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The Dangers of a Dirty Bong
The Dangers of a Dirty Bong

Nobody likes a dirty bong. Taking draws from a dirty bong is one sure way to waste your herb, and what could have been a very pleasant smoking session.  Your weed deserves more than to be loaded into a dirty bowl and travel through even dirtier water. You spent good money on this weed, you may have even partaken in illegal activity for this weed.  Don’t let it down at the last hurdle. Respect the herb.

Leaving a dirty bong hanging around is almost always a recipe for disaster, as well. You, like many others before you, may have experienced the gut-wrenching terror of knocking over a precariously stored bong, and unleashing that unholy scented water that will haunt you forever.

Not only does a dirty bong compromise the taste of your herb, it can actually be a danger to your health – not just your soft furnishings. Bacteria thrives in stagnant water – just look at the host of waterborne diseases that have plagued humankind for generations. Typhoid, malaria, cholera, and hepatitis A – just to name a few.

While you’re not likely to get malaria from being a bit lax with your marijuana hygiene, by smoking dry herb through a bong you introduce plant resin into the water, which can then become a breeding ground for bacteria. And have you ever noticed that shiny film that appears on the top of a glass of water after its been left out for a few days? This is called a biofilm, which is made up of colonies of microbes that live on the surface of water. A biofilm develops on stagnant water in about 24 hours, a pretty small amount of time that may seem inconsequential to a lot of people. But imagine that biofilm mixed with all of the plant residue that builds up in your bong water and turns it that tasty slime green color. Delicious. Now, imagine introducing that into your lungs.

What happens if I don’t clean my bong?

Your bong happens to be the perfect environment for yeast, fungi, bacteria and pathogens to thrive. Bacteria love lots of surface area to grow on, as well as a good supply of water and available nutrients – all of which are present in the glassy slopes and plant-resin-enriched water of your bong. This allows harmful pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus and E Coli as well as fungus like Aspergillus and Black Mildew to grow and flourish in your bong. These pathogens can cause a whole bucket load of respiratory issues like strep throat, pneumonia and emphysema to name a few – yikes.

How to clean your bong

To keep all that vengeful bacteria at bay, it is advised that you thoroughly rinse and dry your glass bong before every use. Even if your bong itself is clean, biofilms can develop on any leftover water so be sure to thoroughly dry your bong before use again.

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To give your bong a deeper clean, pour out all the water currently left in it. Remove the bowl, and pour salt and rubbing alcohol into both openings and scrub down with a toothbrush or pipe cleaner to get rid of all that old residue. Rinse out all that gunky old debris, and fill the old girl up again with some more isopropyl alcohol and salt. Plug the stems with some fabric to seal the openings, and shake shake shake that senora! Leave the alcohol and salt mixture to break down any leftover residue. After a few hours, drain out the salt and alcohol mixture and flush your bong out a few times with warm water. To clean your bowl, pop it in a plastic baggie with the same alcohol and salt mix and give this a good shake as well. Leave the bowl for a few hours, rinse, and then use a toothbrush or a bobby pin for any tough leftover residue.  Also make sure your bong is bone dry before you take her out for another spin.

How often should I clean my bong?

After this lengthy and kind-of painstaking process, she’ll be good as new! While some people like to do this process quite often, regularly flushing out your bong with warm salt water should keep most bacteria at bay. Otherwise, deep clean your bong whenever you start to notice (and taste) significant build up.

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