One of the main benefits of a bong is that it filters out a lot of the dirty stuff that you don’t want in your lungs. But if you neglect cleaning your bong, this defeats the point.
If you aren’t sure how to clean a bong, you’re not alone. That’s where we come in. We’ll show you an eight-step method that will have your bong sparkling clean and safer to use.
Whether you’re cleaning a glass, latex, acrylic, silicone bong, or a bong with a percolator, we’ve got tips and methods for you.
Cleaning Your Glass Bong
Remove the bong’s accessories. Place them in a Ziploc bag with 91% isopropyl alcohol and Epsom salt. Let them soak for 10 minutes. Fill the bong’s chamber with isopropyl alcohol and Epsom salt. Cover the holes and shake for a few minutes. Let it sit for 10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing the bong. Wipe the exterior with soapy water.
How Often to Clean a Bong
It depends on how often you use it. We recommend cleaning it 2-3 times a week if you use it every day. If you use it less frequently, aim to clean it after every three uses.
You should also clean your bong right away when you notice resin build-up, stains, dirt, or debris. If the water isn’t clear, if the bong smells bad or if there are dark marks on the percolator, it’s time to give your bong a good clean.
The bottom line is if it doesn’t look visibly clean, then it’s time to follow our cleaning hacks.
How to Clean a Glass Bong
Most bongs are made of glass, so we’ll start with that homemade cleaning method. The best way to clean glass bongs is with a strong alcoholic cleaner — such as isopropyl alcohol or acetone.
This is great at removing stains and disinfecting the bong. This method will be without rubbing alcohol, so if you had that ready to use, we recommend against it as it won’t be strong enough.
We recommend isopropyl alcohol over acetone if you have the choice. Acetone will make your next hit taste very bad, so you will need to rinse the bong out extremely well. This will add more time to your cleaning session.
- Time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty: Easy
What You’ll Need
- 91% isopropyl alcohol or acetone
- Epsom salt (if using acetone, skip this)
- 3-4 rubber bands
- Saran wrap
- Sink or basin
- Ziploc bags
- Two microfiber cloths
- Dish soap
- Gloves (optional)
1. Take the Bong Apart
Remove the mouthpiece, bowl, and accessories of your bong. Put these into separate Ziploc bags (we’ll clean them later). Before moving on to the next step, dump out any dirty water and rinse the bong with fresh water.
2. Fill Bong With Cleaners
Time to fill the bong with your alcohol and salt, or acetone. Fill the chamber with your cleaning solution, leaving a little space at the top. Add three tablespoons of Epsom salt (skip if using acetone).
The isopropyl alcohol or acetone will remove the sticky resin and sanitize the bong, while the salt is a coarse abrasive that will help remove debris.
If you have a bong with a percolator, you might have to put the solution directly through the downstem hole to get it into the bottom of the bong.
3. Cover Holes
Place Salan wrap (AKA cling film) over the top of the bong and seal with rubber bands. If you can cover the other hole with the same items, do so. If not, you can simply cover those with your hands, but make sure you use gloves if this is the case!
4. Shake and Sit
With the holes covered, shake your bong vigorously for a few minutes to mix the salt and alcohol well. This will start to remove resin, debris, and dirt.
The water will begin to look very filthy. You might be pretty grossed out!
After shaking the bong for a few minutes, let the cleaning solution sit in the bong for 10 minutes.
5. Clean the Accessories
Remember those accessories you put in a Ziploc bag? Time to add ½ cup of isopropyl alcohol or acetone to each bag. If using alcohol, also add one tablespoon of Epsom salt.
Zip the bags up and shake them well for two minutes before leaving them to soak for 10 minutes.
6. Rinse the Bong
Discard the dirty water and cleaning solution. Soak the bong in clean water in your sink or basin, rinsing it well. Do the same with the accessories.
7. Clean the Bong’s Exterior
Dampen a cloth with water and a bit of dish soap. Wipe down the exterior of the bong. Dry well with a separate cloth.
8. Reassemble the Bong
Put the pieces back together and let your bong air dry. Job done!
Other Ways to Clean a Bong
The above method is super effective and fairly easy, but there are some alternative options to consider. You can certainly clean your bong with household options you already have nearby.
With Boiling Water
This isn’t our favorite method because the drastic temperature change can break a bong. However, if you want to go ahead with this method, here’s the technique:
- Put bong in a pot: Remove the accessories and place the bong inside a stockpot. Make sure to put a canning rack underneath the bong to avoid direct contact with the pot. Otherwise, the bong could become scratched or broken.
- Cover with water: Cover the bong with cool water, filling it directly into the stockpot. Make sure the water gets into the chamber.
- Turn the heat on: Turn the burner onto a low heat. This gradual shift in temperature should prevent the bong from cracking. Bring the water to a simmer and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Remove the bong: Take the bong out of the water and set it aside to cool off.
- Rinse: Once the bong has cooled down completely, rinse it with warm water.
With Baking Soda and Vinegar
If you want a more eco-friendly DIY bong cleaner, this is a good alternative to isopropyl alcohol or acetone. It’s not as good at removing stains and disinfecting, but it’s a great option for regular cleaning.
To use this method, you can follow the same eight steps from above. However, instead of alcohol, you will add ½ cup of baking soda to the chamber, followed by enough distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar to fill most of the chamber. Don’t panic about the fizzing! That’s a good sign. It will calm down after a few seconds.
Instead of using alcohol and salt, use warm water, a few drops of dish soap, and ¼ cup of rice. Make sure to shake it really well.
The rice acts as an abrasive to remove resin, sticky build-up, and debris.
How to Clean Different Types of Bongs
Now you know how to clean a glass bong, but what if you have a latex, acrylic, or silicone bong?
Follow these specific cleaning instructions for these materials. You should only use the eight-step method from above for cleaning glass bongs. Otherwise, you could cause damage!
Latex or Acrylic Bongs
When cleaning latex or acrylic bongs, you want to avoid cleaning solutions altogether. Alcohol, dish soap, and other materials can damage your bong.
Instead, only use hot water inside the bong. Fill up the chamber with water and clean it with a large straw brush. Rinse the chamber out until the water runs clear.
Silicone bongs are nice and easy to clean, but you simply need to avoid abrasive cleaners. So no salt, baking soda, or rice.
Instead, you can pop it in the dishwasher! This saves you time and will encourage you to clean it more often since it’s so easy. Take the bong apart and run it through the dishwasher. Just make sure to clean any glass parts separately with soap and water.
If you don’t have access to a dishwasher, you can clean your silicone bong with soap and water, just like you would clean normal dishes. We still recommend using a large straw brush to get into the chamber and scrub away dirt and debris.
Rinse the bong well and let it air dry.
Removing Stains From Bong
If you haven’t cleaned your bong in a while, it can become stained. This is usually caused by hard water as the calcium and minerals in the water can leave unsightly deposits.
If the eight-step cleaning method doesn’t remove stains, you can use a different method to tackle them.
- Dismantle the bong: Remove the mouthpiece, bowl, and other accessories. Place them in Ziploc bags with isopropyl alcohol and salt. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
- Soak the bong: Soak the bong in a basin with warm water and a squirt of dish soap for two hours.
- Clean accessories: After the accessories have soaked for 10 minutes, remove them and (while wearing gloves) scrub them with a cotton swab or pipe cleaner to remove the stains. The alcohol should have loosened the stains, making this cleaning hack easier.
- Lemon juice: After the bong has soaked for a couple of hours, stains should be loosened and ready to remove. Empty the bong and fill it back up with lemon juice and warm water. Swish it around for a few minutes. This will remove hard water stains that the soaking process might have caused.
- Rinse: Rinse the bong and all the accessories with cool water. Your stains should be gone, and your bong is hopefully sparkling clean!
Tips For Keeping a Bong Clean
When you want to use your bong, the last thing you need is to be stalled by a 30-minute cleaning process. Maintenance is key to having a chilled, low-key relationship with your bong. Plus, it keeps it hygienic, which is of utmost importance, especially if you’ll be sharing the bong.
Here are some valuable tips for properly keeping bongs clean:
- Use filtered water: If you live in a hard water area, expect to see some mineral deposits in your bong. To prevent this, use filtered water instead. You can also use filtered water when cleaning your bong. This will prevent more hard water stains from occurring.
- Don’t let water sit: Discard the dirty water in your bong after each session. Water will easily leave stains and residue behind if it sits in the bong. If you have the time — and remember — rinse the bong after each use, too.
- No sunlight: Don’t let the bong sit in sunlight for long periods. This can actually lead to more bacteria and even algae in the water.
- Change water daily: As mentioned, don’t let the water sit. But if you are using the bong continuously, at least change the water daily. If the water sits in the bong for too long, mold can form, which is unsightly and very unhealthy for your lungs.
- Storage: This isn’t so much a cleaning tip, but it’s still important. When you’re not using your bong, it’s important to keep it in a case or bag, especially if the bong is made of glass. This prevents breakage.