The best way to clean glass pipes is also the cheapest way to clean glass pipes! Don’t get me wrong, a good commercial pipe cleaner works great too, like Formula 420. It just depends if your looking to clean your pipe now, or if your thinking you might need your glass pipe cleaned after this weekend. There are several other methods listed below, but here is my favorite. It works great for glass pipes that have small openings twisted or intricate designs.
- isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- sea salt
- a plastic sandwich bag – ziploc freezer bags are what i prefer, they are thicker and less likely to rip at the seams (any other plastic, ceramic, or metal container works great if you don’t mind throwing it away when your done)
- pipe cleaners
- cotton q-tips
- rubber gloves (if you feel its necessary – it can get messy if your not careful)
- Supplies you will need
All of this can be purchased at a grocery store for around $6.
Force some sea salt into the crevices of your glass pipe, then place the pipe in your container or plastic bag and fill the bag with enough rubbing alcohol to submerge the pipe. The rubbing alcohol helps to dissolve the resin on the inside of your glass pipe. The sea salt adds friction to help get the resin loose from the inside of the pipe, so you can always add more to your mixture when it starts to dissolve.
Shake the bag.Depending on how often you have used your pipe, you can rinse with hot water and repeat this step a few times. Glass pipes that are used often will definitely be easier to loosen the resin. You can also take the glass pipe out of the bag, leaving some solution inside the pipe, cover all the holes, and shake it for more vigorous agitation. If you don’t need your pipe immediately, you can save yourself some effort and just let it soak overnight.
Use your cotton q-tips and pipe cleaners to get any extra debris out of your glass pipes.If you let your above cleaning solution sit overnight, then you probably wont need to do anything extra. But for those smaller areas of more intricate designs in your glass pipes, some q-tips and pipe cleaners work great for those stubborn areas that have twisted crevices.
Now rinse your glass pipe under hot water one last time. This will make sure there is no left over alcohol inside your glass pipes. If your anxious to use your glass pipe right away, a blow dryer works great to get rid of any moisture. Sometimes there might be some tough resin spots to remove. Don’t stress yourself over it, just use the heat from a lighter against the outside of the pipe to harden and dry any resin that is left inside. This will ensure that you are not inhaling rubbing alcohol fumes, the heat from the flame will quickly evaporate any alcohol. This glass pipe to the right was cleaned in less than 15 minutes.
Efferdent. It’s not just for your grandmother’s glass pipe (or dentures) anymore! You can clean your glass pipe by soaking it in Efferdent overnight. The sludge will slide off your glass pipe in much the same fashion it does false teeth.
Commercial Cleaners. These commercial glass pipe cleaners will work just as well and sometimes better than my favorite method shown above.
Boiling water. This method I don’t highly recommend but I listed it anyway since most people have heard of cleaning glass pipes by this method. Sure, it works, but extremely messy, stinky (even with the oven vent on high). It will leave a thin sticky residue coated on your pot and your glass pipe, that will come off with labored rinsing.