A bong is a smoking device that has been used for centuries to inhale smoke produced by burning cannabis or other herbs. It consists of a base, a bowl, a downstem, a mouthpiece, and a water chamber that filters and cools the smoke before it reaches your lungs. Bongs are popular among smokers for their smooth hits and enhanced flavor. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about how to use a bong, its advantages, the history of bongs, and who should use them.


how to use a bong

Types of Bongs

Bongs come in a variety of materials and designs. Here are some of the most common types of bongs:

  • Glass bongs: These are the most popular and widely used bongs. They are made of borosilicate glass and are known for their durability and ability to provide clean hits.
  • Acrylic bongs: These bongs are made of plastic and are affordable, lightweight, and easy to clean. They are a good option for beginners or those on a budget.
  • Ceramic bongs: These bongs are made of ceramic and are known for their unique designs and intricate details. They provide smooth hits and are easy to clean.
  • Silicone bongs: These bongs are made of silicone and are virtually indestructible. They are easy to clean and perfect for outdoor use or clumsy smokers.
  • Percolator bongs: These bongs have a percolator, which is an additional water chamber that provides extra filtration and cools the smoke even further. They produce incredibly smooth hits but can be more expensive than regular bongs.
  • Gravity bongs: These bongs use gravity to draw smoke into the chamber, producing a stronger hit. They are easy to make at home and can be made from simple household items.
  • Multi-chamber bongs: These bongs have multiple chambers that filter and cool the smoke, providing a smoother hit. They are more expensive than regular bongs but are worth the investment for serious smokers.

Each type of bong has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

Parts of a Bong

Understanding the different parts of a bong is essential to using it correctly. Here are the main parts of a bong:

  • Bowl: This is the part of the bong where you place the herb that you want to smoke. It’s typically made of glass or ceramic and is removable for easy cleaning.
  • Downstem: This is a tube that connects the bowl to the water chamber. It allows smoke to pass through the water and be cooled before reaching the mouthpiece.
  • Base: This is the bottom of the bong that holds the water. The size of the base determines the amount of water the bong can hold.
  • Percolator: Some bongs have an additional water chamber called a percolator. It contains small holes or slits that further filter the smoke and create more bubbles, cooling it even further.
  • Mouthpiece: This is the part of the bong that you put your mouth on to inhale the smoke. It’s typically made of glass or silicone and can be straight or angled.
  • Carburetor: Some bongs have a small hole or valve called a carburetor or “carb” for short. It’s used to control the airflow and clear the smoke from the bong when you’re ready to inhale.

Each part of the bong plays an important role in providing a smooth and enjoyable smoking experience. Understanding how they work together is key to getting the most out of your bong.

How to Use a Bong

Using a bong may seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice, it’s easy to get the hang of it. Here are the steps to using a bong:

  1. Preparing the bong: Start by making sure your bong is clean and free of any residue or debris. Check that the downstem and bowl are securely attached to the bong.
  2. Adding water to the base: Fill the base of the bong with enough water to cover the bottom of the downstem but not so much that the water will splash up into the mouthpiece. The water should be cold or at room temperature to help cool the smoke.
  3. Grinding the herb: Grind your herb using a grinder or your hands to create an even texture that will burn evenly.
  4. Packing the bowl: Fill the bowl with the ground herb, making sure not to overpack it. You should be able to draw air through the bowl easily.
  5. Lighting the herb: Hold the bowl in one hand and use a lighter or match to light the herb while inhaling through the mouthpiece. Make sure to keep the flame away from the bowl to avoid overheating and scorching the herb.
  6. Inhaling from the mouthpiece: As you light the herb, inhale slowly and steadily through the mouthpiece. The water in the base will cool and filter the smoke, providing a smoother hit. If your bong has a carburetor, release it to clear the chamber of smoke once you’ve finished inhaling.

Remember to take small hits at first and gradually increase your inhalation as you become more comfortable. Always use caution when handling hot surfaces or open flames, and be sure to clean your bong after each use to ensure a clean and enjoyable smoking experience.

Tips for Using a Bong

While using a bong can be a fun and enjoyable experience, there are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your smoking session. Here are some helpful tips for using a bong:

  1. Choose the right bong for your needs: Consider the size, material, and features of the bong before purchasing. For example, a smaller bong may be more portable, while a larger bong with a percolator may provide a smoother hit.
  2. Use cold water for a smoother hit: Cold water in the base of the bong can help cool the smoke and provide a smoother hit. Adding ice to the water can also further chill the smoke.
  3. Use a screen to prevent herb from falling through: Placing a small metal or glass screen in the bowl can prevent small pieces of herb from falling through and potentially clogging the downstem.
  4. Don’t pull too hard: Taking slow and steady pulls from the mouthpiece can help prevent excess water from splashing up into the mouthpiece or bowl.
  5. Don’t overpack the bowl: Overpacking the bowl can make it difficult to draw air through and prevent an even burn. Leave some room at the top of the bowl to allow for airflow.

By following these tips, you can enhance your bong smoking experience and enjoy a smooth and satisfying hit every time.

How to Clean a Bong

Cleaning your bong regularly is important for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. Here are the steps for cleaning a bong:

Materials needed for cleaning:

  • Isopropyl alcohol (90% or higher)
  • Coarse salt or cleaning solution
  • Rubber stoppers or corks
  • Pipe cleaners or cotton swabs
  • Hot water

Steps to clean a bong:

  1. Disassemble the bong: Remove the bowl and downstem from the bong and place them in a sealable plastic bag with enough isopropyl alcohol to cover them. Shake the bag gently to distribute the alcohol and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Add cleaning solution: Pour a coarse salt or cleaning solution into the bong, filling it about one-third of the way. Add enough hot water to cover the salt or solution and use a rubber stopper or cork to cover the mouthpiece and downstem holes.
  3. Shake the bong: Hold the bong by the base and shake it vigorously for several minutes to dislodge any buildup or residue. For stubborn stains or buildup, use a pipe cleaner or cotton swab to scrub the affected area.
  4. Rinse the bong: Pour out the cleaning solution and rinse the bong thoroughly with hot water. Repeat the process until all residue and cleaning solution have been removed.
  5. Dry the bong: Allow the bong to air dry or use a clean cloth to wipe it dry. Reassemble the bong once it is completely dry.

Regular maintenance tips:

  • Empty and rinse the bong after each use to prevent buildup.
  • Change the water in the bong regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  • Use a filter or ash catcher to prevent debris from entering the bong.
  • Store the bong in a safe and dry place when not in use to prevent damage.

By following these cleaning and maintenance tips, you can keep your bong clean and functioning properly for years to come.


Sometimes, bongs can present some problems that affect their performance. Here are some common issues and how to troubleshoot them:

Why is my bong water turning brown?

Bong water can turn brown for several reasons, including:

  • Residue buildup: Over time, residue from the herb can accumulate in the water, turning it brown.
  • Stale water: Leaving the same water in the bong for an extended period can lead to bacteria growth, causing the water to turn brown.

To fix this issue, change the water in your bong after each use, and clean the bong regularly to prevent residue buildup.

Why is my bong leaking?

If your bong is leaking, there may be a crack or a loose fitting. Check the following areas:

  • The downstem: Make sure the downstem fits snugly into the bong and isn’t cracked or chipped.
  • The bowl: Ensure the bowl fits properly into the downstem and isn’t loose or wobbly.
  • The base: Look for cracks or chips in the base of the bong that could be causing leaks.

If you find a crack or loose fitting, replace the affected part or take the bong to a professional to repair it.

Why am I not getting a good hit?

If you’re not getting a good hit from your bong, there may be a few reasons:

  • Insufficient water: Ensure that the base of your bong has enough water to submerge the downstem, which helps to cool the smoke.
  • Clogged downstem: If the downstem is clogged, it can impede airflow and prevent an even burn.
  • Overpacking the bowl: Overpacking the bowl can make it difficult to draw air through and prevent an even burn.

To fix this issue, add more water to the bong, clean the downstem to ensure proper airflow, and avoid overpacking the bowl.

By troubleshooting these common issues, you can enhance your bong smoking experience and enjoy a smooth and satisfying hit every time.

Safety Tips

Using a bong can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some tips to ensure you use your bong safely:

Don’t share mouthpieces

Sharing a mouthpiece can spread germs and diseases, so it’s best to avoid sharing with others.

Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery after using a bong

Bongs can cause impairment, so it’s important to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after using one.

Keep bongs out of reach of children and pets

Bongs can be dangerous for children and pets, so keep them stored in a safe and secure location out of reach.

Be aware of the legalities of using a bong in your area

In some areas, using a bong may be illegal. It’s important to be aware of the laws in your area to avoid any legal issues.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure that you use your bong safely and enjoyably.


Bongs are a popular smoking device that offer several benefits over other methods of smoking. They can provide a smoother and cooler smoking experience, as well as filter out harmful toxins. Additionally, they come in a variety of styles and designs to suit any smoker’s preferences.

When using a bong, it’s important to choose the right type of bong for your needs, follow proper cleaning and maintenance techniques, and practice safety precautions such as not sharing mouthpieces and avoiding driving or operating heavy machinery after use.

Overall, bongs are a great option for those looking for an enjoyable smoking experience. With the right care and attention, they can provide a satisfying and smooth hit every time.


What is the best material for a bong?

The best material for a bong depends on personal preference. Glass bongs are popular for their durability and ease of cleaning, while silicone bongs are more flexible and less likely to break. Ceramic and acrylic bongs are also options to consider.

How often should I change the water in my bong?

It’s recommended to change the water in your bong after each use. Fresh water will provide a cleaner and smoother smoking experience.

Can I use a bong for smoking other herbs besides cannabis?

Yes, you can use a bong for smoking other herbs besides cannabis, such as tobacco or dried herbs. However, it’s important to research the appropriate temperature and smoking techniques for each herb.

Is it necessary to use a percolator in a bong?

No, a percolator is not necessary in a bong, but it can provide additional filtration for a smoother hit.

How do I know if my bong needs cleaning?

If you notice a buildup of resin or debris in your bong, or if the water begins to turn brown or murky, it’s time to clean your bong. Regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent buildup and extend the life of your bong.