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How to Clean Your Dab Rig After Each Use

 3 min read

How to Clean Your Dab Rig After Each Use
While every dab rig, bong, pipe, and even grinder can use a full and regular cleaning, there are also ways to keep pieces looking and functioning like new in between uses. This is especially important when it comes to dab rigs, which can accumulate gunk quicker than you’d think. It’s important to know not only how to do a deep cleanse of your dab rig, but also how to clean your dab rig after every use to keep it from turning into a scary, resin- and concentrate-covered nightmare.

Change Your Water

First off, you’ve got to change the water frequently. Too many dab rigs get abandoned overnight or for even longer with a brown puddle of used water, which can leave a grimy ring around the edge of the rig’s base. While those rings can be cleaned with the help of some 91% isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush, pipe cleaners, or pipe brush, why suffer the displeasures of dabbing with dirty water to begin with? If you’re diligent about changing the water and keeping the rig empty when you’re not using it, you shouldn’t have too much of a buildup issue. And this advice goes for any water-containing piece: dab rigs, bongs, bubblers, and so forth. A casual way of cleaning the body of the dab rig in between uses is to fill up the base with some warm water and swirl it around. This can help loosen up residue if it does start to build up, but beware that you’ll probably have to clean your sink after dumping the water out.

Filtered water is reportedly best when it comes to keeping your dab rig clean, because spring and tap water can leave hard water stains on your bong that can be difficult to deal with when the bigger cleans roll around.

Take Care of Your Nails

When it comes to the dabbing nail, the same rules apply: clean it regularly and deep clean when needed. Cleaning techniques depend on what the nail is made of: for instance, you don’t want to use alcohol when cleaning a titanium dab nail because of the porous nature of the material. To clean titanium dabbing nails, just heat up the nail and scrape the residue off with a dabber tool or nylon pipe cleaner. Some people even swear by heating alone, depending on how much residue there is (there shouldn’t be much if you’re doing this regularly and dabbing at a lower temperature).

Quartz nails are different in that they can be damaged if they’re scraped like a titanium nail. Instead, keep those clean using something called the Q-Tip Technique, or Q-Tip Tech. It’s a simple way to preserve the quality of your quartz nails: simply take a cotton swab and swish it around your nail after a dab. Let it cool down a little so that the swab doesn’t burn, but not so much that the concentrate starts to solidify and just sticks to the cotton. Some people choose to dip the cotton swab in 91% isopropyl alcohol, which works more effectively at cleaning up than just a plain cotton swab, but others prefer to use cotton alone in order to “season” the quartz nail. The alcohol will be burned off next time the nail is heated up, making the process non-toxic.

Using a cotton swab with a pointed tip, like a crafting swab, makes it much easier to get into the edges and crevices of bangers. They’re especially helpful with thermal bangers, which have a tighter area to clean. Using the Q-Tip Tech on an e-nail is similar, but doesn’t involve applying alcohol. Just take a cotton swab and spin it around the side of your nail, gathering up the leftover concentrate. Firing up the remaining oil can result in the development of a crust on the nail and is something that’s best to avoid.

If you’re not using a thermal banger, you might be used to the problem of reclaim, or unvaporized concentrate, being stuck in the joint of your piece. This can be cleaned using 91% isopropyl alcohol or a suitably-shaped dabbing tool and can otherwise be heated out if you’re looking to save some of the reclaim.

If you’re trying to keep your nail looking its best, consider low-temperature dabbing, which takes firing up the nail and letting it cool down to the 300-450 degree Fahrenheit range before hitting the dab. High-temperature dabbing, around 800 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause the combustion of concentrates and actually affect the quality and stability of the nail, especially with quartz which reacts to the process by building up extra crystal layers in a process called devitrification. This can break down the quality of the quartz crystal and eventually lead to cloudiness and breakage. Check out the pros and cons of both dab temperature ranges.

There are a number of ways to take care for your dab rig in between uses. You don’t have to wait for the “big clean” to polish up your setup; keep it looking fresh with the regular use of just these few tips.


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