I’ve touched on dry herb vaporizer reviews here at Vapegrl.com a few times in the past. Until now, though, I haven’t spent much time discussing the things that you can do to have a better experience with a vaporizer. I hope to change that in the near future, and I’m going to begin by giving you some quick tips for cleaning your dry herb grinder.
Regardless of what your favorite herb is, using an herb grinder is a major part of your life if you vape because getting the herb particles as small and uniform as possible is the best way to ensure that you use your material completely – all the way through to the center of your vaporizer’s oven. Herbs leave sticky resins behind, though, and those resins eventually collect and plug the holes of your grinder.
Do you have a well-used grinder that’s impossible to turn? Are you constantly using a pick to unplug the holes because the herbs aren’t falling through to the bottom of your grinder? That’s what we’re going to fix today. My dry herb grinder cleaning method will leave you with a grinder that’s just like new – and it won’t waste any of the good stuff stuck in your grinder.
In this article, I’m going to assume that you’re using an all-metal grinder. This method unfortunately won’t work with a plastic grinder or a grinder that has a non-stick coating.
Dry Herb Grinder Cleaning: What You’ll Need
- Oven bag (optional)
- Mason jar
- High-proof drinkable alcohol such as Everclear
- Nut milk bag or coffee filter
- Small funnel
- Glass bottle with dropper
NOTE: If you can’t get Everclear or a similar high-proof alcohol where you live, you can use vodka instead. Soak the grinder for an additional day to ensure that you’ve drawn the compounds fully out of your flowers.
Decarboxylation Is the Key to Waste-Free Grinder Cleaning
Here’s the point of my grinder cleaning method. You have all of these potent resins stuck in the teeth and grooves of your grinder. It’s good material, and you don’t want to waste it – so we’re going to create a tincture and use alcohol to draw the beneficial compounds out of that material. The thing is, though, that you need to use heat to activate those compounds. If you don’t, the tincture will have no effect. Heat activates the compounds by a process called decarboxylation. When you vape or smoke, the heat decarboxylates your flowers instantly. When you’re consuming your herbs orally, though, you need to decarboxylate the herbs the slow way.
So, here’s a summary of what we’re going to do:
- We’re going to use heat to decarboxylate the material stuck to your grinder.
- We’re going to use alcohol to draw the beneficial compounds out of the material, leaving you with a tincture that you can consume orally.
- We’re going to rinse away the no-longer-sticky material from your grinder, leaving you with a grinder that’s just as good as new.
NOTE: If you don’t want to go through all of this work, you can also clean any dry herb grinder by soaking it in rubbing alcohol for a day. After the soak, you can rinse away the herb particles in your sink. Cleaning your grinder that way is much faster, but it will involve waste because you’ll have to discard both the rubbing alcohol and the herb particles.
Decarboxylate the Material in Your Grinder
- Preheat your oven to 240 degrees F.
- Take your grinder apart. If there’s a significant amount of material in the grinder, you can scrape some of it away and store it separately if you like. Otherwise, continue.
- Remove any plastic components. Some grinders, for example, have plastic rings for easier turning; you’ll need to set those aside. Silicone is oven safe.
- Place your grinder in an oven bag and tie the bag closed. You can skip this step if you don’t mind the smell of your herbs permeating your house; just be aware that decarboxylation is very smelly.
- Put the grinder in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes. You’ll know that the decarboxylation process is complete because any green material stuck to your grinder will have become slightly brown. You’ll also smell the material – even through the oven bag. The bag will minimize the smell, but it won’t eliminate it completely.
- Allow the contents of the bag to cool back down to room temperature.
Cleaning Your Herb Grinder and Making a Tincture
- Put your grinder in a mason jar.
- Add alcohol to cover the grinder completely.
- Close the mason jar and wait for 24 hours.
- Remove the grinder from the mason jar after a 24-hour soak. Rinse the parts of the grinder in your sink. Since the alcohol has drawn the active compounds out, the herbs are no longer sticky. They’ll rinse away easily. Don’t use the grinder until it is completely dry.
- Pour the alcohol from the mason jar into a bottle using a nut milk bag or coffee filter and small funnel. You now have a clean grinder and an herb tincture!
Consuming Your Herb Tincture Safely
When you consume your herbs orally rather than vaping them, you’ll find that the effects come on more slowly and last longer. It may take up to two hours before you feel anything, and it may be several additional hours before the effect subsides. If you take too much of your tincture too quickly, then, the effects may build to a point at which you’re no longer comfortable. Until you gauge the effects of your tincture, take no more than a single dropper at a time and wait at least two hours before taking more.
Don’t feel anything from your tincture? When you use grinder cleaning as an opportunity to make an herb tincture, the result will vary greatly depending on what’s in your grinder. If you have a very weak tincture, leave the bottle open until some of the alcohol evaporates.
To take your tincture, hold a dropper under your tongue for several seconds before swallowing it. If the alcohol burns your mouth, you can either swallow it directly or mix a little water into your tincture before consuming it. You’ll get the same effects either way, but holding the tincture under your tongue will make the effects come on more quickly.