Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sanitize Your Tobacco Pipes

Sanitize Your Tobacco Pipes?

With the wide variety of aromatic tobaccos available, it is not surprising that pipe smoking is considered a form of leisure. Pipe smokers have become a diverse group in recent decades.

Pipe smokers know that pipes require occasional maintenance. Dirty pipes, whether new or used, should be sanitized before use. Sterilizing a pipe is relatively easy and can be achieved by one of several methods. For serious cleaning, a pipe retort kit is advisable. This article describes the means by which to clean and sanitize a pipe.


1. Clear the airway. The first step in cleaning a pipe is clearing its airway. Run a clean pipe filter through the stem and into the bowl. Toothpicks can be used to manipulate and clear accumulated tobacco matter and moisture.

2. Check the bowl. You need to check the bowl and access build up, which is called cake. The suggested thickness of a cake is anywhere from the size of a dime to the size of a nickel, depending on the size of the bowl. If the cake is smaller than you desire, use the pipe reamer to widen the bowl. Use the edge of the pipe tool if the pipe reamer proves difficult to use.

3. Add potable spirits. Potable spirits or pipe solvent should be added to the interior of the bowl to dissolve tar and sterilize the pipe. A pipe cleaner dipped in this solution is advisable for cleaning the stem. Allow the pipe to dry.

4. Put on safety glasses and gloves. If you're using a retort kit cover the top of the pipe with a wad of cotton, fill the glass bulb with alcohol, attach the rubber bulb to the pipe stem, and heat the bulb with a butane torch until it simmers and enters the pipe.

5. Wait. You will want to wait for the warm alcohol to fill the pipe and remove the heat. The alcohol will recede, carrying all of the tar and accumulated matter. Repeat with the same fluid, as necessary.

6. Finish. Use a clean pipe cleaner to check the airway and clean the rest of the pipe with a dry rag.

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