April 24, 2020
With everything that's been going on, I saw that a lot of my fellow smokers were having a hard time finding isopropyl alcohol for cleaning their glass. Or if they could find it, they were holding on to for more pertinent needs than cleaning their glass (or maybe they donated to someone more in need). Regardless, I thought it was a good time to try out some new methods for cleaning my glass for when my own stash of rubbing alcohol runs out.
I took to Instagram to ask my followers what their favorite way to clean without alcohol is. And then I asked on Twitter. And the responses I got were primarily "hot water". Or some variation of hot or boiling water and shaking and salt.
So I decided to use my own knowledge about cleaning and figured I could arrange a bit of an experiment with a few different ingredients that most of us have in our kitchens.
I timed it perfectly too because between my husband and myself, there were plenty of pipes and pieces that needed a bit of a cleaning.
One of the pieces I put straight into the dishwasher. It was a smaller piece, a bowl for a bong. This worked ok but missed a big spot on the inside of the bowl. I would not recommend this method if you don't have a basket/utensil caddy for your dishwasher.
The second, most low maintenance method was simmering a bowl in a pot of hot water. This worked ok but it wasn't as effective as I expected. I placed the pipe in the water cold, then brought it all up to temperature together. You DO NOT want to add a cold pipe to boiling water (or a hot pipe to cold water). Gradual temperature change is the name of this game.
The remaining three sets of pipes I used either: hot water and vinegar; hot water, vinegar, and dish soap; or just hot water and dish soap.
I squirted dish soap directly down the mouthpiece and into the bowl for both sets that used dish soap. I boiled some water in my tea kettle, waited to hear the boiling stop inside of the kettle, then slowly poured it over the pipe with just dish soap, in a large plastic container.
For the two sets with half hot water and half vinegar, I used a large measuring cup to measure 2 cups of vinegar. I added 2 cups of hot water from my tea kettle then slowly poured that over the pipes in a plastic container.
All soaked for 15 minutes, and there was one clear winner when it came time to rinse: dish soap and hot water.
I was honestly expecting the one with dish soap and vinegar to work the best. That the dish soap and hot water won was a complete shock. I believe that it has a lot to do with the temperature of the liquid when it went over the pipe in the container. The hot water lost a lot of heat when it went into the measuring cup with room temperature vinegar.
Check out the video below to see the results and tell me your favorite ways to clean glass with or without alcohol.
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