This is the last in my series to new pipe smokers – Cleaning & maintaining your pipes.
Generally I have two cleaning “cycles”; one after every one or two smokes and one deep clean maybe once a month or two. You will need the following:
- pipe cleaners
- bristle pipe cleaners
- pipe cleaning liquid (I use Deni-Clean). Alcohol can also be used
- Bowl polish (I use Savinelli’s brai polish)
- Stem polish (I us Savinelli’s stem polish)
- A pipe tool (like Rodgers)
- Soft cloth
Cleaning & Maintaining your pipes: Short Clean (Video Here)
After every bowl, sometimes every second bowl, I wait until my pipe has cooled down (never remove the tenon when your pipe is still warm as it can damage the tenon fitting into the bowl), and then pull a pipe cleaner through the tenon and bowl. Make sure to also reach the corners of the mouthpiece. Also remove all tobacco / ash that remained in the bowl.
Every month or two, I will take all my pipes and do a deep clean on all of them. During a deep clean, I will make sure all the tobacco / ash is removed from the pipe. I use a bristle pipe cleaner, dipped in a pipe cleaning liquid (or alcohol) and thoroughly clean the tenon and bowl. Depending on the size of the tenon in the bowl, I will also fold the pipe cleaner in the middle to reach every corner in the bowl, especially the “catch” area in most pipe systems.
After the liquid, I will pull a normal pipe cleaner through the tenon and pipe twice to make sure all dampness is removed. Then I clean the mouth piece from any residue and marks. If you can get hold of 4000, 8000 and 12000 mesh sticks, use them to clean and buff the tenon.
When all is clean and dry, I apply pipe polish to the briar and let it dry. Then I apply stem polish to the stem and also let it dry. When it is dry, use a soft cloth (and some elbow grease) to thoroughly polish the briar and stem.
From time to time (maybe once a year), I will also inspect the layer of cake and ensure that it is not tPipe toolo thick and uneven. When needed, I will take my pipe tool and gently scrape the inside of the bowl, ensuring that I don’t take off too much of the carbon layer but at the same time, evening out the carbon layer.
Meerschaum is a delicate material. Handle with care and preferably with clean hands. Meerschaum pipes are coated in beeswax which protects the delicate meerschaum and aids in the colouring process. Over years of use, the creamy white colour will darken.
There is no carbon build-up necessary in a meerschaum pipe so this step is not needed when cleaning a meerschaum. However, if carbon has build up in your meerschaum, it is advised to remove it as it can be detrimental to your meerschaum. To clean a meerschaum, all the above can be done except for the polishing part. You might rub some beeswax on your meerschaum bowl, but generally that should not be necessary.
You can also read more about cleaning and maintaining your meerschaum pipes here.
That’s it. Ready to start the rotation of my pipes again.