Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Pipes

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doublebassmusician

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May 24, 2009
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I know alot of people like to use vodka or rum to clean their pipes, but I'm not much of a drinker. I've read that if I don't use a drinkable alcohol to clean my pipes that I should use a "non-denatured" alcohol. Where can I find this? I've already checked all the drug stores and X-marts. If I can't find it anywhere, should I use ethyl or isopropyl rubbing alcohol?

 

python

Administrator
Staff member
Apr 8, 2009
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Some people use rubbing alcohol but I never have, so I can not comment on the pro's and con's of using it.
I use grain alcohol to clean my pipes. I do not drink grain alcohol and buy to use just for cleaning of my pipes.

 

midniteryder

New member
Aug 3, 2009
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Yeah, i'm with Python on this one. Don't play around with denatured or isopropyl alcohol. I don't drink either but buy grain alcohol to clean pipes. Everclear or any high proof alcohol works great and you know it won't poison you.

 

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admin

Smoking a Pipe Right Now
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Nov 16, 2008
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There's also "Clean & Cure".

You can BUY IT HERE.

 

dunendain

Preferred Member
Jul 22, 2009
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I use rum. I have used whisky. Both work. If you don't drink. Just buy the little miniatures. You can start with Q-tips, an then finish with pipe cleaners. Let the pipe sit for a day. My biggest mistake when I was newb. was not cleaning my pipes often enough. I guess that works for many things in life.

 

admin

Smoking a Pipe Right Now
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Nov 16, 2008
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dunendain said: My biggest mistake when I was newb. was not cleaning my pipes often enough. I guess that works for many things in life.
LOL! Yes, you must always clean ALL your pipes! Even the ones you don't smoke.
I cleaned all my pipes (literally) the other day. While leaving them sit for a day, I smoked my corncob pipes.
One lesson I learned the hard way about cleaning pipes and balancing out too much cleaning and not enough cleaning. When I was a newb, I constantly cleaned my pipes, removing the stems. Now, my first pipe, an Aldo Velani that is actually the one pictured in the site logo, has a cracked mostise and a very loose fitting stem.
You shouldn't remove the stems too much, and especially right after smoking while the pipe is hot.
My practice is that regular cleaning is just running a pipe cleaner or two through after smoking. I only take the pipe apart, removing the stem, and running cleaner-dipped pipe cleaners through after 5 - 6 smokes.

 

dunendain

Preferred Member
Jul 22, 2009
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I hope to lucky and do some pipe cleaning tonight. I am going use rum on her.. er them.

 

tomsoles

New member
Sep 6, 2009
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Rubbing alcohol won't kill you if you use it to clean your pipe as long as you let it dry out well before you use it again.

You should not drink it though.

The best thing I have found is a product that you can get at most good tobacco stores is Arango Pipe spray. Use as directed and you will love what is does for your pipe. I get mine at Iwan Ries & Compnay, Chicago.
Tom

 

analogmoz

New member
Apr 29, 2009
32
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I have used 91% isopropyl alcohol in my pipes to no ill effect, but certainly it would seem logical to use potable spiritous liquor in lieu of poison. I am not logical. I am, however, youngish, poor, and brave.

 

dunendain

Preferred Member
Jul 22, 2009
777
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I think any rubbing alcohol is safe. It is going too evaporate. If you want save a buck, just buy a mini of rum, vodka, or whisky.

 

chuckw

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2009
679
7
Rubbing alcohol contains water. Water will soak into the wood and hurry the need to clean the pipe again by expanding the pours of the wood. Rubbing alcohol and denatured alcohol are poisons.

If you are just cleaning your own pipes, any potable adult beverage will do the trick.

If, however, you are cleaning/restoring estate pipes,you will need at least 150 proof alcohol to make sure you kill any nasty little bugs that may be lingering. Pappy's White Lightnin'(Grain alcohol) or 150 proof rum is called for in that instance.

If you happen to be a recovering alcoholic and can't have the potable stuff around, the Arango pipe spray mentioned earlier will work. It's taste and aroma will disappear within two bowls.

 

thegussbus

New member
Jul 17, 2012
2
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"Denatured" means that they have added poisons to it so that it cannot be consumed. Now, these poisons will most likely evaporate with the rest of it, but just to be safe I would go with non-denatured alcohol. What you'd want is 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. If it does not say "Denatured" anywhere on the bottle, it is not denatured.
Chuchkw said: 'Rubbing alcohol contains water. Water will soak into the wood and hurry the need to clean the pipe again by expanding the pours of the wood.'
As far as water is concerned, Everclear contains more water (10% or as much as 24.5%, depending on which type of Everclear you get). Other liquors contain more. If water is your concern, going with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol (only 0.1% water) is your best bet.
Having said that, I haven't tried it.

 

mrenglish

Preferred Member
Dec 25, 2010
2,220
67
Columbus, Ohio
I have used denatured alcohol for years to clean my pipes. Granted, they need to set a day before smoking them again, but in fifteen plus years I have been smoking pipes, I have never had any issues. I clean my pipes (without removing the stem) after every smoke by running soaked bristle pipe cleaners thru the stem and into the shank. No issues except for being careful as it the denatured stuff could remove stain on the briar.
After a day of sitting, there is no residue or smell from the denatured stuff. You can buy a quart at the big box hardware stores for seven or eight bucks. That will usually last me a year or more. I have an empty bottle of the Clean & Cure that I fill with the denatured and dip the cleaners into that.
Then every so often I will remove the stem and give it a thorough cleaning.
The Clean & Cure is good stuff and I use it if I plan on smoking the pipe soon.

 

barkar

Preferred Member
Apr 17, 2012
1,105
0
In Ontario we can't get everclear or 150 proof. I use 99% Isopropanol which is isopropyl alcohol. I get it at the drug store. Now there are similar bottles at same drug store that are much lower percentage so make sure you get the higher one.

 

ejames

Preferred Member
Oct 6, 2009
3,916
7
91 % Isopropyl is all I have ever used,and I have often smoked them immediately after cleaning,use dry pipe cleaners and or Q-tips to dry them.It evaporates quickly.

 

ruraldean

Junior Member
Apr 27, 2012
90
0
If you are just cleaning your own pipes, any potable adult beverage will do the trick.
I misread that as "any potato adult beverage" and thought of vodka.
I was once given a VERY cheap bottle of brandy and it will last me for ever. The pipes always smell great too, one advantage of not using proprietary cleaners.

 

pipedreams101

Member
Jun 1, 2012
125
0
As I commented on another thread, I used to use liquor or pipe sweetener, but I recentley switched to mentholated rubbing alcohol. I have never had any problems and in my opinion as far as taste goes it tastes the same as clean and cure.

 
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