The best way to avoid the pitfalls of a dirty bong is to keep it clean. Failure to perform regular cleaning can lead to a filthy water pipe offering a less-than-optimal smoking experience, reduced bong lifespan, and even health risks.

But dirty bongs don’t have to ruin your smoking experience or risk your health. In fact, there are many ways to make bong cleaning easier, faster, and more effective.

Check out our tips, tricks, and favorite cleaning products every smoker should know for a clean bong that’s easy to hit, offers tasty rips, and won’t harm your health.

How Often Should You Clean Your Bong?

Much of the filth and debris that makes using glass bongs unpleasant comes from repeated use without proper cleaning in between. Depending on how often you smoke and what type of bong you have, you’ll want to clean it anywhere from after each use to once a week.

For example, if you have a bong with percolators, you’ll want to clean it more often as the tiny holes can easily become clogged. On the other hand, if you have a simple straight-tube bong, you can get away with cleaning it less, as there are fewer places for gunk to hide.

No matter what type of bong you have or how often you clean it, using a good quality bong cleaner is essential to keeping your device in top smoking condition.

Why You Should Keep Your Bong Clean

Clean bongs offer a pleasant taste, a powerful smoking experience, and less hassle when it comes time to perform maintenance. A dirty bong, on the other hand, can offer harsh, cough-inducing hits that taste terrible.

Those who wait several weeks between cleaning – even if changing the water regularly – can run into issues with mold and bacteria. When these things build up in your bong, they can be inhaled along with the smoke, causing respiratory infections.

Cleaning your entire bong also helps to prolong its lifespan. Cleaning it regularly will remove any built-up residue that could potentially etch or damage the glass, acrylic, or wood over time.

How To Clean a Bong

Bong cleaning processes are varied, some as simple as warm water and others as complicated as vinegar, salt, and specialty tools. No matter which method you go with, the important thing is to be gentle so as not to damage your bong.

Simple Cleaning Measures

The easiest and quickest way to clean your bong is to change the water after each use. This will help prevent built-up residue from hardening and becoming more difficult to remove later on.

For more thorough cleaning, take apart the individual pieces on your bong (bowl, downstem, percolator, etc.) and run them under hot water. This flushing of each component will remove most soft residue that has built up.

Powerful Cleaning Solutions

You’ll need a more powerful solution for super dirty bongs or hardened built-up residue. There are a variety of commercial bong cleaners available on the market, or you can make your own using common natural ingredients like concentrated alcohols and Epsom salts.

Powerful bong cleaning solutions may also require using tools such as pipe cleaners or cotton swabs to help remove stubborn residue. Just be sure to use these gently to avoid damaging the bong.

Once you’ve chosen a bong cleaning option, follow the instructions on the packaging or recipe to clean your bong. Generally, you’ll want to soak the bong in the solution for a few hours or overnight before rinsing it out thoroughly.

Bong Cleaning Solutions

What is a bong cleaner solution?

Special solutions for cleaning bongs are made from food-grade ingredients and are designed to break down even the most stubborn residue quickly and easily. These concentrated solutions are much more potent than plain water or simple home concoctions.

Commercial bong cleaners come in a variety of formulas, scents, and sizes. Some are made specifically for certain bongs, while others can be used on any bong or smoking pipe. Be sure to read the label carefully to choose one safe for you and your bong.

How does it work?

With natural acidic or alcohol-based ingredients, this bong cleaner solution works by breaking down and dissolving the resin that has built up on your bong. This allows you to rinse it away, leaving your bong clean and residue-free.

By pouring the solution into the bong, shaking it up, and letting it soak for the recommended amount of time, you’ll be left with a clean bong that is ready to use. Just make sure to rinse it out well afterward so that none of the solution is left behind.

Best Bong Cleaners

1. Helping Friendly Flavored Bong Water

A multi-purpose deodorizer and water substitute, Helper Friendly Flavored Bong Water, provides the best way to keep your bong clean – and tasty. The flavored water substitute is made from food-grade ingredients that reduce the frequency of cleaning, inhibit mold and bacteria growth, and provide a refreshing and flavorful hit.

Available in seven different flavors, including apple, grape, peppermint, and vanilla custard, these 16oz bottles are perfect for those who want to keep their bong clean and tasting great.

2. Randy’s All-Natural Citrus Cleaner

Using the power of citrus, Randy’s All-Natural Citrus Cleaner is a powerful and natural way to clean your bong. Made with 100% essential oils and enzymes, this concentrated cleaner is suitable for any bong or pipe.

Simply add a bit into your bong and swish it around to loosen up the residue. If part of a general cleaning, you can let it sit for a few minutes after, then rinse it out and let it dry. If part of a more intense bong cleaning, it’s best to let the solution sit overnight after swishing it in your bong.

3. Orange Chronic Cleaner

This bong cleaner offers concentrated cleaning power in an all-natural and biodegradable formula. Orange Chronic Cleaner is made with natural degreasing agents and citrus oils that work to break down and remove resin quickly and easily.

To use, add a few drops to a cup (or two) of warm water and pour it into your bong. Shake it up and let it sit overnight. In the morning, take a soft brush to what was once hard-to-remove resin and watch it come right off. Rinse your bong out well afterward and enjoy a clean bong hit.

Bong Cleaner Swabs

What is a bong cleaner swab?

Highly intricate pipes with many small parts or bongs using concentrated waxes can be challenging to clean with a standard solution. 

That’s where bong cleaner swabs come in. These gentle swabs are tough on residue but soft on your bong, making them perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach places.

How does it work?

Most bong cleaner swabs are made of lint-free material and come in various sizes to fit any bong or pipe. They can also be used wet or dry, depending on the level of cleaning needed.

By keeping your bowl clean with a quick wipe from these pipe cleaners or Q-tip-looking swabs, you can avoid sucking in residual resin and other unwanted contaminants that can affect the taste of your hit and dirty up your bong faster.

Best Bong Cleaner Swabs

1. Glob Mops

These 100% cotton swabs offer a safe and effective way to clean your bong’s hammer, nail, or bowl. Best used between hits, Glob Mops are ultra-absorbent and will quickly soak up any residue, leaving your bong clean and ready for the next hit.

Each package includes 300 swabs in a travel carry case for easy storage. And, when you’re finished with a swab, toss it in the trash – no need to worry about rinsing it out or cleaning it for reuse.

2. Honey Swabs

Made from bamboo and cotton, these swabs offer two different tips to help you clean your bong quickly and easily – a pointy end for getting into small spaces and a rounded tip for larger areas. Honey swabs can be used between hits as is from the 100 ct package or dipped in isopropyl alcohol for a deeper clean. And, when you’re finished with a swab, toss it out – it’s entirely made from eco-friendly ingredients.

3. Higher Standards

Long and bristly, these Higher Standards pipe cleaners are perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach places in your bong. Dip them in a cleaning agent and wriggle them inside your bong to loosen and remove any resin buildup.

These bong cleaners can be reused a few times before being thrown away, and the 60-count package ensures you’ll have plenty on hand to keep your bong clean and ready for action.

Bong Cleaner Caps

What is a bong cleaner cap?

Cleaner caps are specialty pieces that cover your bong’s mouthpiece and stem holes. These caps are made from durable, food-grade silicone or wood and can be reused again and again.

Bong caps aren’t just great for the cleaning process. They also provide added benefits like no-leak transport, better aesthetics during storage/display, odor reduction, and less risk of dust or other contaminants getting into your bong.

How does it work?

Bong cleaner caps come in various sizes to fit most bongs and pipes. Once in place, you can shake your bong vigorously without worrying about water or cleaning agent spilling out.

This makes bong caps an essential tool for giving your bong a deep clean. Simply add your cleaning solution and shake, shake, shake until your bong is sparkling clean.

Best Bong Cleaner Caps

1. Resolution Caps

These smooth gel caps slide on easily and create an airtight seal to help you clean your bong quickly and easily. Best of all, they’re made from 100% food-grade silicone so you can reuse them again and again.

Each pack includes 1 large and 2 small caps to fit most bongs and pipes. And when you’re finished using them, wash them with soap and water – no need to worry about cleaning products harming the caps.

2. Session Goods

These sleek-looking, durable, and reusable silicone caps work best with branded Session water pipes and are designed to fit snugly and prevent unwanted leaks. They’re also durable and can be reused many times over.

Each package includes 1 small and 1 large cap to fit most bong sizes. As a bonus, you can put them back in when your bong is clean and not in use for a modern, finished look that will impress your guests.

3. Cleaning Caps

Bamboo made with a twist on/off function, Cleaning Caps are easy to use and keep your bong watertight during cleaning. When you’re finished, wipe the inside with a paper towel, and they’re ready to go again.

Cleaning Caps come in a 2-pack with 1 small and 1 large cap to fit most bongs and pipes. They offer a sleek and stylish design that makes for a great display in any bong collection.

How Do You Clean a Bong After Each Use?

The best way to avoid a dirty bong is to clean it after each use. The exact method will depend on what type of cannabinoid product is used and how much residue is left behind.

Cleaning After Cannabis Flower

If you’ve been using your bong to smoke cannabis flower, then chances are you’ve got hot ash, plant matter, and resin buildup inside. For this type of residue, it’s best to:

  • Take apart bong
  • Empty out the old bong water
  • Run warm water through the bong chamber, shake, and repeat
  • Use swabs or bong cleaners to get hard-to-reach areas (if needed)
  • Flush warm water through bong pieces (if applicable)
  • Let the bong dry completely
  • Put pieces back together

Cannabis flower resin doesn’t harden immediately after smoking, so if you don’t have time for a full cleaning, simply rinsing out your bong with warm water after each use should be sufficient. If some resin isn’t coming out, you can soak your bong in isopropyl alcohol for a few minutes, run a pipe cleaner over the areas, and then attempt rinsing.

Cleaning After Cannabis Concentrates

Cannabis concentrates like wax and shatter leave behind a much thicker residue than flower alone. Additionally, the bongs used to smoke these products (often called dab rigs) are usually smaller in size, making cleaning more difficult. For this type of residue, it’s best to:

  • Take apart bong
  • Empty out the old bong water
  • Run warm water through the bong chamber, shake, and repeat
  • Heat bowl/nail/banger with a torch (if applicable)
  • Scrape excess residue off with a dab tool/swab
  • Wipe down bowl/nail/banger with a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol (if applicable)
  • Flush warm water through bong pieces (if applicable)
  • Let the bong dry completely
  • Put pieces back together

Cleaning After Using Both Flower and Concentrates

If you’ve been using your bong for cannabis flower and concentrates, you’ll likely have a combination of the two types of residue. In this case, it’s best to follow the cleaning instructions for both types of products. Additionally, consider investing in a second bong or dab rig specifically for concentrates. This will help prevent cross-contamination of residue and simplify the cleaning process.

How To Clean Silicone or Acrylic Bongs?

Acrylic and silicone bongs are becoming increasingly popular due to their durability, flexibility, and affordability. Unfortunately, even the best glass bong cleaner won’t be suitable for these devices, which is why you’ll need to use special methods.

It’s best to soak a silicone bong in isopropyl alcohol overnight or use a bong cleaning solution designed explicitly for silicone. For deeper cleaning, you might even get away with putting it in the dishwasher – assuming that the bong is small enough to fit.

Acrylic bongs can be challenging to clean because they’re prone to scratches. For this reason, it’s best to avoid using abrasive cleaning products or scrubbers. Instead, warm water and isopropyl alcohol are the best bong cleaners for an acrylic bong.

The key thing to note when cleaning silicone or acrylic bongs is not to use cleaning tools that will scrape, chip, or otherwise damage the material. This includes stiff brushes, harsh chemicals, and abrasive cleaners. Damage to acrylic and silicone bongs can not only affect their appearance but also creates hiding places for bacteria and makes the bong more difficult to clean in the future.

Tips for Keeping Your Bong Clean

You can take many preventive measures in addition to glass cleaners to prevent your bong from getting too dirty in the first place. These tips will help reduce the frequency of deep cleanings while simplifying the process when deep cleaning is necessary.

Always Use Warm Water

Clean your bong regularly after a session, always using warm water. Cold water won’t break down the residue as effectively. Additionally, if your bong is still hot, the cold water could crack it on contact. While hot water may loosen resin, it can also heat the glass, causing you to drop it when your bong gets too hot to handle.

Don’t Forget Other Bong Pieces

A clean chamber is important, but don’t forget the other pieces that make up your bong. The downstem, bowl, and mouthpiece can all harbor residue and bacteria, so be sure to give them a good cleaning as well.

Bowls are easiest to clean when heated, so consider using a torch to heat the bowl before scrubbing. For the downstem and mouthpiece, soak them in isopropyl alcohol or a bong cleaning solution overnight.

Do It Over the Sink

Cleaning a bong can get messy, so it’s essential to do it over the sink or other area that can contain the water and glass cleaner you’ll be using. It’s also a good idea to have a towel or rag handy in case of any spills.

Get Into the Habit of Cleaning Regularly

The best way to keep your bong clean is to get into the habit of cleaning it regularly. A quick rinse of the chamber and scrub of the bowl and downstem can go a long way in preventing buildup that causes bong cleaning nightmares.

Ways to Keep Your Bong Clean With Household Items

If you are on a budget or can’t find your bong cleaner, there are a few ways to clean your bong with household items.

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Smoking devices with a lot of resin buildup are easily restored with a common household recipe widely considered the best glass bong cleaner and cheapest cleaner – vinegar and baking soda. Just fill the bong’s chamber with vinegar (to the same level you would with water) and add a few teaspoons of baking soda.

As soon as you put the baking soda in, cover the holes of the bong with your hands and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Empty and repeat as necessary until the bong is clean. Flush with warm water and let air dry.

Rubbing Alcohol & Salt

This method is for you if you have a caked-on bowl, downstem or chamber that needs extra scrubbing power. Fill the bong chamber halfway with rubbing alcohol (91% – 99% concentration) and add a few tablespoons of coarse salts such as Epsom, Himalayan, or kosher.

Next, shake vigorously for no less than five minutes, empty, and repeat until the process is complete. Flush with warm water until no more salt comes out, and allow to air dry.

It may be necessary to put the same solution into a small bowl that can accommodate smaller bong pieces like a downstem, bowl, ash catcher, or percolator. Let these pieces soak overnight and rinse them with water in the morning.

Hydrogen Peroxide

This is an excellent method to use if rubber or silicone parts in your bong need cleaning. Fill the chamber with hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration), cover any openings, and shake for 3 to 5 minutes.

After shaking, let the bong sit for up to 20 mins and then rinse and repeat until the water runs clean and the bong is free from any residue.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Bong?

When you don’t clean your bong, you are essentially just smoking whatever residue is left behind from your last session, which can contain harmful toxins and chemicals. This can lead to many health problems, including respiratory infections, general breathing issues, and a weakened immune system.

There is also the issue of function. Dirty bongs can be harder to hit, causing throat irritation, wasted product, and an all-around unpleasant smoking experience. Additionally, as resin hardens, it can cause structural damage to your bong over time, reducing its lifespan and costing you money in the long run.

Ultimately, not cleaning your bong is the fastest way to kill it, and no one wants that. So do yourself (and your bong) a favor and make the commitment to clean it regularly. Your lungs, mood, and wallet will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should I clean a wooden bong?

You should avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents on wooden bongs as they can damage the finish or the wood itself. Instead, stick to using warm water and mild soap. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any stubborn buildup if you need to.

2. Can I put my bong in the dishwasher?

Putting glass bongs in the dishwasher isn’t recommended, as the harsh chemicals in dishwasher detergent can damage the finish or glass. Silicone bongs, however, are typically designed to be dishwasher-safe. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before putting yours in.

3. Can I use bleach to clean my bong?

You should avoid using bleach on your bong as it can harm your health. Instead, there are several safer and more effective ways to clean your bong that won’t put your health at risk. Stick to the best bong cleaners, such as warm water, mild soap, salt, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or rubbing alcohol, for fantastic, safe results.

A Clean Bong for a Better Smoking Experience

Your bong should always look showroom clean. Not only will this give you a better smoking experience, but it will also prevent your bong from being damaged over time. Use one of the acrylic, silicone, or glass cleaner methods above regularly and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you’re not inhaling harmful toxins and chemicals.

Consider any of the best bong cleaners in this article if you are having trouble using household methods or need something stronger to get the job done. Each offers different features to make your bong cleaning experience as simple and effective as possible.