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How To PROPERLY Clean Your Dab Rig


dirty dab rig clean dabsBy Macaseanu from Spaceship Earth Farms

Welcome back, Spaceship Earthlings.  Now that we all have dab rigs (if you don’t, make sure you check out the article by Aaar Kellz that details how to get one on the cheap), it won’t be long until they start to become clogged with reburn.  If you chose to ignore our advice about getting a simple rig, rather than a complicated one, they are probably already getting there.  I know this because I stubbornly refused to give up my shower-head perc for a long time.  So, no hard feelings.  In fact, kudos to you, because right now we are going to tackle how to properly clean your rig.

Alright, so I am aware that there are already many established cleaning products already out there that you may or may not already use successfully.  If you are brand loyal, feel free to stay so, as for strictly cleaning purposes, these products work just fine.  The problem that I have with them is that they typically contain dyes to make them a more attractive color, and artificial fragrance to mask the fact that they are mostly isopropyl alcohol.  That said, I would suggest using the tried and true method of isopropyl alcohol.  It’s a fraction of the cost of any officially designated cleaner.

Combine one part isopropyl with one part pipe cleaners, and one part elbow grease, and you have a recipe for a clean rig.  You can add salt as an abrasive if it pleases you;  I typically use rock salt, but only in my flower rig.  If you are lazy like I am, and have the time, you can just pour the isopropyl into your rig and let it sit for a few hours, making sure to give it a swirl every one in a while.  Once the liquid in the chamber is a nice, dark, coffee color, go ahead and pour it out.  I recommend into a flushing toilet or the garbage, as this it will resinate anything it touches.  Repeat this step as necessary. Now I know that this doesn’t really need to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Isopropyl alcohol is EXTREMELY flammable, and appropriate cautions should always be taken.

As mentioned previously, this first method I reserve for strictly cleaning an oil rig.  However, if you are interested in collecting your reburn, or reclaim, it is only step two in a larger process. Now, before we get any further, I understand you may be asking, “Why would I want to collect reburn?”   Well, the most obvious answer is that, in a pinch, you would have a reserve of reclaim from which you could take a dab when you otherwise couldn’t.  Since oil is vaporized, rather than combusted the way flower is, reclaim tastes much better, and shouldn’t at all be thought of in the same way we think of it’s smellier cousin, resin.  In fact, the clinch hit is the least of its uses.  It can be used to properly season a new nail.  Also, I’ve heard of people rolling blunts with everything from maple syrup to honey, even jelly.  Trust me, the best thing to smear on a paper prior to rolling, be it blunt or joint, is reburn.  I call these uplifting treats afterburners.  You heard it here first.  Those are just a few of many uses, which we will detail in the future.

When it comes to collecting the reclaim, you can save a little time and energy by purchasing some sort of reclaim collecting attachment for your rig.  These usually come in the form of a an extension that attaches between the downstem and the nail.  I’ve seen the run the gambit from a simple “Z” shape to elaborate contraptions one might expect to find in a Dr Suess book.  Regardless of whether or not you choose to pick up a collector, or how efficient the collector you end up with may be, you will find that the reclaim starts to collect on the various surfaces in the various chambers of your rig, including the surface of the water.  Again, the more surfaces you have given the reclaim to collect on in the choosing of your rig, the more will collect inside, and the more time you will devote to the ritual of cleaning.

When you actually reach a point when you are ready to clean and collect, and I know for some of you this will be when it is no longer possible to take a hit, you are going to need a few simple household items.  They are: a decent sized bowl, a metal or silicone-coated spoon, a suitable container, preferably silicone, and hot water.  The water doesn’t need to be boiling, but it needs to be hotter that you can typically get from your tap.  Remove the nail and the dome if you have one.  The collectors can be scooped, put through the process that follows, or if you’re really careful, you can apply a little heat from your torch and just pour it into your container.  Applying the torch unnecessarily has personally cost me both a oil rig and an ash tray at this point, so when I say be careful, I mean ninja careful.

Add a little hot water to your rig and swirl it around, emptying it into the bowl.  Since the reclaim is a non-newtonian fluid, the addition of hot water will cause it to behave more like a liquid, and less like a solid.  With repeated hot water rinses, the majority of the reclaim should empty into the bowl with ease.  From there, it’s a simple matter of scooping it up with the spoon and storing it.  A metal spoon works well as it is typically cold relative to the water, and the reclaim sticks to it very easily.  Personally, I recommend setting it in a sunny window and letting it cure for a few days, as one of the biggest differences between the oil you start with, and the oil you just reclaimed, aside from the fact that it has been vaporized once and then condensed back into oil, is the addition of the water in your chamber.  That said, I recommend changing this water often.  I even add a little colloidal silver to keep it fresh.

Once you have collected reclaim to your heart’s content, you can use the isopropyl and the pipe cleaners to detail your rig and get it back to shiny.  I know that I have already mentioned being careful, but ninjas would not combine torches and alcohol unless they were trying to assassinate someone, so please, don’t bust out the the isopropyl until your done with the torch.  I’m pretty sure every cannabis related accident I’ve heard of or read about has involved a careless attitude when it comes to flammable substances and sources of ignition.

I don’t want to end on a down note though.  So, now that you know how to collect reburn, the potential is there to collect quite a bit.  Get creative, and please hit us up in the comments or with the below contact info if you have any interesting ideas on what can be done with all the reclaim we will be collecting.  Most importantly though, enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You’ll thank me the first time you light up an afterburner.



About Author

Johnny Green


  1. Best clean ever: get glass, fill with a 1/2 cup or so of iso alcohol… put glass in a larger bowl filled with boiling water, and do a hot water bath until iso alcohol is nice and warm. pour hot iso into rig, close holes with fingers, and shake. should be sparkling clean within seconds! pour dirty iso onto plate and let evaporate overnight!

    this is way more efficient than heating the rig, cold iso washes, salt washes, hot water washes…

  2. I don’t use ISO or grain. Where I work, we use denatured alcohol. Its a little spendy, but…A dab will do ya.

  3. Captain Chronic on

    Filter your reclaim like you would in a QWISO wash! Solids and ash and dust and stuff will be gone and the reclaim will be hella clearer.

  4. Isaiah Crow on

    The torch can melt the reclaim put but if ur not super super carefull it can crack your rig or even shatter it, so yeah be carefull think about how thin or thick your rig is and yeah any questions on that hmu 5034367566

  5. Isaiah Crow on

    I just used a handheld torch to clean my ring every time and I use a normal bigger torch for dabbing because it would take too long to heat up the nail with the hand-held torch

  6. daveschillaxin on

    Dudes we get it. Do you also not understand in some states it’s hard to buy strong enough grain alcohol to be as effective and pain free as ISO?

  7. When you talk about soaking in iso you should point out to try and cover the openings and turn if just enough to remove air pockets in joint areas or anywhere else an air pocket is going to prevent the isopropanol from dissolving, then tilt back to normal when the bubbles have gone further up the neck, works for my tube adapted rig.

  8. Wandering Chemist on

    Addendum: When you evaporate, put whatever you are evaporating *behind* the fan. Then you still have airflow, but dust and assorted other particulate matter gets sucked into the fan, and not blown into your product.

  9. Wandering Chemist on

    Minor correction: reclaim is not a non-newtonian liquid. It is simply viscous at room temperature, a bit like honey. Hot water just warms it up and makes it flow better. Non-newtonian liquids behave like solids under pressure and liquids normally. Further, colloidal silver does nothing but make sure your wallet is freshly empty.

    Of course, one could simply flood everything with your organic solvent of choice (IPA, ethanol, chloroform, THF, etc.), let all the residue dissolve, and evaporate the solvent. Or throw in a winterization step when you freeze and filter the solvent. A good re-extraction might leave you with reclaim that’s better than the original.

  10. Most rigs these days are lab glass and will do fine with heat. Within reason of course. If you go heating one specific spot over and over again, it’s gonna crack because that’s just how physics works.

  11. Chris McConnell on

    Also the grain alcohol is food grade and generally safer to use than isopropyl.

  12. Chris McConnell on

    I highly recommend using grain alcohol. Put a small amount in your rig and shake until all of the oil is dissolved. Then pour it into a Pyrex dish and let all the alcohol evaporate. You’re left with a very nice reclaimed oil.

  13. Chris McConnell on

    To hear your rig and liquefy your oil so u can just pour it out. Do not use alcahol if your going to use heat. Also be carful because Ty much heat can burn your oil or break you rig. Heat very evenly.

  14. Emma Bobemma on

    dude, you clean it out with salt and alcohol AFTER you get the reclaim!! why does no one get this

  15. I just set my rig on a coffee cup warmer until the reclaim melts, then I pour it into a silicone container.

  16. Jeez man, nowhere in this article did he say to salvage with salt or ISO. We understand you use booze, I’m very proud of you for being safe, kudos Buddy. But don’t force your mind alerting ingenuity into 2 cents worth of confrontation. Smoke a bowl instead (:

  17. He said collect reclaim with the hot water only. Only break out the ISO after your done, I love it when people can’t read & argue a point that wasn’t even in the article. Its only 99% I SO meaning a full 1% craps, people say you shouldnt use food grade butane because it’s only 99.99% And not .9999 or whatever lab grade is. So it would be dumb to use I SO it’s filthy

  18. I use my reclaim after simply rinsing with hot water (no iso) I mix with with coconut oil put it in a oven safe dish wrap it in foil and put it in the oven for 20 min atat at 220 degrees. Remove and cool. You can now use this coconut oil to bake with or I simply use a big scoop of the infused coconut oil in my morning coffee.

  19. What I don’t understand is where the torch comes in during the cleaning process… Or is that just a warning not to use the torch too soon after cleaning with the isoprophyl alcohol?

  20. So I bought a bottle of grain. The only difference I noticed was the smell of the actual alcohol. No difference in the reclaim. And we had both iso and grain reburn same high, same taste, same amount of time. So it’s up to u, grain alcohol doesn’t smell near as bad as iso, but both work just the same.

  21. I bet you cant reclaim that salty BHO and vape it all over again, and get just as high as you did from your fresh oil.
    I can give you reclaim that I have run my process on and you would think you are vaping some super fine product. Ditch the salt and buy some grain.

  22. Look into the residues that are left behind from the iso, The purer your alcohol is to start with, the cleaner your end product will be. Bam, cleaner reclaim.

  23. And by the way, My rig has a honey comb in the lower of the three chambers and I have no problems getting this rig brand new clean looking in under 30 minutes with clean reclaim that I can use with less repercussion on my lungs.

  24. You kids and your ISO. Go ahead and reclaim that shit with your dirty Iso and inhale that nasty shit.
    Personally, I use straight up grain alcohol which does not leave nearly as much garbage behind.
    Also, if you use grain, then you can use the cleaning solution after its all thick and nasty, you can use it just like you would use any weed tincture.
    So go ahead and keep using that nasty ISO, You might as well be using regular store bought bong cleaner and vaping that after.
    So now you know how to PROPERLY clean your oil rig.

  25. bakedlikebrownies on

    Rinse the bong out with Iso then pour into pyrex pan, bam! Clean bong and reclaim with minimum effort

  26. Any salt works well. I’ve used table salt, (sodium chloride), Bbaking soda, (sodium bicarbonate) and borax (sodium borate). I put it all in a zip lock with the alcohol and let it sit until my back-up gets too clogged and then switch ’em out. I feel the finer grain stuff works better in my application. I shake zip lock up once in a while to get some action on the cleaning. Thanks for the tip on reclamation.

  27. Been doing this for years! :) I’ll continue to reclaim and re-dab as long as there’s material to dab. No sense in wasting anything! I also find that, once you’re satisfied with the job the isopropyl alcohol has done on your rig, doing a good rinse with cleaning vinegar and salt (I use Epsom salt) *really* brings out the shine in the glass and gets rid of any water spots that were left.

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