I know we have some who are new to Meerschaum pipes and I noticed the Repair and Maintenance thread didn't address meers at all.
You will need;
Pipe cleaners tapered, regular, and bristled.
Special Precautions -
Using alcohol inside your meer is generally discouraged as it dries the mineral. As meerschaum is a porous mineral that is somewhat fragile it can break or chip if dropped and will not expand as much as briar, if a cake is allowed to develop it can crack and split your pipe. The stem on many meerschaum pipes is secured to the shank with a threaded Teflon tenon, (bone on some vintage pipes) always twist the stem on a meer in a clockwise direction to avoid unscrewing it from the shank. Repeated unscrewing of the tenon will erode the meer around the threads and create problems later on, clockwise removal secures the tenon and avoids this problem. Take special care when lighting to prevent charring the rim, it will darken towards black with regular use but should remain shiny, char will run deep into the mineral and will be permanent. While smoking a meer may feel hot in your hand, it can be held by the stem or carry a clean handkerchief, as I do, if it becomes uncomfortable.
After smoking dump the ash and dottle and wipe the interior, this will help prevent cake build up. Next run a cleaner through to the bottom of the bowl, repeat until a fresh cleaner stays clean. You are now ready to smoke again once the pipe has cooled. When you are finished for the day let your pipe cool and disassemble the stem from the shank. Remember to twist in a clockwise motion. Run a tapered cleaner through the stem, dip a bristled cleaner in Everclear and run through the stem as well. Follow with a dry cleaner to absorb any remaining alcohol. Wipe the interior of the bowl with a twisted paper towel until a fresh section stays clean. Inspect to see if there is any significant cake forming. If there is, carefully ream out as much as you can without risking gouging the bowl or rim, the mineral is relatively soft so use some care and deliberation to avoid grinding away at your pipe. Finally use take a pipe cleaner and run it through the tenon and shank until a fresh cleaner looks clean. Take a bristled cleaner moistened with a bit of water and scrub the tenon and shank through to the air hole. Follow with a dry cleaner to absorb any remaining moisture. Reassemble and wipe down your pipe with a clean cloth and allow to rest for a day or two depending on how heavily it has been smoked.
This is fairly easy to do at home and inexpensive. I do this periodically with my own pipes and all have shown an improvement in both color and general appearance.
You will need;
Small clean brush
Place a chunk of bees wax in a clean jar and place in a pot of water on your stove top. Heat until the wax is thoroughly melted. Fill the bowl of your pipe tightly with paper towel to the rim of the bowl. Holding your pipe by the stem over the wax, paint your pipes exterior with the melted beeswax making sure all of the exterior of the mineral is covered. It will cool as it comes in contact with your pipe and look very thick and lumpy, some hair from the brush may stick in the wax and things will look pretty ugly at this point. This is absolutely normal and not a problem. Hold your pipe by the stem with the bowl angled down over a trash bin and use the hairdryer to melt the wax off the pipe. Let the wax run off the pipe into the bin as much as possible. Try to use the dryer to remove any drips, if you have a stubborn drip around a crease you may use a bit of paper towel to absorb it and continue blowing until the surface looks clear and shiny. If you had a stubborn drip that wouldn't come off and left a darker patch brush on a dab more wax to that aria and repeat, it will even out. You will notice your pipe has colored considerably, unfortunately it will lighten back up as it cools but it will have more color then it had before the procedure. Wipe it down with a paper towel. If the pipe doesn't feel smooth and slick during the wipe down all the wax hasn't melted off, hit it again with the hairdryer. Once you are satisfied with the finish of your pipe remove the paper towel from the bowl and set it in a pipe rack to cool completely.