Every smoker should know how to clean a pipe. While it’s not the most exciting or glamorous smoking-related activity, it’s a necessary one. After all, over time, your pipe is going to develop a stinky layer of resin that’s quite unpleasant to smell or taste. A clean pipe lets you fully enjoy the unique characteristics of your smoking material.
Additionally, that tarry goo that builds up over time can actually be detrimental to your health, and smoking it often causes headaches and other undesirable side effects. Fortunately, some basic maintenance is all it takes to keep every session clean.
Basic Cleaning by Hand
The easiest way to clean a pipe is to take a pipe cleaner and push it through the pipe multiple times until the resin falls out. If you don’t have an actual pipe cleaner, you can use a paper clip, bobby pin, or other similar long, thin device.
If the debris is caked in your pipe firmly, you may want to apply a bit of heat with a lighter, but only if it’s a glass pipe. Be very cautious, as too much heat can cause a glass pipe to crack. Don’t touch the pipe directly with the flame, and be sure to move the flame around so you’re warming the residue without causing the pipe to overheat.
Once you know how to clean a pipe, you should also pay attention to when your devices need some attention. Water pipes should typically be cleaned every day. Standard dry pipes can usually go a week or so before they need maintenance. Of course, those timeframes may vary depending on your smoking frequency.
Cleaning with a Solution
If your smoking device hasn’t been cleaned for a long period of time, you may need to break out the big guns. In most cases, cleaning your pipe by hand should get rid of most of the tar, but if you really want a spotless piece, you need to know how to clean a pipe using a wet solution.
While some smokers may recommend boiling your pipe, that method can weaken or even crack some pipes. A better option is to use a pipe cleaning formula that’s made specifically for cleaning pipes—especially water pipes. Usually, you simply fill the pipe with the solution, shake it around, pour it out, and then let the piece air dry.
If you don’t have a designated pipe cleaning solution, you can also make your own natural cleaning agent. The most common method is to combine rubbing alcohol with coarse salt, although vinegar and baking soda can work too (just make sure you do it over a sink, as it will foam).
If you’re going to clean a pipe, it’s absolutely crucial that you only use natural, safe cleaning supplies. Never use any sort of household cleaning product that contains chemicals.
Make Cleaning Your Devices a Habit
The first time cleaning a dirty pipe can be a difficult and eye-opening experience. And, after smoking from a sparkling pipe, you’re going to see what a huge difference it makes. Fortunately, you should only have to do that major clean once. Try to make maintaining your pipe a habit. Whenever you notice that it’s getting dirty, just give it a quick cleaning. It only takes a minute.
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