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Bud Washing — How to Wash and Clean Your Buds Thoroughly

Added 12 July 2022

Imagine smoking a fresh cannabis bud rolled into a beautiful joint. 

You light it up, anticipating divine flavors...

Only to end up coughing.

Because your joint not only tastes harsh but smells weird too. 

The flavors aren’t popping out as you expected. 

So, what could be the reason?

Well, your bud could be too dusty, moldy, or contaminated by pesticides. 

Such instances are more common than you'd expect.

Fortunately, there is a way to deal with this and ensure your buds come out clean — the solution is bud washing. 

In this article, you will learn all about bud washing, including what it is, when you should wash your bud, and how to do so. 

What is Bud Washing?

cannabis buds in a bowl

Bud washing is a short, straightforward process where you rinse and clean your fresh harvest (buds) to make them clean. Although it isn't an essential step for all cannabis growers, it comes handy in some cases. 

Bud washing helps you remove dust, spores, or pesticide particles — all of which could affect your bud’s flavor, aroma, and quality. 

Think of it like cleaning the buds. It will ensure you're smoking clean stuff. Of course, there are various ways to clean buds; however, most of them are confusing or complicated. Bud washing, on the other hand, is rather simple for any grower. And you only need to invest around an hour and some basic supplies for a small batch of buds.

Benefits of Bud Washing

advantages of bud washing

Bud washing is perhaps the only effective method that helps you clean your buds and maintain your buds’ flavor profile consistent and clean. 

Here are some of the top benefits of bud washing:

  • Gets rid of dust

If you grow cannabis outdoors, it's probably blasted with dust particles around the season. This dust can get stuck in the buds, thanks to all the resin, and make the flavor harsh for the consumer. 

In such cases, bud washing can help you get rid of dust without damaging the buds. 

  • Removes mold and mildew spores

If you've got a mold problem or are growing your cannabis in a moist environment, your buds may contain some spores, which can quickly grow into an infestation during the curing and drying process. Bud washing helps you avoid that.

  • Removes pesticide particles or pest eggs, bodies or poop

As cannabis growers, we know how nasty pests can be. If you've struggled with pest infestations during the growing or flowering period and used pesticides, there is a high chance your bud may contain pesticides. Worse, the buds may contain pest eggs or poop. You don't want to smoke any of that, do you? 

Bud washing can help you clean your buds by removing these impurities without damaging the flavor profile. 

  • Improves bud flavor and aroma

All the benefits listed above come together to give your buds a high-quality flavor and aroma that meets your expectations, thanks to bud washing. You don’t have to let pests, spores, or dust interfere with your fresh buds!

  • Smoother Smoke

Similarly, a clean bud will also be smooth to smoke. This is not the case with buds that are contaminated or dusty. 

All in all, you must consider bud washing because of these benefits. 

Downsides of Bud Washing

disadvantages of bud washing

But there’s a catch — bud washing also has a few downsides, so it may not always be the best option for you. Here are the downsides:

  • Extended drying and curing cycle

When washing the buds, you are essentially dipping them in water, which can extend your buds’ curing and drying process dramatically. So, if you are unsure about the extended cycle, bud washing is not for you.

  • Increased risk of damage to the buds

Bud washing makes your buds very moist, which can be a bad thing if you make a mistake during the curing or drying process. In such cases, your buds can become prone to mold or fungal infestation, ruining your precious buds.

  • Won’t eliminate fungal or mold problems

Many growers think bud washing will clean their buds of mold and fungal infestations, but that is not the case. Bud washing can only clean the spores, but if the spores have already made the bud their home, bud washing will do nothing. 

You are better off tossing moldy or fungal buds than taking the effort to clean them. Plus, smoking moldy buds is a health risk, so it’s not recommended to smoke them anyway. 

  • Altered aesthetic appeal

Another problem with bud washing is that it changes the way your buds look. Since the buds get dipped in water, they may come out looking crumpled or misshapen, which can be a turn-off for many consumers.

Instances Where You Can Wash Your Buds

Considering the downsides, is it wise to still wash your buds? In some cases, yes, bud washing can actually help you. Here are a few instances where you should consider bud washing:

  • If you have applied any chemical agent, like a pesticide, you should follow up with bud washing
  • If you have grown the plants outdoors, where they were exposed to the elements
  • Your plants have had a bug infestation during the flowering stages, where the pests may have gotten to the buds
  • You can see contaminants on the surface of the buds after harvesting them
  • You suspect mold spores in the buds 

On the other hand, if you have grown your plants indoors, in a sterile environment, and not applied any chemical pesticides, you don’t need to worry about bud washing. Indoor environments are usually clean and don’t contaminate the buds. 

Treat bud washing as a last-resort option, not a routine, to clean your dirty buds and save them from the dustbin. Otherwise, bud washing is not required. 

Bud Washing as an Alternative to Harsh Pesticides

Apart from just cleaning the buds, bud washing can sometimes be used as an alternative to harsh pesticides if you suspect a pest infestation on mature buds before harvest. The use of pesticides is not recommended in such cases as they can hamper the buds’ flavor and aroma. 

The most common pest problem during such a stage is spider mites, which are tiny insects that can quickly grow in numbers and make your buds their home. With bud washing, you can eliminate the pests without damaging the buds. 

Flushing vs Bud Washing

As mentioned earlier, bud washing is important only in some cases. But if you have applied chemical pesticides or agents to your plant, you can alternatively flush your plants, too. 

You can flush your plants before the harvest to avoid the harsh chemical test in your buds. Flushing is different from bud washing as you have to flush the growing medium to remove excess nutrients here. 

If you are still skeptical, you can still combine flushing and bud washing. Flushing is usually done two weeks before the harvest, so you can follow up with bud washing after the harvest.

How to Wash Your Buds?

Washing your buds is easy, but you need to follow the right steps to do it safely. Make a mistake and it might damage your buds. Here is a short guide on bud washing for you.

Things You Need

Here is a list of things you need to wash your buds properly:

  • RO water

For bud washing, you should get clean water, i.e., RO water, as it is free of any contaminants. RO water is made by passing regular water through semipermeable membranes, which only lets the water molecules through, nothing else. 

While you can use clean tap water, we don’t recommend it because tap water usually contains a lot of chlorine and fluoride, which can do more harm than good to your buds.

  • Lemon and baking soda

Other essential things are lemon and baking soda. The lemon’s acidity and baking soda’s alkaline nature combine to naturally clean and scrub your bud without damaging them or altering their flavor profile. 

  • Hydrogen peroxide

Alternatively, you can also use hydrogen peroxide instead of lemon and baking soda to wash your buds post-harvest. Hydrogen peroxide has various anti-microbial properties, and in low quantity, it can eliminate bacteria and fungi spores from your buds.

  • Three large buckets (10 liters)
  • Latex gloves

Buds are sensitive, and you must avoid touching them with bare hands. So, it's better to use latex gloves to protect your buds from accidental touches. 

Steps to Wash Your Buds

1. Harvest and Trim Your Buds

harvest and trim buds

Use pruning shears and harvest your buds, like you normally would. Just remember to cut the buds from a distance so you have a little stem to hold the buds in the next steps. 

And instead of trimming the buds later on, it is recommended that you trim them before bud washing. Trimming will remove all the unnecessary plant materials and make washing your buds a lot easier. 

2. Prepare the buckets

prepare the buckets

Take the three buckets and fill them with RO water. And add one cup of lemon juice and baking soda to the first bucket and leave the other two buckets with just water. 

If you are using more or less water, you also need to change the amount of lemon juice and baking soda (or hydrogen peroxide) as the quantity of the mix is proportional to water.

3. Dip the Buds in Bucket 1

dip buds in bucket 1

Take your buds and dip them in the first bucket with lemon juice and baking soda, and stir the buds for around 30 seconds. Doing so will loosen the grime and dirt buildup within the buds.

Remove the buds from the bucket and shake them off lightly to remove excess water.

4. Dip the Buds in Bucket 2

dip buds in bucket 2

Dip the buds in the second bucket with plain RO water and stir them for 30 seconds. This wash will remove any residual contaminants from the buds. Then, remove the bud and gently shake off the excess water.

5. Dip the Buds in Bucket 3

dip buds in bucket 3

For the final wash, dip the buds in the third bucket and stir for half a minute. After that, remove the buds and gently shake them again.

6. Dry the Buds

dry the buds

Your bud wash is complete and it’s time to hang the buds so they can dry. Follow the usual drying process but let your buds dry for longer.

Drying the Buds After Washing

When you wash your buds, they are going to get wet and will take longer to dry. However, after washing, they are also more prone to mold infestation. So, it is vital that you begin the drying process immediately after washing the buds. 

To dry your buds, hang the buds in a dry place inside your grow room. You can also hang them outdoors, but they will be exposed to the elements again, so indoors is a better idea.

When you hang them, you can also use a fan to speed up the drying process. Keep the fan at high speed during the first few hours so all the excess water evaporates, and then switch the fan to slow speed for the remainder of the time. And ensure that the drying area’s humidity is maintained between 45% to 55% RH. 

Your buds will be dry within 2 to 3 weeks, after which you can smoke them.

How to Prevent Bud Washing in Future Harvests?

Bud washing is a terrific way of cleaning your buds, but the best way to keep your buds clean is to prevent instances where you need to wash your buds. So, here are a few ways you can avoid such instances.

1. Grow Weed Indoors in a Clean, Sterile Environment

Indoor growth is a lot safer for your cannabis as the plants don’t get exposed to the elements and grow in a controlled environment. So, consider growing your plant in a grow room or a tent.

And if you are growing indoors, use air filters that clean pollen and dust, and keep the grow room clean. Vacuum the room regularly and remove any dead plant material as soon as you see them, reducing any chances of your buds getting contaminated.

If you want your plant to utilize the natural environment but still keep them safe, consider using a greenhouse instead of an open culture. Greenhouses are affordable and easy to set up and require a few add-ons but it provides a safe space for your plants to grow in.

2. Keep Away the Pets and Animals

If you have pets, it is best to not allow them in your grow room or near your cannabis plants. Pets, especially cats and some dog breeds, shed a lot of hair daily, and this hair can get stuck on the buds and hamper the smoking experience. 

If you are growing your cannabis outdoors, you should fence off your garden so that rodents and other mammals do not disturb your plants. Doing so not only protects your buds but also your plant, as large animals are notorious for eating plants or damaging them. 

3. Eliminate and Prevent Bugs

Bugs are a major problem for cannabis growers, but they are also relatively easy to eliminate when your plant is in the vegetative stage. You can use pesticides and other methods to kill the bugs without worrying about them damaging your buds.

However, when your plant experiences a bug infestation during its flowering stage, you need to make some tough choices. 

If the bug infestation is severe, especially during the flowering stage, your best option is to simply toss the plant and start new growth. Bugs like spider mites or broad mites are really good at surviving, and killing each one of them in your buds is not worth the effort. 

For milder infestations during the vegetative stage, you can use insecticides made specifically for cannabis or any DIY bug spray to get rid of them. 

And here are a few ways to prevent bugs in your cannabis grow room:

  • Start with seeds

The most common reason for a pest infestation is getting an infected clone into the grow room. So, it is best to start your cannabis growth with seeds. But if you want to clone cannabis, you should quarantine your plants for two weeks and spray them with a safe insecticide or horticultural oil to eliminate any pests that may become a problem later on.

  • Use alternates of soil for the growing medium

Soil is an ideal environment for many pests as it is a rich ecosystem, so you can eliminate this problem by shifting to other growing media like coco coir or hydroponics. Pest infestations can still occur in alternative media but the chances of that happening are rare.

  • Grow Your Plants Indoor

Again, the best way to prevent buds and pests is to grow your plant indoors in a grow room or a tent. It is much harder for pests to get in a grow room and thrive, thanks to the controlled environment, so your plants will be safe. 

FAQs on Bud Washing

Can Bud Washing Increase the Chances of Mold on Buds?

Not really. As long as you follow the steps properly and dry your buds without any delay, the buds don’t retain moisture for long and invite mold or fungi. Also, prevent stale air or high humidity in the drying area to speed up the drying process.

Will Bud Washing Damage THC and Terpenes?

No, your buds’ THC and terpenes are completely safe during the bud washing. This is because THC and other cannabinoids are hydrophobic, not water-soluble, and the trichomes are covered in resin that cannot be washed away by water.

And remember, you water your plant regularly, so washing your buds the right way is not different from irrigation or rain. 

Not only does bud washing keep the THC and terpenes intact, but it will also keep your buds potent. 

When is the Best Time to Wash Your Weed?

The best time to wash your cannabis buds is right after you have harvested and trimmed them, but before the drying process. The earlier you wash your buds, the better. 

Are Washed Buds Safe to Smoke?

Yes, washed buds are completely safe to smoke. They do not have any mold spores, dirt, or other contaminants on them, so you don’t have to worry. Also, the three-bucket washing method ensures that all the lemon juice and baking soda also get washed away during the final wash.

Is Bud Washing the Same as Water Curing?

No, bud washing and water curing are two different methods that serve different purposes. With bud washing, you are simply eliminating any dirt, grime, or contaminants from your buds by dunking them in water.

On the other hand, water curing is the process of removing any water-soluble irritants from the buds that may affect their flavor profile. 

If you want to use water curing, too, you can use it simultaneously with bud washing. Just remember to wash the buds before water curing them. 

Summary: Bud Washing - How to Wash and Clean Your Buds Thoroughly?

Bud washing is a terrific way to clean your dirty buds so they can retain their flavor and aroma. However, it is not a necessity for all growers. 

You must only wash your buds in some instances where you suspect the cleanliness of your bud has been compromised, such as:

  • If you have grown your plant outdoors
  • Your plant experienced any pest infestation soon before harvest
  • You have used chemical pesticides or agents on the plant during the flowering stage
  • Or you suspect mold spores in the buds

Otherwise, you can skip bud washing without worrying about their flavor or quality. 

And washing your buds is also quite easy. All you need is a cup of lemon juice and baking soda and three buckets of water. Add lemon juice and soda to the first bucket, and dip your buds in it, followed by dipping them in the other two buckets to rinse off lemon juice and soda. 

Remember to dry the buds immediately. Any delay can make your buds prone to mold infestation or rotting. As soon as you wash them, begin the drying process by handing them in a dry area with a fan on, and maintain RH at 45% to 55%. 

Follow this guide and wash your buds so you get to fully enjoy their flavor and aroma without worrying about smoking dead insects or dirt. 

 






Comments

Mcklein
Mcklein

Very interesting and educational thanks for the article! I had heard about the method with hydrogen peroxide and the truth is that it sounded scary but thanks to the trick of “the 3 cubes” everything seems safer for final consumption, I will dare to try it the next time I need it even for research!