I think that too much is made of cleaning pipes. It's effete and unmanly. There is nothing more beautiful in the known universe than the scent of long unwashed hairy armpits, except for long uncleaned pipes.
When I'm forced to clean a pipe because there's no room left in the chamber and the airway is completely clogged, I use the following foolproof method:
First, gather up all of the pipes that one must reluctantly clean and hang them on a clothesline or nail them to a fence. Get out the garden hose with the sprayer set to stun. If your house is equipped with a water pressure regulator leading in from the main, this is a good reason to take a sledgehammer to it.
Blast the pipes good for about 15 - 20 minutes. Think of it as miniature strip mining.
Dump the pipes in the washer and set the temperature to hot and the cycle to heavy duty. Use a good lye based soap and add a half cup of sulfuric acid to the soap.
To speed up the drying process, dump the pipes in the dryer and set the temperature at hot. Dry for about 40 minutes. While your pipes are tumbling around in the dryer, get out your acetylene torch and make sure that you're ready to go once the dryer cycle is complete.
Line up the pipes on a concrete deck. DO NOT PLACE THEM ON YOUR PORCH OR YOUR LIVING ROOM"S HARDWOOD FLOOR!!
Ignite the acetylene torch and play the flame over the pipes to remove any excess moisture or stubborn deposits. Sometimes the finish may darken a little after the first ten minutes of this step, but I think that it makes the pipes look better. YMMV.
It's a simple sane method to keeping your pipes clean (if you really must, but you're probably the kind of pansy that has matching socks and no toe fungus...). Done once every three to four years, it guarantees you three to four years of carefree enjoyment of your pipes.
There's an alternative method detailed below, but I think you will be found highly suspect if you follow any part of it...
Sometimes I run a pipe cleaner through the airway between smokes, depending on the nature of the blend that I'm smoking. Some are gunky, others aren't. I'll clean my pipe after a day's use. I want the excess moisture removed from the airway.
The chamber gets wiped down with bristle pipe cleaners that I've doubled over, and sometimes a bunched paper towel. The shank gets scrubbed out with bristle pipe cleaners until they're clean or near clean. How many depends on the gunkiness of the blend. The mortise gets cleaned out with folded bristles and fluffies. So much evil lurks in stinky mortises. The stem gets alcohol on the inside and spit on the outside. If the stem is going dull, I may occasionally give it a polish with some Simichrome. Other times I'll renew the shine with a coating of Halcyon or Paragon wax. That helps retard oxidation. Spit and a towel takes care of the rim. I never remove the stem while the pipe is still warm.
Then the pipe goes away for a minimum of a week before being used again.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. - Mark Twain