Would Microwave Sanitize a Pipe Without Harm?

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,888
67
Don't try this at home. Would a microwave oven sanitize a pipe by heating and

killing bacteria and viruses without damaging the briar or stem material? Obviously,

all metal, such as bands, would have to be removed. I recommend no one try this,

but perhaps someone has knowledge on the subject of microwave oven use for

sterilizing other things.

 

xrundog

Preferred Member
Oct 23, 2014
737
0
Ames, IA
I think it would screw up the finish on the bowl. Stems are rubber or plastic. Probably not the microwave safe kind. I'd be interested to see what happens when you do it. But I wouldn't.

 

darwin

Preferred Member
Apr 9, 2014
821
0
I'd try it if I had an old junk stummel to risk destroying, along with a microwave I was willing to risk trashing.

 

ivapewithfire

Member
Nov 26, 2014
269
0
West Virginia, USA
A microwave works by exciting water molecules. The higher the water content the faster the object will produce heat (and affecting the materials around it).
It's not like an autoclave used to sterilize medical instruments. It doesn't heat just the surface. For the microwave to do anything, it would have to have a sufficient water content to produce the heat needed to kill any bacteria.
About the best you would do is crack the briar from any trapped moisture being evaporated, expanding and trying to escape from the briar.
All in all, it's a bad idea and wouldn't do crap for sterilizing the pipe. You'd be better off using the microwave to boil a cup of water to dump over the pipe.

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
25,888
67
I agree a microwave oven wouldn't do a thing to clean the crud out of a used pipe. I was

only wondering if, after the heavy labor of working and soaking the crud out, the microwave

would kill residual bugs/viruses. Related, although not the same as microwave, there was

a long discussion about ten years ago about whether irradiating meat/fish/poultry would be

a way to kill undesirable bacteria. To the best of my knowledge, it was never approved. I

guess the question is, would a microwave break apart the cell and molecular structure of

bugs and viruses, through heating them, and render them inert, without degrading materials

on/in a pipe. I'm not trying this with my pipes or microwave, but I thought others might have

lab information or experience.

 

mephistopheles

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2014
545
0
+1 Ivapewithfire
Is it bad that I still kinda want to try it? :twisted:
MSO489, are you still dealing with that chest cold? I hope you feel better soon.
I would think that scrubbing with high-proof alcohol would be the best bet. However, irradiation is a valid technique for killing bacteria. When I was in middle and high school we would stick our lab equipment into a cabinet on the wall that would nuke everything. If you had access to a set-up like that it'd probably be okay, but not a microwave or microwave oven.
Also, just for fun - irradiating food was approved:

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/food_irrad.html
How does irradiation kill bacteria?
When ionizing radiation strikes bacteria and other microbes, its high energy breaks chemical bonds in molecules that are vital for cell growth and integrity. As a result, the microbes die, or can no longer multiply causing illness or spoilage.
I had researched this same topic a couple years ago for a paper. The downside to irradiating food is that it decreases the nutritional value of the food. The same thing happens with food that is canned. It is important to realize, however, that heat and age in general damage food.

 

desertpipe

Junior Member
Nov 13, 2014
98
0
Great way to ruin a pipe.....quick.

+1 for the retort, as boiling alcohol will clean and kill anything I can think of in a pipe.

I use it on every restore, most often twice to three runs.

 

huntertrw

Preferred Member
Jul 23, 2014
3,858
0
The Lower Forty of Hill Country
"What a great idea! As you can see, it worked great for this cob."
Editor's Note:
Actually the damage to the corncob-pipe shown in pitchfork's post above is a result of having smoked Mixture 79. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!

 

misterlowercase

Preferred Member
May 31, 2012
4,296
1
Jiffy Pop!

:D
I also agree with the retort/alcohol methods doing the job.
As a sidenote, ever since I first saw Nils Thomsen's deepfried oilcured estate pipes, dubbed the Phoenix, I've been interested to try it myself, because I like the way it looks:

http://www.nilsthomsenpipes.com/spielplatz/spielplatz_10_werkstatt-phoenix-cooked-oilcured.html
I did once boil an old estate in water, but the inner bowl ended up splitting, and some bad warp on the mortise - need to try it right with some oil and see what happens!

:puffy:

 

edgreen

Preferred Member
Aug 28, 2013
3,581
0
That must be one hell of a cold for you to even be considering that.

 

cobguy

Preferred Member
Oct 18, 2013
3,743
0
Tis the season to kill germs!
Influenza was recently reported as "epidemic" in several areas and I've personally

already seen many positive cases at my lab ... mostly Influenza A.
Besides the Flu, we are also seeing quite a few positive RSV's (Respiratory Syncytial Virus).

In the bacterial world, MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is spreading which leads to

the increased use of Vancomycin, which leads to more positive C. diff cases (Clostridium difficile colitis).
The very best defense is proper rest, diet and exercise.

Secondary defense is hand washing / sanitizing after any public exposures.
As for killing the little buggers, the alcohol methods mentioned are the way to go.

Whether it's as a retort for the deep clean or on a pipe cleaner down the stem, alcohol is the best choice.

I recommend the 91% Isopropyl alcohol or Everclear for strength and dry times.
To anyone dealing with "The Crud" right now, I wish you a speedy recovery.

Boost those Vitamin C levels this time of year too ... it helps!

 

kf4bsb

Member
Mar 23, 2013
167
0
You know, I have a theory about being sick. The way I see it, if I can get my blood alcohol level high enough, it should kill off any little bad things in my system and I should get better. The next time a get a cold, I am going to use it as an excuse to buy a new bottle of 25 year old Scotch and claim it as a medical expense. Maybe I can use my HSA to buy it.
:)

 

jazz

Preferred Member
Feb 17, 2014
787
0
UK
You know, I have a theory about being sick. The way I see it, if I can get my blood alcohol level high enough, it should kill off any little bad things in my system and I should get better. The next time a get a cold, I am going to use it as an excuse to buy a new bottle of 25 year old Scotch and claim it as a medical expense. Maybe I can use my HSA to buy it.
:)
Tried this with mixed results over the years :D
As for microwaving my pipe. Nahhh, don't think I would recommend it.

 

brudnod

Preferred Member
Aug 26, 2013
938
0
Great Falls, VA
Back on subject... I have a couple of old clunker pipes which I am going to experiment on. But I am only going to use the briar part and submerge it in water completely, THEN microwave it in short ~10 second bursts. Will let you know how it turns out.
As an aside, my great-uncle Charlie used to say: If you treat a cold with medication it will go away in two weeks but if you don't use any medication, it will last for 14 days. He was a great proponent of medicinal alcohol; being from Kentucky, that meant sour mash bourbon. His cure for colic in infants was similar: pour some bourbon in an 8 ounce glass to precisely 2/3 full. Dip a pacifier in 3 times and give it to the baby. Drink the rest of the bourbon. As a pediatrician, I do NOT personally recommend given infants alcohol, but the other part...

 

andrew

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2013
2,883
0
. But I am only going to use the briar part and submerge it in water completely, THEN microwave it in short ~10 second bursts. Will let you know how it turns out.
I think soaking a briar pipe in water ruins it. Seriously considering how long people have smoked pipes and gotten sick, I don't see the whole theory behind any of this. At them most dip a pipe cleaner in isopropyl and run it through. Even the estates I get I'll just give a quick run through with a pipe cleaner and iso.