We all know how dirty a bong can get, more so if you are like me and smoke a lot of spin. Unfortunately this resinous buildup is difficult to remove without some help, especially with the range of intricate glassware available to stoners today. I’ll talk about some of the methods that have worked for me so far.
Rubbing alcohol, Ethanol and Methanol work well at dissolving pretty much anything oily. While rubbing alcohol and ethanol are reasonably non toxic, care should be taken while handling methanol. Usually I’ll add a couple tablespoons of either rock salt or regular table salt to the alcohol before adding it to my glassware. From there its a matter of swirling it around and repeating until all the gunk is removed. Things like percs should be allowed to soak for a while to soften any buildup inside the tubes. To remove any residue, warm water with dish soap removes any additional residue along with the alcohol. Things like stems and bowls can be soaked to loosen any buildup before scraping clean, being careful not to damage anything.
Acetone is my go to solvent for removing pretty much anything oily or sticky. Acetone quickly dissolves bong resin and salt is not usually required unless things are well and truly baked on such as glassware that hasn’t been cleaned for a while or is used regularly and heavily. Acetone is slightly more toxic than alcohol and quite a lot more volatile so care is needed.
Water on its own won’t do much to remove anything unless its hot. It can help loosen gunk in hard to reach places like the inside of percs and the like. Using cold water is pointless unless used to rinse solvent residues from your gear after cleaning and even then you need soap to effectively remove it.
For lightly soiled glassware, dish soap works fine with hot water and is also non toxic and unlikely to leave any unpleasant taste or odor in your piece. Its also readily available which is a plus.
Sodium Triphosphate:(Sugar Soap)
Be sure to wear gloves with this as its somewhat corrosive to skin. TSP combined with hot water works well provided you let everything soak first before scrubbing. A bottle brush or old toothbrush will help you scrub off any hard to remove residue while the rest simply rinses off. It isn’t as effective as solvents are on baked on resin but with a bit of scrubbing, works reasonably well.
Gasoline, paint thinners and other petroleum based solvents:
Apart from being highly toxic, none of these things are that effective at dissolving bong resin and are difficult to clean out of glassware after use. Most people don’t want their fine herb tainted with gasoline or thinners, not to mention its not that good for you to begin with. Avoid if you can.