The Avid Dabber: 3 Tips for Keeping Your Quartz Banger Clean

(Julia Sumpter/Leafly)

One of the easiest ways to ensure you get a full-flavored dab every time is, quite simply, by keeping your nail clean. While it may feel obsessive, thoroughly cleaning your dabbing surface in between each dab will help your nail last longer and prevent any old oil from interfering with the flavors of your hash or concentrate.

Most of the time, I dab off quartz, so I’ll show you three easy steps I take to  keep my quartz banger clean. These tips also apply more broadly to most dabbing surfaces so long as they’re made from quality inert materials.

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Tip #1: Don’t Overheat Your Quartz

I use a light touch when I’m bringing my quartz banger up to temperature. If you repeatedly heat your quartz up to a scorching, glowing red it will break down faster. Even worse, if your banger isn’t completely clean when you torch it to a bright red heat, the old residue is likely to “cook” into the quartz and slowly degrade thanks to a process called devitrification. Dirt, oils, and other contaminants can actually seed the crystallization process and cause your banger to become cloudy and opaque over time.

I like to “brush” the flame of my torch around the bottom and sides of the banger. This helps avoid any hot spots and ensures a more even heat to the surface. Using high-quality fuel will help, too—butane torches are the standard for most dabbers and are generally preferred because they burn cleaner than propane torches.

Tip #2: Use Cotton Swabs

The simple act of cleaning your banger with a cotton swab is affectionately known as “Q-Tip Tech.” Utilizing this “technology” is pretty straightforward. After taking a dab, while the banger is still warm, use a cotton swab to clean out any oil that has puddled or the charred residue that remains. I like to use one end of a cotton swab to soak up any oil, letting it absorb without spreading to other parts of the warm quartz. Then I flip it over and swab the other side to spot clean anything that remains.

If you’re effectively dabbing at the right temperature, you’ll end up with no charring and little (if any) puddle left, in which case you may even be able to clean up after a few dabs with the same cotton swab.

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Tip #3: Use Isopropyl Alcohol as Needed

For any residue or char that is really hard to remove, I recommend just a drop of isopropyl alcohol (iso). You don’t need much—just a quick dip on one side of a cotton swab is generally enough. The iso will help help break down any particulate that’s left behind after you dab, and because it evaporates so easily, it will quickly dissipate when you reheat your banger. For deep cleaning, you can soak your banger in some warm iso to dissolve away any debris and return it to practically new.

I keep a custom glass cotton swab holder that has a small vile of iso (pictured above) on my desk for easy access at home, and I like to travel with alcohol pads so I always have something to clean up hash and oil messes. There are even a number of companies making cotton swabs with stems filled with isopropyl alcohol. I’ve been getting a lot of use out of them because they’re super easy. Just snap one end to release the iso down into the tip of the cotton swab and wipe your banger clean.

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That’s my simple three-step process for keeping my quartz bangers as fresh as possible. Dab nails will inevitably wear down over time, but with some routine maintenance you’ll extend their life and have better, more flavorful dabs at the same time!

Avid Dab of the Week

This week I stopped by Diego Pellicer and picked up some of Polar Icetracts’ Gold Line Hash Rosin. I went with their Forbidden Fruit (coming in at 77.8% total cannabinoids) because the strain has such an incredible terpene profile thanks to its Tangie and Cherry Pie lineage. It’s revered for tropical, citrus vibes and happy effects. I’m really enjoying this hash rosin and its sour grapefruit flavors that carry just a touch of pineyness. It’s smooth, potent, and calming while still functional, and I’m able to enjoy it any time of day.

Do you have any tips or trick you use to keep your nail clean? Share them in the comments section below, or post them to Instagram and tag me using #aviddabber. Until we meet again, keep smiling and ONLY DAB THE BEST!