Isopropyl alcohol – aka “rubbing alcohol” – is a staple in the lives of most  cannabis connoisseurs worldwide. As you’ll probably be aware, isopropyl alcohol is just the thing when it comes to cleaning gunked-up glassware. 

From pipes to bongs and all else besides, a good clean with isopropyl alcohol and they’re kept in pristine condition indefinitely.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a major dent in isopropyl alcohol availability. As was the case when the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 hit a while ago, prices are also skyrocketing where isopropyl alcohol is available online.

Despite having been told not to start panic buying anything, the great American public has once again decided to take matters into its own hands.

In which case, what are the alternatives on the table for keeping your glassware clean? Rather than allowing all that Gorilla Glue gunk and Northern Lights nastiness to accumulate in your beloved bong, what should you be using to keep it clean and serene?

White Vinegar and Coarse Salt

One of the easiest and most effective ways of getting the inside of your hardware clean is to prepare a mixture of coarse salt and white vinegar. It’s simply a case of pouring some coarse salt into the pipe or bong, adding some vinegar and plugging the holes to prevent it from leaking. Give the whole thing a good shake and leave to soak for a while, before shaking again and repeating the process a couple of times.

You should then simply be able to rinse your piece under warm water, to have it looking good as new.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

More or less the exact same technique and methodology, though in this instance swapping the coarse salt for baking soda. This is also a great combination for getting to work on resinous residues on and in plastic and metallic devices, too. 

Add the baking soda, add white vinegar and finally some hot water, giving it a good shake after giving it time to foam up and do its thing.

Boiling Water

A decent quantity of boiling water can also be surprisingly effective, just as long as you don’t go and shatter your bong in the process. Pouring boiling water into a glass vessel of any kind that’s cold is a recipe for disaster. Hence, you’ll need to gradually heat your hardware using some warm water first of all, before stepping up to something hotter. 

You can either plug the holes in your bong and fill it with boiling water, or even simmer the entire thing in a large pot of very gently simmering water. For obvious reasons, this isn’t a technique to try with most types of plastic pipes.

Denture Cleaning Tablets

Believe it or not, conventional denture cleaning tablets can also do a great job cleaning the gunk and sticky nastiness from a bong or pipe. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and fill your bong with the solution, or place it in a larger pot of dissolved solution for an inside-outside clean. 

A Word on Hand Sanitizers…

Rounding things off, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not the same as isopropyl alcohol. Even if they contain a decent quantity of the stuff, they may also be laced with all manner of additional compounds and chemicals you really don’t want to be inhaling.

Unless it’s pure isopropyl alcohol with nothing else in the mix, chances are it will leave potentially hazardous residues on the interior of your hardware. So, tempting as it may be, don’t attempt to clean your bong or pipe with conventional hand sanitizer – you’ll only make things worse!