No doubt, silicone bongs are seriously challenging the more well-established glass models as the material of choice. Silicone bongs are basically unbreakable, which means that you can drop them without worrying about them shattering everywhere – now, cleaning up that bong water is a different story. However, these bongs have been proven to be extremely useful for anyone who prefers a water pipe and a more durable material. Still, silicone bongs, like all pieces, need to be properly maintained no matter what they’re made out of, especially when it comes to regular cleaning sessions. In fact, there are some do’s and don’ts that you need to be on top of if you want your bong to continue delivering for a long time to come.
Why Do Silicone Bongs Need to Be Cleaned Anyway?
A silicone bong is nonporous, which means that you don’t really have to worry about gunk getting into nooks and crannies in the way that you have to worry about with ceramic and similar materials. But, that doesn’t mean that your bong doesn’t require the same level of care and time when it comes to keeping it clean. All bongs eventually develop residue and gunk that comes from repeated use. The constantly flow of compound-rich smoke inevitably builds upon the inner walls, and not only is this unappealing to look at, but it can interfere with flavor as that residue has a stale or burnt taste. Too much residue can even disrupt airflow, thus interfering with your bong’s performance.
How Frequently Should a Silicone Bong Be Cleaned?
Ideally, if you’re a daily bong hitter, then you’ll want to clean it at least once a week, and we’re talking about a thorough cleaning – not just switching out the water. Sporadic users can get away with cleaning their bongs less frequently, but the bottom line is that once you see that buildup developing, it’s time for a good clean.
What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Silicone Bong
Before we get into the appropriate methods for cleaning a silicone bong, we gotta cover some things that you shouldn’t do, which can both ruin your bong and be harmful to your health.
#1: Using Dangerous Chemicals
A huge mistake is cleaning a bong with a caustic substance, such as basically any cleaner intended for use around the home. Bleach, window cleaner, counter cleaner and bathroom cleaner are all great at cleaning surfaces, but are extremely dangerous to breathe in. Cleaning your bong with one of these products means you’ll be inhaling trace levels of their caustic compounds, which can come with serious health consequences.
#2: Abrasive Materials
We know it’s tempting to scrub your bong with an abrasive material such as a loofah sponge or steel wool, as that could break up all of the residue quickly. But, these harsh materials can cause microtears in the silicone, which will accumulate gunk over time and be much harder to clean out. There are far gentler but equally efficient methods to cleaning your bong thoroughly.
#3: Inadequate Cleaning
For instance, a quick rinse under water will not do the trick. Cleaning should be taken seriously, because the better and more frequently you clean your silicone bong, the better it will work. Simple as that.
The Proper Way to Clean Your Silicone Bong
Fortunately, proper cleaning methods are very straightforward and simple, and won’t cut too much into your time. So, there are two main methods for cleaning a silicone bong.
Method #1: Dishwasher
Silicone is a dishwasher-safe material and can handle the demands of a dishwasher even better than glass. However, not all pieces in your particular bong may be dishwasher safe – just those that are made from 100% silicone. Take your bong apart and place each piece safely on the top rack and run a standard cycle. Keep in mind, though, that older surface residue might not come out with this method alone as it’s more “baked into” the silicone’s surface.
Method #2: Cleaning Solution
This is usually the preferred method. You can either make one yourself, with isopropyl alcohol, salt and water, or just buy a solution that’s made just for this type of piece.
If use a cleaning solution that’s store-bought, follow the instructions on the label. Otherwise, you’ll want to soak your bong for at least a couple of hours, but preferably overnight. Do this by filling a large bowl or basin with the solution and submerging the bong pieces after taking them apart. Then, you can simply rinse the pieces, let them air-dry and put them back together.
Recommended: You should only use specific cleaning solutions that are suggested for bongs and similar types of pieces.