Thanks to the coronavirus, we are all stuck inside as self-isolation has become the order of the day. With all the cleaning and sanitizing going on, isopropyl alcohol has become a hot commodity. Stoners everywhere are facing the choice, toke dirty or risk wasting precious isopropyl alcohol. Save it because there is another way! In fact, there are a few options you can use to keep your bongs and rigs clean without isopropyl alcohol.
Silicone accessories are easy to transport and hard to break, making them popular amongst cannabis enthusiasts. If you have a silicone piece that you want to clean, put it in the freezer. The resin within the pipe or bong will freeze, but the silicone won’t be affected by the temperature. By twisting and bending your silicone accessory, you can pop all the resin out of your pipe. This is an easy way to clean your bong without isopropyl alcohol.
Do you have a beautiful glass collection that’s starting to get a little grimey? Dusting your glass pieces can be extra tricky when you can’t get paper towels and other supplies. In fact, you might be asking yourself, why bother? Simple, mental health. Maintaining your standards for the glass you love is an important part of feeling normal and happy. Here are some tips to clean your bong without isopropyl alcohol and make that piece sparkle:
Use compressed air – firmly hold the piece and use an air compressor or can of computer duster to blast all those bits off
Vacuum – Use a brush attachment to sweep and vacuum up the dust and dirt. If you are cleaning a small piece want to make sure that you don’t suck it into the vacuum, put a nylon stocking over the hose and brush before you start to vacuum.
Cleaning off your hands or small tools
Use oil and a bit of sugar to scrub and exfoliate any sticky stuff. Cannabis molecules like to bind with lipids and this can be used as a cleaning advantage. Once the resin is gone, rinse with soap and water.
Resin coated glass
According to the Oxford Dictionary, resin is defined as a sticky flammable organic substance, insoluble in water, exuded by some trees and other plants. If you ask a stoner, it’s that sticky goo that gunks up your bong. During the pre corona days, Isopropyl alcohol was the easy answer to dirty tools. But with supply being so scarce, few pot enthusiasts would waste Iso to clean. Thankfully there are a number of different options and tips to clean your rig, helping you conserve your Iso use or avoid it altogether.
Before you begin:
Have oven mitts, rubber gloves, tongs and other tools available to protect your hands
Boil a kettle of water so that you have lots of hot water ready to go
If you are planning on using any chemicals, open windows and turn on any fans available
Glass pre-cleaning process:
Warm up your glass and the resin inside it before using any solvents. There are two simple ways to do this:
A, Pour hot water into the piece – If you clean your piece often and it’s not too dirty to begin with, this may be all you need. The flow of the water might agitate the resin enough to dislodge it. One of the best ways to do this is in your kitchen or bathroom sink:
– position an opening right under the flow of your tap
– crank up the heat as hot as you can
– every minute or so, pick up your glass, plug the holes and shake it with some hot water inside
For tougher cleaning jobs, soak the glass and resin for 15 minutes in hot water; change the water every few minutes to maintain a high temperature (this is where boiling a kettle ahead of time pays off).
B, Put your dab rig in the oven – As long as it’s dry, place your piece on a baking sheet in a cold oven and turn the temperature up to the minimum oven setting. As it warms up, the reclaim will melt, run down the walls and pool in the bottom of the piece. Once it does, use a pair of oven mitts to tip it upside down and pour out the puddle.
Upside – Dab reclaim is a gift from the plant; cleaning a rig in the oven, is a great way to harvest it. Some people like to save it to smoke while others prefer to bake with it; one thing that is certain, if ingested, what comes out of your rig can be quite potent. If you are going to use it, make edibles, proceed slowly and think of it like an imperfect distillate. No matter what recipe you make or how much reclaim you use, expect it to have a mild cannabis taste or be absent of it entirely. Because of that, combined with the potency factor, it’s very easy to forget that you are eating a cannabis edible, and green yourself out.
Downside – This method has a larger margin for error but as long as the glass was tempered properly and you don’t act like an idiot, heating your glass in the oven is safe.
At home solvent – Acetone
Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover and will dissolve resin without question. Thanks to the popularity of gel nail polish, you can find very strong nail polish remover or even 100% acetone at the dollar store.
Note – Make sure you do this in a well-ventilated area because no one likes to self isolate in a chemical cloud. Don’t forget to pre-clean your dab rig or bong!
To use acetone:
Pour in enough acetone to coat the inside and pool a bit on the bottom
Plug all openings with scraps of clean cloth (dish towel or old t-shirt)
Shake it like a polaroid picture
Repeat this process three times
Rinse out the inside with soap and water once
Rinse using water only until no soap remains
Hot tip for potheads – Acetone or nail polish remover will wipe your sink clean after cleaning your bong!
The author would like to acknowledge and thank @WilsonTHC and Dylan Nickerson for their contribution to this article.
You can read the article clean your bong without isopropyl alcohol in French too: