A series of posts with basic tips that come in handy when smoking a pipe: from initial preparation, filling, lightning, smoking, cleaning and more.
When the pipe no longer tastes good, then the salt and alcohol method should be used.
We need non-iodized salt (some other pipers also use Koser salt), and I use Salt flower (unrefined, non-ground, non-iodized sea salt) because it produces the same effect. We will also need cleaning (70%) alcohol with a dropper and a device to remove the excess carbon shield-pipe reamer.
Protect the edge of the chamber and stem (shank) with insulating tape (or some other adhesive tape), then completely remove the carbon shield all the way to the wood with a pipe reamer.
Fill the chamber, the draft hole and the mortise with salt to the top. Put the pipe in a lying position, using an empty box of chicken eggs. Carefully add cleaning alcohol with the dropper until the salt is completely absorbed with it, but must not run over the edge. If you accidentally spray the wooden part of the pipe with cleaning alcohol, wipe it as quickly as possible. Leave overnight (at least 12 hours, preferably longer) to allow the dirt absorbs into salt and alcohol. If you judge that the chamber is still dirty or if it is very old pipe repeat the process.
After a while, salt, alcohol and dirt can be removed from the chamber, using a cleaning sticks and a paper towel. The rest of the salt can also be cleaned with cleaning alcohol. The pipe should be dried for at least two days, preferably longer. The pipe must be “breaked in” as a new pipe (see post: Part 3: How to “break in” a new pipe) to create a new protective carbon shield.