How to Clean a Dab Rig
If you bought your dab rig recently, then you've probably come to understand that dabbing is one of the messiest ways to smoke weed. Wax goes everywhere - the dabber and nail get it all over the place. If you don't have a dab mat, your coffee table is probably a sticky mess.
And never mind the coffee table, your dab rig probably looks a little worse-for-wear right now. What was once a sparkling glass masterpiece, now looks like a caramel-brown breeding ground for the next bacterial plague to sweep the world.
So, it's time for a good deep-cleaning of your dab rig to restore its original crystal-clear condition.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Dab Rig?
The most obvious answer is for your health. Sure, leaving all that brown funk in your dab rig might make you feel cool – like you're the neighborhood dab-head that's always smoking that fire. Unfortunately, the reality is you're not doing your lungs and throat any favors.
The residue from the oils can attract viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections. Respiratory infections mean no more smoking for a while, so it's best you avoid that at all costs. Smoking mold is no fun, and chronic bronchitis is a real thing.
The second reason to clean your dab rig is to improve the taste of the hit. If you've been smoking on your rig for the last 8-weeks, and it's a foul brown color, the chances are that it's affecting the flavor of your dab. Cleaning out your rig will have you loving the terpenes again, with no nasty aftertaste.
How Often Do I Need to Clean My Dab Rig?
Your cleaning schedule for your rig varies from stoner to stoner. If you hit the rig multiple times during the day, then you'll need to clean more regularly than a once-a-week dabber. A good rule of thumb is to clean when the resin residue looks brown, and it starts to affect the opacity of the glass. You can extend the time between cleaning by using Bong Water Alternative.
What's the Best Method for Cleaning a Dab Rig?
There are a ton of ways you can clean your rig. It seems like everyone has their preferred method. Let's go over a couple of methodologies for keeping your rig sparkling clean.
The Traditional Method
The traditional is the preferred method for bong-heads all over the world, and it works for dab rigs too. Isopropyl alcohol with some crushed sea salt.
Fill your rig with lukewarm water and 4 to 5-tablespoons of crushed sea salt. Seal of the holes with res caps and shake until the salt dissolves. Leave the solution in the rig for 24 hours, and then rinse clean the following day.
If you have a really dirty rig, you might need to give it a second go. However, if it looks clean enough, run some hot tap water through it to get rid of the alcohol smell. Leave it to drain, and check for any smell before filling with water and starting your next dab session. Nucleus also provide high quality "NaCI" Rock Salt or a Alcohol and Salt Cleaning Combo for those that want to get the job done right.
The Hot Method
The hot method is for people that don't have the patience to wait for the isopropyl alcohol and salt to do the work overnight. If you want to dab in the next 10-minutes, then the hot method is what you need to get the party started.
First, boil the kettle and put on some heat-resistant kitchen gloves. Next, grab some dishwasher powder. Go the store and buy one of the powder types, like Finnish.
Pour about a cap-worth of the powder into the neck of the dab rig. Ensure you get as much of it into the central percolator and water chamber as possible. If you have a thin neck on your rig, use a funnel to get the powder into the water chamber.
Go outside with your rig, gloves, and the freshly boiled kettle. Wearing your gloves for protection, pour the water into the dab rig until it's 60% full. Put the kettle down, seal the ends of the dab rig, and shake it to activate the dishwasher powder.
The results from this method are remarkable, and you should notice the first wash gets rid of 80% of the dirt. Keep rinsing with more boiling water until clean. Let the rig cool down naturally by itself for 10 to 15-minutes, and then rinse with cool water. Don't add cool water straight away, as the temperature change will crack the glass in thinner areas of the rig, like the neck.
Notes: do this task outdoors, the shaking process might cause you to knock the rig against something, breaking glass, and hot water all around you. Take care when shaking the rig, and don't injure yourself.
Are there any other Cleaning Methods?
There are a couple of other ways you can clean your dab rig, but none of them offer the efficiency of the previous two methods we already covered.
Salt and vinegar
This strategy almost works as well as the isopropyl alcohol method. However, it smells, and it will take a while to rinse out the vinegary aroma. We find it takes too long to get rid of the vinegar smell, and it clings to any leftover residue.
Vinegar and baking soda
This method is a bit better than using salt and takes less time to dissolve the resin on the inside of the rig. However, you'll have to deal with that vinegar smell issue again.
If your rig isn't very dirty, then you might get away with using lemon water to clean it. This method takes the most amount of time, but it does work to remove the resin, but you have to soak it for ages.
Always Clean Dabbing Accessories Separately
It often takes a lot more time to clean nails, dabbers, and bangers. Trying to clean everything in one sitting will likely leave you feeling frustrated.
When your focus is down, you might end up breaking something, so take it slow and do one piece at a time over a few days.
Wrapping Up – Cleaning Your Dab Rig is Simple
Cleaning your dab rig isn't as challenging as you think. With the right care, you'll never have to worry about breathing in mold, or ruining the taste of your oil.
At Destination Smoke, we provide you with everything you need to keep you dabbing on the daily. Contact us for advice on anything to do with the dankest dabbing accessories available.
Check out our articles on How to keep it clean during Covid-19 and our Best Bong Cleaner guide.