All right, cannabis adventurers, today’s tip is a bit of a “how-to”! If like many cannabis consumers you’re using a custom-made glass pipe, you’ve likely noted that keeping that pipe looking as sparkly-clean, attractive—and functional—as the day you purchased it, is a wee bit harder than you may have expected.
The unctuous black resin that results from smoking cannabis is quite apt to stain clothing, your hands, and anything else it comes in contact with. Fortunately, maintenance of glass is hardly rocket science; it just takes patience, the right tools, and a little bit of advanced planning.
How to Clean Glass Pipe – Start Smart
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Glass Cannabis Pipe
First of all, let’s lay out the materials you’ll want to have close at hand before cleaning:
- A bobby pin or other thin wire implement
- Paper towels, tissue or expendable rag
- Sealable plastic freezer baggie
- Salt, preferably coarse or kosher
- Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, 90% or higher
- Pipe cleaner (available at craft stores or well-stocked drug stores and dispensaries)
How to Clean Glass Pipe In 4 Easy Steps:
Step 1: Soften the resin by applying heat. One of the easiest ways, naturally, is to use the pipe for its intended purpose, just so long as you feel that imbibing won’t muddle the cleaning process!
Step 2: Using the bobby pin or similar device, gently scrape the resin from the bowl, walls, and mouthpiece of the pipe. Keep in mind that the resin will stain most anything it comes in contact with, so exercise caution and have a paper towel or similar in place to wipe off the collected resin. Of course, if you want to save the resin for smoking later, you can collect it all in a non-reactive glass or plastic vessel of some kind.
Step 3: Break out the freezer baggie! Place the pipe in the bag with a good scoop (we recommend a tablespoon or two) of salt, then enough rubbing alcohol to submerge the pipe completely. Sealing up the baggie, start gently swishing and rubbing with your fingers to scrub the pipe with the salt-and-alcohol mixture. Keep this up for a good minute or two (you may want to employ a timer if cannabis has altered your perception of time), then allow the pipe to sit in the liquid for a couple of hours. Repeat the gentle scrub if you feel it’s needed.
Step 4: Once the scrub is complete, rinse the pipe thoroughly in hot water, gently dry with a towel of some sort, and inspect. At this point, you may want to use the pipe cleaner to remove any stubborn traces of resin and restore some of the pipe’s original shine. If you haven’t gone too long between cleanings, your pipe should be shiny and ready for further use!
How to Clean Glass Pipe Without Alcohol
Although we feel it’s a safe household solvent when thoroughly rinsed, some people prefer to avoid isopropyl alcohol altogether.
An alternative cleaning regimen is to boil enough tap water to cover the pipe by a few inches in a saucepan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and submerge the pipe for half an hour or so. Be sure that the simmer is low enough to release gentle bubbles, but not evaporate off and leave the pipe uncovered, which could crack it. After the time has elapsed, carefully drain the water and—exercising extreme caution as the pipe will be hot—clean and dry it thoroughly with a towel and/or pipe cleaner.
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