How to Clean a Grinder

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One of the most essential tools in any smoker’s kit is the trusty grinder. As a mainstay of almost every herbal smoke session, however, grinders can gum up over time, becoming less effective at best and a grimy haven for mold at worst, if they’re not properly maintained. The longer one lets a grinder go without receiving proper care, the more of a headache it will be to clean up down the road.

Thankfully, by following just a few easy steps, these simple and useful devices can keep gliding through your product like it’s butter for a long time to come — usually many years. Here’s what you’ll need to perform some basic grinder maintenance:

Tools for Cleaning a Grinder

Basic grinder cleaning procedures can be achieved with just a handful of common household products. It’s likely you already have the following around your home, but if you need more of the cleaning supplies to keep on hand for grinder care, most should be available from your local discount store:

  • Toothbrush
  • Cotton Swabs (Q-Tips)
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Small Bowl / Cup
  • Thin Towel / Rag
  • Rolling Tray

Step 1: Take the Grinder Apart

The simplest grinders may only consist of two toothed halves, while more premium examples contain multiple chambers for storage and the like. Disassemble your grinder now.

Step 2: Start with a Dry Brush

Take an old toothbrush you’re no longer using for dental hygiene, or buy a spare one from the dollar store for this purpose. Begin to gently scrub the surfaces of the grinder to remove dry debris or pollen. If your grinder has a screen for collecting pollen, make sure you don’t warp or otherwise damage the screen while cleaning it.

Step 3: Dip the Brush in Rubbing Alcohol

Pour some isopropyl alcohol into a small bowl and repeat Step 2, this time wetting the brush with the alcohol to give every surface a disinfecting clean. Pay extra attention to the grinder’s teeth, making sure to really get at their edges and corners. You can also use cotton swabs dipped in the alcohol to broadly get at any hard-to-reach corners and polish the outside of your grinder.

Step 4: Clean with Warm Water

Once you’ve cleaned your grinder, you’ll want to thoroughly remove the alcohol. Place all of your grinder’s pieces on a rolling tray and rinse each piece in your sink for 1-2 minutes under warm water.

Step 5: Dry the Grinder

Using a thin towel or rag, dry between the grinder’s teeth as best you can. As the whole point of this cleaning exercise is to eliminate the conditions that can foster mold or bacterial growth, drying is an essential step not to be skipped. Feel free to use cotton swabs or even a hairdryer to get the job done, and let the pieces dry out, separated from one another, in the open air. You may wish to let them dry out overnight, but it’s not necessary if you’ve got another smoke sesh on deck — just make sure everything’s dry before you use it because wet herbs will stop a party before it’s even begun.

Enjoy Your Clean Grinder

Once you’ve performed the steps listed above, your grinder should be looking showroom-new. You’ll likely start to notice a difference in ease of use the first time you grind with your refurbished device — and you’ll also start to notice how quickly it begins the inevitable process of accumulating grime all over again. We recommend you repeat these steps to refresh your grinder after another twenty uses or so, or even sooner if you deem it necessary!

When to Replace Your Grinder

On occasion, a grinder may simply be ready for the trash. If your grinder has any of the following symptoms, it may be time to visit the Butler’s online smoke shop and start afresh with something new.

  • Magnets Not Holding the Pieces Together
  • Rubber O-Rings Lost or Damaged
  • Metal Shavings Present in the Grinder
  • Damaged or Missing Screens
  • Damaged or Missing Grinder Teeth

In the unfortunate event that your grinder is ready for retirement, you may want to consider choosing a new grinder or selecting from these top-selling grinders to get you back into action:

Erinn Holman

A millennial writer who's passionate about alternative medicine, the smoking industry, and the Oxford comma.

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