Cleaning a grinder is a simple task that takes less than an hour to complete. It may seem like an unnecessary chore to add to your already overcrowded list of things to do, but cleaning your grinder has many benefits including:

  • removing harmful bacteria
  • providing a fresher, smoother, and more even smoke
  • preserving the life of your grinder

Grinders are primarily made with metal, plastic, or acrylic. Here are the steps for cleaning each type of grinder.

What You Need to Clean Any Grinder

 The first thing you need is a dirty grinder. If it’s been harder for you to twist your grinder or produce a fine grind, your grinder probably needs to be cleaned. Another clue is a clogged screen. Whether your grinder is metal, plastic, or acrylic, you should gather the following materials:

  • Small cleaning tools: think toothbrushes, fine paint brushes, Q-tips, and toothpicks. These small and inexpensive tools will help you brush out debris and clean every nook and cranny.
  • A protective surface to place your grinder. Paper plates or paper towels work well. You want it to be something that will catch debris and protect the surface of whatever table or floor you are working on.
  • Drying tools. You will want to place your grinder on a towel or drying mat if you choose to air-dry. You can hand dry each component of the grinder with a microfiber cloth. Alternatively, you can use a hairdryer for a quick finish.

Before the Deep Clean

 Here are the steps to preparing your grinder for a thorough clean. These steps work no matter what material the grinder is made with.

  1. Disassemble your grinder. Be gentle—you don’t want to break your grinder before you get to clean it. Take care of your hands, too. The best grinders have extremely sharp teeth that can cut the skin. Once you’ve disassembled your grinder, place the components in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This will harden the debris.
  2. Dump out hardened residue. After the 30 minutes has passed, gently tap each component over a paper plate or paper towel so that the residue comes out.
  3. Brush away residue. Use your toothbrush, paintbrush, and/or Q-tips to sweep out the crevices of each component. You can dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol to give your grinder an even deeper clean.

Cleaning Metal Grinders

The following steps are specific to cleaning an all-metal grinder:

  1. Soak your grinder in isopropyl alcohol. Place each component of the still disassembled grinder into a Ziploc bag. Pour enough isopropyl alcohol into the bag to cover the grinder. Let it soak until the alcohol turns a brownish color and you can see loose particles floating in the liquid. Do not follow this step if your grinder has any plastic or acrylic components. Alcohol degrades plastic and acrylic.
  2. Thoroughly rinse your grinder. You do not want to accidentally inhale alcohol, which can happen if you don’t carefully rinse out your grinder. Put it under the faucet and wash off the residue alcohol.
  3. Let it dry completely. If you reassemble your grinder before it is totally dry, it might rust. Use a microfiber cloth to dry your grinder off as much as possible. Then let it air dry until it is completely dry or dry it with a hair dryer.
  4. Reassemble your grinder and put it to use.

Cleaning Plastic or Acrylic Grinders

These steps are for plastic and acrylic grinders. Do NOT use isopropyl alcohol on plastic or acrylic. Alcohol will break down the plastic and acrylic, damaging your grinder and leeching chemicals into your bud.

  1. Boil each component. Bring a pot of water to boil. Place each piece of the grinder into the boiling water. Let the grinder pieces boil for 10 minutes. Place the grinder components onto a towel and let them dry. If you want an even deeper clean, complete the next step.
  2. Clean with soap and water. Place grinder components into a basin with soapy warm water. Use your toothbrush and/or Q-tip to clean out the crevices. Rinse your grinder and let it dry.

Why Clean Your Grinder? 

Sure, going through the steps of cleaning a dirty grinder isn’t an ideal way to spend your time. But a little effort goes a long way in protecting your health, improving your smoke, and preserving your grinder.

A clean grinder is a healthy grinder. Cannabis is organic material. This makes it especially vulnerable to bacteria, mold, and mildew. These pathogens can wind up in your lungs if your grinder is not cleaned. According to the CDC, exposure to mold can lead to upper respiratory symptoms and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It can also exacerbate the symptoms of asthma.

Clean grinders provide a better smoking experience. A grinder’s purpose is to break apart dense cannabis buds into much smaller pieces. The finer the grind, the smoother and more even the smoke will be. Cleaning out a grinder makes it more efficient at doing its job.

Effective grinders save money. A clean grinder is more effective at the job of grinding. When flower residue is removed, it’s less likely that large buds will get stuck together. Well-ground flower can also be stretched to last longer. Burning through large chunks of bud wastes weed. That can become an expensive mistake.

Well-maintained grinders last longer. Finally, cleaning a grinder makes it easier to use. The easier it is to use, the less likely you are to break it trying to muscle through built-up gunk. The process of cleaning out your grinder might take a few minutes out of your busy day, but cleaning your grinder now will save you from losing money, time, and weed later.