Ask the Elegant Stoner: How to clean your grinder
Time once again for another edition of our column Ask the Elegant Stoner, in which we answer a question from our readers (or the Internet at large), and provide some insight for you about an aspect of cannabis. If you have a question you need answered, feel free to send it along to us, and you might get to read it here in a future column.
Today’s question comes from Reddit, however, where user I_am_bot_beep_boop (ok then) asks:
I'm trying to clean my grinder because it's getting to that point I just want it to be fresh. I've already moved anything I wanted to smoke so I don't mind scrapping the rest. It's also metallic 4 layers.
What's the best method to clean it out?
Great question! A grinder can be a great tool, whether you’re vaping or smoking flower, but even if your grinder is made out of a metal like aluminum or titanium, it can sometimes get a little funky over time. Cleaning it out can make it feel new again, and can help keep your cannabis as fresh as possible.
Before you do any actual scrubbing, first things first: you’ll want to remove as much plant material from the grinder as you can. Most grinders have what is called a “kief catcher” on the bottom-most compartment. “Kief” is a name for the little resin crystals on cannabis, that often fall off during a grind, and the kief catcher, as you might guess, is designed to catch all of those crystals. You’ll want to take the grinder apart completely, and you might even find a treasure trove of kief you never even knew you had. Kief’s THC-packed crystals can be used to add an extra punch to a bowl or joint, or if you’re really courageous, you can try making hash, and participate in the long history and tradition of cannabis.
To get absolutely everything out of the grinder, you should also freeze it for a few hours. This can sometimes loosen up plant material, and make it easier to brush or scrape some of the buildup off. After just a freeze and a quick brush (you can use an old toothbrush, or maybe just a free one from the dentist), the grinder might already look pretty good.
After that, it depends on what type of material your grinder is made from. If you have a metal grinder, like I_am_bot_beep_boop (that name!), then isopropyl alcohol is your friend. It’s available from any pharmacy, and while you could just dip a brush in it and wipe away, the best and easiest way is probably to get yourself a ziploc bag, pour some isopropyl in there, and let it sit for a few hours. The alcohol will get a little brown and murky, and while it will smell pretty bad, any crud on there will almost magically lift off of there. This method also works for pipes, incidentally — you might be surprised by how dirty the inside of a pipe can get, and how easily alcohol will clean it right off.
For a wood or acrylic grinder, you shouldn’t use alcohol, as it will likely break down the material of the grinder. Instead, you can either try to rinse it off with water, or you can use regular dish soap on it (along with a little elbow grease). It’s not quite as magically easy as the isopropyl, but the grinder’s also cheaper, and you get what you pay for.
After you’ve lifted off the junk, you can rinse the grinder down one more time, and then just let it air dry (with all of the parts separated out). Your grinder will likely look brand new, and you’ll be ready to grind up any other flower or strains you’ve got ready to go.
Of course, the other option here is the slightly more wasteful one, but it’s definitely more fun: You could just buy a new grinder. There’s so many different types and colors out there that even if you clean the one you have, it might be cool to have a few different options next time you want to grind something up. Follow our guide to find the grinder of your dreams, and not only will you have a nice clean old grinder, but you might get an extra swanky one to add to your collection.