Glass Cleaning 101: How to Clean Your Glass Gear?

As cannabis consumption continues to soar, many users are taking to glass gear for a solid hit. Once you have brought your bubbling glass bubbler or stylish glass pipe it is important to remember that regular maintenance is a must.

Weed tastes much better when smoked from a clean or unused glass and that means your bongs and pipes need to be free from resins and other build-ups when not in use and before your next smoking session. Before we get into some easy ways to clean your glass smoking gear let’s take a look at…

Blunts and Flavored Papers

Back in the 1980s, when you wanted to smoke weed, it was always via joints, bongs, or other homemade water-based smoking devices, pipes, and contraptions. There weren’t many brands of rolling papers at the time, and there were no blunts or flavored papers whatsoever. We managed to get by, but in the rapidly changing commercial cannabis market of today, the choice of blunts and flavored papers is simply astounding.

Why Regular Glass Cleaning is a Must

Here are some major reasons why keeping your glass pipe and favorite bong clean is essential. The first 2 factors relate to all types of glassware, and the remaining 2 are specific to bongs.

  • It’s hygienic: Every kitchen item you use to cook with or drink/eat out of is generally cleaned after use. Treat your glassware in a similar fashion. Heavy smokers should do this more often (every day or two) than lighter smokers (once a week).


  • Retaining flavor: Keeping your glass clean will help preserve the flavor of your chosen bud. Smoking through a dirty pipe will see resin and residue to build up inside the glass the more often it is used and left dirty. This will eventually affect the taste and you will not benefit from the full characteristics of the terpenes contained in the strain that you are smoking.


  • Avoiding potentially harmful effects: A dirty bong will form a nasty biofilm that contains a variety of different bacteria, fungi, yeast, and even harmful pathogens. This can cause the user health problems. Additionally, leaving old water in the bong is never recommended. If left then it will encourage E.coli to thrive. Again, not good for your health.


  • Keeping your glass bong in tip-top condition: Leaving dirty/old water in your bong for an extended period can cause mold to form on the glass. If that happens it will ruin your glass.

6 Steps to Cleaning Your Glass Gear

Just as your rolling or pipe/bong packing preparation becomes a pleasant pre-smoking ritual you should view glass cleaning as your post-smoking wind-down. With that in mind get into the habit of using your glass and then cleaning it as often as necessary.

As mentioned, this should be at least once per week for pipe users and if you are a bong fanatic also remember to never leave old water in the bowl once your smoking session is over.

The cleaning process is not difficult and the fact that clean glass gives you a better smoke should be all the encouragement required to keep up regular maintenance.

Here’s a straightforward 6-step process for glass cleaning:

Step #1 – Ingredients

Isopropyl alcohol between 70%-99%:  This is available OTC (Over The Counter) from pharmacies, drug stores, and grocery stores. It works by removing extra stubborn resin and bacteria from your glass.

Zip-top bag: Again, widely available in stores.

Coarse salt* (optional): Sea salt or similar is optional but it can be effective in removing hard-to-reach resin that is stuck to the glass.

Cotton swabs* (optional): These can help to gently clean the bowl or stem of your pipe or bong.

Step #2 – Fill and shake

Pour the salt into the glassware. Go for around 1 teaspoon of coarse salt for every 4 inches of pipe. Then fill your glassware to almost full with the isopropyl alcohol. If you do not have the salt at hand, just use the alcohol. As mentioned the salt is for removing any hard, unwanted dirt.

Step #3 – Shake the glass

Plug the pipe holes with your fingers or if the bong holes are larger cover them with a cloth then give the glass a fairly vigorous shake. Some people prefer to put the glass into the zip-top bag and plug the holes with their fingers/cloth from the outside. This will prevent any of the contents from spilling while shaking.

Step #4 – Pour the mixture out

After shaking, pour the mixture out and check to see how much of the buildup has been removed. If necessary, repeat the process again. It will be easy to see when the pipe is clean because there will be very little to no debris still present and the alcohol will run clear. 

During this stage, you can use the optional cotton swabs to get into any curves and remove any excess from the straight glassware sections.

Step #5 – Soak for a few hours/overnight

This step is really only for very dirty glassware. If steps #1-4 have not thoroughly cleaned the glass then place the pipe or bong in a zip-top bag and fill it with alcohol until the glassware is submerged. Then leave it to soak for at least a few hours or (better still) overnight.

Step #6 – Dry your glassware

Once you are satisfied the glassware is clean, rinse it under warm water and give it up to 2 hours to thoroughly dry. A quick polish with a soft cloth will leave your piece looking as good as new!

Important Note: The old water contained in bongs and bubblers is dirty, resinous, and sticky. Try not to pour it down a drain. Better, use an old capped water bottle or the zip-top bag you were using to seal the dirty water and then throw it in the trash.

Other Methods Will Work but…

The vast majority of cannabis connoisseurs state that the alcohol and salt method is by far the easiest. It is also cheap, cost-effective, and affords good antibacterial properties.

You could try normal dish soap or other non-abrasive cleaning liquid but the results are not as satisfactory. The more expensive alternative is to go for a specialized cleaner that requires less attention and works faster.

A solution called Grunge Off is touted by many as being very effective. It requires no alcohol, coarse salt, or the need to shake your glassware. Simply fill the glassware with this solution, let it sit for upwards of 30 minutes (or overnight), and then rinse thoroughly with warm water before drying. 

You Deserve the Best Possible Smoking Experience!

Glassware is now a mainstay across the cannabis community and if this is your favored way of consumption it makes sense that you get the very best from your weed.

Keeping your glass clean will do that and the process is very straightforward. There is no doubt that clean pipes or bongs are the way to go. They are healthier and will get you higher!

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