There are days when cleaning feels as it should, therapeutic, subtle tranquility that can’t be achieved with any other task. You’ll likely keep chasing that feeling once you get going, but it’s the going that is the most difficult part. However, there shouldn’t be any hesitation when cleaning your smoking or dabbing pieces, whether they’re electronic or not. Everyone who has a history with THC has smoked out of something they shouldn’t have; a soda can, an apple, a milk carton, or a custom-made piece from a Barton’s Vodka bottle. These are a few of my poor choices but listen; I never ate the apple after smoking in it. That’s a degree of the savage that’s no longer obtainable in my life for adult reasons, but I get it to those who do so. You don’t want to waste it, especially if it’s a Fuji apple or a SnapDragon. That’s smoking out of gold, and 2 Chainz has already occupied that lane.
Please look at your piece, bowl, pipe, whatever the new hip term is for a smoking device; think about what it looked like when you first saw it. Not in slow motion; this isn’t supposed to be gut-wrenching like Blue Valentine, where time, love, and beauty fade in a relationship. Consider it to be a renewal of vows.
Ask yourself, “should I be smoking out of that?”
Don’t get caught up in the uncertainty, though; this isn’t a French café where Jean-Paul Sartre is looking at you with one eye and the other looking at an hourglass. If you’re unsure if it’s clean, that’s an issue. If your piece hasn’t been cleaned in a week, it’s time to hit it with the toothbrush. Don’t use a toothbrush. Some people clean their pieces every day, and I salute them. That’s more time than I am willing to give up. I tend to clean mine at least once a week, at times, more. I’ve heard that if you’re an adult, that’s the only acceptable answer.
So, where to begin with cleaning our pieces or devices? You have options, but it’s also great to know what kind of piece you are looking to get clean. Let’s start with glass because it’s the most popular. The options are available, but there are better choices than others. You can use any dish soap and warm water—it’s like washing the dishes you smoke out of. That’s the general cleaning formula for almost anything, though, and it won’t get you the results you may want if it’s a larger piece. It would be fine for a one-hitter or a bowl, but if we start getting into bubbler territory, that’s not enough.
Isopropyl alcohol is the head honcho when it comes to cleaning gear. If you mix it with salt or even baking soda, you will see how your piece kind of looked when you purchased it. Let’s use a bong, for example. First, rinse your pieces with hot water—but not too hot. We must remember that heat and glass don’t tango together after the cooling process; they can only tolerate each other for so long. It’s like your standard American family. After hitting it with the water, fill up the bubbler with a pinch of salt. I find that coarse salt seems to be more effective, but salt is salt unless you’re in the culinary world. This is the cannabis territory, though. If you don’t have any salt, baking soda works as well. Add the isopropyl alcohol just enough so it doesn’t spill out of the carb. Now take the piece, cover any openings or carbs, get a good grasp on it and then shake the piece vigorously. Do this for a minute or two, then let the piece sit for twelve to twenty-four hours. It can be clean in less than twelve hours, of course. It depends on how long you’ve neglected to clean it, but it’s fine. Only you and some of your friends know how dirty the community bong is.
Trust me, I know it sounds like a long time, which is a con, but getting it as clean as possible takes time. After the time has passed, rinse out the piece with hot water. Then, hit it with more isopropyl and salt one last time. Shake it again, and then clear out anything with more hot water. Q-tips always come in handy when handling your piece and isopropyl to get to the stem. This isn’t the most practical way to get it entirely clean, but their use does make a difference. I’ve heard of others using different instruments to detail their pieces, some I agree with, and others—not so much because you’re going to damage the glass. Be sure always to ensure that there is no isopropyl left in the piece, especially if you’re in a hurry to get down to the smoking business. There’s nothing like having a super flammable liquid ignite inside of a bubbler. I have never witnessed it, nor do I want to imagine it, but I am doing exactly that here. However, there is a safer and better way of handling deep cleanings.
For any bubbler or dab rig, Grunge Off or Grunge “Away” is a heaven-sent product introduced to me by ATLRx’s District Manager, Griffin. It is the only way that I can get the entire down stem and base clean in a bubbler or dab rig, and it’s as simple as putting the grunge off inside the piece than having patience. He showed me how it works its magic, and it is an essential product to have; its price seems intimidating. But get this, it’s reusable—so you can use it until it is no longer working, then replace it. That’s right; you dump it in the piece and then pour it back into the bottle for next time. How long that would depend on the frequency and time, you’re using it, but you’re more than likely to get at least three months of this product. Of course, following the use of this product, be sure to rinse your glass with hot water to get rid of any residue from the Grunge Off. Be careful with handling the grunge off because it can be difficult to clean up; I had to learn that the hard way. As mentioned before, isopropyl works for both of these. isopropyl is fantastic for electronic rigs. I use it on my Lookah, and its provided cleaning brush makes it a five-minute process and keeps me a little safer. Do not, by any means, use water on your electric dab rig. Water and electronics don’t mesh in this case.
We must remember that we clean our pieces and devices out of love and appreciation for ourselves.
- One-hitter: Isopropyl Alcohol, Water
- Bowl: Isopropyl Alcohol, Water
- Bubbler: Isopropyl Alcohol, Salt, Baking Soda, Water
- Bong: Isopropyl Alcohol, Salt, Baking Soda, Water
- Dab Rig: Isopropyl Alcohol, Salt, Baking Soda, Water
- Electronic Dab Rig: Isopropyl Alcohol, Q-tip