Germs are an unavoidable part of life, but thankfully our immune systems help protect us from most of them [*]. While there are many things we can do to strengthen our ability to ward of illness, such as getting enough sleep, washing our hands, staying hydrated, and eating nutrient-dense food [*], it’s a great idea for cannabis consumers to take a few preventative measures for staying germ-free: cleaning your vape and glassware.
Not only does keeping your vaporizers and glassware clean increase the life of your hardware, it also helps to up the quality of your draws and maintain the potency of your material. When your equipment is clean, the flavour is better, it’s easier to inhale, and you have less chance of spreading germs.
When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, resin begins to build up. As you continue to use your device, more and more particles are caught by the resin, lessening the potency and taste of each hit. If your device is covered in resin, you may also begin consuming it in each draw, impacting the potential effects you may feel. Plus, resin buildup can clog your vaporizer completely.
Instead of waiting until your device gets resin buildup, or having to take harder pulls, keep your vapes and glassware clean with these three tips:
Don’t share your device
Since many of us share our vapes and bongs with friends, bacteria can quickly accumulate.
One of the simplest ways to lessen the spread of germs is to not let anyone else use your vaporizer or glassware.
Clean your device regularly
If you wait for a long time to clean your equipment, it will be much harder since there will be resin buildup. If you clean it regularly, the process will be quicker and simpler. An easy way to clean your device if it is glass or metal, such as a pipe or bong, is to put it in a standard ziploc bag with some table salt or salt crystals and isopropyl alcohol. Shake the bag, and the salt will act as an abrasion on the resin and the isopropyl alcohol will help to dissolve and dislodge any gunk or resin buildup. If it is really sticky, you can also add boiling water as this will help to rid the device of resin.
If you have an electronic device such as a vaporizer, do not submerge the entire device in alcohol or water. Instead, grab a Q-tip and dip that in isopropyl alcohol and wipe your device. Some devices come with small brushes, in which case you just have to add a little alcohol onto that brush instead of a Q-tip. Don't forget to give your mouthpiece a wipe as well to kill any germs.
Use high percentage alcohol
When cleaning your device, purchase the highest percentage of isopropyl alcohol you can find - ideally 99% but 70% will also work. The higher the percentage, the easier it will dissolve any cannabis residue. Anything below 70% will still work, but will not be as effective. If you can’t access isopropyl alcohol, you can use vodka. Make sure to give your device ample time to dry off and let the alcohol evaporate before using again. If cleaning glass or metal equipment, give it a rinse with water after using alcohol.