How to Clean a Dab Rig the Right Way
Every expert dabber knows that central to having the best dabbing experience is doing so through clean glass. In fact, a general cleaning regime is crucial if you want to get the best quality hits out of your rig. That’s because nothing ruins the flavor of a sublime concentrate like nasty old resin build-up from weeks of dabbing without a thorough cleaning.
Why Clean Glass is Important for Dabbing
With each hit, the glass pieces that make up your dab rig will collect resin on their inside surfaces. After long enough, these stale waste products will begin to affect the taste of your dab. You can help matters a little by always taking the full hit when you’re dabbing. This will ensure as little resin as possible builds up inside your glass water pipe.
But no matter what you do to stave it off, eventually you’re going to need to clean your glass to preserve the best flavor. Before we get into that, let's go over what not to do.
The Wrong Ways to Clean Your Glass Dab Rig, Pipe or Bong
As with all things, there are a number of DIY and homemade ways to clean glass. One clever life-hack is mixing vinegar and sodium bicarbonate together. While this does work as a general cleaner, it’s not particularly effective at removing tough cannabis resins and smells really badly.
Another rudimentary method of cleaning your rig is to just boil the entire thing. Obviously, that will require a pot big enough to completely submerge all your glass pieces, but if you boil them for an hour or so, it will remove a good deal of resin build-up. But the fact that all those tars and resins leach out into the water, makes retrieving your glass pieces a messy affair. It’s also guaranteed to stink up your entire house, if not half the block, and is frankly not worth the effort.
Moving on to chemical methods, there’s ammonia-based glass cleaners like Windex for example. Sadly, most ammonia-based cleaners tend to lack the punch required to shift tars. Even more heavy-duty ammonia glass cleaners would require lengthy soaking times to be effective, upwards of 24 hours. Then, your prized dab rig will be left with the faint smell of ammonia for a bit too long.
Lastly on the list of how not to clean your glass is the use of bleach. While nothing quite removes organic material from glass like some Borax, there’s one main reason why you shouldn’t clean your rig with it. In general cleaning, due to its toxicity, you should avoid using bleach to clean anything that will come into contact with food or drinks. Plates, cups and kitchen surfaces aren’t considered safe to clean with bleach, and we’re adding dab rigs to the list too. You might not be eating off of your rig but inhaling vapor through it isn’t too different.
How to Clean a Dab Rig Correctly
So, with all the what not to do’s out of the way, what’s the right way to clean your glass?
By far, the most effective method of removing organic resins from glass is to use alcohol as a solvent. Both ethanol and isopropyl alcohols are fantastic for rapidly dissolving organic resins, which then allows you to wipe them easily from glass surfaces. While this is perfect for the outside of your rig, cleaning the inside requires its own method.
What’s best is to fill your rig half way with alcohol, close off the open ends using these Resolution ResCaps, and then shake it for a few minutes. If done regularly, this might be all you need to do in order to remove any resin from inside.
For more long-term resin build ups, some assistance may be required. This comes in the form of everyday salt. Place a bunch of coarse grain salt inside your rig with the alcohol. When you shake it, the abrasion will help breakup any stubborn resins.
There’s a popular perception that using salt in this way can scratch the glass over time. We’re pleased to report that this is a myth. Glass is a considerably harder material than salt; it would be like trying to scratch sheet metal using a rubber eraser. So there’s no need to worry, salt sloshed around in alcohol will definitely not scratch your prized glass rig.
After the alcohol and salt have done their work, you’re going to need to rinse all your glass pieces thoroughly in clean water. Thoroughly means at least three times, which should be sufficient to rinse away almost all the alcohol. It’s then important to let your glass dry completely before using it again, so that any trace amounts of alcohol that may remain will evaporate away.