Canna-Basics: Piece Maintenance

By Morgan Stabile

There’s nothing worse than packing a nice big bowl only to realize your piece is clogged. If smoking cannabis is your consumption method of choice, you probably have collected more than a few glass pieces. From bowls, to bongs, and even glass blunts it’s important to clean your pieces for optimal taste and experience. Not to mention smoking out of dirty glass may affect your health.

Don’t fret! We’ve outlined everything you need to know to keep your favorite glass accessory smoke sesh ready.

How often should you clean your glass:

How often you clean your piece depends on two things: The type of glass piece and how often you use it.

Bowls, Glass Tips, and Blunts:

If you are an everyday cannabis consumer we suggest cleaning your bowl/glass blunt once a week to reduce the chance of heavy build up. If once a week doesn’t work with
your schedule, two weeks is the maximum amount of time you should go without cleaning – especially if you use the piece multiple times a day.

If you are a casual consumer, using every three days or even just once a week you can get away with cleaning your piece once a month.

Bongs and Water pipes:

Unlike other glass accessories, bongs and water pipes require more fequint cleaning. If you are a heavy consumer (using cannabis everyday), your bong or bubbler water will slowly fill with resin and plant materials that manage to squeeze through the bowl screen. You should really be swapping out old water for new water with each use and at the minimum cleaning the pieces every one to two days. Frequent cleaning can reduce not only rez build up but also biofilm and other water loving bacteria.

For the more casual consumer; those who only take a hit or two every few days it’s still important to change your water after every use. You might not be able to see it but if you don’t change your water by the time you return to your piece the water will hold more than just plant matter. It could have contaminants like dust which can harbor bacteria, mold, biofilm and other things that you might not want to inhale.

Importance of Cleaning Water Pieces:

Why is it so important to not leave uncleaned standing water in your piece?

Over time, sometimes as soon as 24 hours, your water pipe will develop a slimy Biofilm. Biofilm is made up of microorganisms, mold and bacteria and is 100% NOT something you want to be inhaling. Not only will it adversely affect the taste of your flower but it could potentially lead to lung infections or colds.

What cleaning solutions should you use:

If you google “Glass pipe cleaner,” you’ll find plenty of 420 friendly solutions on the market. While it’s nice to use cleaning solutions created with stoners in mind; you probably already have the ingredients for an effective cleaning solution laying around the house. Here are some of our staff’s recommended cleaning solutions.

Rubbing Alcohol and Coarse Salt:

Overwhelming the fan favorite. Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol mixed with a bit of salt does an amazing job of breaking down unwanted build up. We suggest using some no less than 70% alcohol when making this at home cleaning solution.

If you’re weary about using isopropyl alcohol or just can’t seem to find any, vinegar and baking soda (or salt) can work just as well! Just remember when using either of these methods: pour the salt or baking soda into the glass before submerging in the cleaning liquid.

Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets:

Coffee machine cleaning tablets like, Cafiza work wonders to remove dirt and grime why not rez? Espresso machine tablets are relatively inexpensive and food safe. There are a great option for those that don’t want to use isopropyl alcohol or other chemical based cleaner. Order them here.

Mile High Cleaner:

Perfect for the eco conscious cannabis consumer. Using 100 % organic ingredients and the power of science Mile High Cleaner neutralizes and prevents resin build-up to easily clean up any sticky mess. Made from oils, nuts, and fruits, it’s safe for you, your glass, and the environment. Learn more about Mile High here.

How to Clean your piece:

What you will need:
●Cleaning solution of choice
●Plastic baggie or container
●warm/hot water
●Dish soap
●Towel
●(optional) cotton swabs or pipe cleaners

Step one: Soak piece for 5-10 minutes in warm water to loosen up residue. (rising in warm water is also fine if you don’t wish to soak.)

Step Two: For smaller pieces (ex:bowls, joint tips and glass blunts) add the cleaning solution of your choice to a plastic baggie or container with your piece. For Larger pieces (ex:water pipes and bongs) add the cleaning solution directly into the water well of the piece. Soak for a minimum of 30 minutes to one hour. If you have the time, soak for longer but no more than 12 hours.

Step Three: For small pieces, gently shake your piece to help scrub away stuck on residue. Skip this step if using a plastic container. For Larger pieces: plug the mouthpiece, bowl/slide, or carb with your hands or a towel and then gently shake.

Step Four: Remove cleaning solution from you piece, and then clean warm water and dish soap

Step Five: use pip cleaner or cotton swab to remove any suck on residue and rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Step Six: Leave your piece out to dry completely. Once dry you can store it or use right away with your favorite flower.

Is there a wrong way to clean your piece?

Short answer: Yes!

Long answer: You want to be careful when selecting the materials used to clean your pieces. You don’t want to use something that might damage your piece or more importantly your lungs. The following is lists of don’ts for whenever you get around to cleaning your glass.

Don’t use Acetone-based nail polish remover, Bleach, or window/glass cleaner. Harsh chemical astringents or cleaners could leave a film inside the pipe that could be dangerous to inhale or break down your pipe.

Don’t pour boiling water into your piece. Not all glass is created equal. While your glass should be heat resistant, the sudden temperature changes from room temperature to boiling by causing cracks. Warm Tap water is fine if you want to loosen up residue before cleaning.

Don’t skip the rinsing step. I know you’re itching to smoke out of your freshly cleaned piece, but this is not the step to skip. No matter what kind of cleaner you use thoroughly rinsing your piece after helps to insure all the cleaner is out of your piece.

Happy Cleaning!