Why and how you should keep your bongs clean

Published Sep 15, 2019 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / José Antonio Luque Olmedo

The weed bong is a famous symbol from cannabis culture and one of the most widely used smoking devices to date. The heat resistant glass makes for the ideal experience that isn’t tainted by flavors from the bong materials warming up, but they are still a fair amount of work to care properly for after consistent use. A lot of people assume that being that all they put through their bong is clean, freshwater, then it should stay clean for a while, but have you looked inside of your bong lately?

If you are a heavy consumer, then your weed bong water will slowly fill with resin and plant materials that manage to squeeze through the bowl screen. For those who only take a hit one or two times every few days, by the time you return to your water-filled weed bong, you might not be able to see it. However, the water will actually hold many different particles and contaminants like dust which can harbor bacteria, mold, and other things that you might not necessarily want to inhale.

So how long exactly is too long? Well, most marijuana enthusiasts will say every 2-3 days, but the truth is, at a minimum, a daily regimen of removing any build-up is best. If you want to maintain the absolute cleanest bong possible, then it’s a good idea to dump out any water, give the bong a rinse, and let it completely dry between uses. Keeping up on your weed bong filth will not only make using it less hazardous to your health, but it can also dramatically improve the flavor of the bud you put through it. You will also be able to enjoy the benefits of a much cooler toke by adding fresh new ice-cold water every single time that you have a session.

Do all bongs need to be cleaned?

With technology quickly advancing, it would not be surprising if someday the option of a self-cleaning weed bong is created, but in the meantime, every multiple-use bong will need a refreshing from time to time. If you are interested in options that don’t require regular maintenance, then you might want to consider one-time use designs. You can learn how to make a homemade bong out of fruit, or other ordinary materials that can be found around the house, or invest in an ice bong mold that allows for an entirely new piece in as little as it takes the water within to solidify.

How to clean a bong

If you are just learning how to clean a bong, then it can be nerve-racking surveying the options and products that are available on the market, and online in recipe form. The trouble is that many can be filled with hazardous chemicals and other additives that can be abrasive to the materials and bad for your health. The very best way to clean a weed bong is by using all-natural ingredients that are combined by yourself in the comfort of your own home. This recipe is not as harsh or abrasive as many store-bought alternatives, which is the reason why it is so important to keep up on this task, as waiting too long may end requiring solvent filled options.

You will need

  • Isopropyl alcohol (or vinegar)
  • Iodine free table salt (or rock salt)
  • 1 container (large enough to fully immerse the bong)
  • 1 mixing container
  • 1 stirring tool
  • paper towels
  • cleaning brushes (or cotton swabs)
  • 1 Ziplock baggie


  1. Place the bong into the container after removing the stem.

  2. Set the stem into a Ziplock baggie.

  3. Pour a ratio of 2:1 isopropyl alcohol, table salt (or other alternatives) into the mixing container.

  • Use a mixing tool to combine the two ingredients until the salt has mostly dissolved.

  • Pour the freshly made cleaning solution over the top of the weed bong, and into the baggie with the stem.

  • Seal the baggie after removing any excess air and leave the bong to soak. 1-2 hours for a mildly dirty piece, and up to 24 hours for a very sticky one.

  • Remove the parts from the cleaning solution and set them on a paper towel.

  • Use cleaning brushes or cotton swabs to scrub out any nooks and crannies that still have resin present.

  • Rinse the bong and stem under hot water for 1-2 minutes.

  • Rest the pieces on a fresh, clean paper towel, and allow them to dry completely before using your bong.

  • Tips and tricks for keeping a clean bong

    Though there is no way to avoid the sticky resins that are produced by smoking marijuana, there are several things that you can do to cut down on the amount of work it will take to keep your bong clean.

    • Always clean your weed bong at least once per day.
    • Use a screen in your bong bowl to keep stray ash and plant materials from clogging up the stem.
    • Rinse and add new water to your bong every single use.
    How to clean a marijuana bubbler


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