Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Over the course of a grow cycle, whether indoors or outdoors, tiny pieces of debris make their way onto the sticky trichomes of your cannabis flowers. It seems like no matter how hard you try to keep a clean environment, resin grabs and holds contaminants like flies to honey. While it’s much easier to control an indoor environment than the outdoors, some unwanted particles of various compositions undoubtedly dirty your precious resin in any type of grow. This is especially true for outdoor buds, where the elements are relentless along with the dirt, dust, sand, and bugs that are constantly present.
Some common types of contaminants that stick to cannabis flowers include:
- Bugs and Bug Parts
- Bug Excrement
- Dust, Sand, and Dirt
- Pet Hair
- Fungus or other pathogens
So what to do about these contaminants. Well, prevention is always better than cure first and foremost. Check out our article Hash Contaminants and How To Keep Trichomes Clean.
But given the fact that some contaminants will always find their way onto your trichomes, cleaning off your flowers postharvest will greatly reduce the sullied state of resin. The method of cleaning buds involves rinsing off the whole flowers right after harvest, before the resin is processed. You’ll be amazed to see everything that comes off of your flowers during this cleaning process.
It’s much better to rinse and clean the flowers before they’re sent out for Ice Water Extraction, where all the contaminants would otherwise be mixed in with the resin and potentially end up stuck in the sieving bags for collection. Anything we can do to minimize the likelihood that contaminants end up in our loose resin is a win.
How much of your harvest should you wash? It’s best to put all flowers through the rinsing and cleaning process, even if they do not look “dirty” with contaminants. This is especially true for outdoor grows. Wait until you see what’s going to wash off of them. It’s actually pretty shocking!
If you maintain an immaculate indoor growing environment and you don’t see a lot of contaminants while rinsing, then you may be able to get away with not going through this process on the next cycle. That said, better safe than sorry.
What Equipment Do You Need To Clean Buds?
- 5-gallon buckets (x3)
- RO Water (or filtered water if this is not available)
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice and 1/4 cup Baking Soda
What Is the Process of Cleaning Your Freshly-Harvested Buds?
This is an easy process. You’re essentially swirling the flowers around in water to gently release and cleanse away the debris that’s stuck to the resin. Are you losing resin during the process? Technically yes, but the amount is negligible. The gains far outweigh the losses.
1. In bucket 1, mix 1/4 cup Lemon Juice and 1/4 cup Baking Soda with clean water (ideally RO water but filtered water will do as well). Cold water is better.
2. Fill buckets 2 and 3 with the rest of your cold, clean water.
3. Grab a branch (hold by the stem/stalk only, never touch the flowers) and dip it into bucket 1, fully submerging all the trichomes. Gently swirl the branch around in circles. As you swish the flowers through the water, the baking soda and lemon juice help to release any contaminants.
4. Use finesse with the movement through the water. Be sure not to let the flowers knock against the sides or bottom of the bucket.
5. Next, dip the branch into bucket 2, where the clean, pure water will rinse away the lemon juice and baking soda. Use the same motion as you did in bucket 1.
6. Finally, dip the branch in bucket 3, where the last of the contaminants will fall away and the cleaning and rinsing will be complete.
7. Refresh the water and solution in the buckets as needed. As the water gets visibly dirty, it’s time to change it out.
8. Hang the branches upside down to drip dry. Then process as usual.
Note on Rinsing during Ice Water Extraction
If you’re making bubble hash or collecting loose resin for pressing rosin, the last chance to rinse away any contamination is just prior to collection in the sieving bags during Ice Water Extraction. Check out our article How To Use Pressurized Water To Clean Contamination from Bubble Hash.
Thoroughly rinsing the trichomes in your sieving bags is key!
Smoking dirt, hair, and bug parts should not be part of the solventless experience! Maintaining the purity of your cannabis resin is paramount to ensuring a high-quality solventless experience. Whether you're cultivating cannabis indoors or outdoors, contaminants like bugs, dust, pet hair, and more are inevitable intruders onto your precious trichomes. While prevention is the first line of defense against these unwanted particles, post-harvest cleaning minimizes the amount of contamination that can potentially make it through processing and end up in your hash or rosin.
This cleaning process is particularly essential for outdoor grows, where the elements and environmental factors contribute to a higher risk of contamination. Make this a standard part of your cultivation routine, even if your flowers appear relatively clean at first glance.
What do you think about rinsing your buds postharvest? Let us know in the comments!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why should I clean cannabis flowers postharvest?
Cleaning cannabis flowers postharvest is crucial to remove contaminants like bugs, dust, pet hair, and more that can cling to the sticky trichomes. These contaminants can compromise the quality and purity of your resin.
What types of contaminants can stick to cannabis flowers during the grow cycle?
Common contaminants that can stick to cannabis flowers include bugs and bug parts, bug excrement, dust, sand, dirt, pet hair, and even fungus or other pathogens.
Do I need to clean all of my harvested cannabis flowers, even if they don't appear visibly dirty?
Yes, it's advisable to clean all harvested flowers, even if they don't appear dirty. This is especially true for outdoor grows where contaminants are more likely.
What equipment do I need to clean my freshly-harvested buds?
To clean your buds, you'll need 5-gallon buckets (at least three), clean water (ideally RO water or filtered water), and a mixture of 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup baking soda.
Can I skip the cleaning process if I maintain a clean indoor growing environment?
While maintaining a clean indoor environment can reduce the likelihood of contaminants, it's still recommended to go through the cleaning process as a precaution. Better safe than sorry, as the cleaning process minimizes the risk of contaminants ending up in your resin.