How to clean an ashtray properly

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A cigar ashtray is an essential accessory for any cigar smoker. Unlike cigarettes, cigars require substantial dedication and time to experience the full spectrum of flavors. Depending on size, a stogie can take between 30 minutes and two hours to smoke.

This is why you’ll need an ashtray to contain the cigar ash and rest your lit stick when you’re not actively smoking it. Placing your cigar on an ashtray between puffs also allows it to cool down and maintain an even burn.

Cigar ashtrays come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, but as you’ll be repeatedly flicking ash into the ashtray, you’ll need to keep it clean. A full ashtray may symbolize a good time, but if you let ashes and cigar butts accumulate, they can be difficult to remove.

Cleaning your ashtray is a dirty job that no stogie lover enjoys, but it’s necessary to prevent the smell of stale smoke from quickly filling a room. The residue can seep into your fabrics, furniture, and features, leaving a smell of stale smoke that’s difficult to remove. That’s why the best habit to adopt is regular cigar ashtray emptying and cleaning.

Read on to discover some tips on cleaning your ashtray so your stogie can rest in peace after each draw.

How to clean an ashtray

The type of material your ashtray is made from will affect how you clean it. Most cleaning agents are suitable for any ashtray, but before you can clean it, you need to empty it.

Empty your ashtray

Before you empty the contents of your ashtray, ensure the cigar butt(s) have finished burning before removing them. Along with the ashes, dispose of them somewhere separate from your regular garbage to reduce the risk of fire and stale smoke in your trash can.

Many enthusiasts invest in a metal cigar bucket (pail) or recycle an old coffee tin with a sealable lid to dump their cigar remnants to combat the scent of extinguished stogies.

The sealed lid guarantees the cigar butts will fully die down because there’s no oxygen to keep them alight. If your ashtray is littered with ashes, a mini vacuum cleaner can suck them up.

Cleaning your ashtray

Once you’ve emptied your ashtray, you can begin cleaning. Warm water and dish soap are effective for removing dirt and grime. Use an old, firm toothbrush for getting into corners and scrubbing away at stubborn stains. For ceramic ashtrays, you can also use a disinfectant wipe.

Crystal and glass ashtrays are much more fragile and must be handled carefully. Use a soft sponge to clean them delicately.

Even if the underside states the ashtray is dishwasher-safe, putting your ashtrays through a wash is not recommended. This is because many feature branded artwork that’s applied to the surface (rather than carved) can easily wash off from the pressure. Any abrasive cleaning agent will also ruin the logo.

Avoid using bleach wipes on chrome or glass ashtrays, as they can leave noticeable streaks. Using a mild detergent to clean a chrome (metal) ashtray is safe. Melamine (a type of plastic) is another popular material used for constructing ashtrays. It’s virtually unbreakable and is both fire and heat-resistant. Many cleaners are compatible with melamine, including soapy water and disinfectant wipes.

The final type of ashtray to consider is one made of porcelain. Clean it gently using a soft, non-abrasive sponge, soap, and warm water.

Rinse and dry your ashtray

After you’ve cleaned your ashtray, it’s important to rinse it with clean water to get rid of any residue. Once you’ve rinsed your ashtray, dry it with a clean, soft towel or a paper towel. This helps prevent corrosion and keeps your ashtray looking great.

If you wish to go the extra mile, dust off and polish the exterior of the ashtray so it’s shining and ready for the next time you smoke.

Additional tips for cleaning your ashtray

  • Keep on top of your ashtray cleanliness by emptying it regularly. Depending on how often you light up a stogie, you may need to empty it daily or weekly. Remember, if you let ash and cigar butts accrue, they become dogged and difficult to remove.
  • Before emptying your ashtray, try filling it with white wine vinegar. Let it sit for a few hours while it actively works to combat stains or lingering odors. You can then rinse it with clean water.
  • Keep your ashtray in a well-ventilated room so your home stays free of cigar smoke. This also helps keep the ashtray clean by enabling ashes or residue to dissipate quickly, eliminating that distinctive stogie odor.

What can I use as an ashtray?

If you’re a newcomer to the cigar game, you might not have access to an ashtray. Cups are the safest alternative to a cigar ashtray, as they often contain a liquid residue. Recycled tin cans or empty beer cans can also make for nifty temporary ashtrays, as well as being kind to the environment.

However, you can’t beat the real thing. The primary purpose of an ashtray is to hold cigar ash and butts, and to keep your stogie off dirty surfaces. It will make your stogie experience more enjoyable by giving you somewhere to rest your cigar while you gauge the different tastes and aromas. Note that most standard cigar ashtrays have four indentations so that you can share the joy of stogies (and an ashtray) with three other smokers.

Final thoughts

The secret to simple ashtray cleaning is keeping on top of it. Don’t let it build up once you’ve disposed of your ash in an ashtray.

That indulgent cigar smell we all love soon becomes stale and can be absorbed by your furniture, carpets, and other household belongings to create an even bigger problem. Keep on top of your ashtray cleaning so you can continue to love the association with smoking stogies.   

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