Everyone knows the beginning of spring is the best time to clean every item you own. And what belonging of yours needs more cleaning than that dependable pipe of yours? So take some time this season to get your pipe as pristine and possible (and maybe even work towards keeping it that way) and see what kind of a difference you’ll see in your upcoming smoking seshes.
What is the best cleaner to use with my glass?
There are plenty of cleaning solutions created specifically for use with your glass pipe. And they all each have their own benefits, too! However, the best cleaner may be right in your kitchen cabinet, or available at your local grocery store for only a few dollars. A mixture of rubbing alcohol and salt can get almost any piece clean no matter how dirty it is, just make sure you do a thorough rinsing afterwards. With certain percolators, you may need to get creative with your “swishing,” so make sure you do your cleaning somewhere where it’s okay if a little dirty water spills and somewhere where your piece won’t shatter. Try wrapping it up in a cloth before you start cleaning. If you find rubbing alcohol isn’t quite strong enough to do the job on an especially dirty pipe, try a mixture of salt and acetone instead.
What is the gunk? Can I smoke the gunk?
The gunk is resin. Resin is the material that is created when pieces of flower and ash get so hot they solidify into a gunky substance. Some people like to collect the gunk and repurpose it for another bowl -- in the 70’s, this was called hot-knifing. Though there’s nothing as satisfying as an extra bowl that you didn’t even know you had, it’s not gonna have the best flavor. We don’t exactly recommend it, but the choice is yours.
What is the best way to clean up concentrate/resin?
Resin is exactly the reason why we recommend adding salt to your mixture. The texture of the salt can help knock the resin free off of your glass, allowing it to spill out the other side of your piece. If you’re cleaning a small piece or especially a flower bowl, a wire or pipe cleaner might make the job a little bit easier. Cleaning concentrate and large deposits of resin may be a little bit trickier. For best results in removing long standing stains, try allowing your mixture to soak in your pipe. To soak small hand pipes, you can fill a ziplock bag with water and clip the baggy somewhere safe. Once the water is dirty with your dissolved resin, you can rinse it out and have it ready for your next big hit -- and it will be a big one!
What cleaning solutions should I avoid?
Cleaning solutions that are thicker in substance should be avoided when cleaning your pipe. One example would be dish soap, which a lot of people attempt to use on their pipes. Thick cleaning agents can be hard to clean out completely, and you may spend a lot of time just trying to rid yourself of a blue pipe overflowing with bubbles. If you don’t get it completely clean, you may end up with a hit that tastes like that cherry blossom tree or New Zealand spring from the label. It should also be said that alcoholic beverages do not act as suitable replacements for rubbing alcohol. When purchasing a cleaning solution in-stores, make sure to check the label for a list of active ingredients. All-organic labeled solutions such as Smoke Soap from 420 Science are better for your pipes, don’t leave any kind of taste behind, and are safer for the environment than solutions that contain more harmful ingredients.
How can I keep other materials (ceramic, titanium, etc.) clean?
If you have a ceramic or titanium nail, the most effective way to clean off residue on the top and bottom of your nail will involve your butane torch. By safely heating your nail with your torch, any stubborn resin will liquify and can easily be swept away with a q-tip. Make sure your nail has cooled completely before touching it with your bare hands, as many nails -- particularly titanium -- can hold heat for a long amount of time.
If your pipe has any wooden elements, try to avoid cleaning with water as the wood could swell. Try to clean those areas with a pipe cleaner only.
Can I put my glass in the dishwasher?
No, please do not put your piece in the dishwasher. High temperatures can cause cracks in your glass and dishwasher jets may not even be able to clean any percolators. The best alternative would be to soak it in alcohol and salt overnight, or with hot water and a cleaning solution like Smoke Soap.
How can I keep my pipe clean in the long term?
You’ve already got a lot to do every day, so sometimes resin just happens! But if you want to keep a clean pipe for better smoking results, a stash that lasts longer, and good old fashioned cleanliness, there are a few things you can do regularly after each smoking session. For one, a simple rub with a pipe cleaner through the punch of your bowl can do wonders to your hits if you don’t have time for a full washing. If you do, try giving your pipe a good swish after each use. Having a solution already mixed and ready to go keeps cleaning from being too big of a pain. An overnight soak is certainly satisfying in the morning too -- just don’t forget to rinse! Lastly, if you are a flower user, however, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your pipe is invest in an ashcatcher. An ashcatcher is a detachable add-on that can connect with your pipe’s joint and catch falling ash while also boosting your filtration.
Smoke Cartel wishes you well in your seasonal cleaning!