Ganja Guides, Weed Culture

How to Get Broken Downstem Out of Bong

blue colored downstem

The worst part about breaking a downstem is trying to remove it safely without causing damage to your bong. Even so, there’s a way out of this undesirable conundrum. Whether you’re removing a completely broken piece or it’s shattered into smaller bits, knowing how to get a broken downstem out of bong remnants is helpful knowledge for any stoner. Here’s what to do to save your bong.

Photo: Stoners Rotation

Downstem Broke in Bong? 

A downstem is the glass tube that goes into the base of your bong. With the bowl slide on top of the stem, the downstem brings weed smoke down into the bong water for that smooth, filtered rip that stoners love. However, there are several reasons why this might break or get stuck. If your bong is dirty and filled with resin, the downstem clogs very easily and will probably break when you try to pull it out too hard. Thus, it’s always better to keep all the pieces of your bong clean to prevent unnecessary breakages and clogging. 

How to Get a Broken Downstem out of your Bong

Now that you’ve encountered this issue, the first thing you’ll want to do is be patient! Rushing or forcibly pulling often results in even more shattered glass pieces inside your bong. Instead, try these methods below depending on how your downstem broke and whether or not you want to fix it up again. Being patient and trying several methods will help save your bong in the long run. 

Loosen Downstem With Household Items

Removing a downstem from your bong isn’t the easiest feat, but luckily you can use several household items at your disposal to fix this sticky situation. 

Wire Hanger 

If your tube of glass is still intact and hasn’t broken into many pieces, a hanger will usually do the trick. Simply untwist a wire hanger so that it becomes one long strip, but leave a small bend that hooks upward at one end of the wire. Place the wire into the downstem and hook the pronged part of the wire onto the bottom of the downstem. Wiggle from several different angles until you find a sweet spot that will loosen the glass. If it’s still stuck, apply dish soap all over the downstem while using the hanger.  For a visualization of this easy technique, check out this helpful video below!

Watch this clip for step by step instructions on removing your downstem with a wire hanger!

Rubbing Alcohol

This is the best option to use when you’re dealing with several broken glass pieces inside the downstem. Using hangers or metal can simply make glass pieces break further, especially if you’re pressing a tool like metal on an already delicate glass surface. By soaking the bong in 90% isopropyl alcohol, the resin that may be preventing the loosening of your downstem will loosen after a few minutes. Delicately rinse out the bong and watch the stuck pieces pour out. Just make sure to put a towel or bin under you so the glass is safely collected!

Hot Water 

Oftentimes, placing your bong under running hot water can loosen up both the resin and the downstem within your bong. Once the water is hot, place your bong under it and move it around so the hot water gets all around the downstem. Soon, the downstem should be loose enough to remove from the bong. If not, this process will still help to make other methods easier to execute. 

Glue and Wooden Stick

If all of these methods are still not working and you feel like you need some more force, all you need is some super glue and a wooden spoon, stick, or dowel. Clear the downstem of its residue and place a glob of glue on the stick or dowel. Then, press the wooden stick against the middle of the downstem for a few seconds until the glue is firmly sealed to both the downstem and the wooden tool. Pull with some force, trying several different angles until the glass tube comes out. 

What Not to Use When Removing Downstem 

A few techniques should always be avoided when trying to take out your downstem. These include using metal pliers or similar tools and  hovering the bong over a flame or stove.  Both of these processes actually make the downstem retrieval much harder, and vastly increases the chance of the glass shattering further. 

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Broken Downstem No More!

With a little bit of trial and error, soon you’ll know exactly how to get any broken downstem out of a bong. In short, larger broken pieces are easier to remove with a priable tool or other loosening methods. On the other hand, cleaning out multiple broken pieces is easiest when using running water or isopropyl alcohol. Now that the downstem which broke in your bong is removed, check out these downstems for the perfect replacement.


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].