Updated: Sep 20, 2018
Resinous tars and carbon build-up can cause your smoking accessories to smell bad and lose their colorful luster.
How many people do you know that never clean their pipe? Oh sure, an occasional poke to clear it and get a better draw, but usually their pipe is filled with nasty smelling gunk.
Think back to that first time you lit up a new glass piece and saw the smoke rolling through that clean, clear glass . . . and the pure taste that comes with it. You could see the fire burning all the way down.
Why wouldn’t you want that experience every time?
Because that’s highly impractical in the real world of hustle here, hustle there, no time for the finite details as long as everything is functional. But there is a way to clean your pipes that is really easy and very effective.
Now I’ve tried lots of ways of cleaning smoking accessories that almost always ended up in an incomplete cleaning job, or worse yet, a lingering odor and flavor of whatever cleaning supply was used. The worst was when I boiled a glass pipe in Simple Green in a small saucepan. The pan and the pipe were never the same. Bleck!
Fast-forward to the 21st century where we have the privilege of modern science and ways of removing unwanted tar. The answer is as simple as isopropyl alcohol.
The great thing about using isopropyl alcohol to clean your smoking accessories is that it works well and leaves no trace odors or flavors. Place your dirty pipe in a reseal-able baggie to soak in at least 91% isopropyl alcohol for an hour (longer for really dirty pieces). Then, add some coarse salt to the bag and shake. Most of the resinous tar will come loose and rinse out. Use a cotton swab or disposable pipe cleaner to hit the thicker spots.
Glass piece before:
Glass piece after:
Let your pipe air dry for a while. Luckily, isopropyl alcohol evaporates very quickly and very thoroughly so you won’t have to wait long. Some people like to give it a final rinse with hot water, but that can add to your drying time.
Within hours your pipe is clean and ready for use. Works great for glass, silicone, stainless and other metals.
This is a good idea whenever you change flavors or batches. You’ll be amazed at how much you are missing flavor-wise when your pipes are dirty.