How to properly clean dabbing nails

Published Jan 29, 2019 03:01 p.m. ET

All dabbing nails should technically be cleaned between each dab to lengthen the life of the tool and the taste of the vapor the nail produces. While there are many different cleaning methods out there it is important you choose one that will cause the least damage to your dabbing nail while giving the most benefit.

How to clean a glass nail

The best “how to clean a glass nail” guide will not recommend the frequent use of harmful solvents which can degrade the quality and lifespan of the glass dabbing nail. While many of the methods above mentioned can work, for glass the manual/ heat method is the safest long term. Alcohol should only be used when excessive buildup makes heating for removal nearly impossible.

How to clean a titanium nail

It is a common misconception that titanium nails do not have to be cleaned. This isn’t at all true. The residue from the buildup of impurities will interfere with direct contact and will also affect the taste of the vapor produced by the nail. For titanium nails, alcohol will be absorbed by the rough outside material the nail is made of. Because of this, the only method you should ever use is the manual heat and remove method.

How to clean a quartz nail

When cleaning a quartz nail, you will have not only the most options when it comes to cleaning solutions but also the least chances of anything breaking or degrading the quartz nail structure. You can use all three of the cleaning methods listed to clean a quartz nail.

Methods used to clean dabbing nails

  1. Alcohol Only- Mild Wash method


• Q tips
• 90 % Alcohol
• Small bowl
• Torch


  1. Dip one q-tip into the alcohol making sure it is fully saturated.
  2. Press the alcohol-soaked q-tip into the wall of the quartz nail dish and scrub using a back and forth motion until clean.
  3. Once the walls look clean, give them one more alcohol wash to ensure all residue has been removed including the top rim.
  4. Use a new dry q-tip to soak up any excess alcohol.
  5. Use another dry q-tip to give the entire thing one more wipe down. You don’t want to be smoking any of the alcohol
  6. Heat the nail dish until you see vapors rising from it.
  7. Use your mouth to blow into the joint side of the quartz nail.
  8. Repeat until you no longer see vapors when the head is heated.

2. Alcohol and Seal Salt - Abrasive Wash method


• Q tips
• 90 % Alcohol
• Small bowl
• Sea Salt
• Ziplock baggie
• Water


  1. Add an even mixture of sea salt and alcohol to a heavy duty ziplock baggie.
  2. Place the quartz nail into the baggie.
  3. Seal and allow the nail to soak for one hour or longer if residue buildup is thick.
  4. Rinse under a tap using lukewarm water.
  5. Use a q-tip to clean any remaining liquid from the nail.

3. Manual Removal method

This is the only chemical-free method of cleaning, but it is also the most unreliable method leaving plenty of room for breaking if too much pressure is applied.


• Metal scraping tool
• Torch


  1. Heat the nail until it is illuminated reddish/orange.
  2. Remove any buildup with a metal scraping tool by gently pressing the edge of the scraping tool to the walls and head of the quartz nail.

The best method for you will always depend on the material your nail is made of but you should also consider a less is more mindset. Tiny cleanings between uses are a lot easier to manage with the least damage to the nail. If you let the sticky build-up get too far, removing it will require something more abrasive which is sure to weaken the nail material. If you are using a nail where you have multiple options, use the least invasive option first, only using the harsher ones as a last resort.


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