Pretty much all of us are fully aware of the importance of keeping our pipe or dry herb vaporizer clean on a regular basis. After all, if we never cleaned it, we’d be punished with poor-tasting flower and harshness due to inhaling all of that burnt gunk. But, when was the last time you cleaned your metal grinder? As you’re about to find out, it’s just as important of a task.
Is Cleaning a Metal Grinder Really That Important?
Short answer: YES, it really is that important. Think about it – each time you grind up your dry herb, trace amounts of it get stuck to the inside of the grinder. This includes the sticky resin that coats the buds, creating a layer of gunk. Now, we’re assuming that you spend a good deal of money on premium flower, which is fresh and full of tasty flavor. So, why would you want to mix that beautiful, fresh flower with old, crusty flower that’s been hanging out for months in the nooks and crannies of your metal grinder?
Not only that, but old flower becomes harsher as it ages, meaning that the residue of your old flower in your grinder can be a pain to inhale – literally. You might end up coughing more, or just feel generally irritated when you go in for a hit.
Plus, a metal grinder that’s really gunked up just isn’t going to do its job. The metal “spikes” of your grinder are designed to cut through that fibrous flower, and if each of them is covered in a layer of residue, it’s not going to break apart the flower as easily. This can mean it takes more effort to grind it in the elbow grease department, or simply that you never get as good of a grind as you were hoping to.
Finally, with a dirty grinder, there’s always more of a risk of mold and bacteria developing. And, naturally, none of us want to be inhaling any of that. So, if there is one reason to commit to a frequent cleaning process, it’s to avoid actually getting sick.
Steps to Cleaning Your Grinder
Now, let’s discuss the process of cleaning your grinder. But, before doing so, we gotta quickly talk about how often you should follow these steps –that would be every 3-4 months. This is definitely less frequent than cleaning your pipe or vaping device, and there is a reason for that. Your pipe or vaping device is heating the flower, and this produces more of an unwanted residue than grinding flower raw.
Now, when we say to clean your grinder every 3-4 months, we don’t mean a quick rinse. A deep cleaning is necessary if you want to get your grinder back in good shape. So, what do you need?
For a metal grinder, the best cleaning material is isopropyl alcohol – more specifically, isopropyl alcohol that’s above 91%. This will disinfect the grinder while lifting away residue that’s stuck to the surface.
Note: NEVER use any commercial cleaning products or bleach on your grinder. Not only will this remove the anodized coating of the grinder that prevents it from getting scratched up, but if some trace leftover bleach or window cleaner gets mixed in with your flower, that’s bad news for your respiratory system.
Below are the following steps to properly cleaning your grinder.
Step #1: First, take apart your grinder. This can look different for everyone since there are 2-compartment grinders, 3-compartment grinders, 4-compartment grinders and even 5-compartment grinders. Of course, if there’s dry herb in the grinder at the time, remove it, and if there’s kief in there, pour that out onto a small plate or into a small bowl.
Step #2: Now, you’ll want to do the initial stage of removing surface residue. Use a toothpick to break up sticky gunk that’s easy to get at, and use a small brush like a toothbrush to loosen up whatever residue you’re dealing with.
Step #3: Submerge all of the grinder components in isopropyl alcohol for at least 30 minutes, but preferably at least 2 hours. The longer it’s submerged, the more opportunity the alcohol has to break up any of that residue. After it’s done submerging, inspect it to see if everything is gone. If not, you may need to do another soak for the same length of time.
Step #4: If there’s still leftover residue after a second soak, grab your brush and go to town as need be. Give the grinder a good rinse and let each component air dry before reassembling it, to prevent mold growth. Keep in mind that in rare cases, some residue may be permanently stuck to your grinder.
Keep Your Grinder Clean – It Really Does Make a Difference
A metal grinder is a critical piece of equipment whether you’re vaping your flower, smoking it in a pipe or rolling it into papers. Because of that, you always want to make sure it’s in good condition. Fortunately, as you can see, cleaning your metal grinder isn’t that complicated. In fact, isopropyl alcohol easily does most of the work. So, it’s worth it to invest a couple of hours every few months or so to giving that grinder a deep clean.