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Regularly cleaning your marijuana grinder will help ensure that your piece stays clean, that the kief is properly collected at the bottom, and that the different layers don't stick to each other. On top of keeping your grinder squeaky clean, a regular cleaning can also dislodge flower from the teeth and screen, giving you a little extra treat to throw into your bowl.
There are also some lesser health known advantages to keeping your grinder clean. A dirty grinder can get stuck, and loosening it can cause the teeth to grind against each other, creating invisible metal shavings that can get mixed into your ground herb - and nobody likes smoking metal. If you keep old flower in a grinder long enough, it can even begin to accumulate bacteria which is harmful to your lungs.
This tutorial will cover the basics of cleaning any grinder, regardless of the material or number or chambers. The biggest difference between grinders will be the inclusion (or lack thereof) of a kief screen, and whether it's made out of acrylic or metal. The general process, however, will always be the same.
Don't know how often to clean your grinder? It all depends on how much you smoke. There is no dead-set timeline as to when you should be cleaning out your cannabis grinder, but there are a few warning signs. The first flag that it's time for a cleaning will be when you realize your kief catcher is no longer working as well as it did when the grinder was new. Over time, your screen can get clogged with ground up weed, and this is the first sign that your new grinder is getting some good use.
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Before you start cleaning out your grinder, you're going to want to collect your sweet, powdery kief so you have something to smoke during the process. If you have a three or four piece grinder, keep it together and place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, this will help loosen the ground flower from the teeth and other metal parts. After some time, take the grinder out of the freezer, and (while still put together) give it a few taps on a table to loosen the rest of the kief inside. Tap every piece onto the paper plate so you can collect all of the flower that falls out.
Now it's time to give it a little more of a deep clean. With all of the grinder pieces taken apart, scrape the inside of the entire grinder (except for the screen) with the toothpick or Picker Packer Poker. This process should be done on top of your paper plate to keep growing your kief pile. Make sure you pay extra attention to any surfaces that are prone to friction - these should be free of any plant matter.
The screen is the most delicate, and one of the most important parts of your grinder. Once the rest of your piece has been scraped and emptied of any flower, it's time to take your brand new toothbrush and get a little more gentle. Since the screen can easily tear or bend, it's best to be less aggressive with this step. Rub the top of the screen with the toothbrush, making a circular motion from the middle to the outside. After a little while, the toothbrush will push all of the clogged kief from the screen onto the paper plate you are cleaning it on. Brush and brush until you have another nice pile on our plate, and when you can see through the screen more clearly.
With your grinder still unassembled, it's time to move on to the final soak. Take your glass container, and fill it with enough rubbing alcohol so that your grinder can be fully submerged. The unassembled grinder should remain fully submerged for at least 20 minutes. If you're cleaning an acrylic grinder and not a metal one, then make sure to soak it in a solution of hot water and dish detergent instead.
After the bath, take your grinder out and swab it thoroughly with the Q-tips. If one soak did not completely dislodge all of the plant matter, then throw it back into a fresh bath and try again - if your grinder is especially old, it may take a few soaks.
Once clean, run your grinder under running water and place it on a paper towel to air dry. A hairdryer is recommended at this point so that too much water does not remain in the grinder; a paper towel can be used to hand dry it a bit as well.
Now get out there and get happy!