Ganja Guides

How to Clean a Bong: With and Without Alcohol

mini bong

Cleaning Your Cannabis Supplies

Many cannabis enthusiasts and casual weed smokers alike choose bongs as their preferred way to get high. These pieces are great because they make for a smooth and intense smoking experience, thanks to the filtered water and down stem design. However, as popular as bongs are, they require consistent cleaning to keep the water fresh and prevent clogging from built-up resin. To maintain the smoothest hits and brand-new bong look, you can use the following steps to clean out glass and silicone bongs alike, whether you have some alcohol on hand or not. 

Photo: Unsplash

Best Way to Clean a Bong

If you’re sick of getting your piece clogged, smelly, or stained after several smoking sessions, a fresh cleaning is probably in order! Most bongs are made of glass, so if you’re looking specifically for how to clean a glass bong, this is the best way. For one cup of bong cleaning solution, you’ll need: 

  • 1 cup isopropyl alcohol (70%-91% concentration)
  • 4 tbsp sea salt or Epsom salt 
  • Cloth towels to plug openings, or plastic wrap and rubber bands
  • Bowl or small container (for detachable down stems)
  • Pipe cleaner or Q-tip (for detachable down stems) 

Mix your solution into the bong and plug both ends with towels or cloths. Alternatively, you can cover the openings with plastic wrap, fastened onto the bong with rubber bands.

Next, shake your bong vigorously for about 5 minutes. The salt works as a scrubbing agent to clean the glass, so don’t be hesitant to add more salt for more scrubbing power. Once finished, rinse out thoroughly with water until your bong is sparkly clean. 

If your bong’s down stem is not built into the bong itself, submerge it in a separate bowl filled with more of the alcohol-salt solution and let soak before clearing out with a pipe cleaner or a Q-tip.

cleaning out glass down stem
How to deep clean a bong with a Q-tip (Source: Unsplash)

How to Clean a Bong Without Alcohol 

Although the alcohol and salt method is the most popular way to clean out bongs of all kinds, the supplies are not always close by at home or stocked in the nearest grocery store or pharmacy shelves. Plus, there are other options for keeping your cannabis accessories clean without any isopropyl alcohol or salt! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp baking soda
  • Cloth towels to plug ends, or plastic/rubber bands
  • Bowl or container (for detachable down stems)
  • Pipe cleaner or Q-tip (for detachable down stems)

This is a great and natural way to get your bong looking new again. Simply mix the ingredients together and shake in the same way as described in the previous cleaning method, for about 5 minutes. Rinse with water when finished and admire your clean bong. 

If your down stem is detachable, submerge it in a bowl filled with more of the vinegar solution, and scrub the inside using a pipe cleaner or q-tip. 

man smoking a clean bong
Smoking a bong (Source: Unsplash)

How to Clean a Silicone Bong 

A lot of people use silicone bongs specifically because they can be thrown in the dishwasher and after a little while, the piece is magically rid of gunk. If the bong is really dirty, though, your dishwasher might be covered in specks of weed residue, but there are other great ways to clean a silicone bong by hand. Besides using the isopropyl alcohol method written above, this process of cleaning a bong involves only a few items:

  • 1 large pump dish soap
  • 1-2 cups hot water
  • Long kitchen brush or sponge (optional)

First, Soak the inside of your silicone bong in hot water. Then, add in a large squirt of dish soap such as Dawn or Dial, and follow by scrubbing with a dish brush, sponge, or several vigorous shakes. It’s quick, easy, and great for those who don’t use the dishwasher for silicone cleaning.

Get That Deep Clean! 

You are now equipped with a variety of ways to clean any bong that crosses your path! Luckily, bongs are really easy to clean if you continue to change out the water and clean your bong after every few smoking sessions. The longer you leave your bong to accumulate residue and grime, the harder it will be to get your piece looking sparkly and spotless. So be consistent with your cleaning, and your lungs and mouth will thank you in return. Ultimately, with these cleaning steps incorporated into your flower smoking routine, bong hits will always be super smooth and your beautifully kept bong will surely impress others.


About Olivia

Olivia, our Oakland-based cannabis guides writer, graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She's an independent writer, cannabis enthusiast and Sales Lead at her local dispensary. She's also a recent grad, history buff, and has a passion for animals. You can reach her at [email protected].