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How to Clean a Dab Rig Nail

April 13, 2017

How to Clean a Dab Rig Nail


We’ve all been in that situation where our nails have looked a little rough for the wear after many dabbing sessions. Carbon buildup, reclaimed oil, and particulates are all symptoms of a nail that needs cleaning. Even more, these issues are not isolated to any particular nail type and can happen whether you use titanium, quartz, or even ceramic hardware.

Fortunately, cleaning a nail is super simple and there are several methods you can use depending on the severity of buildup. Here are four quick tips you can use to clean your nail at home using a few basic household ingredients.


For minor buildup, grab your sharpest dabber tool or metal object such as a paper clip and lightly scrape away the carbon buildup and reclaim from the surface and interior of your nail. Sharper tools work much better for getting into hard-to-reach corners. Carbon buildup can be scraped and removed relatively easy; however, to remove sticky reclaim, you may need to proceed to the next step.


Torching is an easy and effective method of cleaning any level of buildup from your nail. Simply apply an excess amount of heat to your nail via a torch to burn off any residual carbon or reclaim on your nail. When applying this method to ceramic and quartz nails, be careful not to expose your red hot nail to a rapid change in temperature or you may risk a stress fracture. After your nail becomes red hot and the residue dissipates, let it cool down completely before finishing off with a final scrape.


For that clean, shiny new nail look, try washing your hardware in a bath of 91% isopropyl alcohol solution for 10-15 minutes. This will break down any hard-to-reach, excess buildup that your nail may have. Be sure to wash your nail with water and season a few times before applying concentrate to ensure all of the alcohol has been removed.

Preventative Maintenance

Close up of cotton Buds

The final phase in caring for your nail is preventative maintenance. By lightly cleaning your nail between every dab, you ensure longer durations between heavy cleaning by preventing residue from building up. Try keeping a supply of cotton swabs nearby and wiping the excess oil from your nail 20-30 seconds after each dab. This will keep your nail significantly cleaner, yielding better flavor and airflow in every future dab.

Patrick Bennett's Bio Image

Patrick Bennett

Patrick lives with his wife and daughter in Denver, where he spends his time writing, photographing, and creating content for the cannabis community.

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  • lovingc

    Use ethanol no toxicity problems. Costs more but if it is going in me I want something that is not going to poison me.

  • Nathan Miller

    I was wondering does resin from wax collect in your lungs like it does a pipe?

  • Steven Sanders

    Lemon oil and citrus oils work instantly on resin years old no soaking required!

  • Kokopeli

    If your bangers are a *good+* quality quartz AND is a *real* thermal then heat it red hot and drop it in ice water. Insta clean. Ask any old hippy 😉
    If it cracks.. never buy from that source again.

  • meow meow

    Hi. I tried CBD isolate crystals by dabbing method fir 1st time. Someone heated the rig for me. Upon inhilatiin I tasted a god awful gasoline burning taste and sensation in the back of my throat and my right lung felt burnt. It’s a week later and my right lung still hurts. Was the rig to hit? Was the CBD bad? Did I inhale too much? The guy keep saying I’m so sorry I think the nail was too hot. I don’t know if I need to see a pulmonologist or not. I’m scared I burned my lung.