The one classic, handheld method of smoking weed outside of rolling up has always been the pipe, and rightfully so: not only does smoking a pipe make you look sophisticated, it is extremely easy to use, just as easy to make one at home and thankfully, just as easy to clean.
While following a pretty similar method to cleaning bongs, cleaning your pipes need nothing more than soap and water (or specialized cleaning solutions), a couple of items probably in your kitchen drawer at the ready, and only a few minutes once a week.
Best Times to Clean Your Pipe
This primarily depends on how often you use your pipe, but the basic idea remains: when you see gunk, time to clean! Once a week is a very common timeframe for regular cleaning, but this obviously depends on if you do not use yours much, or if it is used frequently.
As you may have guessed, the main goal is not just to keep the visible residue out of your pipe and out of your lungs, but to keep it looking nice and free of dust and bacteria. Some users even clean their pipes after every use to ensure that this will not happen, but you do not need to so long as odors and buildup are nonexistent.
Best Cleaning Products for Your Pipe
Just like cleaning your bong, 99% alcohol and Formula 420 tie for the premier solution (pun proudly intended) for cleaning pipes. It is hard to recommend anything over a cleaning product designed for your device, but simple disinfectant alcohol is as close to second as possible.
Also, the perfect “finish” for your pipes to get rid of water or residue spots is simply distilled vinegar with water. If you have distilled water, that’s even better.
As far as your actual supplies, you can never go wrong with sandwich bags (or baggies big enough to hold your pipe and a few ounces of cleaning solution), cotton swabs or other pipe-sized cleaners, and some paper or kitchen towels to dry it completely.
How to Clean your Pipe
To take your favorite pipe from zero to 100 in cleanliness, remove the weed from the bowl. That is not how you clean your weed, and you are going to have a bad time.
The actual flower or any ash or solids that you can empty should be removed, just so the mixture does not get murky. No worries: the other left-on residue will be gone very shortly.
DO Clean Safely and Regularly
Pipes and bongs are cleaned very similarly, the key difference being only the smaller surface area of pipes, not requiring as much attention as disassembling a large bong and cleaning that from top and bottom.
Pipes still need attention, obviously, but a simple cleaning solution free of harsh chemicals and either soaking or a few good sprays will have your weed vessel squeaky cleaned (it may or may not squeak, but you can try). Even better, this can be done in less than one episode of your favorite show and only needs to be done once a week or every couple of days.
DON’T Put Your Pipe in the Dishwasher
As easy as it sounds on paper, do Not put your pipe(s) in the dishwasher, for the simple reason that you do not want to smoke dish soap. Also, avoid this level of hot water whenever possible if you do not know how your pipe will react.
The coloring on a glass pipe, for example, is nontoxic when paired with the heat from the bowl, but you do not know how it will react to such hot water and dish soap for that extended time. So, room temperature to warm water is perfect.
DO Give Your Solution Time to Work
Say your pipe was left alone for a while without being used and it is not unusable but has a buildup of resin or anything that stains the pipe: This is where you need more cleaning time than the typical pipe that is used but cleaned consistently.
But even then, very little requires your own effort: You would be amazed how much residue is removed by just soaking your paraphernalia for a few hours in a product-safe solution without even having to scrub. You should still take a cotton swab or small brush and clean the inside, but 90% of your work is done once the buildup is gone.
DON’T Wipe Down with Water and Call it ‘Clean’
We might have all been guilty of ‘cleaning’ a counter or a stove top this way, but it is not a genuine clean and is made especially unsafe if you do not properly disinfect something that you put your mouth on and breathe into your lungs.
At the same time, your pipe does not need a chemical bath after every hit. But, a cleaning deep enough to flush out every nook and cranny with your cleaning solution, and thoroughly dried so that there is no unwanted moisture or cleaning products in your pipe, is highly recommended.
The dreaded remains of dishes past: those white or greyish spots that taunt you, and your glass or ceramic valuables, need only a quick bath in a water/vinegar solution to be wiped away (literally).
Mix your distilled vinegar and water (1 part water to 2 parts vinegar), and you can put the mixture into a small spray bottle to cover all the spots and let your pipe rest for 10-15 minutes, then dry with a kitchen towel. Alternatively, you can take a small bowl with just enough vinegar to submerge the time and let it take a quick bath.
Either way, vinegar is a safe and very natural solution to clean the inside and outside of your pipe, and you can find it extremely cheap at virtually any store in existence. Beyond this method, you have a few other options you can use to clean your pipe well, while there are some you may hear will work but could end up being dangerous.
Why You Should Clean Pipes Regularly
Safety is the keyword. As mentioned, regular cleaning of all your smoking devices prevents inhaling ‘dirty’ particles when you toke up, it keeps them looking nice and will kill any bacteria, germs and residue on sight.