Pipes that are made from porous materials or have a precious finish that you’d like to preserve should never be soaked in a cleaning solution. Wood pipes especially, require a more hands-on approach to cleaning. Pipes made from crystal or precious stone will fall into this category as well.
Before smoking from a new wooden pipe, it’s best to properly season the bowl. Start by wetting the tip of your finger and inserting it into the bowl. Next, turn the pipe upside down and char the bowl black with a lighter or match. Make sure to only pack the bowl halfway for the first 3 or 4 sessions. This will create a protective coating of carbon residue inside the bowl. When cleaning the pipe, never scrape the bowl to bare wood. Instead, leave this layer of char in place to keep the bowl protected from burning away over time.
Not all pipes smoke the same. When trying a new pipe for the first time, start by taking small sips to avoid overdoing it. Pipe resin contains higher levels of carcinogens, cleaning your pipe regularly will reduce your overall carcinogenic intake.
Do not soak the pipe. First, remove excess resin build-up from the chamber and bowl with a pipe tool. Next, insert a pipe cleaner saturated with Resin Remover (99% isopropyl alcohol) to soften and remove resin from the pipe. Repeat until this no longer removes resin. Finish by inserting a dry pipe cleaner. Let the pipe air dry for 30 minutes to allow residual alcohol to evaporate before using.
Friendly Advice: Consider cleaning metal pipes with premium finishes this way to preserve their appearance.