Cleaning Paraphernalia | Top 5 Tips for Cleaning Smoking Accessories
Smoking accessories like dugouts and one-hitters make the whole experience so much more convenient, but you have to be proactive about cleaning your paraphernalia on a regular basis. If you neglect the upkeep, you’ll be left with accessories that are clogged, dirty, foul-smelling, and just unsanitary. Luckily, your accessories aren’t difficult to clean; it usually just takes a couple of minutes. These helpful cleaning tips should help you keep your equipment in pristine condition no matter how often you light up.
1. Clean Your Accessories After Every Smoke
This might seem like the most obvious point, but it’s by far the most important. Smoking materials contain a wide array of volatile organic compounds, and they absorb moisture from the air. If left to sit and degrade after use, they can become subject to mold growth and develop other types of contaminants. You definitely don’t want to absorb these contaminants into your lungs, so make sure to prioritize cleaning your paraphernalia after every single use. It only takes a couple of minutes, and it will ensure that your next smoke is far sweeter and more enjoyable.
Just to clarify, you do not have to deep-clean after every use (more on deep cleaning later). You just need to remove the buildup so that the compounds and oils don’t degrade inside your pipe. Ongoing residue removal will also make all of your more serious cleaning efforts much quicker and easier.
2. Use a Poker/Scooper Tool for Narrow Pipes
If you’re cleaning a narrow one-hitter or multi-hitter, don’t make the mistake of simply rinsing it out and assuming that your job is complete. To clean smoking paraphernalia, you need a quality poker/scooper tool to properly unclog the pipe. Smoking residue is sticky and will bond to the inside of the pipe, so you’ll need to loosen it and scrape it out with each use. This not only helps you to keep your pipe clean but also removes the clogs and barriers that can inhibit your smoking experience. Just insert the scooper into both ends of your one-hitter or multi-hitter, and your de-clogging should be complete within a matter of seconds.
3. Use a Scooper That Won’t Damage Your Pipe
While we’re on the subject of scoopers, it’s important to note that not all scooper tools are created equal. We recommend copper scoopers like this Smokit double-sided poker/scooper tool. It’s designed to work perfectly with 2” and 3” pipes and its expanded scoop end de-clogs your one-hitter or multi-hitter with minimal effort. If fits inside all of our compact dugouts, so it makes a great addition to any portable smoking kit.
4. Opt for the Occasional Deep-Clean
Can you remember the last time you gave a thorough deep cleaning to your paraphernalia? If it’s been a while, or if you can’t even remember the last time you did more than a quick scrub or de-clogging, it’s time to break out the cleaning solutions. Even if you’re diligent with de-clogging and emptying your pipe, you’re still leaving behind microscopic contaminants. From time to time, you need to disinfect.
For most people, once a month is plenty. If you smoke more than the average person, you may want to clean your accessories twice a month just to keep the lingering contaminants at bay. Just note, however, that different cleaning methods are recommended for different types of accessories, which we’ll expand upon in the next two points. Make sure to use the best pipe cleaning solution for your particular pipe.
5. Boil Your Metal or Ceramic Accessories
One important thing to keep in mind when cleaning your paraphernalia is that not all cleaning methods are ideal for all accessories. All of your accessories should get the occasional deep cleaning, but what works for a glass pipe won’t be as effective on a ceramic pipe.
If you have a ceramic or metal one-hitter, your best pipe cleaning solution is actually boiling water. Start by de-clogging or removing any surface residue from the pipe. Then put a pot of water on the stove to boil. When the water starts to boil, submerge your pipe using a pair of tongs (don’t drop it directly into the water unless you want to risk the painful backsplash). Leave it in the boiling water for about 10 minutes, and then remove it with your tongs. Set it on a non-heat-sensitive surface to cool for about 15 minutes, and it should be clean and ready to use again.
6. Use Rubbing Alcohol on Your Glass and Wood Accessories
While the boiling approach is great for metal and ceramic, it should never be used on glass or wood pipes. For these accessories, your best pipe cleaning solution is rubbing alcohol. Just fill a large ziplock bag with equal parts warm water and rubbing alcohol, and place the pipe inside. Seal the bag shut and allow the pipe to soak for about an hour. Then remove it, rinse, and dry. If you prefer, you can use vodka or vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol.
For larger pipes, like bongs, you may find full submersion more difficult. In this case, to clean your paraphernalia, just remove the individual parts, remove any leftover smoking residue, and rinse the pipe thoroughly with warm water. Then cover the entire surface with one of the cleaning solutions above and scrub inside and out with a firm bristled brush.
7. Get Rid of Expired Product
A typical herbal smoking product will stay fresh for 6 months to a year. If you store it in a quality dugout that blocks light and humidity, the product may even last a bit longer. Once it hits its expiration, though, you need to toss it out, wipe down your dugout with a damp cloth, and add some fresh product. Nobody likes to part with a product they spent good money on, but you have to consider your health first. One of the most important aspects of cleaning paraphernalia is knowing when to dispose of the material itself.
Remember, cleaning paraphernalia isn’t just about improving the taste and experience. It’s about looking out for your health. So make sure to clean yours on the regular!