How to Clean a Bong

Bongs are supposed to be one of the cleanest ways to enjoy your dry herbs. While this is true, the only way it can stay like that is if you practice good bong hygiene. This doesn’t only keep the health benefits of using a bong, but it also lengthens the life of your bong and keeps it more presentable if you enjoy using it with friends. Not to mention, the taste of a dirty bong can be unpleasant, so it’s in your best interest to know how to clean your bong.

When you choose to smoke out of a bong, you should also make sure you know how to keep it clean. Most people choose to smoke a bong for it’s benefits, but you completely lose those benefits with a lack of care for the cleanliness of your bong. Don’t let that happen and continue reading to learn how to clean a bong the right way! You would be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is too.

Keeping Your Bong Clean

Dirty bong before and after

The first thing we should emphasize is the fact that the more often you clean your bong, the easier it is to keep it clean. This is because you clean off the dirt before it can build layers over itself, meaning it will come off easier during clean up. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with cleaning a bong, then you haven’t experienced how stubborn the dirt can be when it’s gotten all gunky.

Not sure how often you should clean your bong? Determine it by the following guidelines. If you smoke only a couple of times per week, then it would be best to clean your bong after each use. If you smoke several times per day, then clean your bong at the end of every day. It might seem picky, but cleaning your bong often will save you frustration down the line as well as money when you realize you don’t have to buy a new bong because your current piece is too dirty to properly clean.

Now for the main event, we will be going over how to clean your bong. Because using only water won’t be sufficient enough, you’re going to need the following:

Bong Cleaning Supplies

  • A sink or tub with running water
  • Cleaning solution - Use 91% or 70% isopropyl alcohol, or alternatively vinegar for a more natural approach to cleaning. Make sure you use one of those three choices because other cleaning agents will have harmful chemicals that you definitely won’t want to inhale into your system.
  • A mild abrasive - Salt is the most popular choice for an abrasive that helps with the cleaning process. You can also use rice or baking soda. If you decide to use baking soda and vinegar together, be prepared for the foaming chemical reaction that occurs when the two come together.
  • Plastic ziplock bag - This is to place the smaller parts of the bong to soak in.
  • Cotton balls, Q-tips and paper towels - Cotton balls are great for covering any small openings, Q-tips are to help get into the downstem and bowl, and paper towels are to finish everything off and dry up.
  • Gloves (optional) - You might especially want gloves if you have sensitive skin and are going to use rubbing alcohol.

The Process Explained

  1. Disassemble your bong
    The first thing you need to do is remove all the smaller pieces from your bong. Typically this is the just the bowl and downstem. Don’t forget about removing add-on pieces such as ashcatchers if you have any.
  2. Empty out and rinse
    Now you need to empty out the water (if there is any) and rinse out your bong. Rinse it until debris and resin stop coming off on it’s own and then allow it to dry if you are not going to do an overnight soak.
  3. Soak overnight (optional)
    If you plan on soaking your bong overnight, then do just that. This is a good thing to do if you have a lot of built up gunk. All you need to do is keep your bong submerged in water. Make sure it is in a reasonable place where people aren’t going to find it a problem.
  4. Place smaller pieces in a ziplock bag
    Use your ziplock bag to place the bowl and any other small pieces in to soak in a mixture of your abrasive and cleaning solution. One tablespoon of salt, baking soda or rice along with enough cleaning solution to completely cover the pieces should do the trick.
  5. Pour in salt, baking soda or rice
    Now it’s time to pour in either your salt, baking soda or rice into your bong. If you have an average sized bong, then anywhere form 1/3 to 1/2 a cup should do well. Adjust how much you use depending on the size of your bong.
  6. Pour in your cleaning solution
    Whether you chose to use rubbing alcohol or vinegar, it’s now time to pour in your chosen cleaning solution. Just like the abrasive, how much you are going to use really depends on the size of your bong. For most bongs, half a cup of cleaning solution should do just fine.
  7. Shake, shake, shake!
    Cover the mouthpiece with your hand and use cotton balls to cover up any smaller holes and shake your bong. You’re going to want to shake for at least a few minutes. Five minutes is ideal to make sure you get as much gunk off as possible. If your bong was very dirty to begin with, then you’re going to want to shake for longer. Remember that you can repeat the process, so 10 minutes should be the max time limit.
  8. Rinse
    After all of the shaking, it’s time to rinse out your bong. Pour out all of the cleaning solution and rinse as much as you need to. For most people, this will be enough cleaning.
  9. Repeat (if needed)
    If one shaking session wasn’t enough, then repeat steps 5-8 until you are satisfied.
  10. Spot clean smaller pieces
    We can’t forget about the smaller pieces! Take them out of the ziplock bag and rinse. After rinsing, use Q-tips to get any stubborn resin out.


Once you have gone through all of these 10 steps, your bong is now ready to smoke out of again! Enjoy the benefits of smoking a bong now that you know how to properly clean it!