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How to Clean Your Pipe

Cleaning your pipe isn’t as simple as tapping out the tobacco and giving it a rinse under a tap, there's a lot more to it. Without regular and detailed cleaning, your beautiful pipe will become an ill-tasting mess with little chance of providing you with a tasty smoke. 

It is always best to have a few pipes in a rotation. All pipes need a rest in between smokes if you want them to function properly. By having a few pipes in an order in which you want to smoke them, it lets all of them have a chance to rest and keep them working optimally.

Before you start smoking your pipe it is always good to run a pipe cleaner, bristle or straight, through the stem to dislodge any leftover ash which could cause a blockage. Once unblocked gently tap your pipe on a cork knocker or the palm of your hand to remove those obstructions.

When you are smoking you still need to care for your pipe. First way to do so is when you light your pipe, keep the flame over the tobacco and not the rim to avoid charring it. If the rim of the pipe does begin to develop a dark tint then you can usually remove this by using a damp pipe cleaner and gently rub it away, doing this regularly it will remove the blackened rims. 

It is also during smoking where you will notice if you need to do a more thorough cleaning, if the tobacco tastes sour, salty or just not what it should be then it is time to give it a good clean.
Once you have finished using your pipe it is always good to clean it, but you must not remove the stem while it is still warm - this will cause it to become loose and not fit in the shank correctly, it can also cause damage to the shank or break the tenon of your pipe. 


When your pipe has cooled down, stir up any ash left in the bottle of the bowl and place the palm of your hand over the top of the bowl, shake the pipe for a few seconds to evenly distribute the ash along the inside walls of the bowl. This helps create a “cake” which is a protective layer of carbonised tobacco and ash inside the pipe bowl. The cake acts like an insulator, which extends the life of your pipe and guards against burn outs.

Dispose of the remaining ash and run a bristle pipe cleaner through the stem until it is barely visible in the bottom of the bowl. Remove it and then keep repeating the process with more cleaners until the pipe cleaner comes out clean. Slightly dampen another pipe cleaner and rub the mouthpiece to remove any build up there.

Blow gently through the stem to dislodge any leftover ash and wipe down with a cloth. For extra care you could use some Savinelli Pipe Clean which can help make your pipe squeaky clean. Once finished you may want to put a regular pipe cleaner into the stem of the pipe and place it on a pipe rack to absorb any moisture leftover, then allow it to rest for two to four days before smoking again.

Written by Oliver Partington
 

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