Meerschaum routine cleaning

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alialansari

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 2, 2015
113
40
Hidd, Bahrain.
Hey there folks! I hope everyone is doing well.

I've got a few meerschaum pipes in my collection that I'm not altogether sure about how to clean when it comes to routine maintenance.

With briars it's a bit more simple. Every few bowls you clean the pipe with alcohol and that seems to do the trick.

What about meerschaum pipes?

I've read that alcohol is certainly NOT to be used with meerschaum. So what's the alternative?

Is it possible that plain pipe cleaners are enough to keep a meerschaum pipe going?

I've heard about washing briar pipes with hot water instead of using alcohol. Could that be the alternative for meerschaum as well?

How do you folks clean your meers when it's time for a routine maintenance session?

Please elaborate!!!

Thanks in advance folks.
 

romaso

Lifer
Dec 29, 2010
1,109
3,849
Pacific NW
@ashdigger Does the alcohol remove the wax on the outside?
I've heard that it's the wax that gets colored, and if you remove it the pipe will stay white? That doesn't seem to be the case with yours. One guy in our pipe club knows how to bake them with wax (but I don't mind if they color or not). I've just got a few, and they get dirty where I hold them. Thanks!
 
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ashdigger

Lifer
Jul 30, 2016
9,581
54,751
59
Vegas Baby!!!
@ashdigger Does the alcohol remove the wax on the outside?
I've heard that it's the wax that gets colored, and if you remove it the pipe will stay white? That doesn't seem to be the case with yours. One guy in our pipe club knows how to bake them with wax (but I don't mind if they color or not). I've just got a few, and they get dirty where I hold them. Thanks!

You can remove wax, but I’ve never gone to town by soaking the pipes in alcohol.

The wax isn’t the color. It’s the Meer soaking up the flavor juices.

I know lots of people treat their meers like they are delicate flowers. That’s hogwash.

BUT, I’m a heretic. I don’t exactly wax my pipes. I give my pipes hard use.
 

romaso

Lifer
Dec 29, 2010
1,109
3,849
Pacific NW
You can remove wax, but I’ve never gone to town by soaking the pipes in alcohol.

The wax isn’t the color. It’s the Meer soaking up the flavor juices.

I know lots of people treat their meers like they are delicate flowers. That’s hogwash.

BUT, I’m a heretic. I don’t exactly wax my pipes. I give my pipes hard use.
I've got a really nice one. My favorite Pete shape is the XL90 and I've got a meer one, I think it was a prototype, one of a kind. I've actually been wearing a glove when I smoke it so it doesn't get dirty like my others (from body oil probably). Is there some other way to clean it/keep it clean? I really want to respect this pipe but would prefer to ditch the glove.
 
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alialansari

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 2, 2015
113
40
Hidd, Bahrain.
I have a bunch of meers I use alcohol all the time.

Inside and outside.

You can also use warm water.

The biggest thing is do not let them heavily cake. The cake will expand and crack the bowl.

Alcohol

View attachment 170673View attachment 170674
Wow! That's a beautiful BBB! I've got a BBB billiard meer myself. Although mine is almost jet black after all the use and abuse it's seen!!!
 
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ashdigger

Lifer
Jul 30, 2016
9,581
54,751
59
Vegas Baby!!!
I've got a really nice one. My favorite Pete shape is the XL90 and I've got a meer one, I think it was a prototype, one of a kind. I've actually been wearing a glove when I smoke it so it doesn't get dirty like my others (from body oil probably). Is there some other way to clean it/keep it clean? I really want to respect this pipe but would prefer to ditch the glove.
I don’t wear gloves. Sorry. A wipe with warm water easily removed any thing that was in your hands.
 

alialansari

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 2, 2015
113
40
Hidd, Bahrain.
I've got a really nice one. My favorite Pete shape is the XL90 and I've got a meer one, I think it was a prototype, one of a kind. I've actually been wearing a glove when I smoke it so it doesn't get dirty like my others (from body oil probably). Is there some other way to clean it/keep it clean? I really want to respect this pipe but would prefer to ditch the glove.
Ditch the glove!!

For me personally pipe smoking is a very tactile experience that involves all the senses. The feeling of a warm pipe in your hand is something special.

Don't be afraid to hold the meer with your bare hands. Just go for it!
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
36,420
74,415
I've heard that it's the wax that gets
The light tans, pinks, and oranges from the first few smokes are just the wax discoloring but the dark browns, reds, and black that generally start around the heel of the pipe is coming from internal coloring.
 
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Dec 3, 2021
1,936
14,513
Pennsylvania & New York
I've got a really nice one. My favorite Pete shape is the XL90 and I've got a meer one, I think it was a prototype, one of a kind. I've actually been wearing a glove when I smoke it so it doesn't get dirty like my others (from body oil probably). Is there some other way to clean it/keep it clean? I really want to respect this pipe but would prefer to ditch the glove.
Check out this thread and how the original poster was able to clean up his Meerschaum Peterson.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
36,420
74,415
Yes please!! And your opinion is very much anticipated as well!!

Please share how you carry out your routine cleaning on meers!

Thanks
I disassemble them after each smoke, run pipe cleaner through the stem and draft hole, wipe the mortise with a cotton swab, and wipe out the tobacco chamber with a coarse paper towel. After reassembling, I wipe the entire pipe down with a soft cotton cloth.

20220914_052557.jpg
 

brian64

Lifer
Jan 31, 2011
7,878
8,300
I disassemble them after each smoke, run pipe cleaner through the stem and draft hole, wipe the mortise with a cotton swab, and wipe out the tobacco chamber with a coarse paper towel. After reassembling, I wipe the entire pipe down with a soft cotton cloth.
Ditto...that's pretty much exactly what I do as well.

I don't use water or alcohol, except maybe occasionally on the stems only...and I've gotten lazy about even doing that...doesn't seem to really be necessary.
 

alialansari

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 2, 2015
113
40
Hidd, Bahrain.
I disassemble them after each smoke, run pipe cleaner through the stem and draft hole, wipe the mortise with a cotton swab, and wipe out the tobacco chamber with a coarse paper towel. After reassembling, I wipe the entire pipe down with a soft cotton cloth.

View attachment 170693
1. So no water or alcohol ever? Just this routine after each smoke?

2. With meerschaum pipes do you have to wait until the pipe cools down to remove the stem?

3. Seems too good to be true!! Haha! Just kidding of course. Thanks for sharing brother!!
 
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didimauw

Moderator
Staff member
Jul 28, 2013
6,734
14,831
33
Burlington WI
I use a pipe cleaner after every smoke, in the shank and bowl. And only when the pipe starts to taste off, do I do the warm water flush. Which usually relates to once every month maybe.
 
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