How to Clean an Herb Grinder
What Is an Herb Grinder?
A herb grinder is a cylindrical device with two separate halves (top and bottom) containing sharp teeth that shred material when both halves are turned. Herb grinders break the herbs and flowers into smaller pieces more suitable for consumption.
Grinders can have one, two or three chambers. Two chamber grinders store the ground and unground herb separately, while three chamber grinders have the addition of a kief screen to separate the trichomes from the ground herb. For more information, see our article on 3 Piece vs 4 Piece Herb Grinders.
Why Use an Herb Grinder?
Using an herb grinder improves the taste of your herb and gives you a more enjoyable sesh. The smaller, uniform ground herb burns evenly and consistently. Using a herb grinder saves you the work and sticky mess of cutting up your buds or crushing them with your fingers. In addition, using a herb grinder saves you time and money because of the more efficient use of your herb.
Why Clean Your Herb Grinder?
If you use an herb grinder for more than a month or two, you will have a harder time grinding than you did when the grinder was brand new. This is because of herb residue clogging the cutting teeth of the grinder and blocking the holes between the grinder pieces. It's easy enough to notice the bits of herb that accumulate in the corners and other hard to reach places of your grinder.
This sticky residue can quickly build up like a snowball rolling down a hill, and leave your grinder inefficient at best, and useless at worst. On top of that, the residue will slowly decay and could lead to the growth of mold in your grinder!
By regularly cleaning your grinder every month or two, you can make it work just as well as it did when you first bought it, extend its lifespan, and avoid exposing yourself to mold.
When You Should Clean Your Grinder
You should clean your grinder every 30 to 60 days, depending on how often you use it. More frequent cleanings will keep your grinder in tip-top shape and make it easier to clean. You may be able to get away with less frequent cleanings, but over time the resin will build up, making it more of a task to clean. We recommend cleaning your grinder before it starts to gunk up.
Types of Herb Grinders
Many grinders are made from plastic, resin, wood, zinc or aluminum. Iaso grinders are made from 100% Medical Grade Stainless Steel, making them safer, longer lasting, and more easily maintained than other materials.
Grinders typically come in 3-piece or 4-piece configurations. While the 3-piece grinder is more portable, the extra chamber and sift screen on the 4-piece grinder allows you to easily gather kief and keep it separate from your herb.
How to Clean Your Herb Grinder
What you need:
- 70% or greater isopropyl alcohol
- A toothpick, pipe cleaner or soft-bristled nylon brush
- A towel
- A large plastic container or resealable plastic bag
- Take the grinder apart. First, disassemble your grinder. If your grinder has lots of built-up residue and plant material, put the pieces in your freezer for at least 30 minutes before proceeding for a deep clean.
- Remove any herb material. Use a toothpick or similar object to scrape out as much of the leftover plant matter and residue as possible. This becomes much easier if you put your grinder in the freezer, as the cold temperature will make the residue less sticky.
- If you don’t have a stainless steel grinder, be careful using a metal scraper; you do not want to scratch up your grinder, which can lead to flakes of aluminum, plastic, or whatever else your grinder is made of contaminating your herb! So it is best to use a scraper made of softer material than your grinder.
- Also, if it has been months since your grinder was clean and mold growth is possible, it is best to throw away whatever residue you collect in this step.
- Soak in alcohol. Soak the grinder pieces in isopropyl alcohol (70% or greater) for about 30 minutes. This can be done in a cup, jar, or sealable plastic bag. Alternatively, you may use boiling water as a soaking solution, but make sure the grinder parts aren't still freezing cold or the rapid change in temperature could damage them.
- Clean the grinder. Use your scraper or a soft brush to clear away any remaining pieces of residue.
- Rinse and dry the grinder. Fifth, rinse the pieces with warm water to clean it of any remaining isopropyl alcohol and let each piece dry completely before reassembling it.
Additional Questions and Answers
How to Clean an Herb Grinder Screen
To clean an herb grinder screen, put it in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, take it out and give it a few firm smacks on a hard surface. Use a brush to remove any remaining material.
How to Clean a Grinder and Save Kief
To clean a grinder and save kief, place your grinder in the freezer for at least 30 minutes, put a coin inside the grinder, close it, and give it a few good shakes. The coin will knock the kief off to be collected in the kief catcher.
How to Clean a Metal Grinder With Boiling Water
To clean a metal grinder with boiling water, take the grinder apart, remove any herb material, bring water to a boil, remove the water from the heat, and soak the grinder in the water for at least 10 minutes. After the grinder has cooled, remove the grinder pieces and finish cleaning with a toothpick and brush.
Bottom Line & Takeaways
Keeping your herb grinder clean is an easy way to enjoy healthier, better tasting herb. Just a little maintenance every 30 to 60 days will keep your herb grinder in tiptop shape. Follow these easy steps, take good care of your grinder, and it will reward you with the perfect grind for a lifetime.