Bongs (bubblers, bingers or billys) are water pipes that filter smoke through water. While they may look complex, bongs are very easy to use! The mouthpiece, downstem, bowl, and chamber are the four primary components of a bong. You must first fill and clear the smoke chamber to use a bong.
Place Your Mouth on the Inhale Hole
Whether it’s a straight tube, beaker, or custom piece, placing your mouth on the inhaled hole is the first step to using any bong. It is usually at the end of a short tube (the neck) that connects to the base and chamber that fills with water. It creates an airtight seal that drives the smoke to your lungs when you inhale.
This method is arguably safer and healthier for your lungs than smoking a blunt, joint, or vape. Most people don’t cover the carb hole with their fingers during use. It is a bad idea since it will draw in outside air instead of the smoke inside the burning bowl, leading to an unsatisfactory hit. It’s also bad etiquette to wrap your lips around the outside of the neck, as this can lead to slobber and saliva all over the bong.
Instead, practice good bong etiquette and place your lips gently inside the opening of the neck, creating a seal that will drive the smoke to your mouth. Some people like to flavor their bong water by adding lemon peels, spices, tea, Gatorade, or red wine with a low alcohol content, which can add to the taste and reduce harshness on the lungs. Ultimately, the best way to enjoy your bong is to keep it clean and empty the water after each session.
Fill the Bowl with Water
A bong is a pipe that filters smoke through water to make it cooler and smoother. Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, but they generally have four main parts: a mouthpiece to inhale through, a bowl for the herb, a downstem that connects the water to the bowl, and a chamber that holds the water (and eventually, the smoke).
Before you use a bong for the first time, it’s important to fill the bowl with water. It helps to prevent your lungs from being burned by too much smoke, which can cause coughing and discomfort. Pour enough water so the end of the down stem is submerged and the chamber’s center is slightly above the water’s surface. Add ice to the water for a cooler and more filtered smoke or salt to help keep your bong clean.
Once the bowl is filled with water, take a practice hit to ensure your bong is functioning properly. It is also a good opportunity to test extra filtration features such as discs, spirals, or round domes.
It’s also important to clean the bowl before passing it on to a friend. Smoked herbs can leave a sticky residue that will transfer to subsequent users. To remove this resin, remove the bowl from the downstem and place it in a zipper-top plastic bag with some alcohol (90% isopropyl or rubbing alcohol works well) and coarse salt. Gently shake the bowl in the bag until any residual sticky resin is broken down, then dump out the alcohol and rinse the bowl with warm water.
The best way to enjoy your bong is to take long, slow hits. Don’t inhale too quickly or hard, as this can cause an unpleasant coughing fit for anyone, especially those without lung capacity. If you find yourself coughing, take a break to clear your lungs. When you are ready to inhale, hold the bong securely with one hand (the carb hole, if applicable) and use your finger to cover the mouthpiece.
Inhale slowly, keeping your finger covering the carb hole until you are satisfied with how much smoke you have drawn into your lungs. In fancier bongs, the neck of the bong may house an ice catcher or percolator to help cool and filter the smoke before it is pulled through to your mouth. Adding ice to the water of your bong will also help cool the smoke, but be careful not to drop any ice cubes into the down stem, as this can damage it.
Be sure to clean your bong after each use, or at least regularly, to prevent resin build-ups. You can use a salt scrub to remove resin and keep your bong looking shiny new for years. Some smokers even add things like lemon peels or spices to their water to flavor the smoke they inhale, but this can be unsafe and not recommended.
Light the Lighter or Hemp Wick
The bong is a great way to smoke your favorite herb, but knowing how to use one properly is important. If you’re not careful, a bong can get dirty, smelly, and gunked up with resin. It’s important to clean and store your bong safely after each use, so it won’t be easily knocked over or damaged.
When you’re ready to smoke, wear protective glasses and find a comfortable sitting spot. If you’re new to smoking weed, taking small hits is best until you feel more confident in your lung power. It will also make it easier to avoid coughing.
If you have a water bong, fill it with fresh water before you begin. Ideally, the water should be no more than an inch above the tip of the downstem (the long tube that sticks into the bong). Otherwise, you could get splashed when you inhale. Some people like to add ice to their bongs to cool the smoke before they inhale.
It can help reduce the harshness of the hit and may even make it more enjoyable for those who aren’t used to smoking bongs. Ensure you don’t drop ice into the downstem, or your bong might crack on impact! It’s also important to rinse your bong and change the water often. When the water gets discolored, it can give off an unpleasant flavor and make cleaning your bong difficult.