Cleaning an acrylic bong with alcohol? (definitive answer needed!)

Discussion in 'Bongs, Dab Rigs, Bubblers, Water Pipes' started by ddage, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. #1 ddage, Sep 12, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2010
    I've seen other posts about this but it doesn't seem a definitive conclusion has ever been reached. Maybe we can do that here in this thread. Anyway...

    So I had this one red acrylic straight cylinder bong for years that I smoked out of on a daily basis. It's one of those thick acrylic ones that make a clinking sound almost like glass when you tap it with your fingernail. Anyway, I was never too good about cleaning it regularly but when I did, I used the 91% isopropyl alcohol and salt method and it seemed to work pretty well.

    Anyway, I just happened upon a post that said you should NEVER use high percentage rubbing alcohol to clean an acrylic bong because it will break down the plastic, cause it to crack and leech harmful chemicals into the bongwater. This has got me freaked out because I used this bong daily for YEARS.

    I still have the bong and peering down the tube, I don't see any visible cracks or disoloration (although it's kind of hard to see down there and I have to use a flashlight). I don't ever recall seeing the bongwater turn even the slightest shade of red either. The only degradation of the plastic I can see is on edge of the rim at the top where you put your mouth and I assume that is from traction/abrasion from my lips and is very slight anyway. I actually just did a little test on the outside of the bong and rubbed some 91% iso on it with a cotton ball for a few minutes and saw no destructive effect on the plastic and no red coloring on the cotton ball.

    Anyway, despite seeing no cracks or discoloration (except for a bit of residual dark staining from resin build-up), I'm still freaked out by the thought that there could have been some kind of reaction on a microscopic level that leeched harmful chemicals into the bongwater all those years. Am I just being a freak or what? I have to admit, I am somewhat on the hypochondriacal side. Please either help ease my mind or give me a reason why I should consult my doctor about this. Thanks! :confused:

    P.S. I would also keep the plastic stopper attached to the bottom of the tube when cleaning it. I discovered the plug is made from low-density polyethylene or LDPE. It says on this site that when exposed to isopropyl alcohol "LDPE and HDPE at 20C-50C show little or no damage after 30 days of constant exposure."
  2. I don't know to tell you the truth, if you feel fine I wouldn't see a doctor but seriously. Get some glass, what a thing to have to worry about. I like not having to question my smoking devices.
  3. It will be fine.
  4. Even if it leached chemicals into the bong water, how would that harm you? You don't ingest the bong water so it can't, you have nothing to worry about.
  5. LOL. I figured I was probably just being mental about it. Thanks, guys. :wave:
  6. Look closely at your bong. If you see lots of tiny, little cracks all over it, chances are the alcohol has done some damage. If you don't see all those little bitty stress cracks, you're probably okay.
  7. you always clean pretty much any bong or piece with alcohol and give i a few good wash outs with water, not too hot or cold just warm water. Should get all the alcohol out. I clean all my pieces with alcohol+salt. The salt acts like a scrubber, the alcohol kills any germs. youll be totally fine.
  8. If you don't want to use salt, rice works VERY well.
  9. Hey guys, sorry to revive this old thread. Be careful when cleaning acrylic bongs with alcohol (and salt), especially if you're thinking of using ispropyl! My sister filled her almost yard-long bong with a mixture of these and when she emptied and picked it by its neck, it completely cracked.

    When you add salt to isopropyl alcohol (which is a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water--unless you're using 100% isopropyl alcohol), the alcohol separates from the water in the solution because it isn't soluble in salt solutions. The separated alcohol will dissolve the adhesive that is gluing your bong together, thus it will crack. 100% isopropyl will do the work on its own.

    I dunno why I hadn't thought about it before, now I feel bad I suggested my sister this method.
  10. I like not having to question my smoking devices.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
  11. I solve that very easily, I use an old toothbrush, and water :) and occasionally soap, and I clean my pieces now after every session, I save the resin, and then make it squeaky clean so my room doesn't smell and I don't have to hide them in obnoxious places to cover it up from my room mates.
  12. If you give half a shit about your health why not just buy a new acrylic. Cant be more than 15-20$ at a marked-up headshop, probably less at most. Or is your health worth less than a new acrylic bong? If you are actually concerned about your health get a glass bong and eliminate the risks of smoking from plastic.

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