Cannabis enthusiast and student of the art of solventless extraction
Compact, portable washing machines like the kind designed for small apartments and RVs are great for washing hash. Although they’re made to wash small loads of laundry, they can also do a great job of mixing together cannabis and ice water for making bubble hash. Especially for extractors running high volumes of material, washing machines are the way to go. Machines automate the mixing process that would otherwise be done by hand, adding efficiency and scalability to your operation.
Ice water extraction, a more technical term for the process of washing hash, comes down to mixing and sieving of cannabis and ice water. A washing machine is the substitute for hand mixing, but other than that, all the same principles apply. Ice water extraction follows the same basic steps whether you’re using a machine or washing by hand.
That said, if you’re familiar with how to wash hash by hand, then integrating a washing machine into your process will be an easy transition. If you’ve never washed hash before, learning how to use a machine to do your mixing right from the start can be an advantage.
Which Washing Machine Should You Buy?
Small washing machines that are advertised to hold 5.5 lbs of clothing are a great starting size for washing machines. These machines, despite their compact size, allow you to wash many ounces of material at a time. Washing machines like these are easy to source on Amazon for around $125 or so.
Make sure the washing machine you select for bubble hash has a gentle cycle option, which minimizes the risk of pulverizing the cannabis material and turning your hash green.
Bonus for clear side walls, to allow you to see inside the machine while it is mixing. That way you can verify that there’s not an overcrowding of ice and/or material, and that a good vortex forms in the water during the mixing cycle.
Most of these machines come standard with a corrugated plastic drainage hose, the kind that has ridges throughout, like an accordion. These corrugated hoses should be replaced with smooth ones.
Replacing the Drainage Hose in Your New Washing Machine
Swapping out corrugated hoses for smooth ones in your washing machines is an easy way to maximize bubble hash yields. Corrugated hoses have tiny ridges that run their entire length, which are essentially a series of mini peaks and valleys along the inside of the hose. These tiny ridges easily capture trichome heads and prevent them from exiting the hose.
Resin that’s stuck inside your drainage hose is resin that’s lost forever. Fortunately, replacing these drainage hoses is straightforward. Learn how in the following guide on How To Change the Drainage Hose in a Bubble Hash Washing Machine.
After you change out the corrugated drainage hose, complete a full cycle with just cold, clean water to flush out the system. Drain all the water.
How To Set Up Your Washing Machine for Washing Bubble Hash
Aside from replacing the corrugated drainage hose, there’s no modification you need to make on the washing machine. Just make sure that when you’re mixing cannabis and ice water, the wash cycle setting is on gentle or delicate.
It’s a good idea to place the washing machine on an elevated surface like a counter or table top, so that when it’s time to drain the water after mixing, you can let gravity do the work. Simply open the drainage valve (which you can install when you change out the drainage hose) and let the water flow out of the machine and into your bubble wash bags.
You can mix cannabis and ice water with a washing machine for about the same length of time you would if you were hand mixing. But these are guidelines, not absolute rules. The first wash is a quick rinse (and you’ll dump that water), then subsequent washes increase by a couple minutes each time. Read more in How Long To Mix Cannabis and Ice Water for Washing Bubble Hash.
Check out our other articles to help you design your wash room and configure your space and equipment here:
Cleaning Your Washing Machine
Cleanliness is an integral component of any operation that consistently produces a premium solventless product. Washing machines pickup all kinds of plant pieces of natural contaminants that come along with gardening, not to mention smeared resin on the inside. If you don’t regularly clean plant material and resin from your washing machine, it will accumulate past the point of no return, rendering your machine incapable of producing a clean product.
Cleaning your machine thoroughly after every day of use is a best practice. We outlined some tips to keep in mind in the article How To Clean Your Washing Machine after Washing Bubble Hash.
Washing machines are an optional piece of equipment that can transform your ice water extraction experience. Reducing your manual input and automating the mixing process makes your operation more efficient, and increases the consistency and repeatability of your process. There’s no variation in mixing speed and technique, as can happen with hand mixing (especially when you have multiple people hand mixing in your lab, there’s bound to be inconsistency between operators).
While the same techniques, principles, and process are overall the same, using a washing machine for bubble hash production rather than hand mixing can really change your game.
Want to read more about the differences between the two approaches? Check out our article Hand Washing vs Machine Washing Bubble Hash.
Thoughts? Let us know by joining our secret Facebook group. Hang out with a community of like-minded solventless heads like yourself. Ask our head extractor questions, share your latest press and learn from hobbyists and experts in the industry.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kind of washing machine should I use to wash bubble hash?
Compact washing machines designed for apartments and RV's to wash small loads of laundry will also work for making bubble hash (as long as it has a gentle/delicate wash cycle).
Where can I find a washing machine to wash bubble hash?
The easiest way to source washing machines for making bubble hash is online. For example, there are several good options on Amazon.
Do I need to buy a washing machine from a brand that specializes in bubble hash?
No, you can buy a generic washing machine (for example a compact machine designed to wash up to 5.5 lbs of clothing) and use it for washing hash.
Is it better to use a washing machine to wash bubble hash?
If you are processing a lot of volume then washing machines are a great option. The automation and efficiency let's you scale production with a washing machine much easier than you can with the hand washing approach.
Do you need to have a washing machine to wash bubble hash?
No, a washing machine is optional. You can also mix cannabis and ice water together by hand.