🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur
Creating the ideal environment for Ice Water Extraction requires thoughtfulness and planning. A well-designed Bubble Hash Wash Room makes the process smooth and efficient for the extractor while preserving the most valued qualities of cannabis trichomes. As the saying goes, most of our success is made in the preparation.
The intention put into designing your extraction space will shine through in your final product. With the right equipment in the right environment, ice water extraction can feel less like a chore and more like a labor of love. After all, working with our favorite plant should be an enjoyable experience.
One of the most important factors in designing a bubble hash washing room is temperature. Washing bubble hash is best done in cold temperatures. Not only the water that’s used during the actual ice water extraction, but the ambient air in the room and all tools that come into contact with the hash. Even temperatures that may seem chilly to us might still be too warm for the preservation and workability of the delicate trichome heads and the volatile terpenes therein. As a general rule, the colder the better!
Another important factor to consider is physical workflow and the individual tasks that take place within the lab. The room should be designed in a way that minimizes excess movements back and forth for the extractor. Think of each functional block of the process as a station (e.g. sieving before drying), and lay out the room in stations. The cannabis material moves from one station to the next, until the process is complete.
Cleanliness can’t be overlooked either. Dust and dirt particles, hair, and fibers can easily make their way into cannabis concentrates if regular thorough wipe downs and periodic deep cleanings of the wash room aren’t part of the routine. The types of surface areas you work on, as well as the tidiness and organization of the room, will work either for or against you. When designing your solventless work room, keep cleanliness top of mind.
Since our method of extraction involves a lot of ice and a lot of water, good drainage is also a benefit in the room. Installing a drain in the middle of your workspace is ideal if you’re building it from the ground up.
A couple notes about safety are worth mentioning as well. Keep electrical outlets (the more the better!) and appliances in locations where the risk of water exposure is minimal. Avoid leaving things lying around that might be tripping hazards. And when it comes to draining water from your Bubble Hash Wash Bags during extraction, try to minimize strain on your neck and back (more on this later).
Think of a commercial kitchen as a good comparison for your Bubble Hash Washing Room in terms of cleanliness, organization, spacing, and safety.
Finally, try not to cram your equipment too closely together within the room. As individual pieces of equipment need cleaning and maintenance, it’s best to leave enough space around each item so that it can be easily accessed without having to move other pieces of equipment around.
What Processes Take Place in the Bubble Hash Wash Room?
The goal in designing and building a Bubble Hash Wash Room is to create a cold, clean, safe, and functional environment to:
- Freeze cannabis material (optional for Fresh Frozen Material)
- Extract Bubble Hash via Ice Water Extraction Method
- Dry Bubble Hash
- Press Bubble Hash (optional for producing Hash Rosin)
How about cultivation? While it’s possible to keep a self-contained grow tent in your Bubble Hash Wash Room, there are a couple drawbacks to blending your grow space and extraction space. The first is heat. Grow lights emit heat, and while the impact of this extra bit of heat may not be a dealbreaker, it is a factor to consider.
Another factor is the presence of contaminants that are common in a grow space, like dirt and dust. Although most grow tents will be running a carbon filter to stop a lot of these particles from getting blown out of the tent, the intake and exhaust will create a significant air current. If there’s any existing dust in the space, exhaust fans can send it airborne and it could end up in your cannabis concentrates.
If you must keep a grow tent in your Bubble Hash Washing Room, route the exhaust system so that it blows out of the room. Place the grow space at the far end of the room near the entrance/exit and away from the actual extraction and processing areas.
When it comes to harvesting and potentially trimming/drying the plants, these processes are best done elsewhere.
When setting up and arranging the various stations of the Wash Room, plan for the cannabis material to enter at one end of the room and complete the extent of its processing and preparation at the other end. In smaller operations with less output this linear movement of material becomes less important, but it’s still a worthwhile factor to consider.
You’ll benefit by avoiding the switching costs of moving back and forth across the room, or from one functional task to the next, while you’re in the middle extracting. So the process should flow from one station to the next throughout the room.
The individual stations for each step of the extraction process include:
- Freezer for Fresh Frozen material
- Reverse Osmosis water supply with Sink and Sprayer
- Ice machine
- Washing Machine or Hand-Stirring area
- Hash Extraction station (Bubble Hash Wash Bag area)
- Hash collection space
- Hash drying station
- Rosin Press area
Other components of the Bubble Hash Washing Room include:
- Stainless steel countertops and benches
- Air conditioning unit and/or commercial walk-in cooler or freezer
- Exhaust system with carbon filter (if odor control is an issue)
- LED lighting (less heat output than traditional bulbs)
Now let’s elaborate a bit on each of the functional areas of the Bubble Hash Washing Room.
If creating Live Rosin is your ultimate goal, you’ll need to start with Fresh Frozen cannabis material. Even if your final product is bubble hash, using Fresh Frozen as starting material can make a big difference in quality and terpene preservation.
Cannabis should be harvested quickly and immediately vacuum sealed in plastic bags to remove oxygen and eliminate risk of freezer burn. Condensation will deteriorate our product, so it should be avoided however possible.
For the freezer itself, an industrial/scientific freezers are ideal, as they're capable of reaching subzero temperatures. The temperatures should be set anywhere between -4 and -40 degrees Fahrenheit. This environment preserves the precious qualities of the living plant, including its taste, aroma, and therapeutic effects.
If you don’t have access to an industrial freezer, then use the best you have. Keep the air inside the freezer as dry as possible. Also, bear in mind there will be greater terpene and cannabinoid degradation at temperatures over -4 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant material will be adequately frozen and ready for the next step in about 24-36 hours.
Reverse Osmosis Water Supply with Sink and Sprayer
Using Reverse Osmosis (RO) water is a huge advantage in washing bubble hash. RO water is pure and clean and free of contaminants that can negatively affect the taste and quality of your hash.
RO systems are sold with reservoir tanks of various sizes. OptiPure is a highly recommended manufacturer that makes quality systems that include up to 175 gallon reservoir tanks. When installing the RO water filters under your stainless steel sinks, you can also install a sprayer, which is very useful in the actual washing process. The system can also feed into your ice machine, so that you have the highest quality of a constant supply of ice to work with.
Stainless steel ice makers with large storage bins are ideal, like the Manitowoc brand. The storage bins should be cleaned out regularly as well, as these are areas well-known to harbor bacteria and potentially collect other contaminants, even in clean environments. Drainage from the ice machine should be factored into its position within the room.
Ice Water Extraction Station
With clean ice and clean water in good supply, we can think about our actual Ice Water Extraction process. You’ll need several work buckets in which the cannabis material, ice, and water are mixed together. Hand washing with a stainless steel paddle in stainless steel buckets is ideal. Insulators to keep around the work buckets are an excellent addition to the process.
Some extractors prefer to use machines for the washing process. There are several considerations in the hand washing vs machine washing discussion, which we outlined for your reference. If using a washing machine, be sure to install a smooth drainage tube, as a ribbed tube with catch and keep valuable trichomes.
Design the extraction station with the supplies needed for the entire washing process, which you can read about in detail in our guide on How To Wash Bubble Hash.
Draining water from your Bubble Hash Wash Bags can be a tedious process. Consider using Wash Bags that include grommets, through which you can install a hanging system to support the weight of the bags as the water drains through one into the others. In addition to grommets there are other qualities you should look for in a set of Bubble Hash Wash Bags. Your choice of Wash Bags will impact not only the quality of your hash but the efficiency of the process.
If you’re fully committed to the coldest environment possible, you can install a walk-in cooler or freezer inside your Wash Room, inside which you can conduct the actual extraction and collection process. Remember, the colder the better! The ambient air, all the tools, your hands, etc. should all be cold in order to make the resin easier to work with. The cold temperatures also minimize terpene loss and cannabinoid conversion and degradation.
If you’re washing inside the room without a walk-in cooler, remember to keep the air conditioning on full blast throughout the process! You can use a digital thermometer to ensure all surfaces that come into contact with the hash are nice and cold.
Bubble Hash Drying Station
Freshly extracted bubble hash will be wet, and it must be properly dried to avoid mold/mildew growth, which will ruin your cannabis concentrate. There are a couple different ways to dry your fresh bubble hash. One way involves freezing the fresh hash for a day or two and then sieving it over parchment paper, to air dry for a week or so. In this case, you’ll need flat sheets of cardboard lined with parchment paper to dry the hash. A temperature and humidity controlled wine cooler is a nice supplement to the air drying option. You can sieve the hash on top of the parchment and cardboard and place that into the wine cooler to dry.
The best option, however, is a freeze dryer. Freeze dryers will fully dry the hash in less than a day and also eliminate the need to sieve the hash first. If you have the budget for a Harvest Right brand freeze dryer, it’s an investment you won’t regret.
Rosin Press Station
Now the bubble hash has been extracted, collected, and dried. It’s time to send it over to the press! The process for extracting hash rosin is outlined in our Guide To Pressing Bubble Hash Rosin, which also includes a list of materials and equipment needed at this station.
Hash rosin is the pinnacle of the solventless cannabis concentrate experience, and with a well-designed room in which to create it, you can keep the finest right at your fingertips.
With the extractions complete it’s time to take off your gloves, step outside the room to warm up a bit, and enjoy a nice fat dab!
A well-built and thoughtfully-designed Bubble Hash Wash Room is the best environment in which the solventless extractor can practice their craft. Hash Washing Rooms keep temperatures cold for preservation and workability of the cannabis resin, give the extractor a safe and clean space in which to operate, and feature high quality equipment and supplies.
In time, your Bubble Hash Wash Room may just become your favorite place to be, even if it is too cold for comfort!
What’s your favorite feature of your Bubble Hash Wash Room? Let us know in the comments!