Here’s everything you need to know to keep your dab rig fresh and clean.

Dab rig maintenance is often a barrier for folks who want to try the more potent side of cannabis (dabs). But just like changing your cars’ oil, tidying your dab rig (and associated tools) is essential. 

Even enthusiastic dabbers often struggle when dealing with a dirty dab rig. So, we’re here to help. 

Keep reading for our complete dab rig cleaning guide. You’ll be a certified professional in no time (no chazzed bangers allowed).

Why is it important to keep a clean dab rig? 

Firstly, clean dab rigs are better for your health. 

Over time, dab rig pieces – the bowl, in particular – become coated with charred layers of burnt crust. And like other burnt materials, this buildup is carcinogenic. 

When you heat your machinery in preparation for a fresh dab, you’ll release harmful materials into your lungs, where they can be absorbed into your body unless your rig is clean. Cleaning a dab rig removes this buildup and protects you. 

A clean dab rig is the key to a successful dabbing experience. Learning how to clean the buildup safely and effectively will mean your hits taste smoother and fuller, and your lungs stay happier. It also helps keep your equipment in good shape so it will last (it’s an investment, after all).

What are the parts of the dab rig?

Here are the basic building blocks of a dab rig:

  • Dab Rig (it’s similar to a bong, but with minor differences)

Glass dab rigs include chambers that cool the heated vapor as it passes through them. Water filtration also cools and cleanses the vapor before it hits your lungs.

  • Nail/banger

The part of the dab rig where you apply your heat source, vaporizing the concentrate. 

  • Torch

This is what gets things steamy. Heat your banger with a torch or an electric heat source to get the party started.

  • Dab tool

Constructed from small pieces of metal, consumers use dab tools to load and maneuver the concentrate as they smoke.

Every part of your dab kit will eventually become dirty. Your eyes will tell you when it’s time for a thorough cleaning. 

person about to take a dab

How often should I clean my dab rig and bowl?

You should regularly clean your dab rig. Experts recommend you wash your banger and bowl after every dab. However, you can trust your judgment for the rest of the rig. If you’re a heavy consumer, we suggest weekly cleaning (don’t roll your eyes – clean after you take a rip, and the time will pass quickly). 

Do you have to clean your banger after every dab?

We know, cleaning your banger and bowl after every dab sounds like an immense pain. But once you get in the rhythm of it, it’s surprisingly easy and faster than you might expect. 

Simply use a cotton swab or Q Tip to wipe down your banger and bowl, so you’ll be ready for the next dab; you’ll have a much better experience if you use fresh glass for your dab!

How do I get the dab residue out of my rig?

It’s surprisingly easy to remove dab residue. But like the other basic maintenance tasks you need to do every day—from washing dishes to showering—having the right tools is essential to getting it done.

But fortunately, you only need a few basic supplies.

What should I use for dab rig cleaning?

A good cleaning job is all about the tools. Here’s what you need for a squeaky clean dab rig:


  • Cotton swabs or Q Tips
  • Isopropyl alcohol 
  • A clean cloth for wiping

Those are the basics! And yes, it is that simple.

isopropyl alcohol on shelf next to jars of cotton balls and q-tips

What are the steps to cleaning a dab rig?

Now that your supplies are assembled, it’s time to get cleaning! According to experts, here’s the best way to clean a dab rig.

  • Step One: dump the dirty water
  • Step Two: run warm water through the rig to loosen the residue
  • Step Three: pour a little isopropyl alcohol into the chamber
  • Step Four: plug the holes and shake the alcohol around
  • Step Five: rinse thoroughly with water
  • Step Six: clean up any remnants with q tips or your dab tool
  • Step Seven: lay out on a towel to dry

It only takes a few minutes to clean out your rig, and your smoking experience will be better (and safer) every time you do.

Are there different methods to clean a dab rig?

Variety is the spice of life! If you want to mix things up, there are a few primary methods for dab rig cleaning.

You can skip the alcohol and only use hot water.

You can add alcohol to get things extra clean.

You can add alcohol plus coarse rock salt for even more cleaning power.

You can clean the rig using heat. Slightly heat up your isopropyl alcohol (not too much, or it’ll explode!) for a deeper clean.

How do you clean a dab rig without alcohol?

While you need alcohol to get things properly squeaky, perhaps you don’t have any on hand. Don’t panic! Here’s how to clean a dab rig without alcohol:

Simply eliminate the alcohol and use warmer water to wash out the rig. If you have rock salt on hand, you can add that into the mix to get out some of the gunk. 

This is an excellent temporary solution, but make sure to stock up on isopropyl alcohol next time you’re at the drugstore. It’s dirt cheap, and will last for months, making it an essential investment for any tidy dabber.

Can I use reclaim?

Whether or not to use reclaim is largely based on budget and personal taste. Using reclaim is a good way to get more bang for your dabbing buck, but some people don’t like the taste.

When dabbing with reclaim, you’ll notice that the taste is not as smooth as it was the first time. However, it’s still perfectly safe. But if the taste doesn’t appeal to you, you can always eat it! The heating process used in dabbing means that your reclaim is already decarboxylated, so you can use it in edibles and experience the psychoactive effects.

How do I collect reclaim?

Collecting reclaim efficiently is a two step process.

Step One: pour the liquid out of your rig through a fine-mesh strainer to collect the little golden hued clumps that remain behind.

Step Two: melt it out. You’ll need wax paper and a torch. Let your dab fully dry, then remove the nail and hold the connector over the wax paper, holding a touch to the reclaim until it melts and drips down. You can then collect the reclaim and use it as you see fit.

If this sounds complicated, you can always use your dabbing tool to scrape out the banger and reclaim catcher before starting the cleaning process. Then proceed from step three in our guide. You’ll have a clean dab in no time!