How to Unclog a One-Hitter: Step-By-Step

One-hitters are perfect for the on-the-go smoker. Learning to unclog your one-hitter is an essential skill for simple smoking and better taste. 


Because of their convenience, it’s easy to neglect cleaning your portable pipe. Failing to clean your pipe can lead to buildup and clogs. Never fear--this article delves into exactly how to maintain your one-hitters: how to tell when it’s getting clogged, how to unclog your pipe, and how to prevent a clog from happening. 

How to unclog a one-hitter

Unclogging your one-hitter is a straightforward process. To unclog your one-hitter, gather the following materials:

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Coarse salt
  • Hot water
  • 1-2 pipe cleaners
  • Ziplock bag big enough to hold your one-hitter with some extra space


Step one: Empty your one-hitter of any ash and debris. 


Step two: Gently place your one-hitter in your ziplock bag. 


Step three: Add enough isopropyl alcohol to submerge your pipe completely. 


Step four: Add coarse salt. The texture of the salt helps to rub tough build-up free. 


Step five: Add a couple of tablespoons of hot water to the alcohol mixture. 


Step six: Shake the bag. Make sure the mixture gets thoroughly through the entirety of the pipe. Shake it hard enough to let the salt do its work without risking breaking your pipe. 


Step seven: For particularly tough cases, let your one-hitter soak in the alcohol mixture.


Step eight: Rinse your one-hitter clean in lukewarm water. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the pipe for 15-30 seconds to ensure the alcohol is flushed out.


Step nine: Run a pipe cleaner through the one-hitter to get any leftover residue. 

Why do one-hitters get clogged?

One-hitters, bats, and chillums are extremely portable. They can easily be tossed into a bag or pocket. Because these pipes are most often used out of the home, they don’t often receive the care and attention necessary to keep the pipe clean and functional. 


When you smoke cannabis out of any pipe, a sticky tar-like substance can build up on the side of your bowl. This substance--often called resin--can contribute greatly to clogs, as it also builds up inside the body of the pipe. Combined with the natural flower material and ash that frequently gets trapped in your pipe, resin build-up in your pipe can create clogs that cannot easily be tapped out. 

How to tell if your one-hitter is clogged

There are several indicators that your one-hitter is clogged or developing a clog. 


Visible clog: If you peek through your one-hitter and you can’t see light on the other side, your pipe is clogged. If the light is constricted, a clog is forming in your one-hitter.

Restricted airflow: If you spark up a bowl and aren’t getting any smoke, your pipe might be clogged. To test your theory further, try blowing through your one-hitter. If it’s difficult or impossible to get air through, it’s time to unclog your one-hitter. 

Altered flavor: If a clog is building in your pipe, you’ll be able to taste it when you take a hit. Instead of tasting the terpenes in your plant, the hit will taste ashy or tar-like. 

Cloudy glass: If you have a pipe made of glass, the glass will start to look darker as the pipe gets dirtier. If your pipe is clear enough, you’ll be able to see the resin and debris as it builds up. 

How to prevent a clog

Keeping your one-hitter clean is the biggest trick to preventing clogs. Maintaining a clean pipe successfully can be done through consistent ashing and regular isopropyl alcohol baths. 

Blow out your ash instead of tapping it 

Emptying your bowl completely is the most important step in preventing clogs. Beyond just tapping out your ash, make sure that your bowl is completely clear of debris by blowing the ash out of your pipe. 


For an extra precaution, run an alcohol-soaked cotton swab around your bowl after you have emptied it. This step will further reduce resin build-up and simplify your deep cleaning process in the long run. 

Use a screen

Using a screen can help to prevent clogging from ash and other debris. A screen can be placed at the bottom of your bowl to stop flower and ash from getting sucked into your pipe--and into your mouth.

Smoke shops typically carry screens in a variety of sizes, and even tinier screens can be purchased online. 

Invest in a poker 

Obtaining a small metal poker will help you keep your pipe clean--and clear a clog in a jiff. Make sure to find a poker that’s thin enough to fit down your tiny bowl but thick and sturdy enough to push out any resin that's building up inside. 

Schedule your deep cleans

Making time for regular deep cleaning is another essential step in preventing clogs. Make sure your one-hitter stays clean by establishing a routine. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, consistent deep cleaning will help you avoid clogs altogether. 


Soaking your pipe in isopropyl alcohol with salt will help remove any build-up in your pipe--clearing any potential clogs before they happen. 

To sum it up

One-hitters are a portable, convenient way to smoke on the go. Because of their travel-size bowl, one-hitters can get easily clogged from resin and build-up. However, with a deep clean, your one-hitter can return to a sparkling clean state. Furthermore, with regular cleaning and thorough ashing, you can work to prevent clogs before they build up. 


Do I need to clean my one-hitter?

One-hitters, while convenient, are prone to clogging. These pipes should be thoroughly ashed after every use and deep cleaned every 2-3 weeks. Clogged one-hitters should be soaked in a coarse salt-isopropyl alcohol mixture and then unclogged with a pipe cleaner or poker tool.

How often should I clean my one-hitter?

To prevent residue and build-up, one-hitters should be thoroughly ashed after every use. To prevent clogging, they should be thoroughly cleaned with a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and coarse salt once every 2-3 weeks, depending on frequency of use.

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.