I love traditional leather hoses but many people complain that they can’t be washed. The washable hose has now become the standard but leather hoses still have their followers and benefits in the world of more traditional hookah. Happily, there is a way to clean out a traditional hose without using water. Beat the hell out of it.
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That may sound a bit odd, but it’s been done for years in the hookah smoking regions of the world and some hoses have been passed from generation to generation in perfect smoking condition. It’s pretty simple. After a session, disconnect the hose from the hookah and blow through it to make sure that all the smoke has been purged. Hang the hose up with the tips pointing to the ground in a dry area with decent air circulation and leave it alone. The hose needs to dry out so that the residual smoke particles can solidify and become brittle. This also prevents the moisture that is inherent in hookah smoke from damaging the leather or the metal coil inside the hose.
Double the hose over and smack it against something firm but nonabrasive. I have found my granite slab, upon which I do a lot of work, to be a good option but a smooth tree or the ground is often used. Sandy, dry earth will prevent damage and dirtying of the hose. You can also use the arm of a couch if you don’t mind beating your furniture. If doing it outside, consider wrapping a towel around the tree or laying one on the ground if you don’t live in the desert.
Next we take the hose in hand and flex it tightly without crimping it. This will further break up the smoke particles. You can do these in either order or go back and forth between the two. It accomplishes the goal either way.
Lastly, blow through the hose and you should see some flecks and dust coming out of the other end. Repeat the beating and, once that junk stops coming out, you’re done.
My honorable friend Hajo Flettner had some leather hoses that were decades old and kept clean with this technique. Do this once in a while and be proud that you are keeping an old tradition alive.