If you’re like me, you typically clean your smoking accessories only when it’s absolutely necessary. Pipes and bongs are usually the first on the list — when your friend comes by for a smoke sesh and looks at your bong with disgust, you know it’s time to whip out the glass cleaning solution. Yet grinders tend to slip through the cracks despite weeks of gummy resin build-up which make them basically unusable. 

It takes true, admirable dedication to keep a grinder clean.

But hey, new year new me, right? This is the year I stop mistreating my grinder (which has been nothing but kind to me and deserves way better). And if money is tight or you just prefer a good deal, no need to splurge on fancy cleaning supplies — sparkling accessories will never break the bank with our cheap and easy guide to a well-scrubbed grinder. 

Why clean your grinder? 

While cleaning your grinder might be low on your to-do list, you’d be surprised by how much it can improve your smoking experience. For starters, a clean grinder is a more efficient grinder, which can produce more usable weed and more kief. When a grinder is full of gunk, it’s much more difficult to achieve a fine grind and thus, very little magical fairy dust will accumulate at the bottom. 

You can also extend the life of your smoking accessories with a little TLC. If you’re guilty of never cleaning your grinder, you’ve probably had to throw one away because of damage caused by frequent use. Over time, too much stickiness will cause the teeth to become dull or snap off, or worse — you can end up with metal shavings mixed in with your flower. Too much strain on the teeth of a metal grinder can cause it to deteriorate without you noticing right away. 

Plus, keeping your grinder clean prevents the plant matter inside from breaking down and growing mold or bacteria. While I’ve never noticed anything funky happen to my grinder, this is a genuine fear of mine now that I’ve learned that it’s possible. So to help you help yourself, follow our step-by-step guide below on how to properly clean a grinder. 

How to clean your grinder 

Depending on whether you have a metal or plastic grinder, you’ll need some items to aid in the cleaning process. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Hot water 
  • Paper towels
  • Small towel
  • Toothbrush or paintbrush 
  • Plastic bag or container
  • Isopropyl alcohol (metal grinders)
  • Dish soap (plastic grinders) 
  • Cotton swabs (optional)

Step 1

Empty the bud and kief from your grinder before you begin cleaning. Place the pieces in the freezer for 30 minutes. Note: You don’t have to freeze the grinder, but this step is very helpful in loosening the remaining plant matter.

Then, separate all the pieces and stash the contents in a bag or jar.

Step 2

This next step will vary for metal and plastic grinders.

Metal grinders: Place the pieces of your grinder in a plastic bag and fill with isopropyl alcohol — enough to cover all pieces. Soak until the liquid turns muddy, usually about 20 minutes. A higher strength of isopropyl alcohol will typically work faster. 

Plastic grinders: Place the pieces of your grinder in a plastic container and fill completely with hot water and dish soap. Let soak for about 20 minutes until particles are floating in the water.

Step 3

Remove your grinder from the soaking solution and rinse with warm water to remove alcohol or soap residue. Scrub excess debris with a brush. Use a cotton swab to make sure to get every nook and cranny. If your grinder was really old and full of gunk, you may need to repeat steps 2 and 3 to achieve ultimate cleanliness. 

For grinders with a kief catcher, make sure to pay special attention to brushing the screen.

Step 4 

Once you’ve brushed all the debris and gunk, use your small towell to dry off each piece.

Step 5

Lay all pieces on a paper towel or dishtowel to dry. Once fully dry, put your grinder back together.

Now you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Grind up some fresh bud and toke up because you deserve it. 

Ashlee Nolan is an NYC-based freelance journalist who enjoys writing about cannabis, culture, and politics. When not writing, you can probably find her curled up on the couch with coffee, a book, and her cat, Wednesday.

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