Ground to a Halt? How to Clean a Weed Grinder the Easy Way


With knowledge comes responsibility. Now that you’ve learned how to use a weed grinder and are shredding cannabis flower into fragrant particles with aplomb—perfect-sized to ensure smooth flow from your DaVinci IQ2, IQC or MIQRO—it’s time to tackle basic herb grinder maintenance.

Just like your flower vaporizer, to ensure the most efficient and reliable consumption of both cannabinoids and terpenes, your grinder will require occasional TLC. You will have to scrub it of various blemishes endemic to cannabis consumption: old plant material; ancient, sticky resin spots; and any other unwanted contaminants you might find wherever cannabis is consumed.

Luckily, cleaning your herb grinder is both simple and rewarding. Your grinder will spin more smoothly. You will refill your vaporizer only with fresh and fragrant terpene-rich cannabis—nothing stale, or worse, contaminated with degraded plant material rife with bacteria or mold, gross.

And who doesn’t like the satisfaction of using freshly restored gear—and who wouldn’t prefer a safe vape as well as a smooth tasting one?

Here are the basics on how to clean a weed grinder:

How often should I clean my grinder?

Clean as often as necessary, which is to say: It depends on how much use your grinder receives and how dirty it gets, but more often than never. If you’ve taken your grinder outdoors for camping or a sesh at the park, it might be a good idea to give it a rinse. If your grinder is so caked with resin and grime you can barely twist it, you’re well overdue. At minimum, every month or so is probably smart praxis.

Step 1: Disassembly and analysis (or, “plastic vs. metal”)

The first step is to disassemble your grinder to the greatest extent possible. Some grinders are only two opposing discs: a pair of interweaving teeth, a cannabis Oreo cookie with no creamy filling. Other grinders break down into four parts: top, middle, collection chamber and kief catcher.

Either way, take apart your grinder—and then take heed not to rust your metal grinder or to warp, distort, or release toxic chemicals from your plastic grinder with the wrong type of cleaner.

Step 2. Surface solution, component scrub

Mix up a solution of warm water and mild soap—don’t use any potentially toxic or abrasive cleaning chemicals—then use a cloth, towel or non-wire brush to clean the exterior of your grinder of any rogue grime, dirt or excess resin. You can do this with plastic or metal.

After the exterior is clean to the eye and touch, start to work on the interior. If you wish, soak your grinder, plastic or metal, in the solution of warm water and soap. If the grinder is particularly disgusting, you may want to pour hot or just-boiling water over the components to help loosen plant material. (Important note: Don’t boil your grinder in water, particularly if it is plastic.)

Use a toothpick, paperclip or dab tool to dislodge any pesky chunks of bud from the grinder’s teeth. Then use a toothbrush, fingernail brush, or other small, gentle scrubbing tool (clean it first, please) to do the all-around cleaning.

The kief screen may be the trickiest bit. If you have a dry brush from a makeup kit or a small paint brush—both clean of paint and makeup, please!—you can brush the screen until you don’t see anymore kief crystals, taking care to save the excess kief, if you wish. Then use the soap-and-water solution and scrub to fully clean the screen.

Step 3. Success.

Once you’ve removed all the visible contaminants, rinse your grinder under warm or cold water. Set aside to air dry, or use a towel to pat everything dry. After an hour or so, you should be good to re-assemble and continue to grind.

Should I use rubbing alcohol?

There’s no need to use a cleaning solution any more sophisticated than your soap-and-water solution—we are partial to soaps that are ethically sourced, use hemp oil, and donate proceeds to drug-policy reform and racial justice efforts—but if you do want to disinfect with isopropyl alcohol after cleaning, take care you only do so with a metal grinder, as rubbing alcohol can damage acrylic and plastic.

After you’ve used good old water to rid the grinder of detritus, after the initial rinse, feel free to deposit your metal grinder in a shallow bath of rubbing alcohol.

What if it’s REALLY dirty?

In extreme cases, some grinder owners report success with freezing their grinders for about a half-hour or so before beginning to clean. The sub-zero temperatures should make the resinous residue more brittle, and easier to scrub away.

Owners of metal grinders may also consider tossing their disassembled grinder into a small plastic tub (like you’ll find in the grocery store dairy section), filling it with enough alcohol to cover all the component parts, and then letting that soak for at least a half hour, with occasionally shakes, washing-machine style, to agitate the mix and dislodge any stubborn spots. Then—you guessed it—soap and water again.

Cleaning your grinder is like cleaning almost anything else cannabis related: simple, easy, necessary, and not done nearly often enough. But now that you know how, you have no excuse.

Check out the DaVinci blog for more helpful how-tos and vape tips.


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