What is your pipe cleaning routine?

Log in

SmokingPipes.com Updates

30 Fresh Rossi Pipes
48 Fresh Ropp Pipes
60 Fresh Vauen Pipes
1 Fresh Nanna Ivarsson Pipe
120 Fresh Peterson Pipes

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

PipesMagazine Approved Sponsor

Arthur Frayn

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 8, 2023
200
840
66
Sonoma county, Calif.
There comes a point in time when every pipe in my rotation deserves a good deep cleaning. Typically, when I finish a bowl, I run a pipe cleaner through to dry the interior of the stem and using the pointed end of my tamper, I clear the ashes and dross. Then replace it into the pipe rack. In the past I have even resorted to leaving a pipe cleaner in the stem between smokes.

But after some time, it can become difficult to truly taste the tobacco as much as I'd like. I must face the slightly daunting task of deep cleaning 30 pipes.

With a snap of latex, on go the gloves.

My deep cleaning routine usually consists of disassembling the pipes and running pipe cleaners dipped in de-natured alcohol through the stem then separately though the briar bowls. I then repeat with a dry pipe cleaner. If the cake is excessively thick, I will do a light reaming of the bowl. I then leave the disassembled pipe out to dry over night.

I'm certain every piper has his own routine for deep cleaning pipes. What is your routine?
 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
11,673
16,060
Foothills of the Chugach Range, AK
I smoke pipes, not a piper though, never could master the chanter.

I use pipe cleaners as required. Sundays I c;ean deeper the pipes smoked the previous, paring cake as necessary, a bit of Everclear to fully clear airways, reassemble the pipes for the week.

But after some time, it can become difficult to truly taste the tobacco as much as I'd like.
Your palate is probably more discerning than mine as I never experienced such a problem except when I screw up the loading or misjudge the required dryness of a particular blend.
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,738
14,547
Oregon
I only do this a few times a year but:

Pipe cleaner dipped in Jack Daniel’s for vulcanite stems

Warm water and soap for acrylic stems

Doubled over bristled pipe cleaners (or straw cleaners) dipped in Jack Daniel’s for the mortise

I also cut back cake as needed. I don’t smoke gooey aromatic blends so my pipes stay relatively clean. I use a pipe cleaner at the end or every smoke as well. I push it to the end of the chamber, flip to the other side, and insert again. Then I double over that same used pipe cleaner and wipe out the bowl with the dry, middle part of the pipe cleaner.
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,738
14,547
Oregon
I smoke a bowl a day at most. I haven't done any deep cleaning in 5 years at least. But right after each smoke, I make sure to disassemble the pipe and clean every surface inside and out. They all smoke without an issue.
As someone who smokes 3-5 bowls a day with 8-10 regular pipes in rotation I imagine my pipes would get fucking gnarly if I didn’t clean em for 5 years. The lack of necessary cleaning is probably the biggest pro to having so many pipes though.
 

Grangerous

Lifer
Dec 8, 2020
3,239
13,059
East Coast USA
I insert a pipe cleaner to the bowl mid-smoke. Moisture is seldom an issue and I do not build cake. I like clean chambers.

I insert a paper-towel wrapped finger into the bowl post smoke removing soot until the towel comes out white. I fold pipe cleaners in half to clean the airway. I may smoke that pipe two or three times doing nothing more than that.

When I deeper clean a pipe it’s with dish liquid and warm running water.

A drop of dish soap on my finger as I rub out the inside of the bowl then rinse it thoroughly. Clean paper-towel to dry and pipe cleaners to dry the mortise and airway. Stem is also dish soap and rinsed with warm running water. Pipe cleaner to dry.

Never use alcohol.
 

vosBghos

Lifer
May 7, 2022
1,500
3,333
Idaho
Two normal cleaners after every bowl without disassembly. About every 3-6 weeks depending if they are Latakia pipes er not I disassemble use Everclear and those nylon pipe brushes that look like Gun Barrel cleaners and the bristle cleaners get everything till it passes a cotton fluffy cleaner easily and comes out all white. I tend to neglect the outside a bit and should probably get in the habit of cleaning the stems and outer briar but I concentrate on the shank and mortise and tire easily. I'll probably care more once I integrate the Ser Jacapos into rotation but waiting on my sense of taste to get a bit better post-Covid till I bother them.
 

bullet08

Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
8,912
37,847
RTP, NC. USA
As someone who smokes 3-5 bowls a day with 8-10 regular pipes in rotation I imagine my pipes would get fucking gnarly if I didn’t clean em for 5 years. The lack of necessary cleaning is probably the biggest pro to having so many pipes though.
True. 35 or so pipes, smoke one a day will last a month or so. But if break the pipe down right after smoke, you can eliminate the place where thing can accumulate and solidify if unclean and go dry. Mortise and tenon. Right after each smoke, when things are still warm (never felt they were hot enough), I completely disassemble my pipe. Run pipe cleaner through stem and draught hole in stummel untill satisfied they are clean. Fold the cleaner in half and clean the mortise until clean. With that folded cleaner, clean inside of chamber wall and bottom until clean. Wipe off the tenon and reassemble. Use paper towel to wipe out the chamber again. Touch up the silver and stem on the outside. Clean the outside of stummel with microfiber cloth. Check inside of chamber with flash light for any damage. Then it sits on the pipe stand overnight. Deep cleaning? Never felt the need.

P.S. It only take 5 minutes or so. Not really a long task.
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,738
14,547
Oregon
True. 35 or so pipes, smoke one a day will last a month or so. But if break the pipe down right after smoke, you can eliminate the place where thing can accumulate and solidify if unclean and go dry. Mortise and tenon. Right after each smoke, when things are still warm (never felt they were hot enough), I completely disassemble my pipe. Run pipe cleaner through stem and draught hole in stummel untill satisfied they are clean. Fold the cleaner in half and clean the mortise until clean. With that folded cleaner, clean inside of chamber wall and bottom until clean. Wipe off the tenon and reassemble. Use paper towel to wipe out the chamber again. Touch up the silver and stem on the outside. Clean the outside of stummel with microfiber cloth. Check inside of chamber with flash light for any damage. Then it sits on the pipe stand overnight. Deep cleaning? Never felt the need.

P.S. It only take 5 minutes or so. Not really a long task.
Yeah I don't take long to clean mine either. I usually do my two savinellis and then my other pipes with vulcanite stems on separate days so that I always have a dry briar available. I don't fully disassemble my briars after a smoke and find that with my quarterly (or so) deep cleans that the mortise is still relatively clean. I only regularly smoke a few blends though and they're all drier, burley blends. I do disassemble my meers are each smoke to clean them and, admittedly, I smoke them much more frequently than my briars.
 

anotherbob

Lifer
Mar 30, 2019
15,538
29,111
45
In the semi-rural NorthEastern USA
I find that dissembling the pipe after each smoke and running the cleaner through then folding it in the middle and swabbing out the mortise (the hole the stem goes into) really helps with creating longer gaps between the times I need a deep clean. In fact Most of my deep cleans have more to do with being bored on a Sunday evening then with having a nasty pipe.
 

Peterson314

Can't Leave
Sep 13, 2019
422
3,156
I'm a 3-5x per week smoker. If I am smoking a briar, I'll clean my pipe after every smoke. I disassemble, run hot water through the bowl and stem separately, pass a pipe cleaner through each piece and repeat if necessary, dry off the outside of the stem and briar and then screw the paper towel into the bowl to get out any moisture. I don't build cake. Put it away disassembled and assemble it before smoking.

For a cob, I dip a pipe cleaner in vodka and then through the stem every blue moon or two. Now that I think of it, I can't remember the last time I cleaned a cob.
 

Chasing Embers

Captain of the Black Frigate
Nov 12, 2014
43,090
107,388
For now, with meerschaum only blowing through the stem. For briar, I often smoke the same pipe multiple times per day for sometimes weeks at a time before switching to another but immediately after each smoke I remove the stem, run a pipe cleaner through the stem and draft hole, wipe out the mortise with Q-tips, and wipe the chamber out with a paper towel.
 
Jun 9, 2015
3,693
22,922
41
Mission, Ks
With briar I run a pipe cleaner through the pipe after every smoke, I don't ream or deep clean unless a pipe starts to taste foul or cake becomes to thick. I wipe off the pipe with a pipe cloth after every smoke and polish the stem with a drop of mineral oil for vulcanite stems. For meers I scrape out the bowl with the flat end of a pipe nail after every smoke and run a cleaner through it. I do not deep clean meers, but I do occasionally run a everclear soaked cleaner through the stem. Having said all of that I smoke my meers a lot, where as my briars may only get smoked once a month because I have so many of them.
 

kcghost

Lifer
May 6, 2011
12,863
20,950
77
Olathe, Kansas
I run a pipe cleaner through the center of the pipe hole vigorously, then I double the pipe cleaner, wipe out the chamber of the pipe, and then use the pipe cleaner to remove any debris from the outside of the pipe. That's it.