How to Clean Your Dab Tools

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What You’ll Need

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Cleaning your dab tools may be the last thing on your mind, but part of maintaining your dab rig is knowing how to properly clean it.

Obviously this isn't the fun part of owning and using dab tools. But in order to extend the life of your tools, and expect clean, flavorful hits each time, you must make sure everything is properly maintained and functional. Here’s what you need to know.

Why It’s Important To Clean Your Dab Tools

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Whether you dab all the time, or just once in a while, you’re eventually going to get to the point where it needs a cleaning. Your dab rig, nail and accessories accumulate a build up of resin over time, which becomes dark and charred. This directly affects the flavor profile of your hits.

This buildup will also affect the shelf life of your equipment. Your rig and tools can potentially break much easier if they are dirty and have large amounts of resin buildup

How To Clean Your Dab Tools

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Firstly, you’ll have to collect all the supplies you need to properly clean your tools. Most of these are common household items, but you can find cleaning solutions specific for dab rigs.

What You Need:

90% or above isopropyl alcohol

Salt (preferably course)

Resealable zipper bag

Pipe cleaner and/or cotton swab

Dab tool, paper clip, or steel wire

What To Do:

Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, it’s time to get started. How much effort and time you’ll need to put into this process depends on how long it’s been since your rig was last cleaned, which is why it’s important to clean your tools regularly. The more often you clean it, the easier it will be to clean. Most dab users follow these five steps:

  1. To make this first step a little easier, soak the dab rig in hot water to start loosening up the buildup of resin. Then, you’re going to want to begin scraping off as much resin residue as you can with your dab tool, paper clip or steel wire.
  2. Put the rig in a large resealable zipper bag and fill with the isopropyl alcohol so that the piece is completely submerged and let it soak. The alcohol will start to dissolve the rock hard resin that has built up inside your rig.
  3. Add a tablespoon, or possibly more, depending on the size of your rig, to the bag. You’ll also want to add some salt into the piece itself. The salt acts as an abrasive to knock loose any of that tough resin buildup in hard to reach places, which is why coarser salt is better than fine table salt.
  4. Zip the bag up, and carefully but rigorously shake the bag. As you shake, the alcohol and salt solution will start to get cloudy and dirty. You may need to repeat this step with fresh cleaning solution if your piece has a large amount of buildup. You can also let it soak again at this point for up to 24 hours.
  5. Once you’re happy with the amount of resin you’ve removed, you can rinse your rig with water and wipe with a cloth to dry the outside, then let it sit to air dry the inside.

Cleaning Your Dab Nail

The best way to maintain upkeep when it comes to keeping your nail or quartz banger clean is to wipe it out while it is still warm after each use. This will help lessen the amount of resin buildup that can accumulate over time. If you have a hefty amount of buildup, use a couple of drops of alcohol on your cotton swab or paper towel. You can also soak the piece in alcohol overnight if you have some stubborn residue.

Cleaning Your Carb Cap

Although this piece won’t get as dirty as the other elements of your rig, it’s important to keep these clean as well. Similar to the dab nail, it’s easiest to just wipe these out with cotton swabs or a paper towel after each use. However, if you find you’re noticing a substantial amount of buildup, using alcohol to wipe out your carb cap will give you that extra cleaning power.

Cleaning Your Dabber Tools

Most folks just heat these up and wipe away excess resin. But be careful, heat transfers quickly through these tools and could potentially burn you. You can also use alcohol to clean these as well in the same way you would your nail or carb cap.

Cleaning Your Dab Accessories

Things like quartz inserts, terp pearls, tweezers and more can also get this buildup of sticky resin. For these, you just want to drop them in alcohol for a few minutes and wipe clean.

A Note On Materials

The cleaning methods mentioned above are for glass and metal dab set-ups only. Any silicone dab rigs or accessories should not be cleaned with alcohol. Over time, alcohol can break down the silicone, shortening the life span of your pieces. For cleaning silicone, you’ll want to make a cleaning solution of water (not oil) based soap and warm water. Freezing your silicone rig beforehand can also help crack off tough resin buildup.

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