How to clean a dab rig
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- What you’ll need
- Cleaning your dab rig step-by-step
- Collecting reclaim
As dabbing becomes one of the most popular consumption methods of the modern weed market, the dab rig — a water pipe used for vaporizing cannabis concentrates — has become a staple of the modern smoking device lineup. A dab rig serves the same function as a bong, filtering concentrate vapor through water at its base. Dab rigs are typically smaller than bongs, providing less drag so the vapor travels to the lungs more quickly and retains potency.
A dab rig filters concentrate vapor through water at the base, then up the neck of the rig and through the mouthpiece. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Similarly to a bong, a dab rig filters concentrate vapor through water at the base, then up the neck of the rig and through the mouthpiece. In the place of a traditional bowl for smoking dry flower, the dab rig is connected to a dab nail or banger, where a dab of concentrate is placed to inhale the resulting vapor.
When regularly maintained, dab rig cleaning can be easier than bongs because the absence of combustion in dabbing creates less resin buildup. Dab rigs do, however, build up reclaim, which can clog your rig and hinder the flavor of each dab. They can also be difficult to clean when they have complex filtration features. Repeated use of a nail can cause carbon and reclaim buildup, especially if the nail isn’t cleaned regularly.
Below is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to clean and maintain a dab rig for optimal performance and vapor purity.
What you’ll need
Before you begin the process of cleaning your dab rig, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients and materials:
- 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- Coarse sea salt
- One large sealable plastic bag or container
- Cotton swabs
Cleaning your dab rig step-by-step
Step 1: Torch your nail
One of the simplest ways to clean a nail or banger is to heat it with a torch lighter until reclaim or residual carbon burns completely off. If buildup is minimal, torching a nail should clean it sufficiently. You can also try cleaning the surface of your nail with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.
One of the simplest ways to clean a nail or banger is to heat it with a torch lighter until reclaim or residual carbon burns completely off. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 2: Remove the nail and put it in a sealable bag with alcohol
If torching your nail isn’t enough to clean off all carbon or reclaim buildup, place the nail in a sealable container or plastic bag and let it soak in alcohol. If you’re using a sealable bag, try adding salt and shaking the bag when necessary.
Place the nail in a sealable container or plastic bag and let it soak in alcohol. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Step 3: Pour the water out of your rig
Before you begin cleaning your rig, pour the old water out into a sink or drain.
Note: If you use your rig often, change the water out daily. Doing so will help prevent reclaim buildup and preserve the flavor and cleanliness of the vapor.
Step 4: Add alcohol
Fill the base of your rig with 99% isopropyl, or rubbing, alcohol. If a deeper cleaning is needed, first add coarse sea salt until it covers the bottom of the base.
Step 5: Shake your rig
Cover the holes of your rig, either with your hands or standard-size plugs or caps, if necessary, and shake the rig to loosen and dissolve reclaim buildup.
Step 6: Rinse the rig and nail
Once you’ve cleared the reclaim from your rig and nail, rinse them thoroughly with warm water. Lightly shake the rig as you rinse to wash away the remaining reclaim.
Once you’ve cleared the reclaim from your rig and nail, rinse them thoroughly with warm water. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Similarly to resin, reclaim can be collected and reused to make edibles, tinctures, and capsules. It can also be reused for dabbing, as it often retains some cannabinoids from the original concentrate.
Some dab rigs have “drop-down” attachments, which will trap reclaim and make it easier to collect. If your dab rig doesn’t have a drop-down attachment and you are forced to remove it using alcohol, reusing the reclaim is not recommended.
Remember, a dab rig needs regular maintenance for optimum performance. Change your rig’s water out often, and lightly clean your nail with a cotton swab after each dab. Regularly cleaning your rig means you’ll have to deep-clean it less frequently.How to clean a dab rig Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What you’ll need Cleaning your dab rig step-by-step Collecting reclaim As
Is Consuming Reclaim from Cannabis Concentrates Safe?
Monday June 3, 2019
A fter hitting a few dabs, you’re likely to notice a waxy, orange-brown buildup condensing inside your rig. It’s called reclaim, and if you find yourself without fresh concentrate, you might be wondering if it’s safe to dab. Anyone who has consumed cannabis from a pipe will be familiar with resin; the sticky, stinky, black residue that builds up in your bowl. Reclaim is the more or less the same thing, but in a dab rig instead of a pipe. However, because dabbing doesn’t involve setting fire to plant material, AKA combustion, reclaim is a little different than resin and is a result of the vaporization process. So, is it safe to dab reclaim from cannabis concentrates? Read on to find out what we know about how to use reclaim and avoid risks.
The Difference Between Cannabis Resin and Concentrate Reclaim
For one, reclaim collected from concentrates doesn’t have the same nasty smell as resin from combusted cannabis flower. You might notice a bong-watery whiff but, compared to the residue from your pipe, reclaim can even be (sort-of) fragrant and have similar hints of the concentrate’s original smell and terpene profile. While scientists haven’t performed extensive studies, testing laboratories have done some analyses on samples of reclaim.
We found test results from two labs which found THC content between 23% and 60% in reclaimed concentrates. Reclaim also contained high levels of other cannabinoids like CBN and, in some samples, CBD. However, the analyses didn’t test the reclaim samples for other contaminants, like fungal spores, bacteria, or pesticides. Given the high concentrations of cannabinoids found in reclaim, it’s understandable that the hard-up stoners amongst us wouldn’t want to let it go to waste. But how do you use reclaim, and is it even safe?
How to Collect Reclaim
It’s clear that reclaim can pack a punch, but how do you get it out of your rig? Dabbers report using two different methods. For both methods, you’ll need to empty the water out of your rig. The next step will depend on what materials you have available and how long you’re willing to wait.
Collect Your Reclaim Using a Solvent
One method involves using a solvent – namely high-strength ethanol like Everclear – to dissolve your reclaim; if you can find pure ethanol, that’s even better (you can also use isopropyl alcohol). Using as little as possible, you’ll want to swish the alcohol around inside your rig until all of the reclaim has been dissolved. This might work better if you rinse your rig with hot water before introducing the solvent.
After you’ve collected the reclaim, you’ll need to pour the mixture onto a glass baking dish and wait for the alcohol to evaporate – and as a reminder, you’ll want to do this in a well-ventilated area.
A fan can speed up the process, but this will still take at least a few hours. Once the alcohol has disappeared, you’ll be left with a dish of reclaim which can be scraped up with a razor blade and deposited onto wax paper or a silicone pot. The big disadvantage of this method is that it can be difficult to collect all the reclaim from the dish, and can be very time-consuming. Additionally, it can be difficult to remove all residual solvents from the mixture. If you want the process to be as easy as possible (and free from potentially harmful solvents), you might prefer the second method.
Collect Your Reclaim Using Your Dab Torch
The most effective method for getting your reclaim out of your rig involves using your dab torch and a silicone or other “non-stick” mat. You’ll need to gently heat the glass of your rig to melt the reclaim. Doing this slowly and gently is super important because not all pipes are made from high-quality glass which can tolerate being heated like this. Even with quality borosilicate glass or quartz, you never want to have your torch’s flame directly on the glass. When collecting reclaim with this method, simply oscillate the torch back and forth so that the piece is only receiving a fraction of the full heat. Regardless of heating method, you should always prepare for the risk of breaking glass by wearing gloves, safety glasses, and holding the pipe away from your body when heating.
Once the reclaim inside the pipe starts to turn liquid, turn your piece upside down and try to direct the flow of reclaim out of your pipe’s joint. You can use a silicone mat to collect the drips, which will be ready to use straight away. However, there’s one disadvantage to this method as well; each time you heat the reclaim it evaporates off more cannabinoids. Therefore, the solvent-based method above may create a stronger product.
Is It Safe to Consume Reclaim?
Given its lack of combustion, dabbing is inevitably cleaner than smoking, but it’s not necessarily true that dabs and by extension reclaim are completely harmless. A 2017 study examined the formation of toxic byproducts produced when dabbing at normal temperatures. The researchers found that dabbing does produce toxic by-products as a result of the breakdown of terpenes like myrcene. The researchers focused on two substances, in particular, methacrolein and benzene. Benzene and methacrolein are both potent irritants which are found in areas with high levels of air pollution. Moreover, benzene is a known carcinogen and one of the chemicals which contributes to cancer in tobacco smokers.
The researchers found that dabbing at high temperatures (roughly 900 to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit) contains significant concentrations of both above-mentioned contaminants at levels higher than those known to cause problems. Given that your reclaim is made up of condensed dab vapor, it’s reasonable to assume that it could potentially give off some of these unfavorable chemicals when heated to high temperatures – that’s why low-temp dabbing is so important. The study didn’t look at other contaminants, but it’s likely that your vapor and reclaim contain more unpleasant surprises. Another study from 2017 found that 80% of dab samples contained residual pesticides or solvents.
If you want to use up your reclaim, it’s less likely to irritate your lungs if you make edibles or cannabis capsules. Additionally, on top of any risks from chemical contaminants, leaving organic material sitting in water over time has the potential to grow bacteria and fungus. Nobody wants to breathe or eat a bunch of bacteria and spores. If you want to ensure the safest experience, you shouldn’t leave your reclaim sitting for weeks before collecting it, regardless of how you use it.
Is Consuming Reclaim a Good Idea?
To sum up the science, right now we’re not completely sure about the safety of using your reclaim. Reclaim hasn’t been studied extensively and, in the absence of proper testing, we can’t be sure about exactly how it affects us. That being said, as long as your concentrates are quality and sourced from a trusted location, odds are you’ll be okay – just don’t consume reclaim that’s been sitting out for weeks in old rig water.
If you can’t get any dabs, reclaim could be a decent stand-in until you get your hands on the good stuff. However, despite what some cannabis pages say on this topic, reclaim might not be completely safe. While it’s not as strong – or as tasty – as fresh concentrate, it’s definitely going to get you high. If you’re already a regular smoker or dabber, you might think that’s worth the risk. However, that’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself until scientists can clear things up.
What are your thoughts on consuming reclaim from cannabis concentrates? Share your feedback in the comments below!Many enthusiasts of cannabis concentrates want to get the most bang for their buck when dabbing. Because of this, a lot of consumers have started collecting reclaim. But is reclaim from concentrates safe to consume? ]]>