How to take care of your bong
The type of hit you get from your bong will vary depending on the following factors:
You can choose what type and what volume of liquid to use in your bong. The most common choice is water. Water is a very effective filter and as long as you use enough, it should facilitate a smooth hit.
Another option is to use alcoholic drink. Bong smokers have been known to use vodka, whisky, wine and other still drinks to filter their bong smoke. The effect is pretty mind-mashing. The alcohol vapour gets taken into your lungs along with the smoke – a deadly combination. (Do not try this with fizzy drinks – you will end up in a frothing mess.)
The more liquid you can use, the better. This of course depends on the size of your bong base. (Liquid can’t be filled past the point of the rush hole. Also ensure it doesn’t reach the top of the downpipe where your bong bowl sits.)
Another good method that is very popular these days is iced water: Add a load of ice to your bong water and inhale before it melts. This gives an incredibly smooth hit and actually feels as if it’s cooling your lungs instead of burning them! Be warned though – because the inhaling sensation is so smooth, you may end up taking a bigger hit and getting more than you bargained for!
Ice bongs, designed with an extra layer for a double filter effect, are available to buy from all good headshops. A lot of tokers believe that ice is a better filter than water, with harmful particles sticking to the ice as the smoke passes through.
Typically, the bigger the bong the better. Although you can get some pretty decent travel bongs these days, big bongs allow more water (better filtering) and greater distance for smoke to travel (less harshness on the throat).
Choose the right kind of bowl for your bong. You might want something that holds enough to pass around a few people, or perhaps something with the capacity for one-hit – personal size. Most bongs can take different bowls. Some have threads on the downpipe so that you can use a screw-on bowl attachment. Others allow drop-in cones. Basically, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a selection of bowls for different occasions.
Be sure that bowl is quite wide and not overly deep. When you light your bong mix, it’s the surface area that burns. If your bowl is too deep, you can end you up digging around in your mix, trying to find the unburned bits of weed but ultimately you will re-burn charred remains – not very good for you. For the same reason, don’t overfill your bong bowl.
Never exhale through your bong! It does happen to the occasional unsuspecting novice. If you exhale into your bong you will get a soggy load of weed shot out through the end and probably a few narked mates. Make sure you exhale before you take a hit. You can close over the mouthpiece by placing your palm over it between bong tokes if you need to catch your breath.
Your inhalation should be controlled and deep. Bongs produce a lot of smoke so be prepared for a much bigger hit than your usual joint hit.
Release the rush-hole half way through your inhalation. The rush-hole (or carburettor, carb, shotty, shotgun hole, choke, clutch) is a small hole, usually at the back of your bong. Keep your finger over it for the first part of your inhalation, then let go. As the air gets sucked through, the remaining bong smoke will shoot directly into your lungs.
Cleaning your bong.
Bong maintenance is very important. Follow these simple guidelines and your bong should last you a long time.
Use a cleaning agent to flush out any traces of old bong water and tar. Surprisingly, there are quite a few specific “bong-cleaning” products on the market. Use one of these to get your bong as good as new, or you could try making your own with household wares such as isopropyl alcohol (do not use this for acrylic bongs as it corrodes the material), baking soda, vinegar and scrubbing agents like rice or large sea salt granules. It is best to use a stiff brush to get to parts that are hard to reach. (Not your toilet brush, please. You never know what ideas people may have… …). You might need to leave your bong to steep in your detergent overnight or for a few hours.
You should also disassemble any removable bong parts and clean these separately. Use pipe cleaners to unclog any slim tubes, such as the downpipe that holds your tobacco bowl. These bits can get rather sticky inside, so when you clean them out it improves the flow of the smoke.
Tip: Cotton buds are also very handy tools for slim parts and glass pipes.
Change your gauze. The gauze or screens you use in your pipe bowl also need changing regularly. Cleaning them is way too fiddly and often you end up with a piece of unusable mesh. Just make sure you’ve got a good supply so that you don’t have to burst your blood vessels trying to draw smoke through them.
Empty your bong after use. If you leave your used bong water in your bong after you’ve finished with it, it is more likely to stain the inside. And it smells bad.
Keep all glass bongs out of reach of children (OK – keep all bongs, no matter what they’re made of away from children, but especially glass ones). Don’t get totally caned and leave your bong where someone’s likely to fall over it or knock it over and smash it into bits. Not only will this cause potential bleeding, it will also leave nasty bong water smells and stains on anything it soaks into, like your carpet or favourite jacket.
Remember there is a fire risk with all smoking activities. Be sure to extinguish your bong mix completely when you have finished with it. Don’t leave smouldering bongs unattended.
So what else can you do to ensure maximum pleasure from your bong? Well – practice makes perfect!!!
About the Author: Roz is the owner of Shiva Head Shop and has vested interest in helping you look after your bongs.