When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or consultation.

How to Clean a Pipe: Using Isopropyl and Alcohol

Is your pipe clogged and stained? You should clean your pipe every two days. We’ll show you how to clean a glass pipe in six easy steps.

If you’ve noticed your beloved pipe is gross, clogged, and stained — then it’s time to deep clean it.

We know you don’t want to part from it. But a thorough clean can change your smoking game. It’s safer for you and will taste much better.

Let’s dive into how to clean a glass pipe, whether you use it for marijuana, tobacco, or other herbs.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean your glass pipe regularly to prevent clogs, germs, and bacteria, ensuring a better smoking experience.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol and salt to effectively clean your pipe; soak the pipe for 12 hours, shake, and then wash in hot soapy water.
  • Other cleaning methods include using baking soda and vinegar, bleach, pipe cleaning products, boiling water, or freezing the pipe.
  • Maintain your pipe between cleanings by emptying it after each use, wiping it down, and avoiding harsh cleaners and sunlight exposure.

How Often Should You Clean Your Pipe?

Clean your pipe every day, or every other day, if you use it daily.

If you use it less often, we recommend cleaning it after each day of use, especially if you’re going to be storing it between uses. You don’t want the resin and debris sitting in your pipe for long.

It’s essential to clean your glass pipe frequently to prevent clogging, germs, and bacteria. Keeping the pipe clean also leads to better performance, increases the lifespan of your pipe, and ensures smoke purity. So if you want the best smoking experience, take time to clean your pipe.

How to Clean a Pipe With Isopropyl Alcohol and Salt

Cleaning a pipe with these ingredients is one of the most common and effective ways. It’s easy to access these cleaners, and it’s easy to clean your pipe with them. It works for cleaning a bong, too.

Although this method technically takes 12+ hours, most of that time is spent on soaking the pipe. This method only involves 20 minutes of work from you.

  • Time: 12+ hours (only 20 minutes of work)
  • Difficulty: Easy

What You’ll Need

1. Remove Debris From the Pipe

Hold the pipe upside down over a trash bag and tap it to remove debris. If necessary, use a cotton swab or pipe cleaner to dislodge debris inside the pipe.

2. Place Pipe and Cleaner in the Bag

Sprinkle one teaspoon of salt into the pipe. Then place the pipe in the Ziploc bag. Add enough isopropyl alcohol to submerge the pipe. Give the bag a little shake to combine the cleaners.

The combination of the alcohol and the coarse salt will act as a strong cleaner and abrasive to get rid of stains and resin build-up.

3. Leave to Soak

Leave the pipe in the bag for around 12 hours. This gives the alcohol time to dissolve the resin. If you don’t have 12 hours to spare, you can soak for less time, but we recommend at least three hours. Have a backup pipe so that you can spend 12 hours soaking the pipe.

4. Shake

After the pipe has soaked, shake the bag vigorously for a few minutes to loosen the resin. Make sure you’re very careful to avoid breaking or cracking the pipe.

5. Wash the Pipe

Remove the pipe from the bag. Be careful — you don’t want to get isopropyl alcohol on your hands, so consider wearing gloves.

Wash the pipe in hot soapy water to remove all debris, resin, and cleaning solution. Use a pipe cleaner or cotton swab to get into tight places. Rinse with warm water.

6. Air Dry the Pipe

Lay the pipe upside down on a towel to thoroughly air dry. It might take a few hours. That’s why we really recommend having a backup pipe, especially since you should do this method every 1-2 days.

Alternative Pipe Cleaning Methods

If you can’t get your hands on isopropyl alcohol and kosher salt, there are some other cleaners you can use that might already be within reach.

We’ll explain how to use each of these to clean your weed pipe. Most of these methods can use the same six steps as above but with slight tweaks.

With Baking Soda and Vinegar

Okay, don’t tell your grandma that you’re using her traditional cleaning recipe for your marijuana pipe. But seriously — this method works.

Simply use the above method, but swap the isopropyl alcohol out for vinegar and the salt out for baking soda.

With Bleach

When cleaning a pipe, bleach shouldn’t be your first port of call since it’s corrosive and not good for your lungs. But if you have stubborn stains in your pipe that you can’t remove with other cleaners, bleach will do the trick.

Dilute the bleach according to packaging instructions. Pour it into the Ziploc bag with the pipe and let it soak for an hour. Rinse the pipe out extremely well and wash with hot soapy water. Rinse again!

With Pipe Cleaning Products

You can find products specifically made for cleaning weed pipes. A popular option is the Green Piece Cleaner.

These products usually come with small bristled brushes, too. This helps you get into the nooks and crannies.

How to clean your weed pipe with these products depends on the brand you choose. Always read the packaging instruction for step-by-step methods for cleaning the pipe properly.

By Boiling Your Pipe

Cleaning with boiling water can remove stains and disinfect your pipe. Submerge the pipe in cool water in a stockpot. Put it on the stove and slowly heat the water. Once it’s at a boil, leave it for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it cool.

Once it’s cool enough to touch, use a pipe cleaner or cotton swab to remove any loosened residue.

Safety Warning

When using boiling water, it’s crucial to let the water heat slowly. If you subject the pipe to dramatic temperature changes, it can crack or shatter.

By Freezing Your Pipe

A fun hack to try is popping the pipe in the freezer. The cold temperatures can harden the resin and debris, making it easy for you to remove with a pipe cleaner or needle.

Keep the pipe in the freezer for one hour before removing it. While it’s still cold, dislodge the debris with your chosen object. You need to be fast because the pipe can quickly warm up again, and the frozen resin will thaw.

Tips For Maintaining Your Pipe

Now you know how to clean a glass pipe, and that you should do so frequently. But, how do you care for your pot pipe between cleans? Here are some noteworthy tips.

  • Avoid metal: Cleaning with metallic objects can break or crack your glass pipes.
  • Empty after each use: Empty the marijuana or herbs from the pipe bowl after each use to minimize clogs. Empty out water, too, if your pipe requires water for use.
  • Wipe after each use: Use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe out your pipe bowl after each use. This prevents build-up.
  • Avoid harsh cleaners: When possible, avoid harsh cleaners such as bleach, acetone, window cleaner, and other such chemicals. If you do end up using these for stain removal purposes, make sure that you wash and rinse the pipe out thoroughly.
  • Leave pipe out of the sun: Glass can shatter if it gets too hot. It’s unlikely, but still possible, so don’t leave your pipe lying out in the sunshine.


What is the Fastest Way to Clean a Pipe?

While our method only takes 20 minutes of manual labor, you still need to leave it soaking for a few hours. If you don’t have time for that, how can you quickly clean your pipe so you can get back to using it?

Simply follow the same method but only leave it soaking for five minutes instead of 12 hours! It won’t give it as deep a clean, but it’s better than nothing. Rinse well after soaking.

Can You Smoke the Same Pipe Every Day?

As long as you clean it out well, then yes. You should still aim to let it soak in the cleaning solution for around 12 hours at least every two days. If that interrupts your smoking time, then we recommend having a backup pipe.

How Do You Clean Resin Out of a Rubber Pipe?

Get rid of resin and other debris from your rubber or silicone pipe using this method:

  1. Dismantle: Take the pipe apart and wash the bowl with warm soapy water separately. Let it air dry.
  2. Freeze: Rinse your pipe with warm water before freezing for one hour.
  3. Remove resin: The freezer will have hardened the resin, so you should be able to remove it by gently tapping the pipe against a surface. You might need to use a cotton swab to push it out.

Can I Use Epsom Salt to Clean My Pipe?

You can use epsom salt to clean your pipe. Pour it into the bowl and mouthpiece, put the pipe in a container and pour in white vinegar. Finally, leave it for five minutes before rinsing it clean. Repeat if necessary.

Will Boiling Water Crack a Glass Bong?

To determine whether boiling water will crack a glass bong, you need to check the sturdiness of your bong. If the glass is thin, boiling water may well cause it to crack; however, cooler water will leave behind some bacteria.

Safer Smoking

When you clean your pipe regularly, you’re giving way to safer smoking. Plus, you prevent clogs from within your pipe. We recommend following the deep cleaning method (yes, all 12 hours!) every couple of days, depending on how often you smoke.

If you only have time for a quick clean, you can cut down the soaking time. But this won’t remove all gunk inside your pipe. If you don’t want to take a 12-hour break from time to time, invest in some backup pipes so you can give your other pipes a thorough clean.

Don’t forget, we recommend cleaning with alcohol. But if you want to clean without alcohol, we have some awesome alternatives to try!

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Beth McCallum

About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism, and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!