Did You Know? – Grinders are your Friend… (Part 2)

In our last newsletter we discussed the importance of using a grinder to break up your herb material, but did you know that when cleaning your grinder you can harvest the remnants inside? We will start by recapping how to clean the grinder.

First, you must take the grinder apart and knock loose any material that may still be inside. You can do this by tapping the pieces of the grinder on a table. Next, place the pieces into a container. We recommend that you do not use plastic or PVC containers for this. (Plastic and PVC have been known to leak toxic chemicals when mixed with rubbing alcohol.) A glass container is your best option. Fill the container with enough rubbing alcohol to cover all pieces of the grinder. Let the parts soak in the alcohol for 5-10 minutes. You can use a cotton swab to scrub away any stubborn residue spots. If you have a pollinator grinder with a screen, you can use a toothbrush or a stiff bristle paintbrush to gently scrub the screen clean. A clean screen allows the pollen to be sifted and fall into the collection tray easily.

Once your grinder is completely clean, you can remove the grinder pieces from the alcohol and place them on a dry towel. Now it’s time to harvest all those grinder remnants. You will notice that the herbal material that has been cleaned off the grinder has accumulated on the bottom of the container. In order to save the material you will need to transport some of the alcohol fluid into a second container. Do not simply try to pour the alcohol out or strain it; the material will fall into the second container or stick to the strainer. We have found that the best method is to siphon off the clean layer of alcohol into a second container and let the rest evaporate. You do not need to siphon out all of the liquid; you can stop when only a thin layer of alcohol on the bottom containing the herbal material remains.

For those unfamiliar with siphoning, here is a basic “how-to” guide. See figure 1.1 for visual steps. (A) Start by filling the tubing/hose with water. (B) Plug both ends once the tubing/hose is full. (C) Place one end of the hose/tubing into the container with the alcohol while keeping the other end plugged. (D) Lower the other end near the second container and once positioned, release your finger from the end to start the siphon flow.

Fig 1.1 – How to siphon liquid from one container to another


* Please act with caution. We do not condone the act of siphoning for any illegal purposes.

After the flow has started, be sure the tubing in the first container is taking the liquid off the top and is not touching the bottom where the material is resting. It is imperative that the second container be lower than the first container for this process to work. The liquid will continue to siphon leaving the moistened herbal remains on the bottom of the first container while most of the used alcohol is drained into the second container.

If you do not have a hose or piece of tubing, you may also use a spray bottle top to empty some of the alcohol. Insert the straw into the first container with alcohol and spray out the alcohol into a second container. This takes much longer, but you will save time by using the “stream” function on your spray nozzle. Note: Be sure to clean the tubing or spray nozzle used thoroughly afterwords, flushing it with warm water.

Any remaining rubbing alcohol in the first container will soon evaporate and what remains after evaporation can be vaporized or ingested in some other way. It is best to wait until the material is completely dry before trying to use it. Be careful, the fine particles cleaned from the grinder are usually very potent, containing high levels of active ingredients.

TIP: We recommend cleaning any herb grinder in this manner before using it for the first time. It is best to clean your grinder regularly to keep it working efficiently. How often it can be cleaned ranges from every few weeks (for a daily user) to every few months (for an occasional user).

TIP: Be sure you always let the pieces of the grinder dry completely before using again. It is best to let the pieces dry separately on a towel rather than assembling them back together while wet.

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