“Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air—moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh—felt as if it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze.”
This quote from Jitterbug Perfume, the 1985 book by Tom Robbins, does a pretty good job of describing a typical September in Louisiana. But this September is not typical, my friends. This heat surpassed an obscene phone call or a sultry exhalation in June and has now entered the realm of the devil screaming insults two inches from your face, as bits of magma spittle burn your eyes and soak into your pores. But not only are we dealing with record-breaking temps, this outrageous humidity is the car on our highway to the danger zone. Spending too much time in this soupy weather can lead to dehydration, confusion, fatigue, lethargy, heat stroke, and potentially death. I like you, and I don’t want you to die, so please drink lots of water throughout the day; and if you’re hanging outside, periodically go inside and chill (pun intended) in the A/C. K, now let’s proceed to the cleaning questions.
How do I clean my bong?
Now this is a good indoor activity! For this question, I had to turn to a pot-smoking expert (one of my nieces), because I am not a Cheecher of the grass; ganja makes my head feel like it’s going to explode in a non-irie way. The bong organism is part of the species water pipe, in which there are many varieties. Here I will discuss how to clean a classic “beaker” bong. The anatomy of a beaker bong is made up of six parts: mouthpiece, uptake tube, carburetor, bowl, stem, and chamber. You will want to clean the bowl/stem separately from the bong body proper. First, you’ll want to pour the dirty bong water out. Rinse the bong with warm water, swish it around, then pour it out. Add 70% isopropyl alcohol1Many experts recommend using 90% to 99% isopropyl alcohol to clean your bong, but I always use 70% for cleaning. This percentage has been proven to more easily denature both enzymatic and structural proteins, which increases the potency of its antimicrobial properties. into the chamber, stopping right below the stem hole. Next, add coarse salt (epsom or rock salt). Salt will act as an abrasive, scraping off all of that sticky, icky resin. You’ll need to add a lot of salt, as it will dissolve quickly in the alcohol. Now cover or cork the mouthpiece, stem, and carburetor holes with cotton. Vigorously shake your piece for about five minutes; heavy agitation is important to dislodge the stubborn kief. Now rinse thoroughly with soapy water. Removing all of the alcohol is extremely important. Alcohol is flammable, and you will be introducing flames to this apparatus; I don’t want you to set yourself on fire. Finally, rinse the bong one last time with warm water. Set it out to dry. You may need to repeat this process more than once—or let the alcohol and salt mixture sit for at least 30 minutes—depending on the amount of built-up resin. Clean your bowl and stem the same way. If your bong happens to be acrylic, don’t use alcohol. Alcohol can cause microfractures in acrylic and seep into the cracks formed. If this happens, you’ll be stuck with the ghost of dirty bong water forever. Instead of alcohol, use vinegar and baking soda. First, soak your bong in hot water for about an hour to loosen the resin. Fill the bong to the stem hole with white vinegar and add two teaspoons of baking soda. Swish this around for about 30 seconds, then let the mixture sit for two hours. Finally, rinse the bong with warm water, and set it out to dry. One last thing: You should wash your bong at least once a week, as bacteria and mold start growing in your bong immediately. Mouth funk + standing water = gross. Change the water daily. Yay! Now go take a rip.
How do I clean my outside garbage can?
Oh boy, this tends to be an unpleasant task, as most people wait to clean their can until the situation is disgustingly out of control (Remember Hurricane Ida?). Assuming that you’ve reached a DEFVOM 1 level situation, you’ll need to protect your bod for your quest into darkness. I suggest wearing rubber gloves, a face mask, a hat, long sleeves, and construction goggles. I’m not usually a bleach person, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so pour a gallon of bleach into the can. Make sure to splatter the inside of the lid and sides of the can as you dump in. Let the hot garbage juice-bleach mixture marinate for about 30 minutes, then get back in there and pour the grubby brew out of the can. Grab a garden hose with a sprayer head on it, and adjust the sprayer to the “jet” setting. Tilt the garbage can at a 45 degree angle (lid open), stand to the side of the can, and spray the inside. Spray the lid first, then the sides, and finally the bottom. There will probably be some dried-on maggot corpses in the can (so much barf), so you’ll have to hold the sprayer head closely over them to loosen and wash them out. Now pour another gallon of bleach into the can in the splatter motion mentioned above and close it for about an hour. After the hour is up, dump, then spray it out one more time. Turn the garbage can upside down with the lid opened and let it drip dry. After all of this fun, you can turn the can right-side-up, leave the lid open, and let it sit in the sun all day; the sun will help to kill bacteria and the foul odor it produces. Voilà, hopefully less stink! If you want to go the eco-friendly route, you can substitute white vinegar for bleach. With this option, you’ll need to allow the vinegar to sit in the can for double the time as the bleach. I hope this helps! P.S. Maw Maw Mary Ada Theriot (RIP) pro tip: Store food scraps in your freezer until the day that your garbage is collected. This way your food won’t sit outside in a hot, plastic box rotting for days, and you can avoid having to clean a gross can in the first place!
Got cleaning questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
illustrations by Ben Claassen III | @dirtfarm