You don’t have to clean a dab rig as often as you would with a bong used for smoking flowers. However, if you want the function and flavor you experience from your dab rig to remain optimal, clean it regularly. Neglecting to clean your rig will eventually lead to dirtier tasting dabs or clogged percolators. Clogged percolators make it impossible to hit the rig.
There are wrong and right ways to clean a dab rig. For example, never torch any part of your rig to loosen the oils, even if a joint is clogged. Torching the glass of your rig can result in a crack or complete break. By following five easy steps, you can keep your flavors prominent and your dab rig ripping without harming your glass.
A drop-down glass attachment is a proactive way to keep your rig from getting gunked up in the first place. It’s a glass tube in the shape of an N or Z that extends the nail further from the rig while catching oil that makes it past the nail, also referred to as “reclaim.”
The best part about a down stem is the fact that the reclaim is kept separate from the water in the rig. So in desperate times when your stash is depleted, you can reach into the drop-down with a dab tool and scoop some out for immediate use. You can also collect your reclaim in a separate container until you’re ready to use it for something else like an edibles recipe.
Cleaning A Dab Rig
There are several steps to cleaning a dab rig properly. Before you start, you’ll want to have access to hot water, a high-percentage alcohol like moonshine or 99 percent isopropyl alcohol. Q-tips are optional and essential to keeping a dabbers kit as clean as possible. Salt can be used in combination with alcohol as an abrasive for reclaim stuck in hard to reach places. However, unless you waited a really long time to clean your rig, the alcohol alone with some shaking should do the trick.
1. Empty Dirty Water
The first step of cleaning your dab rig is to make sure it’s empty. If you’ve got water that hasn’t been changed in a long time with a few balls of reclaim floating around, it’s time to pour it out. Ideally, the water of your dab rig should be replaced after each session. Once there is no water in the rig you can move on to the next step.
2. Hot Water Rinse
Next, you’ll want to run hot water through the rig to help loosen up the oils. If you haven’t cleaned in a while, hot water alone will get a few chunks of reclaim out for you. The water doesn’t need to be boiling but it should be as hot as your tap gets or even a little hotter. Once you’re done you can pour out all the water and move on to the next step.
3. Alcohol Soak
After getting rid of some oil with a hot water rinse, it’s time to finish the job with an alcohol soak. If you lack patience, you can microwave a cup of alcohol for about 10 seconds before adding it to your rig. This will make oils come off almost instantaneously.
Once the liquid goes from clear to a darker yellow, check for any remaining oil build up. If you see any, give the rig a few shakes and some more time to dissolve the reclaim. If that doesn’t do the trick, move onto the next step to make sure no oil gets left behind.
4. Salt & Shake (Optional)
For really gunked up rigs, you might need more than just isopropyl alcohol to make it look brand new and unused again. Adding a coarse salt as an abrasive will help get anything stuck to the walls in a hard to reach place off. If you only have table salt at home, that’ll work as well. Add salt to the rig along with the alcohol and shake it up until all the oil is cleaned off.
5. Rinse Clean
Before you’re tempted to rip that squeaky clean dab rig, allow all of the alcohol to evaporate. Then, rinse thoroughly to make sure there is no trace of the isopropyl left behind. After a few rinses, the scent of the alcohol should be gone. Now, your dab rig will be ready to be filled and used.
Cleaning A Dab Nail
If you want to experience the true flavor of your BHO or other extracts, you’ll need to clean more than your dab rig. The best way to keep flavors prominent is to keep your dab nail and quartz insterts clean. Doing so prolongs the heat retention, flavor and aesthetics of your nail. One of the easiest nails to clean is a quartz banger. The only thing you’ll need to clean your dab nail with is a Q-tip and isopropyl alcohol.
Unless you’re doing high-temperature dabs every time, traces of leftover oils from your last dab will remain. As soon as you finish a dab, use a Q-tip to soak up the oil while it’s still hot. If you forget, don’t worry. Just reheat your nail with a torch for a few seconds to loosen the cooled oil.
Then, go in with a Q-tip like you would immediately after a dab. After you’ve used a Q-tip on the oils from your previous dab, there might still be a bit of oil left on the walls.
You can use one isopropyl-soaked Q-tip to clean off anything that was left behind. Otherwise, a ring of oil will rise and burn black the next time you heat-up for a dab. Additional heating and oxidizing will be required to burn it the rest of the way clean.
Now that you know how to clean a dab rig, we hope you use the knowledge to keep hits fresh and satisfying. If you can’t be bothered with regular cleaning, get a glass drop-down. Additionally, rinsing your dab rig out with hot water after each session keeps things from needing cleaning for longer.