How To Clean a Hookah the Easiest Way
A lot of us have unfortunately been there — you roll up to a friend's house to smoke some hookah, but you've never smoked on their rig before. So you walk in and catch a glimpse of their hookah, and it just looks a little nasty. You can tell they haven't cleaned it in a while.
Nobody wants to be “that guy with the dirty hookah,” and the world doesn’t need more dirty hookah guys.
Cleaning your hookah, and cleaning it frequently and properly, is one of the most important things you have to do as a hookah owner. Keeping your hookah pipe clean will make it look better, but more importantly, smoke better.
Here is the MOB Hookah guide to cleaning your hookah easily and properly.
Why Clean Your Hookah?
While we assume most of you already know the answer to this question, in the hopes that we are reaching even one dirty hookah guy, we figure we should tell you a couple reasons why you should clean your hookah.
First and foremost, you need to clean your hookah for hygiene reasons. It is pretty unsanitary to smoke out of a dirty hookah.
Over time, your hookah will become full of your spit, shisha residue, smoke, and charcoal, which is a surefire way to get germs, bacteria, and other gross stuff accumulating in your hookah pipe and making its way to the inside of your mouth. Nasty.
By cleaning your hookah, you are able to kill and eliminate the germs, and clean out gunk buildup in your hookah, which will lead to a much more sanitary and hygienic smoking experience for everyone involved.
But the next key reason that you need to clean your hookah is to give yourself a better smoking session and experience. As you use your pipe and hoses, they slowly take on more of the leftover flavor of the shisha that you have smoked before. This is a phenomenon known in the hookah world as “ghosting.”
If you clean your hookah pipe, you are able to clear out a lot of the flavor remnants in your hookah and get a clean fresh tasting smoke once again. If you feel that your hookah sessions are all tasting rather similar, that is a sign it’s due for a deep cleaning.
But the final reason you should clean your hookah is simply because it is polite and respectful. Hookah isn't just about smoking, it's also a social activity and a cultural experience.
Hookah deserves to be treated with enough respect that you deep clean your hookah pipe regualrly. Having a clean hookah pipe means that you can share your hookah with friends without worries, and show them that you care.
So, just clean your hookahs, please.
It is safer, cleaner, tastes better, and is more respectful.
What You Will Need To Clean Your Hookah
Before you can start cleaning your hookah, you're going to need to assemble the proper tools. You don't need a ton of stuff to clean a hookah, but having the proper items will make sure you can get it perfectly clean every time, period.
What you will need is:
And that is everything. If you have all these things, hen you are more than prepared to start cleaning your hookah pipe.
Step One: Clean the Hose(s)
The first step to cleaning your hookah is cleaning your hose. Alternatively, you could clean your hoses at the end, but we prefer starting with them.
If you are using a leather hose or another hose with a cardboard lining, then you can't do much to clean it. You should blow into your hose to blow the debris out of it, and leave it hanging with both openings facing down overnight.
If you are using a silicone or washable hookah hose, then you can do a little bit more. Rather than blowing air through the hose, you can run warm water through it.
After you have run water through it, make sure to hang it up just like you would a leather hose with both ends facing down to dry completely.
Step Two: Disassemble the Rest of Your Hookah
The next thing you're going to have to do to clean your hookah is disassemble it. You need each individual part to be cleaned separately because things can get stuck in the nooks and crannies, and different parts require different types of cleaning.
Start by lifting the bowl off of the stem and placing it on your counter. Next, screw the stem off of the base and remove it. Don't forget about the grommets, the small rubber pieces in between the bowl and the stem and the stem and the vase. You should clean these pieces, too, and make sure not to lose them.
Step Three: Clean the Bowl
The first and easiest thing to clean on your hookah is the bowl. If your bowl still has shisha and foil on it you should start by removing those. You can use the foil as a kind of scoop to help get out the shisha that is stuck in the bowl.
Then, you should put your hookah bowl in warm running water in your sink. While the warm water is running, try to remove any stuck on sheesha with a sponge or steel wool (gently!).
Once you've gotten all you can, get a pot of water to simmer on the stove. Once it is simmering, gently lower your bowl into the simmering water with tongs. Turn off the heat and let it sit for three to five minutes before removing it with tongs and laying it on a towel. Use the towel to dry it, but be careful as it will still be hot.
Step Four: Clean the Stem
Now you're ready to clean the stem. Start by running warm water through the stem in the sink. Then put your scrub brush down the stem and run it all the way up and down about a dozen times. Flip the stem and repeat on the other end.
Then, shut off the water, pour lemon juice down the stem, scrub again, flip, and repeat.
Next, sprinkle in some baking soda, and scrub again. You guessed it, flip and repeat.
Both of these ingredients work to remove odor and flavor, with baking soda doing double duty as a coarse scrubber to remove debris.
Now all you have to do is rinse your stem thoroughly and let it dry.
Step 5: Clean Your Vase
Now you are ready to clean the base of your hookah.
Just like the last two, you're going to run your vase under warm water in the sink first, pour it out, and fill it again.
Scrub it with a brush on both the inside and the outside.
Next, stop the water and pour in two tablespoons of lemon juice to one teaspoon of baking soda. Swirl it around and mix it together, then scrub again, add a little more hot water, and swirl.
For many glass and acrylic bases, you can actually use dish soap instead — just make sure you rinse really well or you’ll end up with a soapy smoke that is not only plain bad for you, but plain gross.
The last step is to fill the base all the way with hot water and let it rest for a few minutes.
Rinse the base completely and turn it upside down to let it dry.
Bonus Step: Clean Your Grommets
Bonus step! If you can, you should clean your grommets as well! Hold them in your hands and run them through warm water from the sink. Gently scrub with your hands to remove any debris, and dry them with a towel.
Hookah Cleaning: The Takeaways
You have to clean your hookah frequently if you want smooth-smoking hookah.
The great news is cleaning your hookah is not all that difficult, that is if you have all the steps spelled out for you. (You're welcome.)
Make sure you follow all the above steps and deep clean your hookah at least every four or five sessions. After each session, make sure you’re at least disassembling and rinsing everything through warm water.
If you want your hookah cleaning to go smoother, you could also invest in our MOB hookah cleaning kit. It has all the tools you will need to make cleaning easy and effortless.
And don't forget to keep checking back here at our blog for more helpful guides just like this one!