How to Use and Clean a Bong

A bong is a water pipe often used to smoke cannabis. It filters smoke using water, making for a smooth, clean-tasting, and healthier smoking experience.

Bongs can be intimidating and confusing to use, especially for first-timers. But over time, it’ll get easier once you know what you’re doing.

However, this experience can be short-lived if you don’t know how to clean a bong.

If you want to try recreational smoking using bongs/water pipes, you should also know how to clean one.

Read on to learn more.

The Bong Parts

Before knowing how a bong works, let us familiarize ourselves with its parts. The parts of a regular glass bong are composed of the following:


This part of the bong stores the “fuel.” The bowl size is proportionate to the number of marijuana or dry herbs it can hold.

The larger the bowl’s diameter, the more cannabis it can contain.


The downstem part of the Bong allows the smoke into the water chamber once the herbs in the bowl are already lit.

Water Chamber

It’s a piece of the bong that needs to be filled with water. The water will filter, making the smoke chilled, cleaner, and far softer.

Stem (Ice Catcher)

To make the smoke more cooler to inhale, you can place ice in the stem. It’s important to note that not all water pipes contain ice catchers in their components.


This refers to a small opening that allows smokers to control the airflow inside the pipe. It’s also used to clean the water chamber/stem.

Smoke Chamber

This long piece joins the mouthpiece, stem, and water chamber.


The mouthpiece of the bowl allows the smoke to enter your lungs.

Now that we know the parts of a bong, we can proceed to a step-by-step guide on how to use the apparatus.

How To Use A Water Bong

Before using a bong, prepare a clean device, water, ice (for bongs with ice catcher), and cleaning solutions (like baking soda or isopropyl alcohol).

If you’re a first-timer, follow the steps below to use a bong.

Step 1: Filling The Water Chamber

Detach the downstem and put clean water in the chamber. You can use cool water to have a cooling effect.

Ideally, the chamber should only be filled with water until it submerges the downstem. Afterward, it’s recommended to check whether the water reaches your lips or not. If it doesn’t, then you’re good to go.

Step 2: Packing The Herbs Into The Bowl

The first step is to break the herbs. Either use your fingers, or you can use a pair of scissors.

It’s also okay to use the grinder to cut the nug into pieces that are all the same size.

For the best smoking experience, do not forget to remove the herb’s stem and seeds.

Step 3: Lighting The Bong

Before lighting a bong, make sure that you’re sitting in an area without any objects that are flammable.

Hold the bong using your non-dominant hand and wrap it around the smoke chamber. Ensure you have a good grip, then light the bong.

Inhale the smoke using your diaphragm so you won’t cough much.

Position your mouth on the mouthpiece and ensure there aren’t any gaps for the smoke to escape.

Light the lighter with your other hand. Use a regular pocket lighter instead of a match. Hold the flame so that it is only burning the cannabis’ edge.

Step 4: Inhaling The Smoke

Fill the smoke chamber halfway and inhale the smoke slowly. Don’t overwhelm yourself, or you might cough constantly.

When you’re satisfied with the amount of smoke, you can stop lighting the bowl. It’s fine to stop inhaling at this point, but don’t remove your mouth away from the mouthpiece, or the smoke will escape.

Inhale the smoke in the chamber after removing the bowl from the stem. Breathe deeply to make sure that the smoke enters your lungs.

Finally, hold the smoke in your lungs for 2-3 seconds before exhaling.

Afterward, put the bowl back in the stem and relight it when you want to take another hit.

When Is It Time To Clean Your Bong?

There are indicators that let you know when it’s time to clean your bong. To serve as your guide, here are some signs that your bong needs cleaning:

  • If you notice a ring starting to form in your bong’s waterline.
  • If there is a little residue of weed floating in the water.

The Right Way To Clean A Bong

If you have no idea where to start in cleaning your bong, we got your back. You’ll be needing these materials:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Salt
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton swab
  • Resealable plastic bag
  • Bottlebrush (optional)

Follow these simple steps to enjoy a smooth hit on a clean bong.

Step 1

Disassemble the bong with care. Detach the mouthpiece from the bowl, and remove other accessories. Throw the unclean water and rinse the pieces using clean water.

Step 2

Pour isopropyl alcohol into the chamber until there is little space left. Once done, add 2-3 tablespoons of coarse salt.

Step 3

Shake the bong hard while covering the top part with your palm. Give it about 10 minutes to soak.

Slep 4

Throw away the solution. If the bond is too narrow to wipe using a paper towel, use a brush that can scrub inside the bottle.

Step 5

Rise the interior before covering the top and emptying the contents of the bong. Repeat till there is no more residue left.

Step 6

Wash the bong’s exterior using a sponge and dish soap

Step 7

Ensure to remove any debris inside the bowl before cleaning any loose pieces. For 10 minutes, submerge all the loose parts in a zip-top bag with a few tablespoons of salt and isopropyl alcohol.

Step 8

With all the loose parts inside the bag, shake it, then thoroughly wash the pieces in water.


A clean bong makes for a smoother and cooler hit. Don’t neglect cleaning your bongs!

Cleaning a bong doesn’t have to be expensive.

The best way to clean a bong is by using materials that can already be found in your house.

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