If you like to use your pipe or bubbler frequently, you’ll have to give it some routine maintenance and cleaning from time to time. Like most pipe users, you probably don’t get too excited by the prospect of cleaning your pipe. The residue that builds up can be very difficult to remove, and it has a way of getting all over anything it comes into contact with. If you have ever wanted to learn how to clean a pipe, this guide will provide you what you need to know. We have explained two of the most popular methods.

Boiling water and pipe cleaner method

1.   Place the pipe in a saucepan, and completely submerge it in water. Make sure the water level is at least 1 – 2 inches above the water pipe. This extra water will account for the reduction in volume as water evaporates.

2.  Turn up the heat, and bring the water to a simmer.

3.  Leave the pipe in the boiling water for at least 20 – 30 minutes to allow the grime to loosen from the surface of the pipe. For a particularly dirty pipe with caked-on grime, you might need to leave it in the boiling water for a little longer.

4.  Take the saucepan off the heat and drain away the water. Allow the pipe to cool down until it is safe to handle, and then check for any remaining residue.

5.  Use a pipe cleaner to remove any remaining residue. Any remaining dirt should be easily wiped from the surface.

6.  Rinse the pipe throughout with water and let it dry.


Alcohol-salt method

1.   The first step is to seal off all holes – except the bowl – with electrical tape. This type of tape is readily available from most hardware stores, and the adhesive residue can be cleaned off fairly easily. Make sure all the holes are sealed shut.

2.  Next, pack the pipe with rock salt through the bowl. You can use other types of salt as well, but rock salt generally provides the best results. Don’t pack the pipe completely full; you need to leave enough space for the salt solution to move around and do its job.

3.  Fill the bowl with rubbing alcohol. As with the salt, you don’t want to fill the pipe up with too much alcohol, as you want to leave enough room for it to move around the interior of the pipe.

4.  Seal up the bowl with more electrical tape, making sure that the solution doesn’t leak out.

5. Shake the pipe vigorously for a few minutes. The dirtier your pipe is, the longer it will take for the solution to work – so keep shaking.

6. Remove all the tape and rinse the inside of the pipe thoroughly with hot water. Most of the accumulated residue should drain out of the pipe at this point, along with the salt and cleaning solution.

7. Pour some more rubbing alcohol into the bowl and swirl it around some more in order to get rid of the remaining residue.

8. Rinse the pipe out thoroughly with hot water.

9. Check the pipe under light to see if any residue remains.


The pipe cleaner method is generally the most popular among the purists, who are strongly against putting anything but weed in their pipe. By using this method, you can rest assured that no unpleasantness is left in your pipe after cleaning. What’s more, pipe cleaners are pretty inexpensive compared to other cleaning methods. You can grab a pack of Zen Soft Pipe Cleaners for as little as $2.49

If you have tried the boiling water and pipe cleaner method, and are still struggling to remove those stubborn stains, you should try the alcohol-salt method. The rubbing alcohol really works with the abrasive rock salt to scrub the grimy stains from your pipe. Just make sure you give it a thorough rinse prior to use.


See also: Pipe Guying Guide
See also: What Are the Different Types of Pipes?