If you can see a film on the bong, you’ve got a problem. And, you are late fixing. If you can see the scum on your bong, just imagine how that looks on your tongue, throat, and lungs. If you have left the bong to accumulate that biofilm, you will get sick.
Doing nothing makes things worse, but a simple rinse if not enough to eliminate the risk. The water in your bong is not your enemy, but in the natural order of things, it can be host to lots of problems. If you are a bong user, you must understand the dangers of a dirty bong and how to clean it.
The dangers of a dirty bong
It invites growth of bacteria, fungi, yeast, and more to multiply and feed on each other. By the time you can see evidence on your blog surface, the problems are entrenched.
The microbes have their own life cycle. They multiply, eat, and secrete. Those secretions attach to anything they can, including the bong, pipe, and cannabis residue. As they spread and create the biofilm, it increases your health risk—and becomes more resistant to cleaning. A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation explains, “When planktonic bacteria encounter a surface or an interface, they adhere to that interface in a reversible fashion while they ‘explore’ the locale to ascertain whether it offers nutrient or other advantages.”
That study goes on to conclude, “biofilms constitute a peculiar problem that characterizes 65% of infections treated by physicians in the developed world.” Other research in Current Fungal Infection Report notes, “it is estimated that approximately 80% of all bacteria in the environment exist in biofilm communities.”
Much of the research on the pathogenesis of biofilm focuses on healthcare facilities, the risks also occur in home humidifiers, air conditioners, and bongs. Because these microbes can be transferred by devices, air, and hand, it creates toxic for ears, eyes, heart, lungs, heart, sex organs, and skin—anywhere there is moisture, bacteria, and surfaces. So, even an apparently clean bong can harbor potential disease. A quick rinse won’t do it.
The microbes will gather on standing water or wet surfaces within 30-minutes and form noticeable biofilm within 24-hours. So, you must clean your bong immediately after use. But, in the world of bong users, that just “ain’t” going to happen.
The creatures lurking in your dirty bong.
- Aspergillus naturally grows in cannabis plants. When it is burned, it breaks down into mycotoxins. Inhaling them triggers coughing and chest pain.
- Escherichia coli (E. coli) exists everywhere, a product of human and animal waste. It spreads by hand and other means to food, instruments, tools, and the cannabis plant itself.
- Flavobacterium causes respiratory infections and thrives in any standing water.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa is healthy bacteria until it isn’t. It grows in damp places and damages those with already compromised health conditions to produce chills, confusion, cough, fever, pneumonia, and shock.
- Streptococcus is a dreaded diagnosis found in contaminated water causing strep throat, scarlet, and pneumonia.
These threats present a major problem for clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare locations because they are so difficult to control or eliminate.
How to clean your bong
Admitting that most users aren’t up to thoroughly cleaning their bongs after use, a good rinse is better than nothing. However, you must sterilize the bong and all its accessories regularly and certainly before use.
Asking a stoner how to clean a bong is not the best option. The stoner is likely to tell you it’s time to clean your bong when the taste changes. But, it does take some know-how and hard work.
You’re going to boil the heck of your tools. You need a bottle brush, corks, cotton balls, hand towels, hot water, pipe cleaners, Q-tips, rubbing alcohol, and salt.
- Disassemble the bong and rinse the parts as you go.
- Rinse the parts again under streaming hot water.
- Separate the pieces and drop them in their own Tupperware containers.
- Pour 0.25 cup of rubbing alcohol and 1-tbs. of salt into each Tupperware container and seal with a lid.
- Shake each container to activate the chemistry and the abrasive salt. Repeat the shake and soak after another 20-minutes.
- Add 2-tbs. of salt into the bong itself. Use more salt for larger bongs. The salt is antiseptic, but you’ll want enough to remain in the fluid to continue its abrasive properties.
- Add at least 0.50-cups of rubbing alcohol.
- Plug any holes with cotton balls or hand towels.
- Shake the bong and salt/alcohol solution for at least 5-minutes. Rest and repeat the shaking.
- Rinse under very hot water and repeat the whole process to get rid of stubborn stains.
Dangers of a Dirty Bong and How to Clean It
If your bong has evidence of infection and has not been used in a long time, you should consider replacing it and all its parts. If your bong is plastic, it may need a different cleaning process. And, there are many options online.
But, if you have the typical glass bongs and parts, you can follow this cleaning process or opt to soak parts in boiled water, vinegar, and salt for the same results.
There are also cleaning products you might consider:
- The Hemper Tech Cleaning Bundle includes cleaning plugs and caps, Kryptonite cleaner, alcohol fresh wipes, wooden cotton tips, pipe cleaners, and alcohol swabs.
- Resolution offers caps to keep the cleaning solution inside your bong or tubes while you shake and store the pieces.
- Grunge Off (Aqua Lab Technologies) is a cleaner with a sweet smell for soaking glass pieces for a while.
- Klear Kryptonite has been the gold standard for fighting resin, oil residue, and carbon marks. Thicker than alcohol and vinegar, it pours easily and under more control of components. It “contains no salt, alcohol, acetone or other harsh abrasives.” But, they don’t say what it does contain other than it is clay-based.
You’ll find scores of solutions and cleaning tools online. But, you must decide today to check out your bong and get it clean before things get worse.