Quality glassware is worth a bit of time and effort to keep clean and in good condition. Taking care of your pipe will not only make it last longer, but will also give you a better smoking experience as it will stop flavours from being obscured by dirt. Here are three easy options for keeping your glassware crystal clear.
1 – Buy a proprietary cleaning solution
These can easily be bought online and many of them work very effectively and with minimal hassle. On the minus side, this is possibly the most expensive way to go about caring for your glassware and realistically is unlikely to be any better than cheaper ways, even if they involve a bit more work.
2. - Use boiling water
At the other end of the scale, boiling water is a great all-round cleaner and can do a great job on dirty pipes. Clean off any surface dirt and rinse it in hand-hot water before putting your pipe into a pan of water which has been brought to the boil and then reduced to a simmer. Leave it there for 20-30 minutes and then rinse it again in hand-hot water. Repeat if necessary until the pipe is completely clean.
Please note that, it is absolutely crucial that you rinse your pipe in hand-hot water before and after putting it in boiling water. If the pipe is subjected to a too-quick temperature change (in either direction), it may crack. Likewise you need the pipe to be fully covered in water, which means you may need to top up the hot water to compensate for steam. A kettle or another pot would be useful here. Finally you need to remember that your pipe will be extremely hot at the end of this process. Therefore you will need to be careful taking it out of the hot water and handling it until it has cooled down. What you could do is have another bowl of hand-hot water ready and then use a utensil such as tongs to guide the pipe into it. It will then cool down slowly along with the water and then you can examine it and see if it needs another cleaning cycle.
Denture tablets are also great household cleaners. To use them on your pipe, find a container which holds your pipe comfortably and fill it with hand-hot water then drop in a couple of denture tablets and wait half an hour. Repeat if necessary.
Try and avoid some of the more traditional or less purpose made cleaning aides such as pipe cleaners or bottle cleaners, as these usually have a central stem made of steel, which if you are not careful can put some very nasty scratches in your piece.