Cleaning a Bong: Is It Worth It?

Posted by Emma Way on May 18th 2021

Cleaning a Bong: Is It Worth It?


A bong, or water, is one of the most commonly used apparatuses to smoke dry herbs and has been for a long time now. A basic bong has a bowl mounted on its side where you can pack MJ into and smoke, using the water inside the bong to cool and filter the smoke. The smoke is directed from the base of the bong straight up to its next and through the mouthpiece where you can inhale it.

Using a glass bong has been the go-to method for smoking as it’s really easy to use and clean. You don’t need as much prep time, and it is generally easier to learn how to use compared to other smoking devices/methods.

However, most people would agree that using a bong is quite difficult to clean due to the amount of resin that builds up from continuous use. Thankfully, this article will tell you how you should clean your bong, the reasons to do so, and what materials you will need to clean various bongs.

How and Why to Clean Your Bong


When you clean your bong, you’re not just doing it for aesthetic value; you also do it for health purposes. Stagnant bong water is like water in a puddle, and it can be a home to all sorts of fungi and bacteria. Microorganisms like yeast can also fester in old, dirty bong water. You definitely do not want to inhale any of these substances.

One sign of knowing when to change the bong water is when you see a layer, known as biofilm, forming across the surface of the water. The biofilm can harbor a number of nasty pathogens, from Strep and E. coli to black mildew. If you accidentally inhale these substances, it can lead to serious illness. One of the benefits of bongs is that they filter out harmful materials, but they can only accomplish that feat with clean water.

Using a bong usually filters out harmful materials, but that’s only done with clean water. Ideally, you should replace the water for every bong session. If you don’t clean out the bong water often enough, the bong would also become harder to clean. Another important reason to change bong water regularly is to remove potentially carcinogenic substances that the filtration system releases.

What You Need to Clean a Bong:

You don’t need a lot of materials to clean your bong. You might already have some of these lying around at home:

  • Sea salt (Coarse)
  • Rubbing alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol is preferred)
  • Rubber stoppers (or bong plugs)
  • Two large Ziploc bags
  • A towel

Once you have all of these items, you can start the bong cleaning process.

Steps to Clean a Glass and Silicone Bong

Step 1:Empty the bong, place it in the sink, and add the sea salt into it. The sea salt acts as a scrubbing agent when you move on to the next step, so be sure to add a good amount.

Step 2:Depending on the size of your bong, fill it with enough rubbing alcohol while keeping plenty of room to shake the bong, so the alcohol doesn’t topple out the top. A good way to measure it out is by filling enough alcohol so that it’s just above the salt.

Step 3:Swirl the alcohol-sea salt mix to start cleaning your bong. Cover the top of the bong with your hand and shake a little harder but make sure you have complete control of your bong so as not to hit the bong on the sink by accident. The shaking causes the salt to crash into the sides of the bong, which helps clean the resin off.

Step 4:Keep rinsing, swirling, and shaking until your bong is clean. You can also use some hot water and a pipe cleaner to clean out any remaining residue.

Steps to Clean a Bong Bowl

Step 1: Place your bong bowl inside the Ziploc bag.

Step 2: Add a sizeable amount of salt (enough to cover 10% of the bowl) and rubbing alcohol (enough to cover 50% of the bong bowl) to the bag, and then zip it up.

Step 3: Gently swirl the bag around so that the rubbing alcohol mixes well with the salt.

Step 4:Then shake the bag a bit harder so the salt can scrub against stubborn stains. Once the residue comes off, take the bong bowl out and rinse it with some hot water.


Once you learn and practice cleaning your bong often, you’ll protect your lungs, health and increase your bong’s lifespan. Some places like Atomic Blaze offer bongs that look unique and are also easy to clean. Remember - A well-maintained bong can last you a long time. The more you clean your bong, the easier it will be to maintain it.