A well-maintained bong bowl can take a few minutes to clean. A clogged bowl, however, can mean spending several hours to get it clean. The necessary materials you’ll need for cleaning and unclogging a bong bowl would be:
Epsom salt or rock salt
90% Isopropyl alcohol (or higher)
Ziploc bag and/or dish bowl
Basin or sink
Q-tips, toothpicks, match, bobby pins, paper clips, pocket knife, or pipe cleaner to scrape off the stuck-on resin.
Step 1: Soaking
Gently wash your bong bowl with water in the sink, gradually increasing the temperature.
Let the water run through the bowl to help loosen up the resin.
Place the bong bowl inside a dish bowl or Ziplock bag.
Fill it up with hot water mixed with dishwashing liquid, fully submerging the bong bowl in water.
Soak the bong bowl for 10-30 minutes, depending on how thick the resin is.
You may want to do the soaking overnight if your bong bowl is clogged.
Change the soaking water several times as needed, gently shaking the bong bowl.
Step 2: Shaking
Take out the bong bowl and shake out the excess moisture.
Place an open Ziplock bag on top of the table and hover the bowl inside the opening.
Run a bit of alcohol through the bowl then place it inside the bag.
Pour alcohol inside the bag to fully cover the bong bowl.
Add a generous amount of salt, making sure you see solid particles inside the fluid.
Seal the bag tightly and shake as hard as you can for 5-10 minutes.
You’ll notice the liquid changing in color, and some residue will float.
Take out the bowl and pour out the dirty fluid.
Wash the bowl thoroughly with hot water, making sure to cover all areas to remove the alcohol.
To scrape or not to scrape?
Scraping should be done very carefully because of the use of dry heat. It’s used mostly on pipes, but others use it for thick bowls.
Heat the bowl with a lighter until it’s hot. The heat loosens up the resin so that you can scrape it off.
Use your scraper (i. e. pins, paper clips, pocket knife) to take out the resin bit by bit.
How about boiling?
Bong users are divided when it comes to boiling their bong bowl. There’s the risk of the bowl cracking and/or breaking depending on how thick the bong bowl and stem would be. If you wish to boil your bong bowl:
Wash the bong bowl with water, gradually increasing the temperature to temper the glass material
Place it in a small pot, pouring hot water up to half the pot.
Put it on the fire and let it boil for 5-15 minutes on low to medium heat. Higher temperature increases the chances of your bowl cracking.
Pour out the water and repeat the process until the resin is barely noticeable.
Run the bowl with hot water in the sink, scraping any resin that remained in the bong bowl.
Let the bong bowl cool naturally. If the ambient temperature in the room is too cold, you may want to let the bowl sit inside the pot of warm water until it cools down.
Things to consider:
Don’t use hardware solvents. These chemicals are harsher and harder to remove – not to mention highly toxic. You may have heard of using baking soda and vinegar to get the gunk out. Resin buildup in your bong bowl is made up of tar, carbon, ash, and cannabinoids. Baking soda and vinegar are not strong enough to unbind resin and wash it out of your bong bowl.
Either use a pot to be disposed of or clean the pot that you used to boil the bong bowl really well. The residue from your bowl will stick to the pot, which can be very hard to clean.
Do not boil your bong bowl if you are traveling in an area where the use of it is prohibited. Boiling makes the room smell, so be prepared to either man-up, or open the windows, doors, and exhaust.