If you’re new to dabbing, you may find that your Dab Rig is getting dirty or clogged relatively fast. You will need to clean it regularly to keep it functioning efficiently. But how is this done, and is it complicated?
Then there’s the question: Will you try to gather your reclaim, which can be very useful, or discard it? Our recommendation is if you are collecting your reclaim, you will want to clean your dab rig regularly for the best quality reclaim, the best function from your dab rig, and the best flavor from your concentrates! Even if you plan on discarding it, the dabbing experience is always improved by a nice clean rig.
What is Reclaim and what is it used for?
Unlike smoking flowers through a bong, which creates sticky resin, dab rigs build up wax inside, usually called reclaim. When you vaporize wax through your dab rig, it turns from a wax to a vapor, which you inhale through the rig. But not all of it remains a vapor! As it cools in the water and perc’s of your rig, some of it will resolidify into a wax. This wax that builds up in your dab rig is sometimes called claim or reclaim, as you can collect it and re-use it in tinctures or edibles.
Since the reclaim has already been decarboxylated through the heat from the dabbing process, it is generally already activated into THC Delta 9 and has a host of other valuable cannabinoids like CBG, CBD, CBN, etc. This means it will not have to go through the decarboxylation phase to make it viable for edibles and other cold ingestion methods. Great news!
But you still should be wary when collecting it, you don’t want it to sit in the water for too long, or mold can form, making it something you don’t want to re-use or ingest. So regularly cleaning your glass dab rig is essential if you want to save your reclaim!
Different Types of Dab Rigs
There are a few different ways to clean a dab rig, which will vary depending on your dab rig. Silicone dab rigs and glass dab rigs will clean similarly, but you will have to take extra care cleaning an e-dab rig like the Puffco Peak. E- dab rigs usually can be separated from the base unit that houses the heating element and battery/power supply, and the top glass section that holds the water can be cleaned normally. You will want to avoid getting the electronics portion of the e-dab rig wet at all. Then there’s the question of if you will try to gather your reclaim or discard it.
Reclaiming your dabs
If you are interested in saving the reclaim from your dab rig, you can use a few methods. One method is to invest in a reclaim catcher, an attachment that sits on the front of your rig and catches the majority of your reclaim that drips down from the banger.
If you don’t have a reclaim catcher, another easy method is to dump your water out through a screen, some clumps of reclaim will fall out with the water, and you can collect them. Some of the reclaim will be stuck inside your rig and not want to come out. In this case, you can also use hot water to loosen and break up the wax on the walls of your rig, then dump them over a screen again to collect what has been removed by the hot water.
If all else fails, you can use the riskiest method, lightly heating the rig with your torch to melt the reclaim off and drip it onto some parchment paper. This method is not really recommended as excessive heat can crack your glass dab rig, and never use a flame on silicone rigs!
Cleaning Materials Needed
If you want to clean your dab rig for the best smoking experience and don’t care about saving the reclaim, there are a few tools you will want to get. The tools you will need will be Isopropyl alcohol, a baggy, and potentially some salt as an abrasive if the buildup is very severe.
Generally, salt will not be needed to clean a dab rig unless you can’t get it fully clean with just the isopropyl alcohol. Also, any grade of isopropyl alcohol should work, but the higher grades, 91% and 99%, will strip the wax off your glass dab rig much faster!
Remember, if you use isopropyl alcohol to clean your rig, you do NOT want to keep the reclaim, as it will be tainted with the isopropyl alcohol. If you want to soak out the reclaim and re-use it, something like pure ethyl alcohol or Everclear can be used, but be sure to evaporate it out fully before re-using it!
Cleaning A Glass Dab Rig
Cleaning a glass dab rig is the easiest of all. Glass Dab rigs can be cleaned using hot water if they’re not very dirty, but we recommend using Isopropyl Alcohol for the best clean. The higher grades of isopropyl, like 91% and 99%, clean the best, but if 70% is all you can find, that will work too.
You will want to remove the banger and any other removable parts from your dab rig and place those separately into Ziploc bags; put enough isopropyl in the bags to get a nice soak going. While those are soaking, you can fill the main rig about 30% full of isopropyl alcohol and shake it up!
If the dab rig is VERY dirty, you might consider soaking it first to loosen up the claim or resin. If you still can’t get it perfectly clean, you can also add some salt as an abrasive for that scrubbing action, just like cleaning a glass pipe!
Cleaning a Silicone Dab Rig
When cleaning a Silicone dab rig, there are a few things to keep in mind. Isopropyl Alcohol can break down Silicone over time, so it’s not recommended for cleaning a silicone dab rig. Instead, try warm water and dish soap. You will need to scrub your dab rig a bit longer with this method as soap and water don’t have the same stripping power as Isopropyl Alcohol.
It’s essential to keep your rig relatively clean if you’re using a silicone dab rig, as it’s challenging to get perfectly clean after it gets filthy.
How to clean an Electric Dab Rig
When cleaning an e dab rig or an electric dab rig like the puffco peak, its always best to check with the manufacturer for their instructions for cleaning. Every E-rig is different, so the techniques for cleaning each may vary depending on the design.
In general, an e-rig has an electronics section, usually at the rig’s base, that houses the battery and the atomizer unit or heating element. You will want to remove this section from the cleanable glass sections before cleaning, so you can clean the glass sections separately.
When cleaning the chamber that may be attached to the electronics section itself, you will want to avoid using excess moisture, even isopropyl, that could seep into the unit, and use a Q-tip lightly soaked in isopropyl to wipe out the atomizer.
Cleaning the atomizer with a Q-tip is beneficial after every dab and will keep your electric dab rig from getting too dirty for a long time before it needs a full cleaning.
Best Way to Clean Dab Rig Banger
When it comes to your banger, the best way to keep it clean is not to get it chazzed in the first place. Bangers are notoriously hard to get clean again after they have been chazzed, so you will want to concentrate on keeping it clean, to begin with.
Since they are so difficult to clean, bangers are considered a disposable item and are replaced every so often with a fresh one. But with a few considerations, you can prevent your banger from getting chazzed and keep it looking fresh for a long time! The main thing you will want to avoid is dabbing at too high of a temperature. Not only can it change the cannabinoid makeup of your concentrates, if you dab at too hot of a temperature, it will roast the dab onto the sides of your hot banger, effectively chazzing the banger.
You will want to keep an appropriate temperature on your banger; 500-700 Fahrenheit is generally the range you’ll want to be in, depending on the size of your dab and the thickness of your quartz banger. A little practice goes a long way in learning the appropriate temperature for your particular banger and dabbing preference. Once you’re dabbing at a good temperature, you should have a little bit of wet extract left in the banger after your dab.
To keep your banger looking fresh, you want to remove as much of the excess dab as possible without getting it too hot. A Q-tip or a paper towel to wipe up the excess in your banger after a dab before you reheat works very well. Any extract you burn off with your next heating will start to chazz it, so you want as much out as possible before you reheat. This way, you can keep your banger looking fresh for possibly even years!
You will find that with a clean rig and banger, your extracts taste better, are more effective, and are healthier in the long term. No one wants to hit a rig that looks like it has mold growing inside, so it’s best to try to keep your dab rigs as clean as possible and change the water at least once a week to keep it fresh. Even though dabs won’t get your pieces as dirty as smoking flowers out of them, the cleaning process will be very similar to cleaning a pipe or a bong.