As most dry herb consumers know, smoking out of a dirty or water pipe can really put a damper on your smoking experience. Dirty glass pipes are harsh, foul-tasting, smelly, and might even put you at greater risk of developing a lung infection. But, how often should you clean your piece? And what’s the best way to do it? Here’s how often you should clean your glass pipe.

How often should you clean your glass?

For heavy consumers, the correct answer to this question is once every one to two days. At a bare minimum, heavy consumers should use fresh water every day. For everyone else, the healthiest way to smoke out of a glass pipe is to clean it after each use and let it dry completely before storing.

Not only does fresh water make your smoking experience tastier and more pleasant all around, but keeping fresh water in your glass pipe helps stop the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. If you let your glass pipe go long enough without being cleaned, a slimy biofilm can develop.

This biofilm is similar to the pink discoloration often found in bathtubs and showers. Biofilm can contain both bacteria and fungi, depending on what happens to be hanging around your home or environment. Because it is difficult to tell what microorganisms may be making a home inside your glass pipe, it’s best to avoid inhaling smoke from dirty, water-exposed pieces.

Signs you need to clean your Glass Smoking Pipe

Changing glass pipe water daily and cleaning once a week can drastically improve the smoking experience. Yet, for some, refreshing your piece daily might seem like overkill.

To improve your health and the taste of your bud, here are some key signs that you’re in need of a change:

  • Slimy film inside the glass pipe
  • Heavy resin buildup
  • Brown, discolored glass pipe water
  • Especially smelly water
  • White or gray mold fuzz on resin build up
  • White or black specks along glass or water pipe walls

How to clean your pipe

When you’re finished with your glass pipe for the day, a simple way to clean your piece is to rinse it out with hot, boiled water. Extremely hot water causes resin droplets to bead and run out of your glass pipe. After rinsing with hot water, simply let your glass pipe air dry completely.

With heavy use, it is recommended to clean your glass pipe with salt and isopropyl alcohol about once per week. While hot, boiling water does get out a fair amount of resin buildup and plant materials for daily maintenance, sticky cannabis oils tend to coat the sides of glass pipe as well as buildup on percolators and ice catchers.

Isopropyl alcohol and salt scrub and dissolve resin residue, leaving your piece squeaky clean.

To clean your glass pipe, water pipe, or rig with the alcohol method, simply:

  • If possible, remove your bowl and down stem to clean separately
  • Pour rock salt, sea salt, or table salt into the bottom of your glass pipe
  • Pour 70 to 90 percent isopropyl alcohol in glass pipe
  • Hold on to your glass pipe by covering the top and down stem hole with a towel
  • Give the piece a few good shakes and swirl the mixture around

To clean your down stem, bowl, or pipe:

  • Soak your down stem, bowl, or pipe in boiling water to remove the bulk of the buildup
  • Place pieces in a plastic baggie or plastic container with salt and rubbing alcohol
  • Shake vigorously
  • Rinse clean
  • Spot clean with pipe cleaners or a bottle brush
  • Let dry completely before using