The Science of Cleaning a Pipe

In 6000 B.C. tobacco was discovered in the Americas and ever since it has been a world favorite in all societies. Since the 5Th century A.D. mankind has been smoking tobacco from pipes. After centuries of smoking from pipes we have perfected the art. We have the most technologically advanced pipes of any civilization thus far. They are made of many different materials such as glass, wood, plastics, and metals.

Glass by far is one of the most superior of all the pipes on a performance level. Smoking fine tobacco from a glass pipe enhances the flavor greatly. It is a smooth and tasteful smoking experience, but there are some drawbacks to smoking from a glass pipe. Cleaning resin from the inside tube usually proves to be difficult and glass is more likely to be broken or chipped. But if properly cared for, glass pipes will maintain their beautiful clear appearance and tasteful smoke.

As an experienced smoker and lover of flavored tobacco, I have developed several techniques that will help you get the resin out of your glass pipes. There are several things that you are going to need and they are listed below.

  • Pipe cleaners – Thin or thick depending on what size your pipe is.
  • Cotton Swabs (Q-Tips)
  • Two 1-3″ Thick pieces of terry cloth. Cut according to the size of your pipe. If your opening is 1″ or smaller use a 2″ wide piece of terry cloth. If it is larger, use more. Make sure it is long enough to pull through the pipe.
  • Candle Wax Cleaner or any oil based cleaner. Using a non-toxic oil based cleaner will help break down the resin allowing easier cleaning.
  • Small dish for the cleaner.
  • Small towel or tissues.

The first thing you should do before cleaning your glass pipe is to remove all pieces of the pipe that are not part of the unit. Remove the bowl and filter pieces if possible. Once you have done this soak the bowl piece only in the small dish of cleaner. Remember to use a non-toxic cleaner because you will be smoking from this pipe after you have cleaned it. Breathing in harsh chemicals is dangerous. While that piece is soaking you are going to clean the glass pipe.

Douse the pipe cleaner with your non-toxic cleaner and scrub the inside of your pipe. This begins the breakdown of the sticky black resin. Move the pipe cleaner back and forth pulling the resin. Twist it a few times and then pull it straight out in one direction. You want to pull as much resin as you can with the pipe cleaner to loosen it up. Next take your piece of terry cloth and lightly dampen it with cleaner. Do not soak the cloth, it should be dry enough to grab the resin.

Twist the cloth into the opening of the pipe. You want to twist the cloth at an angle so that it becomes longer and thinner, but still tight inside the pipe. You many have to twist in different directions to get the cloth through the pipe. Once you have worked it through the glass pipe pull the extra length back and forth inside the pipe 3-4 times. Remove the terry cloth by pulling it out from the same end you inserted it in. This will reduce the amount of stress on the glass.

If there are still some spots on the inside of the glass pipe use a cotton swab dipped in cleaner to remove them. Insert the dipped end of the cotton swab into the pipe and scrub at the spots that remain. Take the dry end of the swab and wipe off the excess cleaner. When you have finished this process you will need to wipe the inside and outside of your pipe clean of any extra cleaner. Again twist the clean piece of terry cloth through the pipe to remove any cleaner. When you are done wipe the outside of the pipe with the other smaller towel or tissues.

If you removed a bowl that has been soaking in the cleaner remove it. Wipe any excess cleaner from the outside first, then the inside. When you clean the inside of the bowl the resinous surface should wipe clear with a tissue or towel. When this piece is cleaned accordingly you can put the glass pipe back together. If you want to be absolutely sure there is no cleaning residue left on the glass pipe then rinse it under steaming hot water and let dry.

The entire cleaning process should only take 10-15 minutes. How much you smoke will determine how often you will need to clean your pipe. I wipe my pipe down in and out after every smoke, but that is my personal preference. Now you should have a crystal clear pipe that is ready for smoking. At the end of a long day I like to sit and smoke a relaxing mint flavored tobacco while listening to some music. Enjoy!

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