How To Clean A Pipe: 5 Methods Including Without Alcohol, Glass Pipe, And More

You need to clean your pipe regularly to remove build up. Frequent cleanings also prevent the spread of bacteria and mold. Our stuff here at Dreamland Organics might be all natural, organic, full spectrum quality hemp - but that doesn't do you much good if you're inhaling it from a dirty pipe, now does it?

We've got 4 common (and fairly easy!) ways to clean resin out of a pipe. You can pick your favorite method, or try them all before you decide. No matter what material your smoking devices are made of, we have an option for you.

Getting Started Cleaning Your Pipe

Start by just shaking out any loose "crud" from the pipe. Just hold it upside down and give it a few gentle taps. Then, use something small like a pipe cleaner or cotton swab to remove large chunks and wipe down the pipe. This'll knock most of the big stuff right out. Now you can get down to the nitty-gritty cleaning.

Helpful hint: Some people freeze their pipe first. This makes it easier to clean resin out of a pipe. When frozen, it might flake right off if you're lucky. Just keep in mind that you'll have to work fast when you take it out of the freezer - or keep refreezing it. A pipe returns to room temperature in record time.

how to clean a pipe

How To Clean A Glass Pipe With Alcohol

This is the most common method for cleaning a smoking pipe. You can use it on most pipes. It's a great how to method to clean a glass pipe or most other materials - but avoid trying this one with wooden pipes.
  • Fill a Tupperware container or sealable plastic bag with Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
  • Add your pipe to the container with a tablespoon or two of salt. Use the biggest salt you can find - like sea salt or Epsom salt.
  • Seal the bag/container. Shake it around, making sure to work the salt into all the crevices of the pipe. The alcohol and salt should really be mixing into all the nooks and crannies.
  • After you've had time to clean, the liquid will be pretty gross looking. Dump it out (flush it down the toilet so your bathroom doesn't reek). If you need to, repeat these steps one more time for a thorough clean.
  • You can let the pipe soak for awhile if you need to.
  • When you're done, rinse the pipe out with warm tap water. Use a bottle brush or Q-tips to clean out the pipe, and rinse again. 
  • If needed, you can dip the Q-tip directly into rubbing alcohol to clean.
  • When you're all done, just set the pipe down on a towel to dry.
hemp plant

How To Clean Your Pipe Without Alcohol

If you're out of alcohol or just want another method, we have three options for you. It is possible to learn how to clean your pipe without alcohol!

All three of our "without alcohol" choices involve white vinegar. Note that any of these recipes can be altered for apple cider vinegar instead. But some people report that apple cider yellows or discolors their pipe, especially for glass pieces. So just be warned and use caution before swapping ingredients.

There are also special solutions and cleaners that you can purchase for just this purpose (try searching pipe cleaning solution). It does some of the heavy work for you, if you need to clean your pipe without alcohol. But since there's no special recipe or tips for those, we've left them off this list. 

How To Clean Your Pipe In Boiling Water

This method is best for metal or ceramic pipes. It may be too rough for wood pipes. Similarly, it's a bit harsh and not the ideal way to clean a glass pipe either.
  • Put tap water and white vinegar (equal parts) in a sauce pan. DO NOT USE HOT WATER. Hot water can crack a cold pipe! 
  • Add an extra two teaspoons of vinegar to the mix. Next, add the pipe to the water. Slowly bring to a boil (you can heat the pipe with the water, you just can't drop a cold pipe into very hot water).
  • Turn the heat down low and let it simmer. It usually takes around half an hour. But if your pipe is extra-filthy, you might want to give it as much as an hour. 
  • After the time has passed, use metal tongs to swish the pipe around in the water. This should help dislodge a lot of the gunk still inside. Then use a bottle brush to scrub whatever's left.
  • Safely and carefully remove the pipe with the metal tongs and an oven pad/mittens. Rinse with warm water.
  • If there's still more in there, you can try to break it down further by letting it soak in lemon juice. Then, rinse off the lemon juice.
  • Let it cool on a plate or towel until dry. 

Be aware that boiling a pipe slowly degrades the material - even a glass pipe can eventually weaken this way. If this is your favorite pipe, you might want to pick a gentler method.

How To Clean Your Pipe With Vinegar And Baking Soda

This is another method that works well for glass pipes. It can work for other materials as well, such as metal. While cleaning a pipe with alcohol is the most common method, sometimes you need an alternative.

  • Place the pipe in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  • Sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda into the container, over the pipe.
  • Shake the bag or container, making sure the baking soda really covers the pipe.
  • Add vinegar, closing the container quickly so it doesn't make a mess.
  • Watch the fun chemical reaction and imagine how squeaky clean your pipe is going to be.
  • Let it soak for awhile - again, somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour depending on how dirty the pipe is.
  • Clean the pipe out with a bottle brush, then rinse with warm water.
  • Let the pipe dry out on a towel.
how to clean a pipe without alcohol

How To Clean A Smoking Pipe With Salt and Vinegar

This method is similar to the baking soda/vinegar above, but it uses salt instead of baking soda. The salt is a bit more abrasive, which can help if resin is really stuck tight on the pipe. This is another way to clean a pipe without alcohol, if you're all out.
  • Put your pipe in a sealable bag or Tupperware container filled with enough vinegar to submerge the pipe. 
  • Add a few tablespoons of salt and seal the container. Try to use the largest salt you have - like sea salt or Epsom salt.
  • Shake everything around, making sure the salt gets into all the nooks and crannies.
  • Let it sit and soak in the vinegar solution, for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Remove, using a bottle brush to finish cleaning out the pipe.
  • Rinse the pipe with warm water, and set it on a towel to dry.

Now Just Keep Your Hemp Pipe Clean!

The next part might sound sort of crazy. But if you hate the hassle of cleaning resin out of a pipe, there's really only one answer. Clean it more often!

When you put off cleaning a smoking pipe for months at a time, you're risking exposure to nasty things like bacteria and mold. However, you're also making the inevitable cleaning a lot harder. When you finally get around to it, everything's so caked in there that you have to break a sweat to even see the tiniest difference. No wonder you hate cleaning your pipe.

If you clean it regularly (once a week or so) you can actually make it a fairly quick and mostly effortless process. Just dump it in a bag with a little vinegar (or rubbing alcohol), a few swishes around, rinse, dry, done!

So do yourself a favor, and just get in the habit of cleaning the thing out once in awhile. It's not so bad, we promise. 

Until then, why not fill your pipe again with some of our best craft organic smokable hemp? Our Immortal hemp buds are 15% CBD - and have a grape jam terpene flavor! 



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