What's new
  • Guest
    As per our long standing policy of not permitting medical advice on the forum - all threads concerning the Coronavirus will be locked.
    For more info on the coronavirus please see the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

Pipe cleaner confusion

Hello everyone!

I was reading the sticky about pipe cleaning and maintenance and it was mentioned that the author use 3 different types of pipe cleaners, but i didn't see an explanation of why and what order or where to use them.

I admittedly only bought one type of pipe cleaner from the store while i was there and didn't give much thought to it.

Is there an order of operations for using certain types of pipe cleaners (tapered, bristle, etc.) Or are there certain types i should be using for shank vs stem etc.?

Thanks for any clarification!
 

Mike H

Instagram Famous
Moderator Emeritus
I have a collection of all types. But mostly standard and bristle. The bristle are great and removing built up tar, and stuck tobacco, while the standards get used for regular swabbing. Tapered are good if you have a particularly narrow stem.
 

brandaves

With a great avatar comes great misidentification
Ambassador
I use BJ Long regular pipe cleaners for daily maintenance. After a smoke I use two pipe cleaners to clean out the pipe, from bit to bowl. Then I fold them in half and swab out the bowl.

I only use bristle and other types of cleaners during deep clean sessions.
 
If you’re regular about swabbing out your pipes, then you’ll really only need standard cleaners. Most pipes, with a few exceptions, are fine with those.

If you’re not regular about it, then you may go through the occasional brush cleaner. Brush cleaners can be a little harder on some airways, and might not be the best choice for some meerschaums.

It will also depend on what you smoke. Soggy wet aromatics can leave behind a bigger mess, depending on the toppings.

My historical ratio is over 100/1 for standard cleaners. But I use one every time I finish with the pipe for that day. Each end down the airway to the bowl, fold it into a U, and swab out the bowl.

If you swab ‘em every day, then mainly all you will be doing is drying out the airway and bowl and brushing out the last dottle bits. A standard cleaner is fine for that and should control any tar build up.

If you like to pull the stem for cleanings, just double over a cleaner for the mortise (and filter chamber if it’s a filter model). I’ll go years on my pipes before pulling the stem. But again, it will depend on what you smoke.

Newer pipers tend to be more aggressive about cleaning their pipes. So I would just buy a few hundred standard cleaners to start. A 40-roll of brushes might last you for years.
 
Thanks Gents!

These were the answers i was looking for.

I have been using red bag byrco cleaners, which i think are regular?

I run one through the bore and then bend it in half and swab the bowl.

So it sounds like ive been doing it right for now.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Thanks Gents!

These were the answers i was looking for.

I have been using red bag byrco cleaners, which i think are regular?

I run one through the bore and then bend it in half and swab the bowl.

So it sounds like ive been doing it right for now.
Sounds good to me.

I do like to have some stiffer bristled cleaners to hand, as I have a bad habit of being a bit lax in my cleaning. If I finish a bowl, I will run a regular pipe cleaner through it, but if I put the pipe aside mid-bowl to finish it later, I might not. This means I can get a little more build up than I should, because "stuff" is drying in there which should have been mopped out whilst wet.
 
Sounds good to me.

I do like to have some stiffer bristled cleaners to hand, as I have a bad habit of being a bit lax in my cleaning. If I finish a bowl, I will run a regular pipe cleaner through it, but if I put the pipe aside mid-bowl to finish it later, I might not. This means I can get a little more build up than I should, because "stuff" is drying in there which should have been mopped out whilst wet.
Unless you are throwing a dirty pipe on the rack to sit for a week or longer, where some residues can really start to harden up, having it sit un-swabbed even overnight is usually not too big a deal. Try dipping a regular cleaner in a high proof grain once a month in those situations to keep up with it. It can actually result in a more thorough lifting of the contaminants in some instances, provided it is not too far along. I’ll use 190 proof everclear, which is tasteless. But some others will do it with rum or some bourbons, resulting in some nice stem candy later. You’ll also reduce the bore micro-scoring that frequent brushing inevitably creates, which encourages future buildups later (If you want to see what the brushes can do, try rubbing one hard on the outside of any well-shined vulcanite stem. You’ll be running for the polish).

Even on the very rare occasions where I must pull out a brush, I will always finish up with a run of ‘sweetener’ down the bore.
 

AimlessWanderer

Contributor
Try dipping a regular cleaner in a high proof grain once a month in those situations to keep up with it. It can actually result in a more thorough lifting of the contaminants in some instances, provided it is not too far along.
I've only done that once, and wow did it shift some stuff! It was in my Mizzou cob which had gotten rather bitter tasting. One treatment had it back singing again. However, I did have to replace the mouthpiece, as the alcohol seemed to do a number on it. I didnt just run it through though, I had let the pipe cleaner sit in there a while.

I don't smoke anything valuable enough to worry about scuffing up the bore, but I do take your point. :thumbup1:
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
I've only done that once, and wow did it shift some stuff! It was in my Mizzou cob which had gotten rather bitter tasting. One treatment had it back singing again. However, I did have to replace the mouthpiece, as the alcohol seemed to do a number on it. I didnt just run it through though, I had let the pipe cleaner sit in there a while.

I don't smoke anything valuable enough to worry about scuffing up the bore, but I do take your point. :thumbup1:
Try using listerine. It is not as strong as Everclear but cleans well and sweetens a bit.
 
Top Bottom