How to Clean a Chillum

With a tiny bit of know-how after reading this article, you can be sure your chillum is clean for each smoke session!

Posted by Carlyn Atkinson on

A chillum, or what many people know as a one-hitter pipe, is probably the simplest smoking device around. A chillum is just a straight tube where your herb is packed into one end and you inhale the smoke from the mouthpiece at the other end.

And all you need for an excellent smoking sesh is your chillum. To get the job done, you don’t need any other fancy smoking accessories, which is perfect for all the minimalist smokers out there. But then, simplicity is a blessing and a curse.

If you’ve smoked from a dirty chillum, you know how awful the taste can get if your chillum isn’t maintained. But luckily for you, chillums are just about as easy to clean as they are to smoke from. So, with a tiny bit of know-how after reading this article, you can be sure your chillum is clean for each smoke session.


What is a Chillum For THC and CBD?

As far as designs go, there’s not much simpler than a chillum. As we said above, all it is is a short, straight tube made into a pipe. The tube has an end-to-end tunnel so the air flows straight through, from one end to the other.

But there are a couple of things that make chillums different than other weed pipes. For one, traditional pipes that you’ll find at your headshop will have a bowl perpendicular to the pipe’s stem. You hold the bowl, the flower sits “on top,” and you suck the flame into it.

But with a chillum, the bowl is the conical end of the tube. It’s kind of like a glass cigarette packed with your herb at the tip. The opening where you pack your flower is big with a high-diameter opening. This singular design trips up newcomers, especially if they’re only ever seen regular pipes.


Your Chillum Needs Daily Maintenance

The best thing you can do for your chillum no matter what it’s made of is give it a small daily cleaning. When you’re done using it, just grab a Q-Tip or pipe cleaner and run it the length of the chillum to wipe away resin, tar, and moisture buildup.

A chillum is a simple straight tube so it’ll be easy to get a pipe cleaner through it. It’ll be much easier than cleaning your bong or water pipe full of percolators and tricky corners. Just always have some pipe cleaners on hand and work them through your chillum when you’re done smoking

This will prevent nasty buildup and might even keep your chillum clean enough to avoid the more heavy-duty cleaning methods we’ll discuss in just a second.


What You’ll Need To Clean Your Chillum

Before deep cleaning your chillum, you’ll need to grab a few things to prepare.

No matter what type of chillum you have, the list below is all you should need to restore your chillum. Depending on your cleaning method and the material your chillum is made of, you might not need all of these.

  1. Paper towels

  2. Ziploc bag

  3. Warm water

  4. Isopropyl alcohol

  5. Sea salt or Kosher salt

  6. Rubbing alcohol

  7. Q-tips

  8. Pipe cleaners


Cleaning A Glass Chillum

Glass is an extremely reliable material used to make various pipes and smoking devices, including chillums. Glass is ideal for pipes because of its heat resistance and doesn’t add flavor or alter the taste of cannabis while it burns.

Glass also doesn’t build up as much resin and combustion residues as other materials. And unless it’s painted or darkly coloured, it is translucent so it’s easier to spot the dirt and easier to clean. But glass can be fragile, especially if it’s on the cheap end, so be careful when you clean glass.

Some people recommend using boiling water to clean glass pipes. We don’t really recommend it though, because exposure to heat could weaken the glass, making it more brittle and prone to break, maybe even while you’re smoking.

You also need to be careful if you use solvents because their remnants tend to stay longer on surfaces, and most are highly toxic, which is obviously dangerous while smoking. We recommend 91% rubbing alcohol because it is a lighter substance than most solvents and evaporates quickly.

The following steps should work for cleaning any type of chillum pipe, glass or not. So without further ado, here’s what you need to do.


  • Put your chillum pipe inside a plastic bag and fill it with enough rubbing alcohol to cover your pipe.

  • Add some kosher or sea salt to the bag, close it, and shake.

  • When you’re done shaking, take the chillum out of the bag, and rub it with salt. Leave some salt grains before putting the chillum back inside the ziploc bag.

  • Shake again for another for a minute or two.

  • Grab chillum and rinse the loose dirt off with hot water.

  • Remove any remaining dirt or resin with a pipe cleaner or Q-tips and rinse again with hot water


Let it dry and your glass chillum pipe should be as clean and clear as new. But if there is any dirt left, you can soak the chillum into alcohol again or repeat the whole process until you feel satisfied with the results.


Cleaning A Ceramic Chillum

Ceramic pipes are actually much more common than most people realize. Currently, you can find a considerable number of ceramic pipe options to choose from on our store, including chillums. Ceramic is extremely durable and heat resistant, and chillum pipes made of ceramic just look cool. Some we don’t even want to smoke from because they look like genuine pieces of art. 

But unlike glass, ceramic isn’t translucent so it’s not as easy to clean. To clean your ceramic chillum, use a toothpick to remove or loosen the dirt stuck inside the bowl. Then just follow the same steps mentioned to clean a glass chillum above and you’ll have a shiny ceramic chillum.


Cleaning A Clay Chillum

Clay chillum pipes are the oldest pipes on record. India’s Sadhus used clay to make their ceremonial pipes because it was abundant in the fields, forests, and river banks. Clay is highly malleable so you can shape it to your desires. When it’s baked, clay is resistant to heat and shock. But clay is porous, so it can accumulate more dirt than glass chillums. 

But using the same cleaning process you’d use for a glass chillum, your clay chillum should come completely clean and be ready to be used again. 

But when you clean your clay chillum pipe, make sure you don’t keep it in water too long. If it doesn’t have a protective layer of lacquer, its porous nature makes the clay retain moisture, so it could compromise the chillum’s structural integrity.


Cleaning A Marble Chillum

Marble isn’t very common, but a marble chillum can last a lifetime as long as you take care of it. Marble is usually harder to work with because it’s solid rock, but the stone’s hardness gives it durability and a beautiful and unique final result.

As with all the other chillum materials, use the same method of alcohol and kosher salt inside a zip bag to clean your marble chillum. 


Cleaning A Wooden Chillum

There’s nothing quite like smoking from a wooden pipe. And if you take care of your wood chillum pipe, it can last for decades. Cleaning your wood chillum is a little different than the process for glass or ceramic. You can apply the alcohol and salt method to give your wooden chillum pipe a deeper cleaning, but you’ll really only need the alcohol and salt when the dirt has really built up.

You really want to be sure you clean your wooden chillum regularly after each use. This helps to avoid the accumulation of dirt and the growth of bacteria in your pipe. If your wooden chillum does get clogged, blocked, or is starting to get a funky taste, start by reaming the “cake.” The cake is the burnt black layer of charcoal that protects the wood from high temperatures.

But this carbon layer can thicken with time and regular use and can lead to the accumulation of bad tastes and odors and lead to a pretty unpleasant smoking experience.

Use a toothpick to gently scrape the channel that connects the bowl of your wooden chillum with the other end of the pipe. Now grab your pipe cleaner, dip it into alcohol, and clean the rest of your chillum. That’s it, now you should be ready to smoke again.


Smoke Clean Out There

Cleaning and maintaining your chillum is vital. Just a bit of TLC will keep your favorite smoking piece from becoming a dirty, disgusting, un-smokeable mess. But if you spend just a minute or two after you smoke keeping things clean and sparkling, your favorite chillum can last for years to come.

Take the time to clean and maintain your chillum! Your smoke sessions will thank you.

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