How to Clean A Dab Rig – HØJ
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How to Clean A Dab Rig

Estimated 6-minute read

A dab rig is a water pipe used to vaporize cannabis concentrate, and from the list of modern smoking products available on the market, this one has become a favorite for consumers. As it filters concentrated vapor through water at its base, a dab rig serves the same purpose as a bong, just in a smaller size. This allows less drag so that the vapor flows quicker to the lungs and continues to maintain the concentrate’s strength.

Dab rig cleaning can be easier and faster than bongs when frequently maintained, because less resin accumulation is generated by the absence of combustion in dabbing. Dab rigs do, however, build up its own residue called reclaim, which can obstruct the rig and affect each dab's flavor. It might seem challenging to know how to clean a dab rig, especially if you're new to dabbing. Moreover, when the dab rig has complex filtration features, it can sometimes become harder to clean too. Repeated use of a nail will lead to carbon buildup and reclaim to appear, especially if the nail is not regularly cleaned.

If you have ever thought to yourself, "how do I clean my dab rig?", this guide will break down the basics. Dab cleaning can indeed be relatively simple and you can actually find materials around the house that are helpful in getting that resinous buildup out of your beloved rig. It is important to keep your wax oil rig neat and tidy to maintain a proper function and improve your dabbing experience.

Next is a number of products that you'll have to find to clean wax oil rigs:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing alcohol). 85% should be enough.
  • Sea salt or Rock salt
  • One zip lock bag 
  • Cotton swabs

How to Clean Dabs Off Glass

This amazing device referred to as a vapor rig, concentrate pipe, or oil rigs allows you to have a stronger punch of what THC already can give you. For this reason, you don’t want to ruin that great moment for having a grubby rig.

The first and simplest way to clean a wax rig is simply to use hot water, but when it is not filthy. To loosen the gunk on the piece, a pro tip is to use the steam that rises when the water is boiling. Hold the piece over a pot or the kettle's neck, which can fit perfectly where your banger attaches, and use the steam to loosen the reclaim.  An useful advice is to bring the water to a full boil, remove it from the heat, and let it sit for a minute or so.

Next, pour a small cup of hot water to the base and shake it vigorously. You need to be a little skillful to shake the piece, because you'll need to cover both the space where the nail goes and the mouthpiece.

Last, pour the water out while the oil lies on top of the hot water. The oil will get stuck on the glass if you do a slow pour and you will need to re-boil water to let it out once again from the side.

If that doesn’t convince you or you need a more powerful technique, it is time to go for something stronger. Boiling water and letting it sit for about a minute are also included in this advanced cleaning option. Add some cold rubbing alcohol to the piece while it is resting. Any 85% alcohol or above should successfully do the trick. A couple tablespoons of rock salt are often applied to take it up to a better level of effectiveness. Once you have all these elements, shake vigorously and apply the warm water to the piece.

If you have a lot of reclaim built up in your piece, the rubbing alcohol combined with the rock salt will improve the situation. The rock salt helps cover the area of the surface and the alcohol helps extract the reclaim from the side along with the hot water. When you do the fast pour, the rock salt also helps to take the reclaim out of the piece. Once you are done, rigs with cold water and let your piece dry.

How to Clean a Dab Banger or Nail

One of the easiest ways to clean a nail or banger is to heat it. Dab rigs don’t use a simple lighter, they need something equally powerful. Here we would use a butane torch to light the dab nail since a lighter simply won't provide enough heat. 

Light your nail with a torch until residual carbon and reclaim are completely burned off. If the buildup is small, it should be cleaned properly by just torching the nail. You can also consider using an alcohol-soaked cotton swab to clean the surface of the nail in case it wasn't enough. This is the most healthy and natural way to clean it when it is not that dirty.

In case the situation is a little more messy, place the nail in a sealable jar or plastic bag and let it soak in alcohol. This method acts harsh when torching the nail is not enough to scrub off all carbon or reclaim residue. Try adding salt and vigorously shake the bag when you're using a sealed plastic bag. Pour the old water out into a sink or drain before you begin cleaning your rig.

How to Clean Carb Caps

Carb caps do not necessarily need as much or as regular cleaning as the nail, but after each dab session, they should still be maintained so you don’t have to deal with a lot of debris later.

Simply rub the carb cap with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. To remove heavier residues before wiping down, you can torch carb caps. Or, if you don't use alcohol because of its toxicity level, use special wipes you can purchase online. These are specifically designed to clean your smoking tools like bongs or pipes. You should repeat this same process for your wands or dab tools.

What is Reclaim and How to Collect It

Like resin, reclaim can be collected and reused to cook edibles, prepare tinctures and capsules, or it can also be reused for dabbing, as some cannabinoids from the original concentrate are mostly preserved. Bear in mind that  smoking this will not taste as good as a brand new dab.

There are "drop-down" accessories on certain dab rigs which collect reclaim and make it easier to use when you need it. It is not a good idea to reuse the reclaim if your dab rig does not have a drop-down attachment and you are forced to remove it using alcohol.

Collecting reclaim is not a difficult task. Your trusty butane torch and some parchment or wax paper are everything you will need. Pour all the water out of the dab rig to start with the process, and let it air dry completely. If there's water in your reclaim, it can sizzle and bubble when you want to smoke, making the burn in your throat intense.

Next, remove the banger nail and hold the connector or drop-down over the wax paper while torching the reclaim above the wax paper until it is fully melted. Last, let it cool down to get a solid wax shape after it hardens back up. Now it is ready for you to smoke it, use it for edibles, tinctures, or capsules.

Be mindful of the fact that, for optimal efficiency, a dab rig needs regular maintenance. Change the water out of your rig periodically, and gently clean your nail after each dab with a cotton swab. Cleaning your rig constantly means you're going to have to forget about deep-cleaning it and your smoking sessions will be enjoyable every time.

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