Typical beginner's mistakes when smoking hookahs

As with any new hobby, there are a few mistakes that beginners can make when smoking hookah. Of course, this is not a bad thing, but it is better to know how to avoid them right from the start.

Below you can find a list of the 8 most common beginner's mistakes and how they can be avoided to experience the optimal smoking pleasure:

The 8 most common rookie mistakes:

  • Smoking with charcoal filter
  • The super cool shisha from the orient shop
  • The use of non-humidified tobacco
  • Wash the hose
  • Do not let coal glow completely
  • Too much water in the bowl
  • Tobacco stuffed too tight
  • Wash with boiling water

Smoking with charcoal filter

The typical shisha from the supermarket is usually a so-called carbon screen, which is supposed to be placed over the tobacco head instead of aluminum foil and thus forms the support surface for the coal.

Although these screens are needed for some exceptional setups, they are almost never usable on their own. In many cases, the coal screens are not quite fit because not all heads have the same diameter have. As a result, the support surface can be both too large and wobbly, or too small. Furthermore, the heat that reaches the tobacco due to the direct contact of the coal with the sieve can hardly be controlled. It follows that the hookah tastes charred and the good taste is gone.

Our recommendation:

Go directly to Tinfoil ! If a larger shisha head is used, this can also be used in multiple layers, so that the film does not sag through the overlying coal. Aluminum foil slows down the combustion process. This is particularly advantageous when smoking with more coal, because it prevents the resulting smoke from becoming scratchy. Who wants to completely abandon aluminum foil, can also setup using a Chimney Head.


If instant light charcoal is used when smoking with aluminum foil, it can be placed in the middle of the tobacco bowl. Natural charcoal, however, should first be placed on the outer edge of the foil. Occasionally change the resting place from outside to inside to let the coal burn evenly.

The super cool shisha from the orient shop

This mistake is made by almost any hookah smoker in the beginning: He is impressed by the elaborately decorated, large, "noble" water pipes from the supermarket next door and finally buys them finally at an inflated price.

However, most of these shishas are no-name products that are made from cheap sheet metal and are already rusty after a few weeks.

Our recommendation:

Pay attention to the quality of the hookah, not only its looks! Always inspect the materials used and the overall workmanship carefully.

The use of non-humidified tobacco

Hookah tobacco must have a high moisture content! Some hookah beginners do not even know that tobacco in Germany was only allowed to contain 5% basic moisture until 20.05.2016 and was thus actually unsmokable for hookah lovers. Therefore, tobacco always had to be moistened with additional molasses or with glycerine, so that he could really smokes and tastes. Although this regulation was changed under the TPD2 regulations, so that the broad mass of hookah tobacco now meets the needs of most smokers, but there is always nor products from some manufacturers that do not fully meet the needs of their customers.

Our recommendation: If the tobacco does not appear moist enough, or the smoke is too low, moisten the tobacco with glycerine! This is tasteless, so does not affect the taste of the tobacco, provided that it is not used in abundance and "watered down" the tobacco.


If you prefer to resign tobacco, you can smoke Shiazo Steam Stones. These can be moistened ready, but also bought in a dry state and soaked in the molasses with their favorite taste, depending on your preference.

Wash the hose

Many hookahs come with a artificial leather hose, which is usually touted with the property "washable". This statement is unfortunately 99% wrong.

These included hoses often contain very thin plastic sheets inside that will not keep the water properly drained, eventually letting the hose mold. In addition, they are of with equipped with a metal spiral that begins to rust on contact with water.

As washable you can only designate hoses if they are completely made of plastic inside. However, these are mostly hoses in high price ranges from 15 €.

Our recommendation:

Never wash out the standard wannabe leather hose! Otherwise mould and rust may form. Even with real leather hoses, the material can quickly be damaged by direct contact with water. Instead, hang the tube vertically after smoking so that it can dry properly. To dirt deposits in the tube, which not only the taste but ultimately your health To reduce the risk of injury before the next session, the tubing must be properly dried and thoroughly deflated before further use.


If you want to be on the safe side, in terms of longevity and hygiene, they rise to a silicone hose. It can be washed out hot at any time, cleaned with soapy water and reused over a long period of time. Should a normal silicone hose become too unadorned? Be sure to look for hoses with matching sleeves, which look good in combination with classic pipe models.

Do not let coal glow enough

Another common mistake made by starters is that quick light charcoal is immediately placed on the tobacco bowl directly after is ignition.

This not only tastes awful, but is also extremely unhealthy as this coal burns black powder or other fire accelerants during the ignition process, the smoker's residues then inhale. A side effect is that it takes a long time for the hookah to smoke.

Our recommendation: Let the coal burn through completely! Take a charcoal basket in which you let the pieces of coal burn through and turn them with your coal tongs so that it burns evenly. If necessary, support the process with a fan or by blowing on it. But be careful! Always pay attention to flying ash and embers!

Too much water in the bowl

Will the smoke be better cooled when you fill more water in the shisha? Does the shisha stay clean longer and everything is great...? No - this assumption is incorrect. Is the water level in the shisha too high this can lead to various problems:

1.Heavy Draft - Increasing the water level means that you have a higher resistance to smoking because you have to inhale the smoke through a wider layer of water. So if you do not want to pull your hookah like an ox all the time, just to get a non-uniform smoke production, you should think about the height of the water level.

2. Less smoke - The beauty of a hookah is that the soaked smoke can only collect and you are able to enjoy a whopping amount of it. If the water level in the pipe is too high, the space for the accumulation of smoke is reduced and one achieves a far less satisfactory result.

3. Tobacco floats - If the tobacco has become too hot and the smoke tastes charred or stale, simply blow something into the tube so that the inedible smoke can escape through the valves. If the water level in the water glass is too high, the smoke column is drawn up into the tobacco head when the water is being pumped out of the bowl. The tobacco begins to swim in the brackish water and thus loses heat and taste on. In this case it is often necessary to prepare a new setup.

Our recommendation:

As a rule of thumb, add enough water to the hookah glass until the dip tube or diffuser at the end of the dip tube is about one inch (1 inch = 2.54 cm) under water. These Amount of water is always sufficient for the shisha to be smoked well.


Would you like to achieve a higher draw resistance? Then fill in some water. If necessary, test if the resistance is sufficient for you by trialing the hookah. Are you worried that the smoke would not be cooled enough with the small amount of water? Then add a few ice cubes to the water or use a shisha from the start with Cooling (eg via a Smoke column with coolant or a mouthpiece with integrated rechargeable battery).

Tobacco stuffed too tight

Yes it is true - some setups require stuffing the hookah tobacco a little tighter. But you can overdo it: Is the head stuffed up with tobacco (because one thinks that more tobacco makes one better taste means) and everything covered with foil, comes the angry awakening, as soon as the hot coal is put on the foil - the smoke tastes charred.

If the tobacco is stuffed too tightly and comes into full contact with the film, the upper layer begins to burn quickly, while the lower layer does not gain sufficient heat, to initiate the smoke production sensibly. At the same time, the tobacco begins to float quickly on the bottom of the tobacco head in the tobacco's own molasses. In multi-hole heads, this can through the head Smoke column down to reach the Bowl and unnecessarily heavily soak everything. But even if smoke should arise, this may not be enjoyed. Is the tobacco too stuffed, For example, the holes that form the flue to the column of smoke can clog faster, so that even strong pulling then nothing brings.

Our recommendation: The tobacco must be able to breathe! Depending on the size of the head used, between 8 and 15 grams of hookah tobacco are usually enough to build a good set-up. Use one Toothpicks, a fork or the tip of their coal tongs to the tobacco uniformly dispersed in the tobacco head to distribute. You will definitely notice an improvement! If you have a longer smoking session If you have planned, you can simply prepare a second head in advance and replace it if necessary.


Is there still too much excess molasses despite the loose distribution of the tobacco? With the use of a Molassecatcher stays Shisha spared from unwanted sticking. If you prefer a single-hole head while smoking, use a MOD out Stainless steel , to prevent clogging of the flue by tobacco residue or use from the outset a 4tex Tobacco Bowl with Enhanced Eating.

Wash with boiling water

The smoking session is over and you want to get your hookah clean again. They boil some water to clean the bowl. Quickly you experience your blue wonder, as soon as you start washing the hookah - with a bang!

The water glass of a hookah, even if it is made of thick glass, is the most sensitive part of the hookah. The glass can crack quickly or even burst if cleaning is not done properly is made. In particular, the threaded portion is sensitive, since the metal of the thread under heat differs differently than the glass of the bowl. Therefore, the cleaning should be done using boiling water and the use of a dishwasher with hookahs are basically avoided, because even here, the applied cleaning temperature is usually too high. In particular effect glasses like bowls of the Cracked series can break fast. Coated bowls from the neon series, on the other hand, run the risk of their coating being rejected by harsh detergents and excessively high temperatures.

Our recommendation: Clean your hookah by hand. It will take a few minutes, but it will give the best and safest results. Wash the bowl with lukewarm water Water off and use a round brush as well as something if needed soapsuds - or even better - a suitable cleaner for shishas like Tiptop or Schmand Weg .


Are the stains in the smoke column or dip tube persistent? Use some toothpaste and a suitable cleaning brush to remove encrustations. The consistency of the paste dissolves toppings, eliminates bacteria and is non-toxic.

This text contains translated information from the book "The Waterpipe Tradition and Youth Culture" by Felix B.