Sir Mixalot and I agree on many things, but his statement of, “silicone parts are made for toys” may not be entirely true. They are also made for hookahs!
This is not an article about the latest and greatest innovation that you’ve never heard of, but I’m still surprised by how many people dismiss silicone grommets and opt to still use the old, rock hard rubber grommets that so many hookahs still come with. Let’s take a look at what makes silicone such an amazing material.
- Silicone is extremely stable: Have you ever had a rubber grommet that lost its pliability and dried out? Rubber becomes useless once is starts to break down and cheap grommets will inevitably do this. I’ve even seen some hookahs where the stem and the vase became sealed together after sitting on a shelf for too long because the grommet stiffened up and could not be removed. Silicone will never break down in that way.
- It’s also very heat resistant: The high heat that a bowl grommet needs to endure is no issue for silicone. I’ve often worried about shady looking grommets and what kind of fumes they might be putting off when the heat is on. I’ve even seen a few melt and bubble at the top. Not a problem for silicone.
- Ghostbusting is easier with silicone: It’s amazingly hard to get anything to stick to silicone and that includes flavors. That’s one of the reasons that it’s used so often in the food industry. Stains and flavors are to silicone as water is to a duck’s back.
- It’s guaranteed to be safe: As I said, silicone is used in the food industry in everything from candy molds to food grade lubricants… Laugh all you want, but there are actually aerosol bottles of silicone that are used to ensure an easy and airtight seal in systems like the beer lines in breweries. Another reason that it’s so popular with the food industry is that it’s flavor neutral, which means that nasty flavor that comes with washables hoses is not an issue.
- It provides and amazing seal: Silicone is extremely pliable and durable, which means that it can be made into very delicate shapes that conform to the gap between the stem and vase or hose and port better than just about anything else. The only concern that some people have is that the junction comes apart easily and it might not feel like a tight seal. But, it’s that same pliability that creates such a fine seal in the first place. Anyone who has owned a KM has dealt with the hardship of fitting the stem and base together. Ditch the old grommet and get a silicone one, just avoid picking up your hookah by the stem.
I sound like a sales rep, but silicone really is an amazing material and I am very happy to see it replacing other rubbers in the hookah world. It makes the best grommets and flavor stained hoses might be a thing of the past if silicone is used. I need to do some testing once I get my hands on one of these hoses, but I promise to really put it through the paces by smoking some of the most egregious, ghostly offenders.
It’s far from traditional, but I suggest upgrading at least your grommets as soon as you can.