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Nov 07, 18

Keep your glass clean for the best flavor and optimal performance. Follow this guide to find out the best way to clean your glass water pipes with a little help from our friends at Higher Standards.


The process for how to best clean a bong is relatively simple, using a solvent and an abrasive material, even the most built-up of grimes can be removed. Care and maintenance of your glass, especially premium or heady glass, will promote longer life and better flavor. Not to mention the fact that dirty bongs make your living space look like a frat house whose charter was revoked.

What Do You Need To Clean a Water Pipe?

  • Solvent (Isopropyl Alcohol) To break down gunk and sticky substances
  • Exfoliant (Coarse Salt) To speed up cleaning and cleanse hard-to-reach areas
  • Water (Distilled) For rinsing and refill of your glass pipe


Dirtier water pipes require heavier firepower, cut the crud with 99% pure Isopropyl alcohol

While there are many products out there marketed directly on how to clean a water pipe, the best method continues to be a coarse grain salt combined with Isopropyl alcohol. This method will not impart any unwanted flavors on your water pipe or leave behind any chemicals which may be harmful to inhale.

The purer the Isopropyl alcohol, the more effective it will break down resins. Purer Isopropyl alcohol will also leave behind zero oil traces. While most store-bought iso alcohol will top out around 91%, Higher Standards' Iso Pure boasts 99% purity for the utmost quality cleaning.

Why Is Iso the Best Way to Clean a Water Pipe?

Isopropyl alcohol is used by aficionados for its inert nature. Not only is this solvent powerful at removing resin and gunk from your water pipe, but it possesses properties which make it a perfect pair for glass. First off, it absorbs any excess moisture, lessening the chance that your water pipe may develop harmful bacteria or mold. It also evaporates quickly, so there will not be lingering cleaning materials on your water pipe.


Eviscerate resin from your piece with a coarse salt

To aid in removing grime and polishing your glass, an exfoliant should be a part of your water pipe cleaning regimen. The abrasive nature of an exfoliant will also give you the necessary elbow grease to clean out hard to reach areas such as the joints where your glass parts meet and things like percolators and ash catchers.

Plant material can be one of the harder elements to clean from your water pipe. When ash and other organic material gets into the components of your water pipe, it can be covered in layers of resin, which will essentially cement it in place.  The use of an exfoliant applies a sandpaper-like friction to remove these set-in particles.

While there are any number of exfoliants one could use, coarse rock salt is preferred for its efficient removal of sticky substances. The coarser the salt, the better, this will remove even the stickiest of residues. Check out Salt Rox for the connoisseur's choice of cleaning salts. Fine grain salts like Morton’s can be used, however, they are less effective than coarse rock salts.

The reason for this has to do with the molecular nature of salt itself. Sodium chloride, the salt compound, dissolves in water quite readily. This solubility is particularly apparent when using smaller grain salts. They will dissolve completely, removing the exfoliant from the equation. Course salts and rock salts can combat this. By nature of their relative size, they are much slower to dissolve. This allows for more removal of grime from your water pipe before the salt is completely dissolved.


Tap water is for plebs, but it can be used to rinse your water pipes

Good ole H2O is your water pipe’s best friend, not only for filling it but for gently rinsing before and after cleaning. While any water will do, your water pipe deserves the best. So why not use purified or distilled water? Distilled water is perfect for cleaning operations as it is relatively free of impurities.

While tap water can work to rinse your water pipe clean of debris, most tap water will contain a large number of minerals. Water filters can be used, such as a Britta or similar water filter. However, these types of water filters are often breeding grounds for bacteria, which you definitely don’t want to introduce to your water pipe.


While there is more than one way to clean a water pipe, the following operating procedure is a great way to take a systematic approach to cleaning your glass water pipe and keeping it clean. So, every time your water pipe gets gunky, do the following:

The Best Way to Clean a Water Pipe:

  • Empty any remaining water from your water pipe
  • Rinse to remove any larger debris or residue from old water
  • Add Isopropyl alcohol
  • Add Salt
  • Cover the stem and tube of your water pipe
  • Shake vigorously (but carefully)
  • Rinse with water