How to Clean a Grinder (& Save Your Kief)

Anyone who’s used an herb grinder for cannabis over more than a few weeks will know the sensations – and accompanying sound effects – that let you know when it’s time for a clean. But while it may be relatively easy to tell when your grinder is due for a quick scrub figuring out the best way to get your grinder squeaky clean (without wasting all that precious THC inside) can be tricky.

In today’s article we’ll have tips and information on how to clean a grinder for newcomers and seasoned smokers alike. We’ll go over some grinder basics, talk about why grinders need to be cleaned regularly, and even delve into some unique infusions you can make at home using your grinder and it’s accompanying gunk. Strap in – It’s time to begin our deep dive into giving your weed grinder a deep clean.

What Is a Grinder?

Odds are if you’re here you already know this one, but just for the sake of completeness: An “herb grinder”, or just “grinder”, is a small, typically round device for, appropriately, grinding herbs – In our case, cannabis.

Meant to be held in the hand the grinder, in it’s most basic form, consists of two parts: A top half and a matching bottom half, which fit together seamlessly. Each half has a set of “teeth” along the interior, which impale and tear apart any plant matter trapped within, “grinding” it apart.

Logically, it’s this same grinding process that causes the grinder to eventually need cleaning. With any plant material that could be used the friction and compression of the grinder teeth will eventually cause bits to stick to the surface; this is compounded when grinding cannabis flower, as the resin and trichomes from marijuana are notoriously sticky even without the application of friction and heat.

Gunking Up the Works

The more the grinder is used the more that sticky marijuana plant material begins to build up around the teeth, edges and, depending on model, screw grooves – Like we said in the opening a grinder that needs cleaning can be pretty obvious, both due to it’s resistance to turning and the often loud, high-pitched squealing noises when it finally does manage to rotate.

Thankfully learning how to clean a grinder doesn’t have to be hard – Assuming you don’t care about the residue left inside a simple soak ‘n scrub in soap & water will have your weed grinder back to perfect working order in no time (with some caveats; see further below). But what about that residue? Should you care about it at all?

Probably, yes.

Gunk, But Gold

When your grinder gets clogged that “gunk” (and if anyone out there is familiar with a better word for this stuff please write in and let us know) is actually filled with valuable THC. These compressed trichomes and leftover plant matter are far from trash, and can be a highly potent substance in it’s own right, very similar to certain types of hashish. Though you can wash this away using soap and water, wouldn’t it be better if you could harvest it for further use?

Assuming you’re interested in saving these stuck-in bits our recommended grinder cleaning process really depends on two factors: what material your grinder is made from, and how “clean” you want to get it. Let’s talk about the former first.

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