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What Does Mold in a Bong Look Like and How to Fix It

by Angel Ferrer 6 min read

What Does Mold in a Bong Look Like and How to Fix It

Mold in bongs often appears as small, dark-green dots that expand into larger black circles, binding to the glass in the water chamber (black mold). White mold resembles stringy, loose tissue particles floating in the bong water or as specks on the waterline surface.

In this article, we’ll discuss why mold is forming in your bong, the most common water mold spores, and exactly how to clean your bong and prevent mold from colonizing your bong’s water chamber. Let’s dive in!


what does mold in a bong look like

Short Answer:

  • Black mold looks like small dark-green spots that grow into larger circles
  • White mold looks like stringy tissue particles floating in the bong water
  • Mold needs water (bong water), and nutrients (cannabis particles) to colonize
  • To prevent mold from forming use a double-filtration system or change your bong water after each use.
  • Clean your moldy bong with a natural bong-cleaning solution.


How fast does mold grow in bongs?

why is there mold in my bong


Mold growth can start within 24-48 hours, especially in moist, nutrient-rich environments like bong water. The Environmental Protection Agency found that mold spores can multiply quickly forming visible colonies in just a few days.

The bong’s water chamber unfortunately provides the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold needs moisture (bong water) and food (cannabis plant particles) to colonize. Mold also needs a calm and stable environment to grow, such as stagnant bong water.

Pro-tip: Pour out and rinse your bong water chamber if you don’t plan on using it the next day. Colonization occurs when you leave your bong water dirty and untouched for a few days. If there is movement in the water, such as percolation during filtration then the mold spores do not have time to attach themselves and feed on the nutrients in the water.


The most common types of water molds

Water molds will start to grow as a floating growth on the surface of your bong water. After it establishes itself it will begin growing on the surface inside the bong’s water chamber depending on the type of bong you have. If left to grow, it will eventually cover the entire inside of your bong, even in areas that do not have water contact such as the detachable bong parts in search of nutrients to consume.

Below are the 2 most common types of mold found in your bong water:


Black mold in your bong

black mold in bong


Black mold in your bong will appear as greenish-black spots first on the bottom and sides of the water chamber. As the colony feeds on cannabis plant matter, it takes on the appearance of black circular growths that connect and begin growing in volume.

Black mold (Stachbotrys Chartarum) is the most common mold found in bongs because of its ability to thrive in water but will not cause significant reactions unless the individual is allergic to mold. You’ll be able to tell you have black mold in your water pipe because it usually gives off a musty and earthy odor similar to rotting leaves.

Is it dangerous? If you smoke out of a moldy bong and are allergic to molds you may experience slight allergic reactions but otherwise, it’s not dangerous. Allergic responses include minor symptoms such as sneezing, running nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Black mold can trigger reactions for people with asthma when inhaling bong rips in a moldy bong.


White mold in your bong

white mold in bong


White mold in a glass bong appears cloudy, with wispy patches floating in the water chamber or on the surface as specks of white. It resembles a thin layer of cotton or spiderweb-like strands, which means that the water is stagnant and contaminated.

White mold is an osmophilic organism and uses the moisture in the bong water and any organic materials such as cannabis particles that enter your bong water to grow into colonies commonly referred to as mildew.

Is it dangerous? White mold itself is fairly harmless but can cause reactions in individuals allergic to mold. Inhaling white mold directly through a bong can cause allergies, sneezing, and potentially headaches.


How to prevent mold colonies in your bong

preventing mold in a bong with filter


Preventing mold growth in your bong is fairly simple. Your bong water provides the perfect incubator for mold colonization only if there are nutrients for the mold to feed off of. Mold growth can only occur when loose grounded cannabis particles fall through the bowl into the water chamber.

By using a double filtration system for your bong, you stop loose cannabis plant particles from entering your bong water, cutting the supply of nutrients off for mold growth.

The bong filter is fairly cheap and not only prevents mold but keeps your bong cleaner longer saving you hours of cleaning time. The filtration system is much easier to clean and manage delivering a much healthier smoking experience with your bong.

The detachable water filter is easy to pop off and rinse, preventing any stagnant water which is the environment mold needs to grow in your bong.


How to clean a moldy bong

Mold colonies that are less than 10 square feet (3 by 3 ft) can easily be cleaned by yourself. To clean a moldy bong you can use natural remedies:

  • Dump out the bong water and rinse out the water chamber.
  • Studies found that vinegar can effectively kill 82% of mold spores. Mix white vinegar and baking soda and let the solution sit overnight in your bong’s water chamber.
  • Rinse out the vinegar and baking soda solution and use an all-natural bong cleaning solution. Let the solution coat the surfaces of the bong where mold spores were.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes and then rinse out the bong with warm water and let it dry


Why mold forms in water pipes

Mold forms in bongs because of the presence of water, organic cannabis particles, and the warm environment created from water absorbing heat from the hot smoke. When you smoke a bong, the water and percolator are the filtration system, trapping particles and contaminants from the smoke.

These organic particles settle in the water and provide a nutrient-rich environment for mold spores to thrive. Mold needs the four following factors to grow in a water pipe:



Environmental factors play an important role in mold growth. High humidity levels can accelerate mold growth, while proper ventilation can help slow it down. Bongs left uncleaned and untouched in dark, damp places are more likely to have rapid mold growth.

So if you live in a humid rich environment like Florida, and leave a dirty bong in your kitchen cabinet for days, it creates the perfect atmosphere for mold growth. The temperature inside a bong, which is usually kept warm by the heat of the smoke, is the optimal range for mold growth, usually between 77°F and 86°F


Timeframe for mold growth

Mold needs time to grow and can form in as little as 24-48 hours if the conditions are right. Once spores find a suitable environment, they can quickly colonize, forming visible mold within a few days. If you change your bong water after use each day and store your bong somewhere cool and dry, it will prevent mold colonization.


Food source

Mold needs a nutrient source to grow in your bong’s water chamber. The filtered-out organic cannabis particles found in bong water create a very nutrient-rich environment for mold. Mold thrives on these organic materials, breaking them down and using them as energy to grow and reproduce.

Biofilm formation

The combination of organic cannabis particles and moisture from the bong water can lead to the formation of biofilm. Biofilm is a slimy layer of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. Biofilm accelerates mold growth because it provides a stable and continuous supply of nutrients.


Stagnant water

Mold requires a stable and undisturbed environment to grow, and stagnant water in a bong that is left untouched for days creates the perfect environment. When water remains still for extended periods, it allows mold spores to settle and colonize. When bong water is regularly changed or when the percolator is used forming thousands of microbubbles in the water chamber, it disrupts the stable environment mold needs to thrive.




Can bongs get moldy

Yes, bongs can get moldy. Mold thrives in cool or warm stagnant water in your bong’s chamber feeding on loose plant particles for nutrients. The longer the water is left still, the more mold colonies form and grow in search of more food.


Does bong water mold after 3 days

Bongs can develop mold within 24-48 hours if the water is left stagnant. Moisture and nutrients in the water provide the perfect environment for mold to grow. If you use your bong daily, the water bubbling can prevent mold buildup.


What happens if you smoke out of a moldy bong

If you smoke out of a moldy bong, you may experience allergic reactions like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or skin rush due to mold allergens and irritants. Inhaling mold spores can also trigger asthma attacks or irritate the lungs, particularly in those with asthma or mold allergies.


Final thoughts

Mold can only form in bongs if you leave a dirty bong untouched for days. Mold can only form in stagnant water where there is a food source, such as cannabis particles that fell from the bowl into the water chamber during the inhaling process. You can cut off the food source by using an ash catcher or smoke screens, to prevent cannabis from falling into the water chamber. Even if your bong is extremely dirty, if you use it every day you will interrupt mold growth every time your water chamber bubbles.