🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
Hash makers collect loose resin multiple times, and from multiple wash bags, throughout the course of washing a single batch of cannabis material. The loose resin, or bubble hash, is gathered throughout the process in increments rather than collected in aggregate at the very end. This allows hash makers to differentiate between resin collected from the first wash all the way to the last wash, and from each individual sieving bag.
The two primary phases of washing hash are mixing/agitation, and sieving. Washing machines automate the process of mixing ice water and cannabis together, while hand washing allows for more control and finesse. Every time a batch of cannabis is mixed together, or “washed”, it releases trichome heads which can be filtered out of the mixture using a series of sieves known as bubble wash bags. Each bubble wash bag is differentiated by the pore size of the sieve it contains, measured in microns.
Loose resin can be classified by the specific wash and sieving bag it was pulled from. For example, Second Wash 90u denotes resin that was pulled from the second round of washing and from the 90 micron sieving bag . “u” or "um" is often used as an abbreviation for micron.
That said, hash makers don’t don’t always keep each pull of loose resin completely separate. For example, mixing the 73, 90, and 120u together all from the second wash would be indicated as Second Wash 73-120u. And not all resin is worth keeping either. Loose resin from the 25, 160 and 190u sieving bags is normally unfit for making temple balls or pressing rosin.
The quality of resin pulled from each sieving bag will vary depending on the strain of cannabis being washed. While the 45, 73, 90u sieving bags tend to yield the highest quality, it really depends on the size of the mature trichome heads that drop from the starting material. And the size of trichome heads varies from strain to strain. Use these microns as guidelines, but not immutable rules.
Let's look at a few examples:
Third Wash 73um - 90um
This indicates loose resin collected from the third time the material is washed, and collected from the 73 and 90 micron bags, then mixed together.
First Wash Mixed Microns
This indicates loose resin collected from the first wash (or technically the second wash, if the first wash was just a rinse and then discarded) that includes the resin from multiple sieving bags. The specific microns in this instance are unknown, but it's safe to assume they are only from the "keeper" bags which are 120-45 microns.
Second Wash Full Spectrum
This indicates resin that's collected from the second wash, and includes everything pulled from the full range of sieving bags (with the exception of the 220u bag, which is used to filter out the bulk of plant contamination).
Micron accuracy in bubble wash bags is key to collecting the best resin. The sieving bags need to be true to their label in micron size, but also consistent in that size across the entire surface. If the nylon filter material warps or stretches, it can lead to variations in micron size from one side of the sieve to the next. This is why it's so important to use high-quality bubble wash bags. Micron accuracy is paramount.
Learn more in Why Is Micron Accuracy Important?
As far as the number of wash is concerned, the very first wash is often so short, just a few seconds, that it is actually used as a way to rinse off the material, removing bugs, dust, etc. The very first wash is just a rinse, and that water is normally discarded. So technically, the second wash is the first one that most hash makers will keep. Therefore, the second wash is really labeled as the first wash, since that 's the first one we actually keep.
Cannabis material often takes four or more washes to release all of its trichomes. As long as the material is still dumping resin, keep washing. Monitor the amount of plant contamination that drops along with the resin, and be gentle with the material. As resin yields gradually decrease after several washes, hash makers use their judgement regarding how much loose resin vs contamination is pulled from each sieving bag. This helps to determine when to discard the cannabis and start again with a new batch of material.
Read more in the article How Many Times Can I Wash Cannabis for Bubble Hash?
Labeling loose resin that's pulled from each bubble wash bag according to the number of wash it came from, and the micron used to sieve it, gives more context to the quality of the hash. Some hash makers keep the washes and microns totally separate and use them for specific purposes (e.g. pressing rosin), or sometimes they will mix several washes and microns together.
Using labeling conventions like wash number and micron gives hash makers an opportunity to organize and utilize each pull of resin in a standardized way. Labeling also gives consumers more insight into the hash that they are consuming, which is a nice benefit for the discerning hash enthusiast.
Keep in mind that the first wash (after the rinse) is not always the best wash. Sometimes the material won't dump the majority of its trichomes until it's been washed several times. Like many things in hash making, it's dependent on the strain you're using. Keeping track of how the starting material performs over the course of multiple washes is key to finding out which wash is going to be the highest quality. The same goes for the resin being pulled from each micron wash bag.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is the first wash the best when making bubble hash?
The very first wash is often used to rinse off the starting material, and that water is normally discarded. The second and third washes are often the best, but it depends on the material.
What is the best quality micron to pull when making bubble hash?
The 45, 73, 90, and 120 micron bags often yield the highest quality loose resin, but it really depends on the strain you're washing.
How many times can you wash the same cannabis material for bubble hash?
Cannabis material should be washed multiple times to make sure you're getting the most from it. 4-5 washes is common, although you can wash more. As long as it's dumping resin with moderate amounts of contaminate, then you're good to keep washing.
Can you mix different washes of bubble hash together?
Yes, there's no problem with mixing different washes of bubble hash together. That said, hash makers often keep them separate and only mix the highest qualities together if they mix at all.
What is the best bubble hash to use for pressing rosin?
Generally, loose resin that comes from the 45, 73, and 90 micron bags is the best to use for pressing rosin. But this depends on the strain you're using.