How To Clean a Glass Pipe


By Ben Owens

Cannabis users love glassware. Among the most commonly used devices for enjoying cannabis (rivaling the trusted pack of pre-rolled joints), glass pipes and bowls are often among the dirtiest as well. In reality, many simply don’t know how to clean a glass pipe, and others might not care. For those that do, you’ll notice a vast difference in the taste of your herbs. For instance, think about it like your plates, bowls and silverware: you would keep piling food onto a dirty plate. So, why do so many of us tend to smoke out of dirty glass pipes? Personally, I skip the “puff, puff” and pass on a dirty bowl.

How to Clean a Glass Pipe


Why are most pipes dirty?

Most would assume “typical stoner laziness” is the reason behind every dirty pipe. While this might not be too far from the truth for some, it’s not the only reason cannabis consumers want resin to build up in their pipe. For example, Bob Snodgrass was the first glassblower to figure out the you could make a pipe change colors after use. When I first started smoking, having a fully color-changed pipe was almost a badge of honor, an accolade of your consumption. And still, there’s others who just can’t figure out why or how to clean a glass pipe.


How to Clean a Glass Pipe:

Cleaning a pipe can take some time depending on how dirty the pipe is as well as the intricacy of the function (the more chamber, percolators, filters, etc., the harder and longer to clean).  Generally, you’ll need the following supplies to clean a glass pipe:

  • Hot water
  • Coarse salt
  • Something to clean the inside of the pipe
  • Either rubbing alcohol or cleaning products designed for glassware

How to Clean a Glass Pipe Step #1

As with the dishes you use for food, hot water makes it easier to clean dirty glass. As a result, it will help loosen plant matter (scooby snacks) and resin (the dark gunky stuff). As the piece warms up, you’ll find it easier to wipe away resin from the pipe. Often, a frequent hot water bath can suffice for regular cleanings. Ultimately, you will want to know how to clean a dirtier pipe with the rest of these tools.


How to Clean a Glass Pipe Step #2

Often times, you can’t get into every tiny nook of the pipe with your finger or hand. This is where pipe cleaners and cotton swabs come in handy. Remember arts and crafts with the twisty pipe cleaners? Yep, those can also be used to clean out actual pipes. Just be careful if they have metal in them to avoid scratching the inside of your piece.   Alternatively, cotton swabs work great for cleaning mouthpieces, dislodging burnt remnants, and getting to difficult areas inside the pipe.

How To Clean a Glass Pipe

How to Clean a Glass Pipe Step #3

Solvents like alcohol, ethanol, and acetone are used to extract cannabis oil compounds from plants and clean up the residue afterwards. Isopropyl is available at most grocers and acetone at hardware stores. If you’re using alcohol, the higher the percentage of alcohol, the better. In addition, if you’re using acetone, be careful to avoid too much skin contact for extended periods of time and rinse of any spills as soon as possible.

How To Clean a Glass Pipe

How to Clean a Glass Pipe Step #4

The best salts to use are Epson Salts, the ones that people use for soaking their feet in. Next, you can find them in most pharmacies, often labeled Foot Salt or Coarse Salt. These can then be used in alcohol to agitate and rub the interior of the pipe (in a solvent, the salt will not dissolve). For best results, cover the holes of the pipe with tape or paper, fill it with one part solvent, one part salt, and one part empty space, and then SHAKE IT UP in a Ziplock bag for a few minutes.  It helps to let the glassware soak in the solution for at least an hour before shaking. After shaking, scrub the pipe down again with your pipe cleaner to get the last of the residue off, and give it a final rinse with water.

How To Clean a Glass Pipe

How to Clean a Glass Pipe: Alternate Method

There are plenty of products available for cleaning on the go. Generally, these products are more expensive than their DIY counterparts, but they do the job, and they do it quickly. These often come in smaller, travel size offerings and a larger “at home” value bottle. The travel option is great for keeping odors on the down low.

How To Clean a Glass Pipe

How to Clean a Glass Pipe Bonus Tip

Doing a final rinse-down with some sort of purified, distilled water will ensure you avoid water spots, residue from hard tap water and, wash out any leftover cleaner or solvents that could cause harm. A simple rinse, shake, repeat is all it takes to finish the job.

How to Clean a Glass Pipe: The Final Hit

In conclusion, the more often you clean your pipe, the less of a task cleaning it will become. And now that you know how to clean a pipe, you’ve got one less excuse for smoking out of a dirty one.  

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