Bong cleaning main image

I’m crazy about my bong but I have failed her (and myself) because I neglected to clear her after every use. At first I didn’t think it was a big deal because I long ago heard some old stoner’s tale from somewhere that dirty bong water is a good thing. It definitely isn’t.

Cleaning your smoking equipment after each use is as important as washing your dishes after every meal. If it’s been awhile, or never, since you cleaned your pipe or bong, here’s everything you need to know.


Every time you smoke from your pipe or bong, resin from the cannabis sticks to the inside of your equipment. Regularly skipping the cleaning for days, weeks or months leads to an accumulation, resulting in a sticky buildup that negatively impacts your overall smoking experience. The weed doesn’t taste as good or smoke as well, and you could end up needing to smoke more of it to achieve the desired effects. Not only that, but leaving dirty water inside your bong smells funky and creates the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to thrive. You’re trying to share good vibes with your sesh buddy, not the flu!

Cleaning your glass tools after every use is really easy, takes just a few minutes and can be done using common products you probably already have at home. But of course, if you procrastinate like I did, you may need more time, even overnight, to thoroughly soak and clean. So here’s how I approached it.


I did a quick Weedguide search for How to Clean a Bong and found this result to be pretty comprehensive. I didn’t have any rubbing alcohol handy so I used white vinegar since it was already in the kitchen panty. I also used:

• Coarse sea salt for its abrasive qualities.

• Bobby pins for scraping because I have lots of those. Pipe cleaners or an old toothbrush would probably work better.

• Plastic wrap and rubber bands to seal the openings. Cotton swabs and washcloths are good for plugging them up too.

• Plastic baggies and storage containers for smaller pipes and stems.

• Gloves because you’ll be working with hot water and gunk. Sadly, I did not have a pair.

• Lots of surface area to handle drips and spills. I went with my bathtub.

Now we’re ready to get this party started…

Step 1: Rinse everything with hot water.

This starts to break up the resin, tar, and all the stuff you want nowhere near your mouth and lungs. I started with my bong stem first.

Step 2: Place stem in a baggie or container with salt and vinegar, and start shaking.

clean bong stem

I shook baggie around for a few minutes to get the vinegar and salt to work on dislodging the resin. If it’s really dirty you might have to rinse and repeat once or twice more, but you should have a much cleaner accessory at the end. This is also a great method to use if you’re cleaning a small pipe. After shaking, I set it aside to let it soak for awhile and moved on to my bong.

Step 3: Flush the bong with hot water.

flush bong hot water

I rinsed my bong with running hot water several times to loosen things up and get that old resin out. See that ickiness on the lower right? Yuck. NOTE: do not use boiling water from a teakettle or your glass could crack.

Step 4: Add salt and vinegar to the bong, then shake.

clean bong covered

I poured a couple of tablespoons of sea salt about ½ cup of vinegar into my bong, then sealed the top and bottom openings with plastic wrap and rubber bands to prevent leakage while shaking.

I shook the bong for as long as I could, taking breaks and resuming for several minutes because I wanted to be thorough. When I was satisfied, I removed the plastic wrap and could see a dramatic difference inside – much less resin, and any little bit I could still see I scraped at with an extended bobby pin.

Step 5. When done, rinse everything thoroughly let them air dry. It’s that simple!

The following day I noticed there was still some resin so I repeated the process all over again using the 70% isopropyl alcohol my husband picked up for me, and that ended up being way more effective. Once I was done, I cleaned everything with mild soap and water a few times to makes sure all the alcohol was cleaned out, then let it all air dry.

My bong is a dark color so it’s hard to see the progress in a photo, but as you can tell my stem looks dramatically cleaner!

clean bong

Lesson learned. I’ll never procrastinate when it comes to cleaning my bong ever again.

How often and what do you use to clean your bong? Let us know on Instagram! And if you’re looking for more cleaning tips, let help your search!

Feature Image: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Kaisha is a content writer specializing in the cannabis industry. Judging by her social media, she’s super into cats and Jeff Goldblum.