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Spring Cleaning Your Cannabis Accessories

By Danyal Swan March 22, 2024
Spring Cleaning Cannabis Accessories

We’ve all been there. Loaded a fresh bowl, whether pipe, bong, or rig, taken a hit, and tasted that distinct reclaim flavor – the tell-tale sign of the need to clean your piece. Quick cleans are sufficient most of the time, but every now and then, you and your cannabis accessory deserve a deep, thorough cleaning.

We’re breaking down our favorite ways to clean your cannabis accessories and devices, from bongs to rigs to dab pens.

How to Clean Your Pipe and Bong

The classic accessories, pipes and bongs, can get a layer of buildup rather quickly. The direct heat to flower is to blame, creating a sticky layer at the bottom of your bowl that can spread through to the neck of the pipe, or the downstem of your bong.

There are a few different liquids you can use to clean your piece, some you may have on hand, some you may need to snag from your local smoke shop.

Cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) is a go-to cleaning option for many cannabis users. The tried-and-true solvent is excellent at melting away reside, no matter how built up, to clean your piece.

If you have some on hand, you’ll need a few other items lying around your house to get started:

  • ISO at 91% or above
  • Salt, coarse preferably
  • Pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, or bobby pins, to gently scrape any lingering residue
  • A big bowl or gallon-size bags

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by emptying any flower from your bowl. If you’re cleaning a bong, be sure to empty the water and pull out your downstem as well.
  2. Rinse your piece (and any individual pieces) with warm water.
  3. For a bowl, add the ISO and salt to a bowl or gallon-sized bag. If you’re cleaning a bong, add the ISO and salt to the bong where the bowl is typically inserted to just past the visible residue. Place the downstem and bowl into a gallon-sized bag, along with the ISO and salt.
  4. Let your piece(s) soak for a few hours – if particularly dirty, let soak overnight.
  5. Gently shake your soaking piece(s) in the gallon-size bag. If you’re cleaning a bong, carefully cover the mouthpiece and bowl insert and shake over the sink (in case of any spillage). The salt will act as a non-abrasive scrub inside the piece, knocking any particularly gunky pieces free.
  6. Using a pipe cleaner or bobby pin, gently scrape off any stubborn pieces, if needed.
  7. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  8. Let your piece(s) air dry completely before using.
  9. Enjoy the clean, flavorful hit that only comes with a freshly cleaned piece!

Cleaning with Grunge Off or Other Cleaning Liquid

The steps for cleaning with a cleaning liquid like Grunge Off are the same as ISO and salt, though the solvent requires no abrasive addition.

PS, Grunge Off is this writer’s favorite. Not only is it effective, but it’s reusable – after you soak your piece, pour the liquid right back into its bottle and use it 2-3 more times!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Grunge Off, or other piece-specific cleaning solution
  • Pipe cleaners, cotton swabs, or bobby pins, to gently scrape any lingering residue
  • A big bowl or gallon-size bags

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by emptying any flower from your bowl. If you’re cleaning a bong, be sure to empty the water and pull out your downstem as well.
  2. Rinse your piece (and any individual pieces) with warm water.
  3. For a bowl, add the Grunge Off or other liquid to a bowl or gallon-sized bag. If you’re cleaning a bong, add the liquid to the bong where the bowl is typically inserted, just past the visible residue. Place the downstem and bowl into a gallon-sized bag, along with the cleaning liquid.
  4. Let your piece(s) soak for a few hours – if particularly dirty, let soak overnight.
  5. Gently shake your soaking piece(s) in the gallon-size bag. If you’re cleaning a bong, carefully cover the mouthpiece and bowl insert and shake over the sink (in case of any spillage).
  6. Using a pipe cleaner or bobby pin, gently scrape off any stubborn pieces, if needed.
  7. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  8. Let your piece(s) air dry completely before using.
  9. Enjoy the clean, flavorful hit that only comes with a freshly cleaned piece!

Cleaning with Boiling Water

How to Clean a Bong

For the purists who prefer natural over everything, boiling water should be a go-to cleaning method. An important note here: do not boil your piece in the water! This can cause your beloved pipe or bong to shatter. Instead, what you’ll do is bring the water to a boil, move to a heat-safe bowl, and work from there.

Outside of the liquid used and additions due to boiling the water, the steps are the same as with using ISO or a cleaning liquid.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • A large pot to boil enough water to soak your piece
  • Pipe cleaners or bobby pins, to gently scrape any lingering residue
  • A large, heat-safe bowl
  • Potholders

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by emptying any flower from your bowl. If you’re cleaning a bong, be sure to empty the water and pull out your downstem as well.
  2. Rinse your piece (and any individual pieces) with warm water.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  4. Add your bowl to a heat-safe bowl and slowly and carefully pour the boiled water over until submerged. If you’re cleaning a bong, add the downstem and bowl to a large, heat-safe bowl and submerge in the water. Then, add the remaining water to your bong, filling until just past the visible residue.
  5. Let your piece(s) soak until the water cools enough for you to handle.
  6. Scrub your piece(s) using a pipe cleaner to gently remove any stubborn residue.
  7. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  8. Let your piece(s) air dry completely before using.
  9. Enjoy the clean, flavorful hit that only comes with a freshly cleaned piece!

Cleaning Your Tabletop Flower Vaporizer

Keeping your tabletop vape in tip-top shape is incredibly important – these pieces are expensive, after all! While these instructions are for a Volcano, they’re solid guidelines for any tabletop piece.

Be sure to double-check any instructions that came with your specific piece.

What you’ll need:

  • ISO, 91% or above
  • Cotton swabs or pipe cleaners
  • Washcloth
  • Warm water

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Wait for your Volcano to cool down completely before disassembling it. Remove the Easy Valve or Solid Valve balloon, herb chamber, and any other removable parts.
  2. Tap out any remaining herbs from the chamber. You can use a brush to gently remove any stuck-on material.
  3. Soak the herb chamber and screens in ISO for 30 minutes to an hour. This will help dissolve any residue. After soaking, use a pipe cleaner brush or a cotton swab to remove any remaining material.
  4. For the Easy Valve, the balloon is disposable, so you simply replace it with a new one when it's no longer clean. For the Solid Valve, you can clean the balloon with warm water and mild dish soap, though it's recommended to replace it periodically.
  5. Using a damp cloth, gently wipe the exterior of the Volcano unit. Do not use the ISO on the unit.
  6. The Volcano has an air filter located at the bottom of the unit. Remove the filter and examine it. If it's dirty, you can clean it with warm water and let it dry completely before reinstalling it. You can also order a replacement filter if it's damaged or excessively dirty.
  7. Once all the components are clean and dry, reassemble your vaporizer.
  8. Enjoy a nice, clean sesh!

Cleaning Your Handheld Flower Vape

Everyone loves a portable device, including a dry herb vape. If it’s your go-to sesh device, or one you’re thinking of adding to your collection, learning how to clean it is key to ensuring a great experience each time.

While these cleaning steps are great for any device, always be sure to double-check any instructions that came with your specific piece.

What you’ll need:

  • ISO, 91% or above
  • Cotton swabs
  • A small brush

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Make sure your device is turned off and has cooled down completely before you start cleaning it.
  2. Carefully take apart your vaporizer – separating the mouthpiece, heating chamber, and screen (if separate).
  3. Remove any leftover flower from the heating chamber. You can tap the contents out and use a brush to gently clean away any vaped bud.
  4. Soak the mouthpiece in warm soapy water. After soaking, use a small brush or a piece of cloth to remove residue. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and let it dry.
  5. Use a cotton swab dipped in ISO to gently clean the inside of the heating chamber. Be careful not to use too much ISO, and avoid any electronic components. Never immerse the vaporizer or its heating element in water.
  6. If your vaporizer has removable screens or filters, remove and clean them separately. These can usually be soaked in isopropyl alcohol and then rinsed with water.
  7. Inspect your vaporizer for any worn-out or damaged parts during cleaning. Replace these components as needed to make sure your vape stays in the best shape!
  8. Make sure all components are completely dry before reassembling your vaporizer.
  9. After reassembling, run your device through a heating cycle to vaporize any ISO, if used.
  10. Enjoy your next sesh!

How to Clean Your Dab Rig

Purists love a traditional rig. There's something to be said about the flavor that comes through with an OG rig, though the blow torch usage leaves want for some for more precise temps. Regardless, deep cleaning is key to ensuring a long-lasting piece for your collection, and a flavor-rich dab with each sesh.

What you’ll need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) at 91% or above
  • Salt if you’re using ISO, coarse preferably
  • Pipe cleaners or bobby pins, to gently scrape any lingering residue
  • A big bowl or gallon-size bags

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by disassembling your dab rig. Remove the nail or banger, and if possible, separate any other removable parts like the mouthpiece or percolators.
  2. If you use water in your rig, pour it out. Always start your cleaning process with an empty rig.
  3. Begin by rinsing your rig with warm water. This initial rinse can help loosen and remove some of the residual concentrate.
  4. Use isopropyl alcohol (91% or higher) as your main cleaning agent. For added effectiveness, you can add coarse salt, which acts as an abrasive to scrub off the residue without scratching the glass. Fill the main chamber of your rig with the alcohol and add a generous amount of salt.
  5. Cover all openings of the rig and shake gently to ensure the mixture reaches all areas. The salt and alcohol work together to break down and scrub away the resin and buildup. Be cautious while shaking to avoid breakage.
  6. If your rig is particularly dirty, let it soak in the alcohol-salt solution for several hours, or even overnight, to break down tough residues.
  7. For the nail or banger, apply a smaller amount of the alcohol and salt solution and scrub it gently with a cotton swab or a small brush. Be thorough but gentle to avoid any damage.
  8. Once the residue is removed, rinse all components of your dab rig thoroughly with warm water. Ensure all traces of alcohol and salt are washed away, as any residue can affect the taste and purity of your vapor.
  9. Allow all parts of the rig to air dry completely before reassembling. Any leftover moisture can affect the taste and may lead to water spots.
  10. Once everything is dry, reassemble your dab rig. It's now ready for use or to be stored away.

How to Clean Your Dab E-Rig

While nothing beats a traditional rig, an e-rig is pretty close. We love the Puffco Peak for its portability, tailored temps (especially with the Peak Pro!), and smooth, clean hits. Making sure your device is clean for the the best hits is key to its longevity.

What you’ll need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) at 91% or above
  • Cotton swabs, to gently scrape any lingering residue
  • A big bowl or gallon-size bags

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Ensure your Puffco Peak is turned off and has cooled down completely before you start the cleaning process.
  2. Carefully disassemble the device. Remove the glass attachment, the bowl (atomizer), and the silicone base. Make sure to keep track of all small parts and where they belong.
  3. Glass attachment:
  4. Fill a container with isopropyl alcohol (91% or higher is preferred).
  5. Submerge the glass attachment in the alcohol and let it soak for about 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the level of residue build-up.
  6. After soaking, rinse the glass attachment thoroughly with warm water and let it air dry.
  7. Atomizer:
  8. Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and gently clean the inside of the atomizer. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to avoid damaging the coil.
  9. Wipe any remaining residue from the outer sides of the atomizer.
  10. Let the atomizer dry completely before reassembling. Do not submerge the atomizer in isopropyl alcohol, as it can damage the electronic components.
  11. Base and silicone parts:
  12. Use a cotton swab or alcohol wipe to clean the metal contacts and outer surface of the base.
  13. Wash the silicone parts with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and let them air dry.
  14. Put all pieces back together, and run your Peak through a heat session to burn off any residual ISO.
  15. Load your dab and enjoy that clean hit!

How to Clean Your Dab Pen

There are two types of dab pens – chamber loading and nectar collectors. The cleaning methods are similar, with the key difference being number of parts needed to be cleaned.

Chamber Dab Pens, Like the Puffco Plus

How to Clean a Dab Pen

For a quick clean, always swab the interior of the heating element with a dry cotton swab to remove any lingering residue. You can also heat the element without adding a dab to melt down reside and swipe away.

As with any device, double-check the instructions that come with it to ensure proper cleaning.

For a deep clean of chambered devices, you’ll need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) at 91% or above
  • Cotton swabs

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Separate your mouthpiece from the heating chamber, Dart from the mouthpiece, and chamber from the battery.
  2. Soak your mouthpiece, separated Dart (if a Puffco Plus), and chamber in ISO for 15-30 minutes.
  3. As your pieces soak, use a cotton swab lightly dipped in ISO to wipe clean the connection points of the device – where the heating chamber attaches to the battery.
  4. Let all pieces air dry fully before reassembling.
  5. Before using, run through one heating cycle to burn off any residual ISO.
  6. Load your next dab and enjoy the fresh, smooth hit!

Nectar Collector Dab Pens, Like the Terp Pen

A quick clean of nectar collectors is breezy – just run the coil over a dry cotton swab. Our cleaning details are specific to the Terp Pen. As with any device, double-check the instructions that come with it to ensure proper cleaning.

For a deep clean, you’ll need:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (ISO) at 91% or above
  • Cotton swabs

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Carefully unscrew and separate all components of the Terp Pen, including the mouthpiece, coil, and the body.
  2. Add ISO, mouthpiece, and coil to a small container or plastic bag with enough alcohol to cover the parts and let them soak for about an hour.
  3. For the main body of the Terp Pen, use a cotton swab or cloth dampened with alcohol to gently clean the exterior and the interior chamber where the coil is inserted. Be sure not to allow any liquid to seep into the electrical components!
  4. After soaking, take each component out of the alcohol and scrub them with a small brush or cotton swab to remove any remaining residue.
  5. After scrubbing, rinse all the non-electrical components with warm water to remove any traces of alcohol and dissolved residue.
  6. Let all pieces air dry completely.
  7. Once all parts are dry, reassemble your Terp Pen.
  8. Graze your next dab and enjoy!

Find Your Next Cannabis Accessory at Zen Leaf

Shop Accessories at Zen Leaf

Now that you know the ins and outs of cleaning the most common accessories, add to your collection at Zen Leaf. We offer an expansive selection of pieces, classing and electronic, to ensure your needs are met.  

And don’t forget, the best way to ensure your pieces remain clean? Using the best cannabis. Shop your local Zen Leaf Dispensary for quality flower and extracts!

Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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