How to Clean Your Sticky Grinder 101

Where's Weed

Published on 7/23/22

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Grinders tend to get real gunky fast, and there's a stereotype that stoners let their grinders get pretty dirty. And while you don't have to clean your grinder after every use, there is a certain point when the gunk gets so built up that you have to clean it. As a cannabis enthusiast, knowing how to clean a grinder screen and every other part of your grinder is essential. We've got you covered if you're looking for the best way to clean a sticky grinder. 

Why You Should Clean Your Grinder

There are a lot of reasons why you should clean your grinder. While some buildup won't hurt you and cleaning it after every use isn't essential, built-up residue in your grinder can eventually become hazardous to your health. The leftover marijuana you grind will ultimately build up bacteria and mold, and that mold will likely get into what you're smoking and cause potentially serious harm. Another critical reason to keep your grinder cleaner is that it will simply work better. Especially after lots of sticky buildup, your grinder will become harder to operate and may even begin not to work correctly (or break). 

Why Cannabis Storage Is Important

While you're taking care to clean your grinder properly, you should also take steps to make sure that you're correctly storing any extra cannabis or kief you collect from your grinder. It's relatively simple and similar to how you store your bud. Your leftover cannabis and kief will be more delicate than your full flower, so keeping it in an airtight glass jar (not a plastic bag or container) is essential. Too much oxygen will ruin your leftover cannabis, as will exposure to the sun, extreme temperatures, and moisture. So, to keep your leftover cannabis from your grinder safe, put your airtight glass container in a dark, dry, and cool place, like a cabinet, pantry, or closet. 

The Best Way To Clean A Grinder

What you'll need to clean your grinder properly depends on how dirty it is. If your grinder isn't all that dirty - if there is no sticky residue yet - you're probably good to primarily use hot water and a paper towel or toothbrush to clean it. Let's assume, however, that your grinder is incredibly dirty or hasn't had a deep clean in a long time. Follow these steps for how to clean a grinder.

What You'll Need to Deep Clean A Grinder:

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  1. Isopropyl alcohol (ideally 90% or more)
  2. A nylon brush (toothbrush, or pipe cleaner, if available)
  3. Towels (paper towels work)
  4. A bucket, bin, or large Tupperware

It's important to note that the above list and the below steps for cleaning your grinder are specifically for metal grinders. If you have a plastic grinder, you should not use alcohol or a grinder cleaner; instead, you'll want to use salt water, a toothbrush, and a toothpick. Additionally, replacing the alcohol with salt water is an excellent alternative if you want to know how to clean a grinder without alcohol.  

Steps on How to Clean A Sticky Grinder:

Disassemble Your Grinder

When you clean your grinder, you want to clean all of it. So, the first step is to take it apart. Take off the lid, the grinder screen, and every chamber. You will complete each step below for each piece of your grinder. 

Remove All Loose Plant Material

If you're wondering how to clean and grinder and save kief, pay attention to this step. So long as your grinder hasn't already developed mold, you can shake out any loose plant material in your grinder. Even kief or leftover cannabis that needs the little help of a toothpick or scraper (which likely came with your grinder if you have a chamber for collecting kief) is okay to get off your grinder keep. You don't want to keep cannabis from a grinder that has mold. Regardless of whether you will use it, you want to have all loose cannabis off your grinder before proceeding.

Soak Your Grinder in Isopropyl Alcohol

Take each piece of your grinder, place it into a leak-proof bin (Tupperware works well), and fill the container with isopropyl alcohol (or salt water). Make sure each piece is fully submerged, and let your grinder sit for roughly 30 minutes to an hour. You'll notice that as your grinder soaks, the alcohol may turn a greenish or yellow color - that's your grinder getting a deep clean!

Rinse and Scrub Your Grinder

Once you remove each piece of your grinder from alcohol, rinse everything with hot water and use a pipe cleaner to remove any remaining sticky residue. We recommend always taking a pipe cleaner to your grinder at this point, even if it doesn't look like there's anything left to clean. Better safe than sorry. 

Dry Your Grinder Thoroughly

Last but not least, you want to dry your grinder. Once you've removed every piece of gunk, take a towel to your grinder and hand dry. This will also act as the final once-over for any remaining residue. Then, leave your grinder to dry on a towel (paper towels work) and let each piece airdry individually for a few hours. It's essential to ensure your grinder is dry before using it again, or else the likelihood of mold buildup is much higher. Put your grinder back together when it's completely dry, and you're good to go!