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Cleaning meerschaum pipes.

(8 posts)
  • Started 2 years ago by Ali Alansari
  • Latest reply from robertelliott
  1. alialansari

    Ali Alansari

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    Good day,

    I have recently acquired a meerschaum pipe and am slightly at a lost as to the daily and periodical maintenance of the pipe. I will carefully describe to the reader my immediate cleaning process that follows each smoke and the occasional deeper procedure, in the hope of shedding some more light on the current situation.

    1- After each smoke, I will allow the pipe to cool before emptying the bowl and wiping the chamber walls with either a bent pipe cleaner or a paper towel. I will then proceed to run a few pipe cleaners into the pipe (without taking the pipe apart) until they come out as clean as before going in.

    2- After six or seven smokes, or when the pipe begins to taste sour, I will start by taking it apart. I will then clean the stem with pipe cleaners and 99% isopropyl alcohol. As for the meerschaum bowl, I will only clean it with a dry bristle pipe cleaner from the shank through to the bottom of the bowl until it comes out white. NO ALCOHOL OR SOLVENTS WITH THE MEERSCHAUM BOWL.

    N.B. Some believe that cleaning agents (grain alcohol, isopropyl, pipe sweeteners, ...etc) common in the maintenance of briar pipes, are actually detrimental in the case of meerschaum pipes for the simple reason that the porous material will absorb those detergents thus marring any future smoke. This opinion is shared by two reliable sources: SMS pipes and smokingpipes.com . Here are the links to these sources' articles on the caring for meerschaum pipes.

    https://www.smspipes.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/learn.meerschaum_pipe_care

    https://www.smokingpipes.com/information/howto/meerschaum.cfm

    My questions are as follows. Firstly, is my methodology in maintaining the pipe correct? Secondly, should the meerschaum bowl be cleaned periodically with alcohol or a solvent as with briar bowls? Finally, are there any tips for caring for or extending the life of a meerschaum pipe?

    Fred, I really need your help!

    Thank you very much for input and I look forward to reading your replies.

    Kindest regards.
    Ali

    Posted 2 years ago #
  2. ashdigger

    ashdigger

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    Hello Ali, Here's what I do IMMEDIATELY after smoking... I run pipe cleaners through the pipe immediately. two or three. And I wipe the bowl out with a paper towel. I usually then repack and light another bowl. I never take my meerschaums apart, since most of mine are at least 100 years old.

    For a "Deep Cleaning" I use pipe cleaners dipped in HOT water. I never use solvents.

    So far, about three years in, I have yet to get a bad smoke from them.

    Ubi Ignis Est?
    Posted 2 years ago #
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    michaelking

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    For cleaning I always use hot water.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  4. metalheadycigarguy

    metalheadycigarguy

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    Do NOT use alcohol on the meerschaum! You can use it on the stem, but do not use it on the meerschaum. Meerschaum is a very porous material and you do not want to use alcohol on the meerschaum just as you mentioned reading about. The alcohol will ruin the natural ability of the pipe as you also read about. Meerschaum pipes should not sour or ghost either, so I'm not sure why you're having that issue. If you need more than a pipe cleaner or paper towel than you can use some water, but I would do so sparingly. I have multiple meerschaum pipes and have been smoking them for several years. I've only had to use pipe cleaners and a paper towel from time to time.

    Earlier this year I smoked my Strambach Meerschaum 19 straight days, putting almost 30 bowls through it and not a single issue with the pipe. That's the great thing about Meerschaum pipes, you can smoke the hell out of them without issue.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  5. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    I use water, hot or cold, liberally, inside and out.

    What you're doing sounds right, but perhaps pay more attention to the mortise. A few Q-tips to remove gunk works well.

    I don't believe that periodic use of alcohol on a briar is absolutely necessary. On an as needed basis only, followed by running very hot water through the chamber and airway, then drying.

    In any event, keeping chemicals away from meers is a grand idea!

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 2 years ago #
  6. alialansari

    Ali Alansari

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    Thanks a lot guys for your expert opinion. I guess it's best to avoid chemicals altogether with meerschaum bowls.

    Posted 2 years ago #
  7. dottiewarden

    dottiewarden

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    Good timing on this post as my Meer is getting behind on maintenance and needs some TLC. I understand that a Meer must be kept clean in order to take advantage of its natural qualities. This means no cake build up, because caking hampers coloration process and defeats the clean taste advantage a Meer offers.

    Dot
    Posted 2 years ago #
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    robertelliott

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    Simple methods seem to be the best..
    Hot Water I will use....

    Posted 2 years ago #

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