How to Clean a Grinder - 420 Science

How to Clean a Grinder

Most people who smoke weed have a single weed grinder they cherish and use constantly. Like many weed accessories, a good grinder can be an investment and improve the quality of your smoke session.

Over time your grinder can become less effective and may even be detracting from your smoking experience.

When your grinder becomes difficult to turn, has noticeable build-up in the interior, and there is less kief collected in the bottom of the grinder, you know it’s time for a grinder deep clean. Here is our tried and true method for cleaning a grinder.

cleaning a grinder

How Often Should You Clean Your Grinder?

Grinders can get build-up from grinding up sticky nugs over and over until they don’t work as well anymore. A grinder’s primary purpose is to break up weed into small pieces so you can smoke it.

The teeth on the grinder cut and break up the weed as you turn the grinder. The weed particles fall through the holes in the grinder and are collected in the second chamber.

Depending on how often you use your grinder and how good your weed is, sticky deposits of kief and bits of weed will get stuck in the holes, pressed up against the walls, and condensed in the grooves of the teeth. This dense build-up of weed particles is both bad for your grinder and your weed.

As more sticky particles attach to your weed grinder, they cause additional build-up to occur even more quickly by covering the surface of your grinder. The worse the build-up, the more THC you are losing from your weed.

To prevent THC loss and get the best out of your weed, you should probably clean your grinder at least once every six months. Also, all that weed trapped in your grinder is hash, so there are ways to make use of that valuable THC and try and preserve it for future use.

cleaning grinder teeth

How to Clean Your Grinder

A few methods can be used to get your grinder clean and to work like new. If you want to save and use the THC from the weed stuck to the walls and teeth, it will take a bit longer to clean, but you can then use the particles you yield.

For a fast clean that strips the grinder of any stuck-on bits, isopropyl alcohol is king but will ruin all the kief. For those truly adventurous, there is the milk method akin to making a light version of bhang.

Freeze Your Grinder to Help Clean

Freezing items that have stuff stuck to them is not anything new. When objects have frozen, the bonds that hold them together weaken, and so long as there is no moisture on the things, they can be separated easily.

If you make sure that your grinder is dry, you can pop it in the freezer for about an hour. When you pull it out, you will have a nice window of time where the weed and kief stuck to the grinder is brittle and will break off easier.

The key to making this helpful process is keeping your grinder free from moisture during the freezing process. Water will have an adverse effect and make it harder to clean.

kief collecting

How to Clean a Grinder and Save Kief

The basic strategy for cleaning your grinder and saving the built-up kief is choosing the right tool and being diligent about getting into every area of the grinder. Regardless of what method you choose, it will always be helpful to have a scrapping tool of some kind to help dislodge the stuck-on particles of weed.

A scraper tool can be something like a small screwdriver, a craft knife, or what works best is a basic dental scraping tool. If all else fails, you may be able to go through a few toothpicks to get the job done, but a metal tool is best.

You should also have a stiff paintbrush or old toothbrush handy to clean out the hardest-to-reach areas. Also, have your rolling tray ready to catch all the particles that you loosen.

keif brush

How to Collect the Stuck-on Kief From a Grinder

  1. Disassemble the grinder into its parts. If the screen is easily removable or replaceable, then remove it as well.
  2. Starting with the kief chamber, tap out each part of the grinder over your rolling tray to free any easily loosened particles. You can do this by hitting the pieces together or tapping them with a butter knife or similar tool.
  3. Once all the loose particles have been knocked off, take your cleaning brush and scour each part of the grinder. This will knock off additional kief build-up. Make sure to get into the holes and threading of the grinder.
  4. What’s left is the compacted and stuck-on pieces of weed, and they need to be scraped off with your tool. This may take some time and the THC you collect will look dark and dense but be aware that this is the stuff that’s been compounded and made stronger over time.
  5. After scraping the concentrated kief from your grinder collect all the material that fell to your rolling tray. You can place it in a small jar for saving or immediately sprinkle it on a bowl of ground weed for an enhanced experience. If you have a good amount, here are some other ideas in our What is Kief article.

clean a grinder with alcohol

How to Clean a Metal Grinder With Isopropyl Alcohol

If you are not concerned about making use of the weed stuck to the walls of your grinder, then you can focus on stripping everything from the grinder in one process by using alcohol to clean it.

Alcohol is a solvent and helps dissolve the bonds that hold sticky THC particles to the grinder. Here are the steps to cleaning your grinder with Iso.

  1. Disassemble the grinder into its relative parts and give it a quick tap and brush off to free up any easily removable build-up.
  2. Use a microwave-safe container and fill it halfway with alcohol. Then heat the container with the alcohol in a microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Do not overheat the alcohol.
  3. Be careful. The alcohol’s temperature will be hot to hot. Gently place each piece of the grinder into the alcohol and let it soak for 30 min.
  4. Carefully pull out each part of the grinder and scrub it with a heavy brush under warm water. You’ll notice that the stuck-on material has become loosened and washes away easily. Repeat this process as needed, then let your grinder thoroughly dry out before use.

How to Clean a Plastic or Acrylic Grinder with Soap

If you have a plastic or acrylic grinder, solvents can weaken the durability, so you’ll just want to focus on scraping and brushing your grinder clean with soap and water. This is pretty much like hand washing a nice piece of dishware. Here is what to do.

  1. Disassemble the grinder into its relative parts and give it a quick tap and brush off to free up any easily removable build-up.
  2. Place the pieces in a bowl or container that can handle the heat.
  3. Run the water from your kitchen faucet on hot, fill the container until the pieces are submerged, and let them soak for 15min.
  4. Add some dish soap to the water and use a cleaning brush and other cleaning tools that won’t damage the plastic or acrylic. Clean off the grinder making sure to keep the parts submerged while you scrub.
  5. Wash off the parts with warm water and let them dry out thoroughly before use.

boil a grinder in milk

Boil a Weed Grinder in Milk (Yes, Really!)

One of the most curious ways of cleaning your grinder, preserving the kief, and making it into an ingestible all at once is by boiling the grinder in milk. Milk contains fat that helps break down and absorb the THC that is on the grinder’s surface.

milk boil grinder

The THC from the kief will be infused into the milk leaving any plant material stuck to the grinder free to be cleaned away. Metal grinders are the only suitable types for this method. Here are the steps.

  1. Disassemble the grinder.
  2. Create a double boiler using a pot with a small amount of water and another pot that sits inside of that pot.
  3. Fill the interior pot halfway with milk. Whole milk works best.
  4. Place the grinder parts in the milk and turn the stovetop to medium-high heat, ensuring it never reaches above 150-degrees.
  5. Let it simmer between 1-2 hours, then cut the heat off and let it cool.
  6. Remove the grinder parts and clean any remaining material off with soap and warm water.
  7. Strain the now THC-infused milk to remove any particulate matter. You can drink this now if you dare.

Wrapping Up

A clean grinder makes your smoke sessions better because you get to enjoy the full flavor and potency of your weed. Removing the build-up from your grinder will make it rotate better, keep the teeth sharp, and just make it look better in general.

If you have any other questions about grinders or improving your smoke session, we’re always here to help. Visit 420 Science, the most trusted online headshop, to order supplies like a grinder, pollen press, kief boxes, and whatever else you need to make your smoke sessions better.
Back to blog