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How to Clean Your Water Pipe like a Pro

Posted by Jamie Pope on Apr 30, 2021

How to Clean Your Water Pipe like a Pro

With all the fun and excitement owning a water pipe brings to your smoking experience, there’s one crucial thing to keep in mind: how in the world do you clean these things? Their intricate design may bring some uncertainty on where exactly to start, but no worries. Cloud 9 Smoke Co has the ultimate cleaning guide for water pipes. As the saying goes, “You gone learn today!”

Here’s the scoop on why cleaning your water pipe is so important: Every time you take a rip, you introduce new resins, residues, and plant matter into your water pipe. This means that with every hit from here on will have some previous pull through, which results in a less flavorful and effective hit. Nobody wants that mess! Cloud 9 Smoke Co recommends that you clean your glass water pipe at least once a week, and here are the how-tos.

Let’s roll up those sleeves, whip out a notebook, and tackle the water pipe cleaning experience!

How Will I Know it's Time to Clean My Water Pipe?

One of the key indicators that it's time to clean ole-reliable is when the taste of your herb has declined in potency. Usually, you’ll notice that the components of resin and dirty water will lead the taste of your smoke instead of the terpenes of the herb you’ve chosen to smoke.

Just like when it’s time to shower, and hopefully you don’t wait this long, you notice that you smell stinky opposed to fresh and scrumptious. Your water pipe will give off this warning too. Whether the stinky smells come from buildup from the walls or the stagnant water inside your water pipe, it's going to smell atrocious. Not the “I can cover this up with deodorant and spray” atrocious, we mean “I’ve fallen head first in a sewer and I can’t get out” atrocious. This smell doesn’t stay inside your water pipe. Nope! That bad smell will spread to the walls, the carpet, and even on your clothes.

Bacteria. If school didn’t teach you anything about bacteria, Cloud 9 Smoke Co definitely will. After 22 hours, bacteria of all kinds begin to grow inside a dirty water pipe. Bacteria grow at an exponential rate. In severe cases, like painstakingly severe, necrotizing pneumonia becomes a possible reality to your world. In simplest terms, this pneumonia causes your lung tissues to die. Yikes!

Before You Become Scared Straight, This is How Often You Need to Clean Your Water Pipe:

Casual Smokers:

We recommend casual smokers to clean their water pipes after every use. This reason circles back to the whole bacteria thing we talked about. Since you guys often go days between smoke seshes, bacteria has time to grow and flourish inside your water pipe in the meanwhile. Plus, you’ll always get to savor the flavor of your terpenes with every use!

Heavy Smokers:

For all you heavy-smoker champs out there, we suggest you clean your water pipe at least every 48 hours. The heat and smoke from routine use will slow the growth of bacteria, but only to a certain degree. At a certain point, only cleaning your water pipe will prevent bacteria from getting into your lungs. To get your mind on track here’s a scenario for you:

  • If you smoke from a clean water pipe on Saturday morning, wash the heck out of your piece after your first smoke on Monday morning- what a productive way to start your week! ;)

This is How You Do it:

Just like making your bed or doing the dishes, cleaning your water pipe may seem like a chore. While it may be one, we’ve lessened the tension and stress by running down the basics on how to clean your water pipe like a boss!

What you need:

  • Hot water
  • Resinate (for these guys, make sure to use Resinate Green)
  • Glob Mops
  • Hand towels
  • Ziploc bags or tupperware containers with lids
  • Bottle brush or pipe cleaners

What you do:

  • Dump Out the Dirty Water
    • This is the most crucial step to begin your water pipe cleaning extravaganza! Removing all dirty water will give you more room for cleaning products. Plus, cleaning with dirty water = fail.
  • Take Apart Water Pipe
    • Separate your slide and downstem from your water pipe.
      • If these products are two pieces, separate them as well.
    • If anything else moves or can be removed, go ahead and take those apart too.
  • Rinse Everything With Hot Water
    • Using hot water (not too hot - we're still working with glass! Take it a few degrees lighter than your shower temp.) will remove some of the surface resin that has built up and will dissolve the bonds that bind the resin in place. Always fill hot water from the top and empty from the slide opening. This will make sure the chances of loose resin won’t get lodged anywhere else!
  • Put Each Piece in its Own Container
    • Take fresh ziploc bags and Tupperware dishes, no not the ones with spaghetti leftovers, and place each piece you’ve taken apart in its own container. Please, for the love of Pete, do not try to put your water pipe inside a plastic bag or container!
      • After you’ve got all of these pieces in their baggie or container, pour at least ¼ cup of Resinate inside. With the bottle of Resinate Green, you will have scratch-resistant abrasive included. No need for alcohol and salt anymore!
        • For larger pieces, use ½ cup of Resinate Green.
  • Shake
    • Make sure to seal your baggies or containers before this step! No need in trying to clean up any more mess than the one you’re already addressing. After that, shake with your heart’s content, seriously. Turn on a song that’s at least 5 minutes long, and shake what your momma gave ya! It’s going to take some time with this process.
      • If your arms are basically jello, let your water pipe pieces soak for 10 to 15 minutes, and then come back to shake some more. Once the pieces have reached their sparkly, clean potential set them aside (still inside the bags or containers). Time to focus on the main attraction at hand: cleaning the water pipe!
  • Pour Resinate Green Inside Your Water Pipe:
    • Standard water pipes will normally need around ½ cup of Resinate. If you’re dealing with a big kahuna here, you may need some more.
  • Plug the Holes
    • Using your hand towels, plug all the holes in your water pipe. If it’s laundry day and you’re without spare towels, you can use your hands to cover the mouth and hole where the stem goes.
  • Shake
    • Just like you did with the small pieces in their baggies, put that body to work and shake! Shake your pipe for at least 5 minutes, or more if you have a grimy piece on your hands. Think of all the calories you’re burning while you’re shaking! Who needs Planet Fitness when you have cleaning day?
  • Rinse Everything With Hot Water
    • Take all of your small pieces and dump out the Resinate; do the same with your water pipe. Rinse all of your products with the hottest water you can tolerate.
      • This step helps remove residual resin and cleaning product from the surface of your piece. If there are stubborn pieces that won’t give, use a Glob Mop or bottle brush to pick away at the stubborn bits.
        • Why GlobMop over standard Q-tip?
          • A standard Q-tip contains bleached cotton with glue, acrylic, and other materials that may be left behind from using a Q-tip. Glob Mops have organic, unbleached cotton that will leave behind no extra additives or chemicals that will affect your future smoking experiences.

Okay, that was A LOT. What Can I Do to Avoid Difficult Messes?

To avoid super long, physically taxing cleaning days for your water pipe, routine cleaning is always the best option. By routine, we mean clean after every use. Sure, the task may seem daunting and may get in the way of post-sesh festivities. Taking the time to run hot water through your piece after a use would be enough to prevent the resin build up we mentioned earlier.

Consider this: Would you rather spend 5 minutes or less cleaning your water pipe after every use, or take an hour or longer to tackle weeks of gunk build up?

Wrapping it Up…

You’ve gone and learned the thing today! We can tell you have the arm muscles needed to clean your water pipe! Have you been working out? Now that you have the essential guide to cleaning your water pipe, you have all the means to make your pieces sparkly clean. With Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s cleaning supplies by your side, your pieces will look fresh off the shelf every time. 

Warm water causing a lot of rave in the smoking community. Have you tried it? Cloud 9 Smoke Co has! Give this article a read to learn about the difference between smoking with warm water vs cold water.