We all have that handy dandy glass pipe. The one we reach for, no matter the occasion or where we are. But we all know what happens when we use the same glass pipe — it gets dirty. That’s because resin builds up.
Resin occurs naturally in many plants. It’s the substance that makes the trichomes sticky. But when it’s burnt long enough, the gooey matter burns to tar and sticks to your piece. This makes it difficult to clean off.
The good news is, you can clean that resin off of your glass pipe. The bad news is, doing so incorrectly can damage your pipe. Here’s how to clean that resin off the right way!
Before we go into specific techniques, we’ll go over some good words of advice when cleaning any glass piece. Continue reading for a resin-free glass piece!
Use Gentle Cleansing Products
When seeking advice from friends, they usually recommend harsh cleansing agents such as isopropyl alcohol. However, it’s ill-advised you use those products.
Depending on the type of glass pipe, the alcohol could be too abrasive. In addition, alcohol isn’t the safest substance. There’s a good chance the alcohol will linger on the pipe and you inhale it, which is toxic.
Instead, use gentle cleansing products. They make specific pipe cleaning products. If you want to go the DIY route, you have many options, including baking soda and salt.
Clean It Daily — Or, At Least Once a Week
How often do you read advice columns that suggest you fill a plastic baggie with a cleansing substance, you soak the piece overnight, scrape off the resin with another substance, and a slew of other steps?
All of this sounds like a lot of work, right?
The best way to simplify the cleaning process is by cleaning your piece daily. Too lazy for this? We don’t blame you. But you should clean your piece once a week at the very least.
Clean Your Piece Before Every New Product
Before trying a new tobacco strain (or a new strain of "the other stuff") always clean your piece before testing out a new product. A clean pipe will deliver the fullest flavor.
Always Protect Your Glass After You Clean
You may be excited to pick up the pipe and smoke after it's fresh and clean. But this last step is essential to protecting your pipe and extending its life. Leave your pipe out to fully dry before using it. This prevents mold.
When you’re not using your pipe, leave it in a covered and dry area. High on a shelf is also ideal.
Now that you know some good cleaning advice, many glass pipe owners make mistakes that can damage their pieces. Here are common mistakes.
Do a Google search, and you’ll hear ridiculous pipe cleaning methods. These vary between dish detergent, nail polish remover, and other harsh chemicals.
Don’t experiment with these cleansing agents. Think of it this way — don’t use any cleaning products you wouldn’t eat. Even though you smoke out of the pipe, think of the cleaning products as if they’re entering your body.
Just Because It’s Common, Doesn’t Mean You Should Use It
Take isopropyl alcohol for example. It’s by the most common glass pipe cleansing agent. However, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are also other cleansing methods and agents that are equally effective and safer.
Don’t Spend Too Much Money
C’mon — it’s just your pipe. While there are fancy cleaners out there, you shouldn’t have to spend too much money to clean your pipe. You should be able to find most of your cleaning products in your kitchen.
Glass Pipe Cleaning Methods
We compiled some of the most effective cleaning methods with ingredients you already have or can buy for a small price. Let’s go!
Baking Soda and Vinegar
First, start by running your pipe under hot water. This gets the extra gunk out of your pipe. For clogged pipes, use a pipe cleaner around the hole and into the longer part, before getting to the mouthpiece.
Fill a plastic bag with the vinegar. The amount you use depends on how many pipes you’re cleaning. Make sure they’re completely submerged in the liquid.
Add a generous amount of baking soda. The baking soda will help scrub off the extra resin bits.
Start shaking the bag. Do this for a minute or two.
Pour the solution out. For extremely dirty pipes, you may need to repeat these steps. If baking soda didn’t help, you can also use salt.
Submerge your pipe in water before using again! Vinegar is very potent and foul tasting. Take your piece and put it in another plastic bag. Fill it with water. Let your bowl soak for several hours, even overnight.
After your pipe is submerged in water, take a Q-tip to clean off any extra gunk. Give it one more good rinse with hot water and lay it out to dry.
Do you want to avoid funky flavors and breathing in anything that isn’t plant material? We don’t blame you! This is where good ol’ fashioned hot water comes in.
Take a small-to-medium sized pot, fill it with water, and let the water boil. Once the water reaches a vigorous boil, reduce the heat to simmer and place your bowl in the pot. Let your pipe soak between 30 minutes and an hour.
BE CAREFUL WHEN TAKING THE PIPE OUT! It will be HOT!
For best measures, drain the water in a traditional strainer.
Do so slowly, even more slowly than you would with pasta. You don’t want the impact to break the glass — rather, you want the piece to slowly slide into the strainer or simply stay in the pot as you empty the water.
Let the piece cool. If you need to touch it, use oven mitts. Once it’s cooled off, use a Q-tip to scrub the resin off.
Need a New Glass Pipe?
Is your glass pipe beyond the point of cleaning? If it’s that dirty, you might as well buy a new one. If you’re in Salt Lake City, take a look at our glass pipe selection.