How to Clean a Hookah: Ultimate Hookah Cleaning & Maintenance Guide

How to Clean a Hookah: Ultimate Hookah Cleaning & Maintenance Guide

Having trouble cleaning your hookah properly?

Wondering why you still taste some of the previously made shishas in your hookah?

We will aim to solve all your hookah cleaning issues because it is something we have all struggled with and learned from. No one wants a dirty hookah!

This article will not only help you practice good hookah hygiene but will also guide you on how to maintain hookah.

Still searching for a good hookah? If that’s the case, our list of best shisha pipes in 2022 may help you decide.

Hookah Cleaning Kit

The following items are not necessary, but highly recommended if you want to thoroughly clean your hookah, so we would suggest you invest in these with your hookah purchase, as all items are inexpensive, and you are even likely to find them in your house.

  1. A Hookah Cleaning Brush
  2. Hot water
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Lemon/Lemon juice
Note: The most necessary items to clean your hookah are brushes. You can buy ones that come in different sizes to clean different parts of your hookah. The longest one is important as it is used to clean the dirt formed inside your stem and not scrubbing your stem clean can result in lingering flavors and overall reduce the quality of your smoking sessions.

How to Clean The Hookah Stem?

hookah stem cleaning with a cleaning brush

A hookah stems cleaning depends on your usage of flavor. If you are loyal to a specific flavor, just rinsing it water and occasionally using the stem scrub should be enough.

Considering how the hookah stem is thin, long, and acts as the passage of smoke, often gets ashes of coal and also drops/chunks of leaking tobacco, it is definitely not easy to clean.

Our advice is to find a high-pressure water supply in your house, for example, in your kitchen tap. Place the top hole under the tap and let it blast at full pressure. You can keep your finger on the bottom hole of the stem to shut it so that no water leaks through the bottom hole.

After that letting water run in between the stem, you can rinse it out and repeat this cycle multiple times. If you have smoked a flavor with a powerful smell and taste, for example, Paan, or Double-Apple, you can use the lemon juice with baking soda combination within the stem too, and after letting it sit for some time, rinse it off.

Note: Another precaution you can take is drying your hookah with a cloth after cleaning it each time to prevent the possibility of any rust from forming on the metal components of your hookah.

How to Clean The Hookah Base?

hookah base cleaning with hookah cleaning brush

Cleaning the hookah base is also simple if you are loyal to one flavor, all you need to do is rise it a few times before each session.

However, let’s get into some details and talk about times when the hookah gets too dirty, or the taste of other flavors is bothering you.

To be able to clean your hookah base, we can make use of the list of things we had mentioned earlier in the article as a “toolkit” to clean the hookah.

A Hookah Cleaning Brush

hookah cleaning brush

Considering the hookah base is deep and your fists, or hands will not be able to reach its bottom or corners, a hookah cleaning brush will help you reach and clean everything. This will prevent any bacteria to grow on the edges of the bottle/base. Often, while smoking, tobacco tends to find its way into the base through the stem, it leaves its color and a smell.

Hot Water

Always an effective method of cleaning anything in the house. Hot water is great for killing bacteria.

Baking Soda

You should rinse the base with hot water, then you can put approximately two spoons of baking soda. Baking soda is a great ingredient to help dissolve any dirt that forms around, for example, your kitchen, therefore, it is an equally effective method to clean your hookah as well.

Lemon Juice

Along with your baking soda and hot water mixture, you can add lemon juice to freshen and neutralize any pungent smell or taste that may have formed in the hookah. Lemon acts as a great anti-bacterial.

How to Clean Your Hookah Hoses?

plastic hookah hose

Upon detaching your hookah hose, you will have two holes, one on the top, one at the bottom. You have to simply place your finger on either one of the holes and fill water from the other hole.

Then, after letting the water roll inside, you may let it flow out. You can then make a ‘ U ‘ shape out of the pipe, and run water from one hole so it consistently flows out from the other.

Be careful of what hookah hose/pipe you are using, because some of them are not meant to be washed. Silicone or plastic pipes are safe to wash, so ensure you are using one of those two materials, or else you will ruin your hose.

How To Clean A Hookah Bowl?

shisha bowl with burned tobacco

Cleaning a hookah bowl is also simple, you want to just run it through running water to rinse the top and bottom of any flavor and juice.

If there is a burnt flavor stuck to your bowl, you might want to use a steel sponge to scrape off the stuck flavor.

If it persists, you can consider keeping it submerged in warm water for 20 minutes to soften the hard tobacco stuck in the corners, the burnt flavor, and then clean it with a steel sponge to get off it.

Should You Clean Your Hookah After Every Use?

hookah cleaning kit

Cleaning the hookah after every use is highly recommended because you do not want to leave extra moisture on the metal components of your hookah that may get rusted in the process of extended exposure to moisture.

Moreover, the tar and built-up gunk from the previous session will disturb your brand-new one. So not only will the quality of your sessions be compromised, but you will also be putting yourself in extra-added smoking-related risks by smoking an uncleaned hookah. So keep your hookah fresh, it will add extra life to your smoking device and to your life.

How Often Should You Change Hookah Water?

hookah base and piece of foil

Hookah water should be changed after every session. Water acts as a filter when you are smoking, so a lot of harmful chemicals in tobacco are being filtered into that water as you smoke.

Therefore, it becomes more impure the longer you smoke. You do not want to increase the dangers of smoking the more you smoke in un-changed water because it will not be filtering as effectively. The best thing to do is frequently change the water so you prevent the risk of any hookah sickness.

Avoid using the same water for the next hookah session. Changing the water should not take more than 2 minutes of your time, so why not simply do it.

How To Clean Mold & Rust From Hookah?

Mold and rust are a big issue that comes from some hookah tobacco flavors that are often too juicy. The warm and moist environment of a hookah is the perfect atmosphere for mold to form, much like on a loaf of bread.

However, fear not, cleaning kits are available that come with different-sized brushes used to clean the hookah for this very reason.

The long brush is used to clean the inside of a dirty stem, the smaller, narrower ones are used for the nozzle that your pipe goes into. Just scrub the molded area with the appropriate brush and rise your hookah with warm water, preferably with a little vinegar.

How To Get The Smell Out of a Hookah

lemon and water

The best way to get rid of the lingering smell in your hookah is by using warm water and lemon juice. Take your stem and pipe to your bathtub, cover the bottom of the stem and pour down lemon juice and shake well before discarding the lemon juice.

Clean out the stem with warm water, repeat this step 2-3 times, and just wash your pipe with regular water. This should get rid of the lingering smell of shisha. If this does not work, you can try cleaning the base and stem by adding a few tablespoons of white vinegar and baking soda to your base and stem and rinsing thoroughly with warm water.

Both these methods work efficiently, you can pick your own method. However, these methods are not so useful when you smoke Paan Raas. The lingering taste is far too strong and will only go away after a couple of sessions with your new flavor of choice.


In conclusion, the cleanliness of your hookah is essential to your smoking journey, because the dirtier it gets, the more harmful your sessions will become. Furthermore, it will reduce the quality of your sessions and you could stop enjoying your hookah soon, and that is something you do not want!

About Author
S. Muhammad. A

My name is S. Muhammad. A Marketer by profession, a Hookah smoker by passion! I come from a house where hookah smoking is part of my culture. I have pictures of my grandfather smoking his beloved hookah too. I believe there is art in everything, and I try to depict the art I see in my hookah sessions and try my best to share them with you so you enjoy your hookah with me.

1 Comment
  1. Good information, my hookah smells so bad and I clean it with lemon juice and soda.

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