🇺🇸 Retired veteran, father, rock-climbing expert & rosin connoisseur.
Bubble wash bags are the main tools hash makers use for sieving cannabis trichomes in bubble hash production. After agitating trichome-rich cannabis material together with ice water, hash makers run the mixture through a series of nylon bubble wash bags, consisting of various sizes of filtering screens. Each bubble wash bag collects a different grade of resin, allowing extractors to separate the best from the rest.
As these sieving screens come into constant contact with sticky cannabis resin throughout the process, they undoubtedly pick up some screen-clogging residue along the way. Much of this resin won’t automatically release after extraction is complete, so cleaning is essential in order to keep the sieves fully functional.
Why Is It Important to Clean Bubble Wash Bags?
Failure to consistently clean bubble wash bags results in dramatically reduced performance by way of clogged screens. As sticky cannabis resin coats each individual strand of nylon material which comprises the filter screens, the size in the holes of the filters (measured in microns) gets smaller. And it doesn’t happen consistently across the area of the screen, either. That means the filter will capture only smaller trichomes in one part, and larger trichomes in another.
This inconsistency in microns does not lend itself to making premium bubble hash.
Resin that’s left to coat bubble wash bags between uses can also attract fresh resin with each hash run, leading to reduced yields.
Additionally, resin that’s left stuck to bubble wash bags between uses can harbor contaminants like dirt and microbes. Any contaminants that are present on the bubble wash bags can potentially make their way into the final product.
Finally, resin that’s left to accumulate onto bubble wash bags makes handling the bags more difficult. Dirty nylon will readily stick together, which is both inefficient and frustrating to deal with.
How Often Do You Need to Clean Bubble Wash Bags?
Early and often! As in, right after you finish the ice water extraction process, and after each day of use. Don’t let the bags dry out before cleaning, as dry resin is much more difficult to remove from the bags.
What Tools Do You Need to Clean Bubble Wash Bags?
A high pressure stream of clean, cold water and a non-abrasive brush are all you really need to clean bubble wash bags. ISO alcohol is okay for stubborn resin, but only use if absolutely needed.
That said, using some sort of stand to keep the bags propped up and open while cleaning can be very helpful. Some sort of frame over which to support the bags during cleaning will maintain great structure that makes cleaning the nylon much easier and more effective.
Do not use detergents or warm water to clean the bubble wash bags. Just cold water and a brush. And ISO alcohol is necessary.
How To Set up a Bubble Wash Bag Cleaning Station
The ideal cleaning station will include an area for spraying the bags with cold water, a system for draining the water, and a rack on which to dry the bags afterwards. Some sort of stand or structure to hold the bags while you’re rinsing and scrubbing makes the job a lot easier. A repurposed and deconstructed Brute trash can works great.
Select a Brute trash can that’s the same size as your bubble wash bags. Then, using a reciprocating saw, remove rectangular sections up and down the sides of the container. Imagine cutting large windows into the sides of the trash can, leaving just four panels of plastic to maintain the overall shape and structure of the container.
Then, remove a large hole in the bottom of the trash can, so just the edge of the trash can is still in tact.
Next, using a large Step Drill Bit, punch holes throughout the bottom edge of the trash can, leaving just enough plastic to support the bottom of the container. The idea is to remove as much of the plastic from the trash can as possible, while still allowing it to maintain its form.
Also pickup a large size Uline utility tray.
After the trash can is fully modified, flip it upside down on top of the utility tray. Then, place your first bubble wash bag inside out over the trash can. One at a time, spray each bag from top to bottom over the modified trash can. Use the non-abrasive scrubber brush as needed.
While we recommend washing with cold, high pressurized water, for tougher stains, a soak in ISO and then a rinse will do.
If the resin is heavily caked-on and impossible to remove with just a high-pressure stream of cold water, we recommend 99% iso and soaking it for a 12-24hrs hours before rinsing again thoroughly with pressurized cold water.
Place a stainless steel hook rack next to the cleaning station for hanging and drying the bags.
Be sure to thoroughly dry the bags before storing! Storing bubble hash bags that contain even a little bit of moisture is an invitation for mold and microbial growth. Moldy bags are no good and should be permanently retired.
Cleaning bubble wash bags is a necessary step in the ice water extraction process. While even top-quality bubble wash bags aren’t designed to last an entire lifetime of making hash, they will stand the test of time if properly cleaned and maintained.
Remember to use only cold water and don't use any detergents for cleaning bubble wash bags. Stay away from warm water, as it’s liable to smear the resin onto the nylon and make it even more difficult to remove.
It's okay to use ISO, just be sure to rinse thoroughly and use only when needed to remove tougher resin stains.
Clean bubble wash bags after each use, while they’re still wet. Letting the resin dry before cleaning makes it a lot more difficult to remove.
What’s your method for cleaning bubble wash bags? Let us know in the comments!
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