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How to properly clean and care for a hookah?

When you first buy a hookah or start visiting shisha bars, you probably don’t yet know how challenging but important it can be to clean your hookah constantly. Since the hookah is in constant contact with water, it struggles with two classic problems associated with humidity and water. These are limescale and mould. At the same time, as the vapours from tobacco or molasses and glycerine pass through it and can easily get on the outer parts of the hookah during handling, it also needs to be properly degreased and polished

And why should we do all this? There are several reasons

  1. The first reason is of course very clear – health and hygiene. Nobody wants to get any dirt from their hookah into their lungs, let alone mould, which can make a mess in your lungs, mouth and entire respiratory system. You can’t ignore even the slightest hint of mould, because it can cause you a lot of trouble. That’s why this topic is so important and why professionally cleaned and prepared hookah costs so much in shisha bars and establishments.
  2. Taste and enjoyment – All the tobacco residue and dirt from previous sessions will spoil your experience. Those residues will burn into the materials but they will also be released into your smoke and devalue the flavor. That’s why it’s important to remove all residue and coatings on the entire hookah
  3. Appearance and handling – No one wants to smoke from a dirty hookah all covered in limescale, tobacco residue, greasy from molasses, or all dusty. Even grease on the body and vase of your hookah can cause your hookah to slip and break the vase and hookah bowl.
  4. Wear and tear – Mold, scale, and other grime can sometimes eat into the materials to the point that they are almost impossible to clean, or you may have to damage the color or integrity of the protective coating of the material in the process. That’s why regular and consistent cleaning is very important if you want to keep your hookah in top condition for as long as possible.

How to clean a hookah vase?

It is the hookah vase that encounters the most dirt, is difficult to clean and is very susceptible to both mould and limescale. This is exactly why it requires the most frequent care and literally at every session. And since you will always find all the dirt in it, it also needs the most products and is the most complicated to clean

The AO Vase Brush for Hookahs with the cotton end has proven to be the most effective brush in our bar. Other bars are still very fond of the AO Boobie Brush. Both brushes can be bent without damage so that they reach all sides and corners of your vase. Personally, we think the cotton-end brush is more effective at cleaning very tight spaces in the corners of the vase

We have tried many means of cleaning for a long time, and few have been real effective. Mostly we had to manually scrub the vases with brushes anyway. The only miracle we recognized was Schmand Weg, which, although expensive, can realistically clean your vase effortlessly. Just pour it on, leave it on for at least 1 hour and rinse. It works on the basis of active oxygen, which can loosen mould, grease and partially scale. Not to be taken as a complete miracle, but it is actually quite effective

If you want to make up your own solution, you can try using citric acid with hot water and some detergent for the grease. Be careful not to burn yourself and crack the vase by changing the temperature of the vase quickly

How to clean the body of the hookah?

When the body of the hookah is made of stainless steel, it is quite easy to clean, but it should be cleaned regularly with at least hot water after each use. This is extra important if you use Turkish hookah bowls and the molasses from the hookah bowl runs into the body and vase

For a more thorough cleaning you need to use brushes that are specially made thin and long for hookahs. For us, the AO hookah body brush with a length of 70cm has been the most successful .

Although it is relatively wide and harder to get through the hookah tube, it is very durable and does not shed bristles like other brands of brushes

If you want to thoroughly disinfect both the chambers and all the parts where the hose can’t reach, a steam cleaner is the only way to go. Its steam penetrates absolutely all parts, where it eliminates bacteria, mould and grease

How to clean and disinfect a hookah hose?

Since hookah hoses have been made of silicone, this has made cleaning and maintenance extremely easy. Since silicone is very effective in preventing the formation of mould, bacteria and viruses, it doesn’t require nearly as intensive care as oriental hoses. This doesn’t mean that you should underestimate cleaning it and not do it, but there’s much less chance that if you don’t clean it you’ll find some new life in it. Since smoke passes through it just like the rest of the hookah, it needs to be washed once in a while with hot water or a steam cleaner. If you are serious about hygiene and cleanliness, feel free to do this after or before every session,

For very frequent use, e.g. in a bar, we recommend replacing the hose about once a year. Although normally silicone does not bind any odours or dirt to itself, under extreme stress a little can get inside the material. We therefore recommend that it be changed continuously

Additional recommendation: never leave the hose in strong sunlight, in extreme dryness or near other sources of strong heat. Silicone, like rubber, can dry out and lose its properties. You can then realistically end up “breaking” the hose if you bend it hard. It sounds unbelievable, but in our years of experience we have seen it all

How to clean a hookah hookah bowl?

The hookah bowl can be cleaned easily with water. The only thing to watch out for is that you don’t crack the hookah bowl by using cold water on a hot hookah bowl. Even if you don’t crack the hookah bowl this way, you will certainly damage the internal integrity of the hookah bowl. Which brings us to the more difficult problem – cleaning the inside of the hookah bowl. Since high quality hookah bowls are made of clay, by their very nature, each hookah bowl has tiny pores inside, and with rapid temperature changes, these pores can enlarge. The consequence of this is called “hookah bowl weeping”, where your hookah bowl lets the molasses from the tobacco through the walls and the hookah bowl looks like it is sweating or weeping

The important question is whether or not we want to get that molasses out of the hookah bowl, and it’s a point of contention in the community as to whether or not to do that. We personally don’t do it. We find it unnecessary to say the least. Even if you get the molasses out of the hookah bowl, the next time you have a session it will go in again. However, if you would like to do it, it is quite simple – you need to apply heat. Either by baking the hookah bowls in the oven or boiling them in hot water, you’ll get all the molasses out of them pretty quickly

How to properly clean the HMS hookah from tobacco residue and ash?

Since the HMS separates the embers from the tobacco in the hookah bowl, often times the tobacco will stick to the HMS and char into a black, hard to remove burn. This burn is quite difficult to clean, but there are solutions. The absolutely most effective cleaning tool is the HMS wire brush, which helps get the residue off the surface of your HMS by rubbing it vigorously. When you want to help yourself to do this, there are 2 handy methods or means you can use. The first method is to soak your HMS in ideally warm water for a couple of hours to get the dirt wet. The second method is to use a grill cleaner. Although these remedies work great for food burns, tobacco can stick really strongly even with this remedy, however it will definitely help and save you the hassle of scrubbing

How to store hookah and its accessories?

An important knowledge, is not only knowing how to clean hookahs, but also how to store them. It often happens that you clean your hookah perfectly and still find it dirty and rotten after only a few days. There can be several reasons for this. The first is that you have not cleaned it properly. You probably didn’t wash the body enough, the dirt from it runs down into the vase and there it starts to mold. Or you may have just put a speck of mould in the vase and that’s caused it to spread again

The second reason is closing wet hookahs. You’ve barely washed the hookah, the water from the body hasn’t even had time to crawl into the vase and you’ve already folded/closed the hookah and put it away in its place. This leaves a lot of moisture inside the pipe, which either causes a coating of limescale to form or mould to start spreading

Therefore, dry the hookah properly first before putting it away and store it in a dry and clean environment, ideally open

Another solution, which we are yet to try, is to put the Schmand Weg with water in a vase while the hookah will stand unused. We’ll be sure to add the results

Summary: Cleaning your hookah is not only extremely important but can often be quite difficult and time consuming, but if you use the right tools and resources it can be done quite easily. That’s why you’d better buy these helpers from us so that you don’t lose your nerve when cleaning. 🙂

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