How to Clean Your Quartz Banger Nail
When it comes down to it, dabbing is messy. Whether you’re going with a regular banger nail or a thermal one, concentrates can build up and make even the once-brightest piece turn a grungy brown. It’s not a good look. But no fear, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to cleaning the undisputed crème de la crème of nails: quartz bangers.
Because quartz is so durable, it can be cleaned with a number of different substances. Grease removers like Goo Gone and Grunge Off strip a piece of gross residue with a little bit of patience and sometimes some shaking. Just pop the banger into a container with one of these bong cleaners and follow the instructions to let science do its magic.
Make It Yourself
If you’re in a pinch or looking for a homegrown solution, try using 91% isopropyl alcohol to clean your piece. It’s the same deal: soak it in a shallow dish, closed container, or plastic bag for 30 minutes to a few hours (depending on how gross it is) and then shake the container for a bit to loosen the tacked-on grease. Some people also choose to toss in Kosher or Epsom salts for a little extra roughage.
Many people, especially low-temperature dabbers, swear by what’s known as the Q-Tip Technique. It’s claimed that this technique helps maintain quartz bangers, seasoning them the way you would a cast-iron skillet. Right after taking a dab, use a cotton swab, preferably one with a pointed end so as to reach the edges and corners of the banger, to wipe away the oily concentrate residue from the sides of the banger. It’s important, of course, to be dabbing at a low temperature or let the banger cool off before using the cotton swab. But don’t let it cool down too much, as this will cause the leftover concentrate to become sticky and leave behind bits of cotton fuzz in the banger. (To avoid this problem, some people use alcohol or glass cleaner on the cotton swab. The cleaner will burn off, but keep in mind that some of them can leave white stains behind.)
If you’re a high-temperature dabber and have crusty residue building up in your quartz banger, a cotton swab might not get the job done. But what does work in these circumstances is a hit with either a butane or propane torch to burn off the remaining concentrate. Check out the differences between both temperature ranges.
If you haven’t fully cleaned your banger when you heat it up all the way to red hot it can make the quartz break down and become cloudy through devitrification, a buildup of extra crystals on top of the quartz’s glass-like surface.
Using a combination of cleaning techniques, and using them often, will help you avoid the problem of a cloudy quartz banger. Avoid the hassle of having to replace your banger altogether by making sure that when you torch the piece—either when cleaning or just to dab—that you move the flame evenly around the quartz nail. When it comes to maintaining a quartz banger, butane torches are preferred over propane torches because the flame burns cleaner.
Plenty of people also opt for quartz inserts, which work like a thermal banger by adding an isolated concentrate chamber into the bucket. Like a thermal banger nail, these inserts keep the concentrate away from the joint of the banger, meaning that there is less waste and reclaim buildup that needs to be cleaned. But even though they can easily be replaced, quartz inserts still need to be cleaned—especially, again, in the case of high-temp dabs. Using the Q-Tip Tech regularly after dabbing applies to inserts too, but because they’re not attached to the banger they can move around when you try to clean them. The solution is to avoid a stirring movement and use a twisting motion instead. Of course cotton swabs are only a temporary solution: the inserts still need to be dropped into some bong cleaner or 91% isopropyl alcohol for a final shine. Some people use tools to fish the insert out of the banger for cleaning, while others simply wait for the piece to cool down before popping it into the cleaning solution.
Even with an insert the quartz banger itself will need to be cleaned if you don’t have a splash guard insert (which protects concentrate from leaking into the main banger) or if it’s just gotten messy. Generally when using an insert the outer banger doesn’t need to be swabbed, though some people swear by “seasoning” their bangers and do it anyway.
Regardless of what setup you’re using, it’s crucial to keep your dab nails clean. And luckily it’s not difficult—with a little bit of cleaner, a cotton swab and some diligence you can keep your quartz banger looking and working like new. Now you can learn how to clean the rest of your dab rig!