Winter is (thankfully) done. And while it may not exactly feel like spring has sprung where you live, you can get a start on some spring cleaning that doesn’t involve opening windows or even sunshine. We’re talking about cleaning your pipes and other cannabis paraphernalia.
Clean gear is actually easier to use and less messy. Self-appointed experts will say take care of it after every use, but they may have a lot of time on their hands. How often you do it depends on how much use things get and how neat you feel like being.
You’re in luck. You probably have all the cleaners you need around the house already. If you have dish detergent … well, you’re out of luck since that won’t work and may actually increase the mess. Cannabis resin is notoriously hard to scrub and glass can break easily under rough treatments.
What you need is some rubbing alcohol and salt—any coarse ground will do and without iodine if possible. If the salt is too foodie for you, the alcohol on its own will eventually work. Some cotton swabs (those in the know prefer plastic to paper which lacks flexibility) and zip seal food storage bags may come in handy also.
This is the easiest cannabis item to clean. Scrape off as much resin as you can then place the pipe in a ziplock (or bowl) and cover with the alcohol. Add a teaspoon of salt or so. Agitate gently and let the pipe soak for two or three hours. Rinse with warm water and let it air dry. Keep in mind that thin glass when warm is more fragile so careful with the drying.
What makes them convenient also makes them messy. Take it apart and pour out the dirty water. If you have salt, put a few tablespoons in (depending on the size of the bong). Pour in a cup of alcohol or so. Now comes the messy part that is best done in a bathroom or anywhere that isn’t carpeted.
Use a cotton ball to cover up the stem and washcloth for the tube opening (you may think your hand will work but trust us on this—use a washcloth). Shake the bejeezus out of it for a few minutes. Check to see if it looks cleaner. If not repeat another few minutes until it is. Again, rinse with water and let it air dry.
Take it apart and brush or pick off all the solid stuff you can. Some suggest putting it in the freezer for an hour or so (never tried it, but might next time). After you do, or don’t do that, use a swab soaked in alcohol to scrub off any remaining bits. Rinse it with warm water and let it air dry.
There are two main types: those that use oil and those that use ground flower. For the first, scrape off the cartridge (which may also be able to use dried herbs). Use a light touch on the glass—it’s fragile. Then wipe the outside of the cartridge with an alcohol-soaked swab and air dry. It’s better to stay on the outside of the cartridge to avoid damaging the heating element.
For the mouthpiece, give it a 30-minute soak in alcohol and a rinse with warm water then air dry.
For ground flower pens that have a chamber you fill and not a cartridge, take it apart and scrape out all the bits (a toothbrush works well here). Clean the outside with alcohol or warm water—again, avoiding any heating element. Take care of the mouthpiece same as above. Air dry.