt. Since glass retains heat so well, your rig will remain hot during the next step, when you pour in the isopropyl alcohol and shake it around the rig. You may need to rinse and repeat these two steps several times before achieving the desired clarity and cleanliness for your rig.
How do I clean my titanium nail?
Take a shot glass and pour a shot of isopropyl alcohol. This is not for drinking, but rather to soak your titanium nail. You will see the alcohol change from clear to brown, as the extract seeps out of it. Rinse with water and dry before using again for dabs.
How do I clean my quartz nail?
Depending on the size of your quartz nail, you may need to soak it in hot water and salt in a cup or bowl before rinsing with hot water and alcohol. Use a Q-tip to circle the base of the quartz nail for cleaning.
Dry your dab rig before re-use
I prefer to clean dab rigs in the kitchen sink, due to the tendency of oil to drip out into the sink. If this occurs, use a brillo pad to scrub it out of your sink area, as it will most likely take a bit of muscle to get it to come off. Make sure to thoroughly dry your glass rig and accompanying nail before re-use; wet nails will sizzle with steam when lit with a torch. Of course, the more often you use the dab rig, the more often it will need to be cleaned, as more use equals more wear-and-tear. If the water is too hot, I sometimes use tongs to scoop out the titanium nail from the alcohol soak. I have dropped scorching hot nails on carpeting before, so ensuring all of that material was cleaned off was a necessity before using it to dab again. The alcohol soak really helped get the carpet fibers off.
Some people opt not to use salt, but I think the coarse nature of the granular pieces is essential to the cleaning process. Additionally, if you cannot obtain 91% isopropyl alcohol, 70% will work just fine; the percentage difference is really only significant if utilizing for concentrate extraction processes.