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How to Clean a Grinder: Save the Kief

Is your grinder sticking? Learn how to clean a grinder so it will stop clogging.

Is your grinder becoming sticky from resin? It’s frustrating to attempt to grind your weed with a clogged and dirty grinder. So today we’re discussing how to clean a weed grinder.

You’ll be able to get a fine grind, save the kief, and enjoy smoking your joint.

Key Takeaways

  • Clean your grinder regularly to prevent mold, bacteria, and improve grinding efficiency.
  • Lightly clean after each use, and deep clean weekly if you smoke daily or monthly if less frequent.
  • Different grinder types require different cleaning methods: freezing for plastic, boiling water or isopropyl alcohol for metal, and disassembling and brushing for automatic grinders.
  • Reuse collected kief by adding it to cannabis bowls, joints, or turning it into hash.

How Often to Clean a Grinder

Marijuana is an organic material and so eventually it will develop mold, bacteria, and rot. You could become ill from smoking rotten weed. In addition, a clean grinder will do a better job grinding your weed and will also last much longer.

If you smoke daily, you should deep clean your grinder every week. Otherwise, it’s fine to deep clean your grinder every month or even every other month depending on how often you use it.

It is beneficial to give your grinder a light cleaning after every use.

Cleaning Different Types of Grinders

While browsing for a grinder, you will discover that there are several different types such as the wheel grinder for you to choose from. Some types of grinders will be easier for you to clean and maintain than others.

Plastic or Acrylic Grinders

Plastic, or acrylic grinders, are inexpensive to purchase and usually have only two pieces. The inside walls quickly become sticky with resin causing the grinder to need routine cleaning. However, most solvent-based cleaning solutions will damage the plastic making cleaning the grinder tricky.

You will need to clean the grinder using a cleaning method such as freezing it.

Metal Grinders

Metal grinder with weed on dark background

Metal grinders are usually multi-chambered and may include a kief screen catcher. Metal grinders don’t get dirty as easily as plastic or acrylic grinders. However, it’s still best to clean them regularly so they will continue to grate your weed evenly.

You can easily clean metal grinders by using boiling water or soaking it in isopropyl alcohol.

Automatic Grinders

Automatic grinders are useful when they work, as they will automatically calculate the speed, power, and direction to grind the herb. However, the resin will build up, causing your automatic grinder to get stuck.

To clean it, you will need to unplug and disassemble the grinder. Then use a soft brush to remove as much of the herb as possible. After sweeping the weed away, reassemble your grinder.

Multi-Chambered Grinders

Multi-chambered grinders have several different chambers. The top chamber is where you put and grind the herb. The herb falls into a second chamber that has a fine screen allowing the kief to fall through into a kief catcher.

To clean the multi-chambered grinder, you will need to take it apart and remove all the unused weed. Soak the grinder in isopropyl alcohol before rinsing, drying, and reassembling it.

How to Clean a Grinder After Use

It is best to clean your grinder after every use. This will help you maintain your grinder, keep the organic material inside from rotting, and make it easier to deep clean later. Here we will share the best way to clean your grinder.

  • Time: 10 minutes + drying time
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • A soft brush such as a toothbrush
  • Paper plate
  • Soap
  • Towel

1. Take Grinder Apart

Take your grinder apart so that you can clean each component. Use a soft brush like a toothbrush to brush away any leftover material onto a paper plate. Save this material for future use.

2. Wash Grinder

Use dish soap and water to wash your grinder. You can use the toothbrush to help scrub between the teeth of the grinder.

3. Rinse and Dry Grinder

Rinse your grinder thoroughly under running water to make sure that all the soapy residue has been removed. Lay your grinder out on a dish towel to air dry before reassembling it.

How to Deep Clean a Grinder

Cleaning a grinder can be done in several ways. You can freeze the grinder and then pick out the kief with a toothpick or brush, boil it in milk, scrub it with soap and water, or soak the grinder in isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to consider what type of grinder you have before picking the cleaning method as plastic grinders may be damaged if soaked in isopropyl alcohol.

In the Freezer

Using the freezing method to properly clean your grinder can be difficult. The freezer will harden the kief and make it brittle. However, it quickly thaws and becomes sticky again.

The advantage is that this method will allow you to remove any stuck kief so that you can use it in the future.

  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • A coin that fits in the grinder with room to spare
  • Freezer
  • Plate – preferably metal or glass
  • Aluminum foil
  • Toothpick

1. Open Grinder

Open your grinder and place a coin in the middle of it. The coin should not only fit in the grinder but there should also be enough space for it to move around. Close your grinder with the coin inside.

2. Freeze Grinder

Put your grinder into your freezer and let it freeze for at least 20-30 minutes. The goal is for the trichomes to fall off of the surface they’re stuck on.

3. Shake Grinder

After you’ve waited for 20-30 minutes, remove your grinder from the freezer and shake it vigorously. The coin will bounce around the inside of the grinder knocking the stuck weed off of the sides of your grinder.

Shake for at least 30 seconds.

4. Open Grinder

Open the grinder and pour the contents onto a plate. You need to use a non-porous plate such as metal or glass to catch the kief so that you don’t lose any of it. Otherwise, cover your plate with aluminum foil.

You may need to gently hit the grinder on the plate to help loosen any stuck herb. Finish by using a toothpick to scrape off any kief that’s still inside the grinder.

With Milk

Believe it or not, you can boil your grinder in milk. The milk’s fat will help break down and absorb the THC. The milk can be retained and used on cereal or in hot chocolate.

However, only use this method with a metal grinder.

  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

What You’ll Need

  • Double boiler or two pots of different sizes so that one will fit inside the other
  • Whole milk
  • Thermometer
  • Dish soap
  • Towel

1. Take Grinder Apart

Take your grinder apart so that you can clean each piece separately.

2. Make a Double Boiler

Add some water to the larger pot or the bottom of your double boiler. Add milk to the smaller pot or the top of your double boiler until the pot is about half full.

3. Add Grinder

Place your grinder in the smaller pot and immerse the pieces in the milk.

4. Heat Milk

Place your double boiler on the burner. Turn the heat onto medium or medium-high heat and place the thermometer into the milk.

Do not allow the milk to rise above 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Simmer

Let the grinder simmer in the milk for 1-2 hours making sure that it doesn’t boil. Keep an eye on the temperature as you don’t want the temperature to rise above 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The THC will be absorbed into the milk during this time.

6. Remove the Grinder

Remove the pieces of the grinder from the milk. Make sure you save the milk for use. You can use the milk on your cereal or in hot chocolate.

7. Wash Grinder

Wash your grinder in soapy water to remove the milky residue and any organic material left on the grinder.

8. Rinse and Dry

Rinse your grinder thoroughly and lay it on a clean dish towel to dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before reassembling it.

With Soap and Water

Another option is to use dish soap and hot water to clean a dirty and sticky grinder without alcohol.

  • Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • A long, pointed object such as tweezers, a needle, or a straightened paper clip
  • Non-porous dish
  • Foil (if you don’t have a non-porous dish)
  • Soft brush such as a toothbrush
  • Towel

1. Take Grinder Apart

Take your grinder apart and lay the parts down in front of you.

2. Remove Kief

Use your pointed object to carefully knock the kief off of the pieces of the grinder and onto a non-porous dish such as a metal or glass dish. If you don’t have one, you can put a piece of foil over your dish.

Keep working until you’ve removed as much of the kief as you can from each part of the grinder.

3. Wash Grinder

Wash your grinder using hot water and dish soap. Scrub each piece of the grinder with the toothbrush and soapy hot water until it’s fully clean.

4. Rinse and Dry

Rinse the grinder parts under running hot water and lay the pieces on a towel to dry. Wait until the parts are completely dry before reassembling your grinder.

With Isopropyl Alcohol

Soaking a clogged metal grinder in isopropyl alcohol is an excellent way to clean a metal grinder. However, you will need to use a different cleaning method for plastic or acrylic grinders as the isopropyl alcohol may damage them.

  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Beginner

What You’ll Need

  • Non-porous dish made from materials such as glass or metal
  • Foil (if you don’t have a non-porous dish)
  • A pointed object such as a needle, tweezers, or a straightened paperclip
  • Glass jar or bowl
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Soft brush or toothbrush

1. Take Grinder Apart

Disassemble your grinder and lay the parts in front of you.

2. Remove Kief

Use a pointed object or clean soft brush to remove as much of the kief from the different parts of your grinder as possible. Brush the kief onto your non-porous dish. If you don’t have a non-porous dish, you can cover your dish with a piece of foil.

Keep working until you’ve removed as much of the kief as possible.

3. Soak Grinder

Place the various parts of your grinder into a glass jar or bowl. Pour isopropyl alcohol over the grinder until the pieces are fully immersed. Allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes. Periodically swish the bowl around to help dislodge any material stuck to the parts.

4. Scrub Grinder

Pour off the alcohol. Pick up each grinder part in turn and scrub the piece with the soft brush to remove all of the organic material from the piece. Keep scrubbing until all the pieces are clean.

5. Rinse and Dry Grinder

Rinse the grinder under hot water to make sure that all of the organic material and alcohol have been removed. Lay the grinder on a kitchen towel to dry. Make sure that it’s completely dry before reassembling it.

Grinder Maintenance Tips

Here are some tips to help your grinder work smoothly:

  • Apply oil to the grinder to help it turn more smoothly.
  • Keep it clean to prevent it from sticking and clogging.
  • Don’t overfill your grinder.
  • Grind upside down for a finer grind.

How to Reuse Kief

There are several ways you can use the kief that your grinder has retained.

  • Sprinkle the kief into a bowl of cannabis to improve the potency.
  • Add some of the kief to a joint.
  • Another option is to turn the kief into hash by collecting the kief and turning it into bricks.


Can I Clean My Grinder With Hot Water?

Yes, you can. Simply take your grinder apart and put the pieces in a bowl filled with hot water. Soak your grinder in the hot water for a few minutes. Next, use a stiff-bristled brush and dish soap to scrub the residue off of your grinder.

Rinse your grinder thoroughly after washing the pieces. Make sure the pieces are completely dry before reassembling your grinder.

Can Vinegar Clean a Grinder?

Yes, vinegar can clean a grinder. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to a cup of water to create your cleaning solution.

Is It Safe to Boil Your Grinder?

Yes, it is safe to boil your grinder. Take your grinder apart and put the pieces into a small pot. Add enough water to cover the parts and bring the water to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Clean with a stiff-bristled brush and let the parts air dry before reassembling your grinder.

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About the Author

Sara Dennis

Sara Dennis is a coffee-loving freelance writer, homeschool blogger, and mom of six kids. In her free time, Sara loves reading books and researching more efficient and effective ways to keep a clean house, homeschool her children, and blog better while making a home for her large family.