Imagine you have a nice little intimate smoke-up party session at home. You are all huddled on the floor, with music in the background, passing around, and smoking that perfect marijuana joint. And suddenly, you realize that the flavour is a little off and snap! The mood is ruined, and you want to know what went wrong!
You check the grinder, and you see it’s a little moldy. It’s very common for mold to grow in a grinder, especially if there’s a little moisture in your flower buds or if the grinder is stored in a cool, dark place. It might also happen if you do not smoke up or use the grinder frequently.
Now, no one wants to have a bad experience with smoking up moldy stash. One, the flavour is ruined, and two, it can affect people with allergies or asthma. It can cause bronchial irritation or lung irritation, and it’s best to avoid it.
Now, you might wonder why bother with it at all? Let me just use my hands instead of a grinder and get rid of the responsibility of cleaning it. Well, could you BE any lazier?
So, firstly, I’ll tell you why you need a grinder. It might also help if you are new to the entire marijuana consuming business and are wondering what a grinder might do.
WHAT IS A GRINDER AND WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
Whether it is smoking or vaping or consuming your marijuana in an edible form, the first step is grinding the flowers into a fine consistency. A grinder has a small container that contains ‘teeth’ which can break and crush the buds into finer pieces.
- Using a grinder makes the process of breaking up large amount of buds a faster and cleaner process. It’ll shred the flowers in half the time, saving you a lot. Please don’t tell me you have all the time in the world.
- The best part about using a grinder is consistency. Most people are tempted to use their hands to break the buds, but it leads to inconsistent chunks of flowers. When the buds are ground into consistent and finer weed, it also improves the potency, smell, taste, and experience of consuming marijuana. Do you still want to use your hands?
- If you’ve ever handled the marijuana flowers before, you know it’s a sticky business. The trichomes (the important stuff of weed which gives you the psychedelic ride) stick to your fingers and reduces the potency of the weed. That would do you absolutely no good.
- Since a significant amount of trichomes that stick to your fingers leads to reduced potency of your weed, you end up using more cannabis to balance the potency. So, if you use a grinder, you cut down on the usage of cannabis flowers. Mega-savings!
- During the grinding process, cannabinoids and terpenes get separated from the trichomes. This is called kief. Kief is a pure and potent part of the weed. You can sprinkle or use it later while consuming cannabis-infused edibles. Which means you are making the best out of waste. Call me smart or smart?
Read this if you are still not convinced. When you use your hands to ground the flowers into consumable weed, the inconsistent pieces make the marijuana harsh. If you use a grinder, it burns evenly, so it’ll be easy to consume. You’ll cough less and enjoy more. A good grinder makes for a better experience. Sorry, I am not selling, just trying to tell you how good an investment it is.
TYPES OF GRINDERS
Okay. I am mostly convinced that you have made the right choice of investing in a good grinder. Grinders come at different shapes, sizes, functionality, and prices. If you are looking for easy portability and cost efficiency, you can go for a small two-chamber grinder.
If you are looking for speed, power, and need to grind a large amount of weed, you can opt for an electric grinder.
If you are a regular smoker, the four-piece, the three-chamber grinder would be the best for you. One chamber is for the weed to grind, one for collecting ground weed and one for the residual kief that you can make use of later.
There are cards for people who need an inexpensive, cost-effective grinder. They are mostly like food graters. These have a multitude of holes for grinding. The big downside is that it can get really messy. Remember how the flowers are sticky?
WHY DO YOU NEED TO CLEAN THE GRINDER?
Remember that imaginary moldy scenario I gave at the start, which had you thinking ‘Yikes!’?
Well, that is the reason one.
- If you do not want to inhale the moldy psychedelic vapor (straight-up disgusting), and want to avoid falling sick, you need to clean the grinder. Enjoy the weed and stay healthy.
- Do you recall that physics lesson we learnt which talked about the shortening life span, wear and tear of machines due to usage of it over time? The teeth on the grinder will get blunt; the chambers might degrade, and to keep all of that in working order, you’ll have to take care of it. And you’ll have to clean it. Better than buying a new one again and again, right?
- You’d be bored with being reminded over and over again, but I have to say it here. The grinder’s job is sticky. All the sticky stuff from the weed flowers will make it gummy, and with every usage, it will become difficult for the grinder to give optimum results. Better clean it and get the best out of it, no?
THINGS NEEDED TO CLEAN THE GRINDER
Finally discussing the subject matter at hand!
It is crucial to figure out what kind of grinder you use and what it is made of. The most critical section to clean is the one with the teeth. But, that does not mean you don’t clean the other parts.
Some things to remember are: do NOT use water if you have a metal grinder. That’s because water causes the metal to rust. And, do NOT use isopropyl alcohol in case your grinder is made of plastic or acrylic because it’ll either warp or dissolve and degrade in quality.
If your grinder is made of both metal and plastic, you’ll have to take extra care in cleaning it. I am so sure that’ll affect your buying decision. That is if you haven’t bought one already.
First, I’ll list down the stuff you’ll need beforehand:
- Isopropyl Alcohol (metal grinders)
- Soap (plastic and acrylic grinders)
- Freezer (optional but recommended)
- Hot water
- A toothbrush or a paintbrush
- Toothpick or a metal pick or a cotton swab
- A vessel to collect the kief
- A large plate
HOW TO CLEAN THE GRINDER?
DISMANTLE YOUR GRINDER
The first step in how to clean a weed grinder is to disassemble it. Depending on your grinder, the number of pieces will differ. The most popular four-piece, a three-chamber grinder will have a lid, a chamber for grinding, one for collection, and one for kief.
If there’s a screen between the kief and the collection chamber, be extra careful because it’s very delicate. Let’s do the cleaning when not high, yeah?
PLACE IT IN THE FREEZER
Like I mentioned above, this is an optional step, but it would make the process a whole lot easier if you did!
Place all the pieces of your grinder in the freezer. It will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes for all the scrap to harden. This makes it really easy to clean the pieces.
The plant matter that’s so stubbornly stuck inside the chambers will harden, making it undemanding to clean the screen between the collection chamber and the kief chamber.
A quick note: If your parts are made of plastic, handle them with care after removing it from the freezer since cold temperature makes the plastic brittle.
CLEAN IT USING THE BRUSH
There are a couple of ways you can manage this step. One, you can put back the grinder together and give it a good shake. That will result in the hardened gunk to fall off and will make the cleaning easier.
If you do not want to put it back together as yet, you can place the pieces on the large plate or a cutting board. Honestly, any surface could be as good as others, as long as it collects the kief.
Tap the pieces gently, and you’ll see the hardened stuff that was stuck to the chambers falling off. Now, take the toothbrush or a paintbrush and brush off the remains that are stuck to the walls of the chambers.
If there is some more stuck to the surface that refuses to come off, you can use the toothpick or a cotton swab to clean it further.
Skip step 2 if you’d love cleaning some more and fighting with the pieces to let you clean off all the dirt. (It’s not really dirt, so please don’t throw it away).
USE ALCOHOL OR WATER
Like I mentioned before, it depends on what material your pieces are made of. In case of a plastic grinder, put on a bowl of water on the stove. Place the pieces in the water, but make sure that the heat is not on high (you don’t want your plastic pieces to melt).
Once the water is on a gentle boil, keep the pieces for a minute or two. Remove the pieces using tongs. You can place them to cool off on a towel or a napkin.
If you have a grinder that’s made of metal, you need to place the pieces in isopropyl alcohol. You can put it in a bowl or a plastic bag of alcohol. You can give it a gentle shake that can easily remove the germs or the residue that had failed to come off in the previous step.
Once you start to see the alcohol turning brown or see that most of the dirt has been removed, you can take the pieces out of the bag and put them on the towel to dry.
In another 10 to 15 minutes, your pieces will be dry and will reach room temperature.
ASSEMBLE IT AGAIN
Phew! All the major work is done. All you have to do is put the pieces back together, and your grinder is as good as new. No mold, no dirt, and no bad flavour anymore!
HOW DO I CLEAN A WOODEN GRINDER?
It is very difficult to clean a wooden grinder since wood does not go well with most of the solvents like water and isopropyl alcohol. For this, a freezer is a must.
First, you need to disassemble the parts of the grinder and place it in the freezer for an entire night. At the very least, put it for 6 hours. Now put it on a baking paper, either aluminium or something similar, and tap it to remove the kief and residue.
Use a toothpick or a cotton swab to clean it further, if required.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE RESIDUAL KIEF?
The residual kief that you removed on the large plate (in step 2) is pure, potent kief. Do not throw it away (unless it’s moldy or has gone bad, of course).
You can use it in the following ways:
- You can use it to make canna-tea.
- Consume it by infusing it with any dish – like pot brownies!
- You can sprinkle it on your joint
You can totally experiment with it how you like, as long as you know how potent it is and how much you are capable of consuming. Above all, you need to stay safe!
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR GRINDER?
There’s really no one answer to this. It depends on how frequently you use your grinder. If you use it very rarely, you can go without cleaning it for 45-60 days.
But, if you use it almost every day, you need to clean it frequently too. The more you use it, the more sticky it tends to get.
Regular cleaning is the key to satisfying usage of a grinder. It’ll prolong the life of your grinder and will help you save a lot. But, clean it thoroughly, or a scent of soap or alcohol might be a surprising seasoning for your next smoke session.
Get high and lost in the marijuana land, and enjoy the canna-experience, while staying healthy and safe!