Best Ways To Clean A Bong

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Maintaining a clean bong is vital to continually enjoy the rich aromatic, flavor, and cannabinoid profiles of the cannabis plant. Bongs have long been one of the superior ways to experience the therapeutic and euphoric benefits of cannabis. With all the options in composition, shape, and function, cannabis consumers are spoiled nowadays with different types of bongs. Even the simplest of bongs can better harness and control cannabis’ elevating effects than joints, blunts, and pipes. But understanding how to take care of this prized possession is important if you want it to last

At Medallion Wellness, we are proud to supply Central Californians with the best locally sourced cannabis to make your next smoke sesh meaningful. From indicas to sativas, indoor to outdoor, we have one of the best-curated selections of cannabis in the state. To check out what we have in stock, go to our up-to-date online menu or stop by one of our dispensaries. We have two Modesto locations, and dispensaries in Atwater, Waterford, Merced, and Fresno. An amazing budtender will be there to answer any questions and make some recommendations if you want a break from your usual. 

The Vagabond-Bong

Humans have partaken in the therapeutic and euphoric effects of cannabis for millennia. The history of enjoying cannabis through a bong-shaped apparatus is thought to be one of the initial ways of consumption. Tucked away in an ancient cemetery on the western border of China, researchers found what is the earliest evidence of smoked cannabis from people who lived along the Silk Road 2,500 years ago.[1] From Central Asia, the cannabis plant traveled with traders all over the continent. In fact, the word “bong” comes from the Thai word “buang”, a name for a pipe made from bamboo. Traditional bongs were called “dry” bongs and were essentially used as long smoking pipes. With the addition of water at the bottom of the pipe, early cannabis consumers found it produced a smoother, fuller hit. In India, there is a traditional-style pipe called a chillum made from clay. In other cultures, hookahs and water pipes have been used to enjoy tobacco as well as cannabis. 

The Godfather of Glass

Since the first-century Romans, glass had been used to make ornamental pieces for the wealthy and royal for generations. It wasn’t until centuries later (the 1960s, no less) for glass to be introduced into cannabis culture. Many hundreds of years later as he traveled in tow with the Grateful Dead, Bob Snodgrass found novel ways to blow glass into different (smokeable) shapes and sizes. Though he was not the first person to create the glass bong for cannabis use, he is known as the Godfather of Glass because he invented the side carb, bubbler, and hammers, which led to a “bong renaissance” and catapulted this inventive way of consuming cannabis into the mainstream culture.[2]

A Happy Bong

We can all remember where we were the first time we took a hit off a bong. It’s seen as a rite of passage. Cradling it awkwardly in our lap, many of us fought the urge to ask our friend (owner of the said bong) how to light the thing again. We suctioned our lips around the top and inhaled, listening to the sound of bubbles percolating inches from our mouths. We lit the cannabis in the bowl and saw the green flower give way to orange embers. Smoke filled the length of the tube and flooded our lungs. Once the coughing fit finally settled, we lifted ourselves up, and…well, the effects are fast-acting from a bong. For some, this initial experience may have only refortified your love for joints, blunts, and edibles. But for most, bongs have opened the door to new ways of experiencing the cannabis plant in its richest, purest forms. 

One smooth, even pull and release is just what some need to fully relax and enjoy the cannabis from Medallion Wellness. With our assortment of premium cannabis, we have just the right product for your next bong experience. Check out our online menu to see what we have in stock. And remember: choosing to enjoy cannabis with a bong can enhance your smoking experience. And, making sure your bong is clean and happy ensures that you’ll be able to continue to enjoy smooth flavorful pulls of your favorite puff.

Recommended Types Of Bongs

The type of bong and the material it’s made out of will dictate how best to clean it. Commonly, manufactured bongs are made out of two materials: glass and silicone.


As the preferred material for all manner of cannabis paraphernalia, glass is the most popular material for bongs. But not all types of glass are ideal for making bongs. Glassblowers use a special type of glass called borosilicate rather than regular glass–also called “soft glass”. This makes the glass stronger and longer-lasting. Commonly found in Pyrex and other cookware, borosilicate glass is strong enough to withstand fluctuating temperatures of up to 392°F.[3] With all of the intricate add-ons like stems and bowls, glass bongs are, in many connoisseurs’ eyes, the smoothest way to enjoy cannabis. 


In the last couple of years, silicone bongs have made their way into the hearts of many consumers. One notable problem with glass bongs is, although they’re somewhat durable, they don’t always survive a fall off the coffee table. With silicone bongs, however, they are nearly indestructible. Coming in a variety of colors and at an affordable price, silicone bongs are a popular alternative. While still giving a smooth hit, consumers can’t glimpse at the water percolating or bubbling. Some consumers may choose a glass bong over opaque silicone for the experience of looking through the tube and watching the bubbles and smoke interact. If that experience is not as important to you, then a silicone bong might be just right for you. 

Why You Should Clean Your Bong

After using your bong a couple of times, you might notice a discolored ring or build-up around the base and along the neck. While it is recommended to change the water after each use, cleaning the bong entirely isn’t necessary. But it is important to clean your bong regularly because the build-up at the bottom could change the flavor and aromatic profile of your cannabis. It can also bring adverse health risks

Dulls The Taste

When the smoke filters through the water and swirls inside the chamber, the resin particles in cannabis smoke stick like glue. Resin is the sticky golden to dark brown substance on the plant’s trichomes that thickens when the plant is heated. It contains much of the sensory profile for that particular plant. When it’s caked onto the glass, it can dull the taste of the cannabis you’re currently smoking. So, if you want to taste the strain you picked today and not the one from last week, it’s time to clean your bong. 

Adverse Health Risks

As with any stagnant water in a humid, musty environment, your bong water is prone to growing bacteria, fungi, and mold. Even when you change the water, these germs can linger in the discolored nooks of the glass. When these organisms are inhaled, they can infect your lungs and cause a ton of health conditions. Harmful pathogens can live in this water and, when smoked, transfer into your lungs. Pathogens that include:

  • E. coli
  • Strep throat
  • Mildew
  • Mold

So, if you can’t see through your glass bong, can’t taste the nuances of the strain, or just can’t remember the last time you cleaned your bong: it’s time to clean your bong. 

Ways to Clean Your Bong

While there are commercially available bong cleaning kits, you can easily clean your bong with a couple of household items. 

With Rubbing Alcohol & Salt

Using 91% or 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and salt is a standard way of cleaning your bong. First, empty out the water in your bong. Use a coarse salt. Typically, any kind of Epsom salt will be perfect. Take your salt and pour a fair amount into the bottom of your bong. Take enough rubbing alcohol to reach the waterline of your bong, and heat it in a microwave for around 30 seconds. Then, take the warm rubbing alcohol and pour a little into the bong through the top hole. Next, remove the stem and bowl and place them into the remaining warm alcohol in a bowl. Then, plug both holes firmly with each hand and gently shake the bong, mixing the alcohol and salt around. You should notice the discolored areas dim and then vanish as you agitate the solution. Once all the discoloration is gone, empty the dirty liquid and fill the bong with clean water. Give the bong another good shake with the water and empty it. Repeat this step as many times as needed to remove all the leftover solution and dislodged residue. 

Without Alcohol

For those who don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand or don’t wish to clean with solvents, you can just use hot water. Find a saucepan big enough to submerge your bong. Place the bong into the saucepan and fill it with enough water to cover the bong. Bring to a boil and keep it simmering for 25-30 minutes. Afterward, wait until the bong has cooled down to take it out of the water. 


For those with silicone bongs, you get the luxury of just placing it in the dishwasher for one cycle. If you have a glass bong, the jets of the dishwasher may be too strong and will more than likely crack or chip your bong. 

Your Experience At Medallion

At Medallion, we are committed to bringing you the best, highest quality cannabis on the California market. With a wide variety of options, we are many Californians’ one-stop shop for all things cannabis-related. You can find us at one of our six locations. From tinctures to flower to edibles to vapes, we have all the leading brands and strains to choose from. And, once you’ve restored your trusty bong to pristine cleanliness, you’ll be able to fully enjoy all the flavorful varieties we offer. Have something in mind? Check out our up-to-date menu! If you want to learn more about the cannabis industry or how to grow your own plant, be sure to check out our blog!


  1. Donahue, M. Z. (2019, June 12). Earliest evidence for cannabis smoking discovered in ancient tombs. Culture; National Geographic.
  2. Guercio, D. (2020, June 25). Bob Snodgrass, the godfather of the bong renaissance, briefly explained. Weedmaps News; Weedmaps.
  3. Bouras, N., Madjoubi, M. A., Kolli, M., Benterki, S., & Hamidouche, M. (2009). Thermal and mechanical characterization of borosilicate glass. Physics Procedia, 2(3), 1135–1140.
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