How To Clean Your Grinder: A Step-by-Step Guide
Your grinder is your ride-or-die companion for every joint journey. The grinder does all the hard work. It keeps you from getting weed stuck underneath your fingernails and sticky resin all over your hands. It saves your coffee table and assures that little bits of weed don’t wind up all over your carpet.
While your grinder is keeping the rest of the room clean, it’s getting really dirty inside. All the little bits of cannabis and globs of sticky resin that would have wrecked your table or couch are stuck inside of the grinder.
While it’s normal for a grinder to be a bit dirty, letting it go too long without a thorough cleaning will heavily impact the way your grinder works. If your grinder is all gunked up, here’s the best way to clean it out and get it working as good as new.
How Does a Weed Grinder Work?
Some grinders have a single chamber, and some grinders have multiple chambers. Single chamber grinders use sets of teeth to grind your weed up. You put the weed inside, set the top back on, and spin it like you’re trying to put a cap back on a bottle.
Multi-chambered grinders are a little better. While the first chamber of the grinder works to grind your weed, the pieces fall through a bunch of tiny holes when they’re perfectly sized.
A mesh net in the second chamber catches all your weed. Below that net is the kief catch, where all the cannabinoid-rich trichome crystals that fell off during the grinding process will go.
Multi-chambered grinders are easier to use and more efficient, although they technically have more parts to clean. Opt for a metal multi-chambered grinder if you’re looking to purchase your first grinder or replace a subpar older version.
When To Clean and Replace a Grinder
Most metal grinders can be cleaned even if they’re so gummed up they’re impossible to use. If you have a plastic grinder that’s packed with gunk, you might be better off tossing the grinder.
Plastic grinders aren’t durable. Hot or cold temperatures can cause the plastic to crack, as can vigorous scrubbing. It’s also worth noting that plastic is bad for the environment, and constantly replacing plastic grinders when they gunk up or crack is adding to the problem.
Treat yourself to an upgrade if your plastic grinder isn’t getting the job done anymore. A high-quality metal grinder will last so long that you could practically treat it like a family heirloom and pass it down through generations.
Prepare to Clean Your Grinder
The very first thing you need to do is look in the lower chamber, or the kief catch. If there’s anything in the kief catch, take it out and save it.
Kief is liquid gold that adds potency and flavor to your cannabis. You can use it to make your own infused blunts or to season a bowl of weed before you smoke. Pour it into a Stori tube and stash it in your case.
Take your grinder apart and assess the situation. If it’s really gunked up, consider placing it in the freezer overnight. The freezer will make the resin stick together firmly like unmelted candle wax, making it easier to remove in large amounts and less likely to smear or stick to your cleaning tools.
All you need to do is securely close your disassembled grinder in a zip-top freezer bag. Freezing it for at least six hours will make the job much easier, but you can technically freeze it for as long as you want. if you forget about it over the weekend – no worries.
Gathering Your Cleaning Supplies
Here’s what you need to clean a gunked up grinder:
- 91% Isopropyl alcohol (or vodka if that’s all you have)
- A bowl or large mason jar
- A new, firm bristled toothbrush (that you can clean and reuse for your grinder or hand pipe)
- A toothpick or a metal dental pick
- A towel
- A sink with a hot running tap
You don’t need much to clean your grinder. Most of it is soaking and scrubbing.
Soaking Your Ginder
Place the disassembled pieces of your grinder into a bowl or large mason jar. Cover them with isopropyl alcohol (or vodka) and let the parts sit for about 30 minutes. If you freeze your grinder first, 15 minutes should be sufficient.
After your grinder has had time to soak, lay the components out on a towel. Keep in mind that your grinder is extremely flammable at this particular moment as it is coated with alcohol.
Don’t clean your grinder near candles or open flames, as it will absolutely catch fire.
Use a toothpick or a metal dental pick to remove large globs of resin. The sharp end of the pick can be used to clean out the threads around the top of your grinder. Start at the top and roll the pick through until you reach the bottom of the threads.
Then, go in with your toothbrush and start scrubbing every piece of your grinder individually. Put it back in the alcohol mixture and wait at least five minutes if you’re having trouble. If the resin layer is very thick, it’s possible that the alcohol didn’t have enough time to penetrate through the resin fully. In this case, a second soak will solve the problem.
Rinse and Scrub
Use hot running water to remove residual resin from your toothbrush. With each piece of your grinder under warm running water, continue to scrub until all the resin rinses away. It’s a good idea to use a strainer over your sink’s drain to avoid allowing the resin to enter your pipes, where it may cause or contribute to clogs.
Make sure to thoroughly rinse your grinder to remove any errant traces of alcohol or little bits of residue. If your grinder still feels sticky even though you can’t see a substantial amount of resin, use your toothbrush with degreasing dish soap to give it a second scrub and rinse.
The degreaser will help to wash anything you’ve missed.
Drying Your Grinder
Use something highly absorbent, like a microfiber towel, to hand dry your grinder. Leave it out in pieces for a few hours to allow any remaining water to evaporate. If your grinder isn’t fully dry before you close it up and put it away (or before you use it again), it’s going to get your weed wet and ruin it. Any wet weed stuck inside of your grinder is liable to develop mold, and accidentally smoking mold will make you very sick.
If you’re in a big hurry, towel dry the components and then spend a couple of minutes blow-drying them with a hairdryer on high.
If you have a plastic grinder, you can’t do this. If you have a metal grinder, it might heat up. Wear oven mitts when you hold the pieces to prevent the components from becoming uncomfortably warm in your hand.
How Often Should I Clean My Grinder?
Most people wait until their grinder gunks up before they consider cleaning it. If you frequently clean your grinder, it will never be exceedingly difficult. If you make grinding your weed and cleaning your grinder a part of your normal routine, it’s easier to stay on top of things.
Stori Makes Things Easier
Many people grind the amount of weed they intend to use every time they smoke. You don’t have to do that. You can grind every last bit of the weed you buy the moment you bring it home. Open the container, remove the stems, and grind it piece by piece.
As you finish each batch, put your ground cannabis into your Stori pod. Open the kief trap and pour it into the pod when you’ve ground up the whole batch.
If you clean your grinder immediately afterward, you won’t have to worry about accumulating bacteria or gunking up. Your grinder will be clean and waiting the next time you bring a new strain home.
This saves you time in the long run. You’re able to pop your Stori pod out of the case, use the weed exactly as it is, and put it away when you’re done.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can turn all your weed into pre-rolls and Stash them in your Stori tubes for a grab-and-go solution.
Plastic Not-So-Fantastic: How the Versatile Material Harms the Environment and Human Health | Scientific American
Healthier Household Cleaning Supplies That Actually Work! | Texas Health Resources