For years, cannabis growers have been skeptical about the idea of bathing their buds. Washing buds after harvest might seem strange at first but nowadays, this method is considered particularly effective in improving the quality of the final products. In this article, we will take a good look at this technique and understand what it does to our weed.
What is Bud Washing?
At its simplest, bud washing involves cleaning your freshly harvested buds in water to remove a majority of these contaminants easily. After months of hard work, it is finally time to harvest your precious buds. Harvesting cannabis, however, can be a time-consuming process, involving not only removing the fan leaves from your buds but also making sure that you remove all sorts of pests and debris before drying and smoking your weed later on.
While indoor growers may have little to no problems with nasty surprises on their plants, outdoor cultivators usually have a lot on their plate. A cannabis plant will take weeks and months to grow and within this timeframe, many things can happen to contaminate them. Aside from dirt, dust, debris, these contaminants include bugs – spider mites, gnats, aphids – and fungi – mildew and bud rot (botrytis). If you grew your plants in a dusty or ashy environment or have treated them with pesticides, bud washing is a must.
There are several different harvesting techniques that different gardeners prefer but when it comes to washing buds after harvest, the general process is very straightforward. And for weed cultivators who have tried bud washing, they swear they would never go back to their old ways of pre-bud washing.
How to Wash your Buds and What Does it Do to Your Weed?
Like everything else, preparation is key. Make sure you have all the needed tools and ingredients you need to go about washing buds after harvest successfully.
What You Will Need:
- Three containers or buckets, large enough to submerge your buds
- Two containers or trays to keep your pre-washed buds and washed buds
- Lukewarm water (around 20 degrees Celsius)
- Cold water
- Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- Lemon juice
What You Will Need to Do:
- Ensure that all your areas are clean and disinfected. This does not only applies to the area where you will be washing your buds but also to your drying room. What we want to happen is a smooth flow from chopping the branch, trimming them, washing them, and then immediately move them to the drying room.
- For the first bucket, fill it with lukewarm water. Add two teaspoons of baking soda and two teaspoons of lemon juice for every liter of water. The baking soda and lemon juice will work together to help break down the contaminants off your buds without washing away the precious trichomes. On the second container, again fill it with lukewarm water of around 20 degrees Celsius. Do not add anything else to it. You will be using this bucket to rinse off the water from the first bucket. Fill the third bucket with the cold water. This will serve as a second rinsing container to ensure everything has been washed off the buds.
- Now that you have all three buckets prepared, line them up for easy access. Keep each tray or container at each end. The first one is where you’ll keep your freshly harvested buds for rinsing and the one at the other end is where you can temporarily place the washed ones.
- Make sure to prepare your drying room, too. Everything must be ready as the last thing we want is having a bunch of soaking wet buds with nowhere to hang or dry them.
- Time to harvest your plant. Using a clean and sterilized pruning shear, cut the branches off your plant. Make sure to leave enough stem to handle the branches without handling the buds themselves.
- While others may prefer to dry trim, trimming your buds before washing them is highly recommended. This will remove any excess chlorophyll that has leaked into the buds and remove any grassy taste along with it.
- Finally, it is time to take a dip into the buckets. Take your first branch by the stem and fully submerge it into the first bucket (water, baking soda, and lemon juice). Gently move the branch around the water for about 30 seconds to try and remove as much debris as you can. Swipe the branch left and right or swirl it around in circles without becoming too rough. When the time’s up, remove the branch from the water and give it a little shake to remove excess water, dirt, and debris.
- Dip the branch again into the second bucket (water only). Repeat the same process – shake the branch around the water for 30 seconds and another 30 seconds outside of water. Try to remove as much water, dirt, and debris as you can before dipping the branch into the final container.
- Finally, dip the branch into the final rinsing bucket and repeat the same processes as what you did in bucket one and two. By this time, you will see a build-up of debris and particles floating on the first and second buckets. Now, imagine smoking all that dirt?
- After washing your buds, immediately move them to your drying room where you can hang the dry. For optimal results, try to place your buds in a location with a good breeze. If you are hanging them indoors, some fans nearby will help with the process. Good airflow is important to keep mold and mildew away from your final products.
If you are still a little skeptical about washing buds after harvest, it is important to realize that cannabis plants grown outdoors get rained on and get wet all the time. So, bud washing does not wash away the precious THC and CBD compounds nor will it cause mold or rot to form. For one, the trichomes are sticky enough to avoid getting washed off by water. And secondly, getting the buds wet will not increase the chances of mold. Instead, poor air circulation and high humidity will. Bud washing will not harm your weed; it will instead increase the quality of your harvests.