How to Clean a Chillum Pipe
Chillum pipes are one of the oldest and most trusted items for smoking cannabis. Introduced to human society thousands of years ago, this type of pipe has endured over time thanks to the simplicity of its design and the reliability when fulfilling its purpose.
If you think about it just a little, you will find a lot of logic to the following statement; it is simply as essential to keep your chillum pipe clean as it is to invest in the best quality of cannabis bud available. Why? Because it is an undeniable fact that a dirty or poorly maintained chillum pipe could ultimately compromise the quality of your experience when smoking your cannabis flowers. The bitter and unpleasant taste of an unproperly cleaned chillum pipe would overshadow all the terpenes, flavonoids, and that delicious aroma and taste for which you chose that specific cannabis strain.
Chillum pipes were formerly made mostly of clay or wood. As you can imagine, nowadays there is a vast range of materials used to make this and many other types of pipes. Each material adds a certain peculiarity to the pipe, especially when it comes to maintaining or cleaning it.
Luckily for you, we have decided to make a complete guide of what to keep in mind with each material and what steps to follow precisely to clean your chillum pipe until it looks like it has just left the factory or the artisan’s hands that made it. With that said, let's proceed to explain in detail how to clean your chillum pipe and what things to consider depending on each material.
How to Clean a Glass Chillum
Glass is among the most reliable and used materials to make all types of pipes and smoking devices, and chillums are not the exception. The qualities of glass make this material ideal for this function due to its heat resistance and because it doesn’t add any flavor or alter the taste of cannabis while burning it. Moreover, since glass is not porous, it does not accumulate as much resin and combustion residues as other materials. It is translucent, making it easier to spot where the dirt collects, thus easier to clean. However, this latter will also depend on the structure of your chillum pipe.
On the other hand, glass can be fragile, especially if it is not of the best quality. Although you will find guides suggesting the opposite, we do not advise boiling your glass pipes directly in water. Exposure to heat could weaken the glass, making it more brittle and prone to breakage more easily. We do not recommend using other solvents because their remnants tend to stay longer on surfaces, and most are highly toxic, which could be dangerous for the user. The most reliable material to do this job is 91% rubbing alcohol because it is a lighter substance than most solvents, and it evaporates quickly on simple exposure to air.
Either way, the following steps should work for cleaning any type of chillum pipe regardless of its structure. So if you want to give your glass chillum an excellent clean, just look for the necessary materials, your chillum pipe, and get to work.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Sea salt or Kosher salt
- Zip bag
- Pipe cleaners
- Put the chillum pipe inside the zip bag and fill it with enough rubbing alcohol to soak your pipe in it.
- Add a bit of kosher or sea salt to the bag, close it, and start shaking it.
- Take the chillum out of the bag, rub both ends of it and the inside of the bowl with salt. Leave some salt grains there before placing the chillum again inside the zip bag.
- With your pipe inside the zip bag again, repeat the shaking for a minute or two.
- Take the chillum out of the bag and rinse it with hot water. The loosened dirt should fall off right away.
- Remove any stubborn dirt or stain with the pipe cleaner or Q-tips and rinse the chillum pipe again with hot water.
That’s it. Your glass chillum pipe should be as clean and clear as new. Nonetheless, if you see any dirt left, you can soak the chillum into alcohol again or repeat the whole process until you feel satisfied with the results.
How to Clean a Ceramic Chillum
Ceramic can be much more common and used than we imagine to make this type of pipe. Currently, you can find a considerable number of ceramic chillum pipes options to choose from online. This is because ceramic can be very durable and heat resistant, and in general, chillum pipes made of ceramic are usually very striking. Some could even be considered genuine pieces of art.
One of the cons that we could mention of this material is that, unlike glass, ceramic is not translucent, making the cleaning process of your chillum a little more complicated. To properly clean your ceramic chillum, you can start by helping yourself with a toothpick to remove or loosen the dirt stuck inside the bowl. After this, follow the same steps mentioned to clean a glass chillum, and at the end of the process, your ceramic chillum pipe should look shiny.
How to Clean a Clay Chillum
Clay chillum pipes are the oldest pipes on human records. Initially, India’s Sadhus chose this material to make their ceremonial pipes because it was almost effortless to find in the fields, forests, and many rivers’ banks. Clay offers a high malleability when manufacturing the pipe, which allows you to shape it as desired. After baked, clay can be very resistant to both heat and shock. On the other hand, this material can be very porous, accumulating much more dirt than glass chillums.
The good news is that by applying the same cleaning process that you would use for a glass chillum, your clay chillum should be completely clean and ready to be used again.
When cleaning your clay chillum pipe, an important thing to consider is to avoid a very long time of exposure to water. If it lacks a protective layer of lacquer, the material’s porous nature makes the clay retain moisture, therefore compromising the chillum’s structural integrity.
How to Clean a Marble Chillum
Although not one of the most commonly used materials to make pipes, Marble can make your chillum last a lifetime, depending on how well you care for it. Marble can be more challenging to work when making the pipe because it is a solid rock, and it is not so easy to carve a chillum from it. However, the stone’s hardness gives it its durability and its beautiful and unique final result. As with clay, ceramic, and glass, you can apply the same method of alcohol and kosher salt inside a zip bag to clean your marble chillum.
How to Clean a Wooden Chillum
When you take diligent care of your wood chillum pipe, it can last for decades, as most of the time, they can stand the bumps, knocks, drops, and falls that glass chillums can't. The process for cleaning your wood chillum can vary a bit from the process for glass or ceramic. Although you can also apply the alcohol and salt method to give your wooden chillum pipe a deeper cleaning, you can reserve the alcohol and salt process for extreme dirt accumulation cases.
To keep your wooden chillum pipe clean, the best thing to do is clean it regularly, preferably after each use. This way, your pipe will stay neat, and you will avoid the accumulation of dirt and the growth of bacteria in your pipe. However, if your wooden chillum is clogged, blocked, or is retaining a bad taste and you want to clean it, start by reaming the “cake,” which is the burnt black layer of charcoal inside the bowl of your wooden pipe that protects the material from high temperatures. The downside of this is that this carbon layer thickens with time and regular use and can begin to accumulate bad tastes, odors and make the smoking experience of your chillum quite unpleasant and uncomfortable.
To clean your wooden chillum, use a toothpick to gently scrape the channel that connects the bowl of your chillum with the other end of the pipe. Now, take a pipe cleaner, dip it into alcohol and clean the rest of your chillum. You should be ready to smoke again, and your wooden chillum pipe should look clean and nice.