How to Clean Your Dab Rig in 6 Steps

Posted by Tom Richardson on

This guide will provide step-by-step instructions for how to clean a dab rig the right way. 

We’ve kept our dab rigs clean as a whistle using these tested methods, so we know this is the best way to clean your rig!

Learning how to dab is only half the battle. You need to know how to maintain your rig and accessories as well.

Let’s jump right into how to clean a dab rig properly.

First thing..

how to clean a dab rig steps

What you'll need to clean a dab rig

Below is a list of items you should have ready before cleaning your rig:

  • Your dab rig
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol 
  • Coarse sea salt
  • One large sealable plastic bag or container
  • Cotton swabs
  • Res Caps (optional) 
  • Paper Towels 
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Q-Tips 
  • Pipe Cleaners 
  • Funnel

How to clean a dab rig in 6 steps

Step 1: Heat your nail

how to clean a dab rig with torch

The first step involves learning how to clean a dab banger or nail. 

Using a torch lighter, heat your nail or banger until the reclaim and residue is burned off. 

If there isn’t too much reclaim and residue built up, your torch should clean it well enough. Try using an alcohol-soaked cotton swab for more stubborn or hard to reach build up.

Wondering how to heat a nail without a torch? A couple of alternative methods include using a stove, e-nail, or heath stone.

Step 2: Soak your nail with alcohol

how to clean dab rig with alcohol

If your torch and cotton swabs aren’t enough to clean your nail, place it in a plastic baggie or container. 

Next, add isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and salt and let it soak in for 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

Finally, shake the bag or container gently to continue cleaning your nail.

If isopropyl alcohol isn't available, many brands carry a cleaning solution made specifically for glass rigs.

Step 3: Empty out your rig

Pour out any old water in your rig into a sink or drain before cleaning it.

As mentioned earlier, replace the water in your rig on a regular basis if you use it often. 

This will make it easier to do a deep clean and preserves the flavor and taste of your vapor.

Step 4: Fill with alcohol

Pour 99% isopropyl alcohol into the base of your rig for cleaning. 

For deeper cleans, add sea salt as well.

Step 5: Shake gently

Cover the holes of your rig with your hands, then shake gently until desired cleanliness is reached.

The alcohol will break down the reclaim buildup and sea salt will help clean any tough stains or residue.

Step 6: Rinse your rig and nail

how to clean a dab rig rinse

Finally, rinse out your dab rig and nail with warm water. To remove any residue still on the piece, shake gently as you rinse. 

Congratulations! You now have a clean dab rig.

Bonus tips for cleaning your dab rig

Before a dab rig cleaning, consider these tips to make the cleaning process as easy as possible.

Don't rush

The first bonus tip is don't rush the cleaning process!

Most people will only clean their dab rig several times a year, so take your time and make sure all pieces and accessories for your dab rig are stored safely while cleaning.

Avoid hot water

Secondly, avoid using hot water while cleaning if your dab rig is made of glass. Water that's too hot can cause your rig to break and we don't want that to happen.

Warm water is fine for cleaning your dab rig and works effectively.


Why Clean My Dab Rig?

There are a few reasons why you should clean your rig.

The first and most important being that leftover residue can negatively affect the flavor of your dabs and overall performance of your rig when dabbing.

Secondly, harmful bacteria and mold can grow when you don’t clean your rig properly. 

Continually using a dab rig that has bacteria, mold, or other contaminants can cause a slew of potential health issues. 

Plus, a dirty dab rig often breaks easier and more frequently than one regularly cleaned. 

Keeping your rig and accessories clean will improve the overall quality of your dabs and extend the shelf life of your rig. 

I know, it sounds like a daunting task to clean your it continuously.

But here’s the kicker..

Learning how to clean a rig properly is not complicated and is pretty easy once you understand the process.

How Often Should I Clean My Dab Rig?

Depending on how dirty your dab rig is and how often you use it, the amount of cleaning may vary. We suggest cleaning it at least every 3-6 months, but many enthusiasts clean their rig weekly or monthly. 

If you're noticing a difference in taste when using your rig, you need to clean it.


No matter how often you perform a deep cleaning of your rig, we suggest rinsing it out with warm water after each session.

This prevents that nasty bacteria and mold we mentioned from forming.

How do I clean my dab rig without alcohol?

No alcohol? No worries! There are alternative ways to clean your rig that are both effective and don’t require isopropyl alcohol. 

Salt & Vinegar

Much like using sea salt and isopropyl alcohol, a mixture of sea salt and vinegar will give your dab rig a good, thorough cleaning. 

The only downside is that it smells bad and takes longer to completely clean your rig.

Don’t let those downsides stop you though. Just be prepared to let your rig soak for at least an hour.

If you don’t have salt available, baking soda works well as a replacement.

Lemon Water

Lemon water is far from the best method for cleaning a dab rig. But if this is your only option, let your rig and accessories soak for 2 hours in lemon water and you’ll see results.

How do you clean a dab rig with hot water?

While we don't recommend using hot water during a deep cleaning of your dab rig, it can be useful for more regular dab rig maintenance.

This method is only recommended if your dab rig is made of high-quality, borosilicate glass.

Use boiling water!

It sounds crazy, but boiling water does a great job of breaking down build up and residue in your dab rig. It's much more effective than water from a faucet.

Again, this method is only recommended if you're working with a high-quality rig.

Can you use reclaim?

This is a common question among dab enthusiasts.

Simply put, yes, you can smoke and get high from reclaim. According to reports from certified testing labs, reclaim maintains many of the active cannabinoids found in concentrates.

Unlike the resin that builds up in traditional water pipes, reclaim has not gone through combustion so you don't have to worry about the carbon, ash, and tar often associated with resin.

However, reclaim will not have the same flavor profile as your original cannabis extracts.

It's also important to note that your reclaim is only as good as the concentrate it comes from. This means higher quality concentrate will lead to higher quality reclaim after the session.

How can I collect reclaim from my dab rig?

how to clean a dab rig reclaim

To collect reclaim from your rig, just remove your nail or banger and hold it over the wax paper. 

Next, grab your torch and heat the reclaim until it turns to liquid and pours onto the wax paper. 

Finally, allow the reclaim to cool off and return to its solid state. 

Now you can use it for edibles, tinctures, and all other kinds of fun consumption methods.

Keep in mind,

Smoking reclaim will not taste as expected, but you will get high.

Final thoughts

Cleaning your dab rig may seem like a tedious and slightly annoying task, but it's an important part of maximizing your material and the life of your rig. Follow the simple steps outlined in this post and you'll be dabbing for years to come with your favorite rig.

Don't risk inhaling harmful bacteria and mold from a dirty rig. Rinse it out regularly and perform a deep cleaning of your dab rig as needed to keep your vapor tasting great. Your lungs will thank you!

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