Glass has historically been the material of choice when it comes to producing pipes, bongs, dab rigs and other smoking devices. But silicone pieces are quickly becoming just as popular.
Silicone is now being used for all kinds of products these days, and it’s no surprise. Silicone is a synthetic material made by heating a mix of sand and quartz to produce a stable polymer that is highly resistant to chemicals and heat. It can withstand temperatures up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit and does not emit gases or chemicals when heated like plastic does.
For stoners, this is an ideal next step in the evolution of smoking devices because silicone pieces are substantially more durable, providing a longer lifespan and almost entirely eliminating the risk of damage or destruction of a piece. Think of all the pipes you’ve broken that you would still have if they had been made of silicone instead of glass.
There are a few differences between glass and silicone, and cleaning is a big one. Silicone pipes take longer to get dirty, and are typically much easier to clean. However, the way you clean your silicone pipe is very important. Typical cleaning methods used on glass should not be used on silicone.
Substances like salt, vinegar and isopropyl alcohol are usually used to clean glass. But these cleaning solutions are too harsh for silicone, and can cause it to break down much quicker than it would if you’re cleaning it the right way.
Common Cleaning Methods For Silicone Pipes
The best way to care for and maintain your piece is to rinse with hot water and wipe it out with a paper towel or cloth after each use. This will help keep major resin buildup from happening too quickly. But eventually, the time will come when it’s due for a deep cleaning. Here’s a few ways to properly clean your silicone pieces.
Soap and Water
This is an easy go-to. Because silicone provides a non-stick surface, you won’t find the rock hard, baked-on resin that you typically find on glass pipes, bongs and other pieces. With a little effort, mild soap and water, you can give your piece a thorough cleaning. You want to make sure any soap you’re using is not oil-based. Oil can cause silicone to break down over time by causing the silicone to swell as the oil is absorbed. There are specific cleaning solutions out there for silicone pipes, but as long as you use a gentle, water-based soap, you’ll ultimately get the same results.
Feeling lazy? This one’s for you! Silicone is dishwasher safe. This method will give you a pretty decent clean, depending on the type and shape of the silicone piece you’re trying to wash. But, the dishwasher may not always be able to get into the nooks and crannies of your piece. The condition of your dishwater may affect the end results as well. If it’s an older, potentially worn out machine, it may not do the trick. You also always want to rinse your piece once it comes out of the dishwasher to ensure there's no dish detergent residue left over. This could affect the condition of your silicone over time and give you some nasty soap-flavored hits.
This method takes a little bit of prep and waiting, but it’s definitely less labor intensive than washing your pipe by hand. For best results, you’ll want your pipe to be very dirty. The more buildup, the better this will work. Rinse your pipe thoroughly, then pop it in the freezer while it’s still wet.. You’ll want to leave it in there for at least a couple of hours. As the water and resin freeze, they bind together. Once you pull it out of your freezer, all you have to do is bend and squeeze your piece. You’ll hear the resin and ice crack away from the surface of the silicone. Then, just give it a good rinse, pat it try with a towel or let it air dry.
The Bottom Line
Silicone is on the rise in popularity
for its durability and convenience. Silicone is efficient, practical,
affordable, safe to use, and will last you a lifetime. But like any of your
smoking pieces, regardless of material, knowing how to properly maintain and
clean your pieces is part of being a healthy and responsible stoner. If you want
the best quality hits, and a long life for your pipe, bong or other silicone
tools, it’s crucial to keep that thing clean and fully operational.
Pick up a new silicone pipe, bong or other silicone tool at Atomic Blaze Online Smoke Shop.