How To Use & Care For A Bong

with Barbie Sommars & 

On this episode of know n' go - How To Use & Care For A Bong, our hosts demonstrate what all the talk is about bongs.  You'll learn how they work, how you can use one to consume different herbs, and how to keep it clean.  Bongs can provide a smooth, distinctive smoking experience, delivering cooled smoke filtered of ash and resin so all you taste is your herbal blends.  If you've ever wanted to try a bong, you will want to check out this episode!

How to use a bong for the perfect session

What is a bong?

A bong is a kind of apparatus with a water chamber that’s used to smoke cannabis. Bongs are sometimes also called bubblers, bingers, or billies.  It's a type of water pipe that uses water to cool and filter the smoke resulting from burning herbs. The parts of a bong include a mouth, a neck, a chamber, a down stem, a bowl and some have a carb to empty the bong of smoke if the bowl doesn't slide out of the down stem. They can have other parts or attachments like carbs, ash catchers, and splash guards, all designed to improve your overall experience, but those are optional and not require to have the full bong experience.

Bongs come in many different varieties and sizes, which vary from 19” towers to 6” shorties.  They are made from different materials like borosilicate glass, silicone, plastic, and even metal.  The key component to a blog is a chamber that is filled with water, and down stem that will draw the smoke from firing your herbal blend directly into the water.

Why would someone use a bong?

Because the chamber of the bong contains water, which is why it is often referred to as a water pipe, the resulting smoke you inhale is filtered and cooled. The offers a really smooth inhale and a more vibrant taste of your prepared herbal blend.  

In addition, hot smoke can trigger a coughing reflex in your lungs, making it difficult to hold the cannabis smoke in your lungs. Cooling the smoke through the water makes you less likely to cough. Some people even add ice to their bong to cool the smoke even more.

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Grind your herbs and pack the bowl.

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Get comfortable & light the bowl.

On the other hand, we denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammelled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. 

But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.

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Fill the bong with smoke and clear.

But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. 

To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure

How To Care for Your Bong

The best way to ensure you will enjoy your bong for a long time is to take excellent care of it!

If you don't keep your pipe clean, the water that has been trapping smoke, resin, ash and other particulates will turn brown and being to smell bad. The water can breed bacteria and mold, causing you to inhale them along with the smoke, potentially making you sick. 

It is really important that you keep your bong clean!

Below are two bongs that have just been rinsed out with water after 40 uses. The bong on the left used regular tap water in the chamber during those 40 sessions and the bong on the right used Piece Water in the chamber.  This is why we can't recommend Piece Water enough for simple bong care that also provides an enjoyable session every time.

40 Sessions With Tap Water

40 Sessions With Piece Water

Frequently Asked Questions About Using A Bong

Is a water pipe the same thing as a bong?

Not quite. Water pipe is a more generic term whereas bong refers to a specific type of water pipe.

What are the parts of a bong?

The Five Main Parts of Most Bongs 

  1. Bowl. You put your cannabis in this little receptacle.
  2. Downstem. This conduit guides the smoke from the bowl into the base, where it’s diffused through the water.
  3. Water chamber/base. This is at the bottom of the pipe and is where you put the water.
  4. Neck or tube. The smoke travels up from the base through this duct to the mouth.
  5. Mouthpiece. This is at the top of the pipe and is where you inhale from.

Some bongs also have a carburetor (a small opening that lets air into the pipe to push the smoke through the pipe), percolator, and/or ash catcher.

What are the different materials used to make bongs?

The Different Materials Used To Make Bongs

The world’s oldest bong is 2,400 years old. It was excavated in Russia in 2015, and is made of solid gold.  Today’s water pipes can be made for a variety of materials (though pure gold is not the norm). Each has its pros and cons.

Glass Bongs

Glass bongs, a premium option, are the most expensive. They don’t impart any flavor to your smoke, which means you get a clean hit. Being transparent, glass bongs let you effortlessly check the water quality and level and for resin build-up. People love that glass is an easy-to-clean material. On the downside, glass bongs can shatter if dropped or hit.  They can also chip more readily than ones made from some other materials.

Silicone Bongs

Silicone bongs are well suited for travelers who want durability and portability. High quality silicone is easy to clean and is unbreakable. However, it’s hard to keep tabs on water quality and resin build-up due to the opaque material.

Ceramic Bongs

Ceramic bongs come in a ton of different designs and shapes, which makes them great for collecting or serving as conversation pieces. This material doesn’t leach any flavor into your smoke, so you get a pure hit every time. Though cheaper than glass, ceramic shares the same risk of chipping and shattering. And because ceramic isn’t transparent, you can’t easily monitor the water or resin levels.

Metal Bongs

As evidenced from the 2400-year-old Russian bong made of gold, metal bongs are the ultimate in durability. They’re easy to clean, however, they’ve been known to influence the flavor of your hit, potentially giving it a metallic taste. And, unless crafted from stainless steel, the metal can tarnish or rust. Opacity can make it difficult to check the water quality and see if there’s any resin build-up. Many find metal bongs to be heavy.

What are the different styles of bongs?

The Different Styles of Bongs

Bongs come in many different designs — from vase-like water pipes to bubblers that look like lab ware to pieces that look more like art pieces. Each offers a unique experience, so don’t feel like you have to be locked into only one style.

Straight Tube Bongs

As their name implies, these guys are straight and totally tubular — the same width from the mouthpiece to the base. Typically, the down stem and bowl protrude from the tube about a quarter of the way up from the base. Straight tube bongs are a sleek and simple design that are easy to handle and clean, which makes them a great design for novices and veteran bong tokers.

Beaker Bongs

This design has a straight, tubular neck like a straight tube bong. But it flares out near the bottom of the bong, thus offering a slightly larger water capacity. Its lower center of gravity makes it more stable than a straight tube bong as well. Beaker bongs are ideal for beginners.

Zong Bongs

These are similar to most classic bongs…except for one feature. The neck. Instead of being ramrod straight from mouthpiece to base, there’s at least one bend — often looking like a zig-zag, piece of rickrack, or trend line on the monitor of a medical machine. This kinked shape prevents splash back and can even thwart would-be spills. Even better, though, is that the “Z” shape forces the smoke to travel farther. This cools the smoke before it reaches your mouth, which makes for a smoother hit.

Round-Base Bongs

Like beaker bongs, this style provides a marginally bigger water chamber than straight tube bongs. Round base bongs aren’t as stable as beaker bongs but offer a classic look.

Percolator Bongs

If you’re after an ultra-smooth hit, this bong style is up your alley. These feature internal percolators, which accelerate the diffusion of smoke. This cools the smoke down before it reaches your mouth for a silky toke.

Multi-Chamber Bongs

These are usually complicated-looking pieces of apparatus — but they work the same as traditional bongs. The multiple chambers allow the smoke to chill and get extra purified before it reaches your mouth. Don’t be surprised by the price of these high-end bongs.

What customizations can be made to a bong?

The Different Customizations That Can Be Added To Bongs

You can find bongs with options or modifications that suit your needs and preferences better than “standard” models. Alternatively, you may be able to trick out your bong with attachments like carbs, ash catchers, and splash guards.

Here are some ways you can personalize your water pipe:


If you want to be able to take the bowl out of the down stem and put it back in as you smoke, go for a bong that has a handle on the bowl. Some bongs feature bowls with a built-in screen the prevents your cannabis from falling into the water chamber. A bulbous double-walled bowl will keep things cool and help you avoid finger burns.

Ash Catchers

These aren’t a necessity but can certainly elevate your smoking experience. They catch ash and resin build-up before it enters the bong, which keeps your water pipe cleaner longer. By adding an extra filtration layer, you’ll also get a smoother hit.


The joints are where your attachments will connect to your bong. They usually measure 18.8mm, 14.4mm, or 10mm in diameter. You can buy adapters to make attachments fit the joints that are a different size.

Does the size of the bong matter?

When It Comes To A Bong, Size Matters

Water pipes come in many sizes, typically ranging from 6-inch to 19-inch tall. The world's itty-bittiest bong is just shy of an inch high. In contrast, the world's biggest bong is a 24-foot-tall, 800-pound behemoth.

While size can impact your smoking experience, there’s no right or wrong — just better or worse matches to your needs and preferences.

Small Bongs - 4 to 7 Inches

Small bongs are around 4” to 7” in height. Beginners love that they’re easy to manage, move, and maintain. But, they don’t have adequate water capacity to filter the smoke very much.

Medium Bongs - 8 to 17 Inches

Medium bongs fall in the 8” to 17” range. This is a popular size amongst beginners and pros alike. They appreciate that it’s got the perfect capacity for water filtration and supports a wide array of smoking attachments.

Large Bongs - 18+ Inches

Large bongs are 18” and longer and tend to appeal to experienced bong smokers. But, they’re also a sweet option when it comes to sharing a bong session with close friends, especially since you’ll need help to light the bowl. With the longer neck, there’s virtually zero splashback when using these big bongs. Large bongs are more suited to staying in one place as they can be heavy and awkward to move around.

Bongs For Beginners

Beginners are often started with shorter bongs. With a reduced-length chamber, there’s less space for the smoke to accumulate. This translates into a smaller amount of smoke inhaled — ideal for newbeez who want to start low and slow.

Why would someone use ice in a bong?

The water in your bong does a decent job of cooling the smoke as it travels up to the mouthpiece. But, adding ice goes the extra distance! When the smoke hits the ice, it cools rapidly and significantly. The chilled smoke is easier and more comfortable to inhale, making for a smoother and more pleasant experience.

Why does a bong need to be kept clean?

When used, water pipes are in contact with moisture and organic compounds. Plus, the bong water gets contaminated with ash and resin. This is a recipe for an unsanitary situation — and your bong can become a breeding ground for nasties like bacteria, mold, fungi, and viruses.

Taking proper care of your bong — like cleaning it — will safeguard the well-being of anyone smoking from it. A clean bong will yield a smoother, better tasting, faster-acting hit and can help your weed last longer.

Cleaning your bong isn’t just good for you; it’s great for your bong. Keeping it gunk-free will help preserve your bong’s integrity, which will keep it looking awesome, prevent it from stinking, and extend its longevity.

How does Piece Water work to keep a bong clean?

Piece Water makes taking care of a dirty, unhealthy bong easy! And it doesn’t rely on harsh and dangerous chemicals to get the job done.

So, how does Piece Water work? Piece Water’s all-natural, non-toxic ingredients trap smoke particulates. By capturing these smoke by-products, Piece Water stops resin from forming. The end result is that your bong doesn’t get as dirty and is easier to clean when needed.

Give Piece Water a chance — it’s far better than using tap water in your bong!

Why use hemp wick to light a bong instead of a lighter?

Compared to a lighter, using Hemp Wick is a better option when smoking. Most other flames sources have toxic effects.

Butane — the fuel in lighters — is a good example. Butane is harmful to personal health in a number of ways. It can cause problems like drowsiness, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure fluctuations, temporary memory loss, and more. While butane is considered an eco-friendly natural gas, it’s still a petrochemical.

On the other end of the spectrum are Hemp Wicks. They’re an all-natural, organic product made from renewable hemp and beeswax. Not only are they sustainable, they burn clean and slow and don’t create soot or residue. There are tons more to love about this butane-alternative, so we encourage you to check Hemp Wicks out!

What are the steps to smoke a bong?

The Steps To Smoke A Bong

The ritual may differ slightly based on the bong you’re using, but the steps below are fairly standard.

How To Use A Bong

  1. Fill the base with water. There should be enough to account for the size of the bong and the number of smokers.
  2. Prepare your cannabis. Grind or shred it so the pieces are the desired size.
  3. Pack the bowl. Put the prepared cannabis bits in and tamp it down slightly so the pieces stay put.
  4. Get comfortable. Situate yourself so that you can smoke with ease.
  5. Hold the bong. Most people prefer to do this with their non-dominant hand.
  6. Breathe deeply a few times. This just helps you relax and get ready to smoke.
  7. Place your mouth on the mouthpiece. Position your lips so you have a good seal and are set to inhale.
  8. Ignite your wick or lighter. You’ll do this with your free hand, likely your dominant hand.
  9. Light the bowl. You may need to angle the flame to avoid torching the entire surface all at once.
  10. Inhale. Draw the smoke in slowly while the bowl’s lit.
  11. Kill the flame. When you’ve taken in enough smoke, you don’t need to continue lighting the cannabis.
  12. Hold the smoke in your lungs. A few seconds should suffice.
  13. Exhale. Let the smoke out.
  14. Check the mouthpiece. If needed — like when you’re passing a bong around to others — wipe off the mouthpiece so it’s clean and dry.

What's Going On?

You’re taking the step outlined above. But what’s happening? How’s it working?

Here’s the basic process:

  1. The cannabis combusts and decarboxylates when you light it up.
  2. The bong then filters and cools the smoke that results from you burning the cannabis.
  3. When you inhale, the smoke rises through the bong water into the tube and then through the mouthpiece.

Is smoking a bong better for your lungs?

The short answer is: Not really. Keep reading for the finer points….

Smoking in General

It’s common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health. It doesn’t matter what you’re smoking — the smoke still contains carcinogens that can hurt lung tissues and small blood vessels.

However, according to various research, taking a bong hit once in a while (i.e., light to moderate use) is unlikely to cause significant harm to your lungs. And cannabis smoke is thought to be less harmful than tobacco smoke.

Smoking Cannabis

Some studies show that smoking cannabis may be less harmful than smoking tobacco. This could be because pot users tend to smoke less than tobacco smokers. It’s also believed that the method of inhalation may mitigate some harm. There’s even some evidence that occasional cannabis smokers may have improved lung volume and air flow rates.

There are also potentially different impacts for short-term versus long-term lung health. And, of course, these impacts are largely related to how much pot smoke you’re consuming. In the short-term, for example, smoke can cause coughing and aggravate asthma. Longer-term, it can lead to pulmonary disease.

Bong Smoking

A bong will cool and filter the smoke. This means a smoother, more comfortable experience than you’d get from smoking a joint (which yields a hot, dry smoke). And, a better, creamier smoke may be more satisfying to you — which might lead to you smoking less.

Your smoking session might feel better on your lungs. But don’t get lulled into a false sense of superiority. You’re still filling your lungs with smoke. And while the bong may filter out some bad components from the smoke — it’s not enough to make a real difference.

Lastly, bong cleanliness makes a huge difference. A dirty bong carries health risks that have nothing to do with the pot smoke. There are all sorts of harmful germs that can grow in your bong and get you sick (e.g., pulmonary tuberculosis or pneumonia). And it just gets worse if you share your bong.

Secondhand Smoke

It’s also important to consider secondhand cannabis smoke. One study indicated that the ambient concentration of toxic particles from pot smoke is at least four times worse than that of tobacco smoke. Experts think the finding is noteworthy, but this topic needs more research as the study lacked certain controls that would help interpret the results.

What is proper bong etiquette?

The Proper Etiquette When Participating in a Bong Session

Yes, there is definitely a cannabis code of conduct to follow! Mostly it applies to when you’re sharing a bong with others. (A similar etiquette should be used when smoking joints, blunts, or pipes as well.)

This is a good starter list. Feel free to finesse it and make it your own, so you and your buds feel comfortable and safe when hitting the water pipe together.

You're the Host

  • Be prepared. Have everything ready to go. This means having your cannabis, bong, and other accessories and supplies all set.

  • Start with a clean bong! A clean bong is safer and will offer a better tasting, more effective smoking session.

  • Weed out the seeds and stems. They don’t taste great when burned and can pop and spark when lit.

  • Be a gracious host. Embrace your guests with a welcoming vibe. Do your best to make them feel comfortable and safe.

  • Identify what you’re smoking. Let your guests know what’s in the bowl. Smart consumers always know what they’re smoking.

You're a Guest

  • Bring something to the party. If you’re a guest, either offer up some cannabis from your own stash or contribute some money towards the cost of the host’s bong circle expenses.

You & Everyone Else, Too

  • Honor the word “No.” Your smoking den should be a no pressure zone. Don’t hassle anyone who declines to partake.

  • Pass the bong to the left. Usually, the bong is passed clockwise in a bong circle. The key thing is to just keep sending it around in the same direction.

  • Weed out the seeds and stems. They don’t taste great when burned and can pop and spark when lit.

  • When it’s your turn, take it. Stop chit chatting and take your puff. Folks downstream are awaiting their go at the bong!

  • Don’t hog the bong. Let everyone have an equal opportunity to smoke.

  • Wipe the mouthpiece off. Drool, slobber, spit, spittle — it should all stay in your mouth. No one wants to take a toke from bong that’s wet with your saliva. Dry the mouthpiece before passing the bong on.

  • Don’t scorch the bowl. Only light a small section of the surface so that everyone can enjoy a bit of green hit.

  • Don’t pass a spent bowl. No one wants to inhale ash. If you think the bowl is cashed, let the host know or give a head’s up to the next person.

  • Don’t blow your smoke in anyone’s face. That’s just rude.

  • Handle the bong with care. Many bongs are somewhat delicate, or at least have fragile parts. Plus, many bongs are expensive. So, treat them gently to avoid damaging them.

  • Keep the mood light and uplifted. You’re here to share a good time with good people. Have some fun and make every attempt not to dive into down and dark topics.

  • Go easy. Don’t inhale so much that you break into a coughing fir or overwhelm your lungs. Find a chill pace.

  • Mind your limits. No need to overdo it. It’s OK to pass on a bong round or quit early.

  • Don’t share a bong if you’re sick. No need to spread germs!

Our Favorite Brands for a Perfect Bong Session

We are thrilled to introduce Piranha, Piece Water and Bee Line products to our GBL Hive!  These brands are well aligned with the values that we believe in, including sustainability ... Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.


Piranha is a tried-and-true brand offering a wide selection of well-designed smoking accessories at revolutionary prices for the modern smoker. From Gen Z to the OG's, we create products that define quality, performance, and style. Piranha was created with a high-minded intention: to provide the best smoking experiences by offering a broad range of trendy and functional accessories at affordable prices while advocating for social equity and environmental awareness.

Piece Water

If you like clean hits but hate cleaning — then Piece Water is for you. This solution helps filter or remove the nasty stuff that can dirty your pipe or bong and contaminate what you're inhaling. And, when you're done enjoying your cannabis, just rinse your paraphernalia and move on. Nice, right?  The Piece Water mission is simple: to provide safe and effective products that will make people’s lives easier and better. They fundamentally believe that the products they create will enrich the lives of those that use them.

Bee Line

Bee Line Hemp Wick was born from a desire to find a better alternative to smoking with a lighter. After doing extensive research on butane and learning all about the harmful effects that C4H10 (the building blocks behind butane) can have on humans, they experimented with more natural ingredients to harness the power of portable fire. Eventually, they settled on a mix between hemp string and beeswax that today has become commonly known in the industry (due to a term that Bee Line coined) as Hemp Wick.

Get Your Perfect Bong Session Bundle Today!

Buy a Piranha Beaker 10-Inch Bong and a Piranha 4-Piece Grinder, get a bottle of Piece Water and a pack of Bee Line Thick Hemp Wick FREE!

Piranha Glass Beaker Water Pipe w/ Ice Pinch - 14

Piranha Glass Beaker Water Pipe w/ Ice Pinch - 14" | Clear

Piranha 4 Piece Aluminum Grinder - 2.2 Inch

Piranha 4 Piece Aluminum Grinder - 2.2 Inch

Piece Water Solution All Natural Pipe Water Alternative - 12 oz

Piece Water Solution All Natural Pipe Water Alternative - 12 oz