The Weed Issue
There are a few things that are likely to immediately put off new guests in your home: artwork from IKEA, an unread copy of Infinite Jest, a filthy bong.
Okay, maybe those are personal examples, but I’m absolutely sticking by the dirty bong statement. Like it or not, your bong is filthy. People have put their grubby mouths and hands all over it! The charred, dead remains of bowls and dabs past linger on what’s supposed to be beautiful, clear glass! The flavor of every bowl you smoke is masked by the mélange of filth; the scent of bongwater overpowers everything else!
There’s also the fabulous realization that mold and bacteria collect on cannabis resin over time. Just think about that next time you’re taking a hit. So, now that you’re thoroughly disgusted, let’s clean that glass!
There are a variety of ways to revitalize and maintain a shiny, fresh piece that you can be proud to call your own. Depending on the severity of the muck, there are a few things you can do to handle the situation. Let’s start at the most disgusting level.
To start: Set up your cleaning station with the proper tools. Fortunately, you can find most of these—if not all—stashed away in your house somewhere.
• Paper towels
• Cotton swabs
• Isopropyl alcohol
• Large grain salt (I prefer kosher salt)
• Snack or sandwich-sized ziptop bags (one or two depending on if you care to double-bag for preventative measures.)
• White vinegar
Pull the bowl and slide it out of the bong. Toss ’em in one of the sandwich bags with enough rubbing alcohol in it to soak both pieces, and then set aside.
Dump out that filthy water, then toss in about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol into your bong, depending on the size, and add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of salt. Cover the openings with your hands or towels, and shake vigorously. The alcohol will break down the resin while the salt acts as a natural abrasive to scrape scum off of the sides. When the glass looks sufficiently cleaned, ditch the slurry and rinse with warm water. Repeat as needed.
Occasionally salt buildup can develop on glass. The best way to combat that is to wipe the glass down with white vinegar. Rinse it out with cold water afterwards!
And now: the slide and bowl. Due to their size and close contact with the reefer, these pieces generally collect more gunk than the bong, so it’s helpful that you’ve been letting them soak in the alcohol beforehand to make the job easier.
Separate the bowl and slide if they’re two separate pieces—that way you’re not risking breakage during the next step. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the bag, seal it up (tightly—maybe even double-bag it if you’re a neurotic mess like I am), and shake it up! When it looks cleaner, take it out, rinse well, and dry off. Repeat as needed for any other glass such as ash catchers, filters, and so on.
If you’re cleaning a dabbing rig, it’ll need more shaking than usual for all the parts but, I mean, it’s concentrate, so naturally it’ll take more effort to clean off. Make a note of wiping down the outside of the bong near the nail, as that oil tends to spatter everywhere.
Take this time to do additional mild maintenance. Should your setup have carbon filters, replace the charcoal, as that stuff loses its effectiveness over time.
Alternatively, if your glass isn’t completely coated in muck, it can be fun to clean pieces with denture tablets. Grab some (unflavored!) denture tablets, toss ’em in a clear jar with hot water, dunk your glass, and just watch filth float off. Satisfying, entertaining, and essentially effort-free. Whatever remains simply needs a wipe with a paper towel or cotton swab and it’s fresh as hell.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, there’s always the grade-school science fair standby of mixing baking soda and white vinegar. Ditch the brown water, plug up the hole in the slide (feel free to leave it in) and turn that glassware into a volcano. Probably in a sink or a tub to prevent a huge mess, but I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.
Enjoy your gloriously fresh, just-like-new glass, and treat yourself to a gram of something you haven’t tried before! You’ll be able to taste the nuanced flavors of a fresh strain while essentially rewarding yourself for maintaining your goods. Remember, the more often you clean it, the less often you’ll need to really hammer away at refreshing it.