Pipe Cleaning Tips for Beginners (and Others)

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Preferred Member
Oct 13, 2011
Puget Sound
New pipe smokers often have questions on how to clean a pipe, and there is often confusion on routine cleaning after a smoke and cleaning the bowl.
On routine cleaning many like to dip the pipe cleaner in a little alcohol on to run through the stem and shank. Everclear and Bacardi 151 are the most frequently used. Personally I never use alcohol in the bowl with the exception of an initial cleaning of an estate pipe. Bowls just get reamed from time to time when needed, and that is not often.
Here are a couple of articles to get you started:
Cleaning Your Pipe

How to Ream a Tobacco Pipe

Pipe Stem Restoration
If you are interested in cleaning and restoring the outside of the bowl, try doing a Site Search on Wax . You'll find plenty of posts on waxes to shine it up.
Each smoker seems to have his own special techniques, so I thought it might be worthwile to have some ideas gathered together in one place. Please feel free to add to the list.



Preferred Member
Dec 30, 2012
Roth you have a silicone wipe do you not? I'm thinking of ordering one on my next order to keep my pipes a little shinier. Howdo you find that for routine maintenance?



Senior Member
Apr 16, 2013
Great collection of reference articles!
P.S. I enjoy using Gem Liquor - its 150 proof and has a bit of sweetness to it that is nice when it dries out.



Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
'Thought those were great. I especially thought the reaming video was useful. I had an older friend who was

in a care facility who told me about a friend who had a reaming kit and offered to clean all his pipes. The man

proceded to ruin a dozen or more pipes, which was really unfortunate. My older friend was a regular pipe smoker

and really missed his collection. He didn't say if the would-be pipe reamer reimbursed him, but I take it he did

not. I bought him, first, a MM, and later a briar pipe, nothing fancy, but enough so he could have a daily smoke.

This video or some similar instruction should help avoid this kind of destructive result with reaming. Thank you

for posting these.



New member
Jul 26, 2014
I am new here, but I have been smoking pipes for a little bit l am not a expert. I stopped smoking my pipe for a while

I was wondering what I should do to clean them before I smoke them again



Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2013
I stopped smoking my pipe for a while I was wondering what I should do to clean them before I smoke them again
How long is a while? If it's been a year or less, and you kept your pipes reasonably clean, I imagine you can put them back in service with an alcohol soaked pipe cleaner or two. If the pipes were well cleaned, and stored properly, you should be able to smoke them again without a problem even if it's been several years. I have one or two pipes that go several months between smokes, and I've never had a problem as long as they're well cleaned.



Preferred Member
Aug 10, 2010
Cheshire, CT
+1 on gtclark's observation. Like him, I've had several pipes that haven't been smoked in quite a while, and it was just a matter of picking them up and smoking them – they were just fine. However, if your Pipe is dirty, or if you think it's dirty and needs cleaning, a pipe cleaner dipped in a bit of alcohol and run through the stem and shank will do the trick. If it comes out quite dark and dirty, the pipe needs cleaning. In that case take another pipe cleaner, or the other end of the same pipe cleaner and start working on the shank. If you have any bristle pipe cleaners, these will be particularly helpful. Again, dip the tip in alcohol and run it through the shank. In general, bristle pipe cleaners need not be run through the stem – a regular pipe cleaner will do the job quite nicely. When your pipe cleaners come out clean, the pipe is clean – just let the pipe dry a while – a few hours, or even a day, and start smoking. If you need any instructions on packing a pipe, or how to smoke it, don't be afraid to ask, or PM me and I'll be happy to give you lots of information. Welcome back to the hobby, and enjoy your smokes.

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