When you first hear about it, you may think washing buds after harvest seems like a strange thing to do. But in some circumstances, it can massively improve the flavour and quality of your cannabis.
In this guide we will go through the benefits of washing your cannabis after you have harvested your plants, and you can decide for yourself if it is the right thing for you and your grow room.
If you any questions about washing your buds after harvest, feel free to ask for help in our cannabis growers forum
- Why Wash Your Buds After Harvest
- Is Washing Your Buds After Harvest Safe
- What You Need to Wash Buds After Harvest
- How to Wash Buds After Harvest
- Ideal Conditions for Drying Buds After Washing
Why Wash Your Buds After Harvest?
A cannabis grow will take at least a few months to grow, from germination to harvest. During this time many things can happen that may contaminate your buds.
For a cleaner product, with fewer contaminants, some growers choose to wash their buds after harvest to remove them. This can remove bugs and pests, pesticides, dirt, dust, and any debris that may have fallen onto the flowers.
If you have had bugs, and treated them with pesticides, then you already know there are things on your buds, that you do not want to ingest. But sometimes, you will not be able to see what is contaminating your buds.
Dusty or Dirty Grow Rooms
Your grow will last a minimum of around 12 weeks, this is a lot of time for dust to gather. You may not see it on your plants, but you may have seen it gather on the blades of your fans.
If the fans in your grow room gather a lot of dust, so will your buds!
If your grow room is very dusty, you should wash your buds after harvest!
You can prevent dust from getting into your grow room, by using an old carbon filter on your intake vents, and ensuring the area in which your grow room is kept, is cleaned regularly.
If you do notice that there is a high build up of dust on your fans, then you should definitely consider washing your buds after they have been harvested.
Bugs and Pests
Sometimes when you smoke cannabis, you may notice a “crackling” or “popping” sound. This is the carcass of a bug popping, or it could be a seed, but you will taste and smell that.
Small bugs, such as mites and aphids, will live all over your plants, including the flowers. They will eat your plants, mate on them, excrete waste onto them, even lay eggs on them.
If you have had a problem with bugs during your grow, especially during flower, then it is highly recommended that you consider washing your buds after harvest. It will remove most of these contaminants from your cannabis, giving you a cleaner product.
If you have had bugs, and treated your plants with any kind of pesticides, then you should wash your buds, to try and remove any residue left behind by these pesticides.
It doesn’t matter if you have used homemade pesticides, or chemical pesticides, these pesticides will taint the flavour of your crop, and may also be bad for your health if you smoke them.
Never use pesticides on a flowering cannabis plant, predator bugs are your best option.
In both cases, whether using bugs, or pesticides to remove bugs from your cannabis plant, contaminants will be left behind, you should remove these by washing your buds after harvest.
Bud Rot and Mould
Unfortunately, bud rot can not be washed off your buds! If a cola is infected at all with bud rot or mould, it needs to be thrown away! Never use it, not even for oils or cooking. Mould is toxic, especially when breathed in.
Washing Bud Rot
If you have found bud rot on one of your colas, cut it off, and throw it away, NEVER USE IT!
Check the crop thoroughly for any more rot, wash the rot and mould free buds after harvest
Remove any buds with rot, and check the rest of the buds on the plant for any more. If you find any, you must remove it! But any bud that is definitely rot or mould free, needs to be washed after harvest.
This is to ensure unseen mould spores are washed away, and will reduce the chances of bud rot arsing again during the drying process.
Is Bud Washing Safe?
For plants grown indoors, they will not receive moisture to the actual plant, after flowering kicks in. Any foliar feeding is stopped to reduce the chances of bud rot and mould spores germinating.
Because of this, the idea of getting your buds wet especially after harvest time seems to contradict everything you have been told.
Outdoor plants will be rained on, regularly, and whilst the risk of rot is higher when growing outdoors, it’s because of the movement of air, not just the moisture.
If you dry your cannabis in the correct conditions, washing your buds after harvest will not increase the chances of mould arising.
Risk of Mould
Mould spores are like seeds, they can lay dormant until the right conditions are met for it to begin to grow. A mould spore can germinate, in an environment around 20°c, with high humidity, and stale air.
Getting your buds wet will not encourage these spores to grow. As long as humidity is kept at the ideal levels, and the air is circulating properly around the drying room, bud rot should not arise whilst your plants are drying.
Any moisture put onto the buds from washing them, will be evaporated and dried off within an hour. You just have to make sure there is enough air flow around the buds.
Left Over Residue After Washing
All you will use to wash your buds are natural ingredients, that you will rinse off, before you hang the buds to dry. Using lemon juice and baking soda dissolved in water, will remove dirt and debris, without leaving behind any nasty residue.
There will be no left over residue, just clean trichomes. And as trichomes do not dissolve in water, they will not be affected by washing your buds.
Does Washing Your Buds Reduce Potency?
The terpenes and trichomes on the cannabis plant are not water soluble. They will stay on the plant, no matter how much water you pour over them.
Washing your buds after harvest will not remove any cannabinoids oils or terpenes from them.
It will only remove unwanted contaminants and bring you pure clean flowers.
It is a simple process, it may add more time to your harvest, but it will be worth it if you have had problems throughout the grow, that could have left contaminants on your buds.
What You Need to Wash Buds
You only need simple household items to wash your buds, and it is real simple.
- 3 Buckets of Water
- Baking Soda
- Lemon Juice
Washing your buds will add some time to your harvest, but if you have been growing in a dusty grow room, or the crop has been contaminated with bugs, then it will be worth the effort.
3 Buckets of Water
You will need 3 buckets of water, all big enough to easily hold your buds in them. You will be washing one branch of buds at a time, a 4 gallon (18L) bucket is usually plenty.
Two of these buckets will be filled with warm, tepid water, and one with cold water.
One of the buckets containing the warm water, will have 1 cup of baking soda, and one cup of lemon juice added to it (1 cup per 4 gallons)
Just standard baking soda you can buy from a supermarket or online.
You will only use 2 teaspoon of baking soda per litre of water, in one bucket out of the three. So you will not need a lot.
Adding baking soda to the water will making it more “fizzy”, and make it produce bubbles, as these bubbles are formed, they will help knock dust and small pieces of debris of your buds.
You can squeeze a fresh lemon and filter out the large bits but it is easier to just buy some, or, perhaps you already have some you can use already.
You will use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for every litre of water, only in bucket one. So again, you will no need a lot.
The lemon juice will work with the backing soda, to encourage more bubbles to me made. This will increase the amount of dust and debris that is removed from the flowers.
It is always a good idea to wear gloves when you’re harvesting your cannabis plants. It will not only reduce the risk of contamination, but it will also allow you to collect any crystal or resins. After the harvest, put these gloves in the freezer for half an hour and flake off the build up.
It is a nice reward after the long and gruelling task that is harvesting. Now, you’re all clued up on what you need to wash your buds, and why it is a good idea, lets get onto how to actually do it.
How to Wash Buds After Harvest
Prepare your water in your 3 buckets:
Warm water, with 2 teaspoons of baking soda, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, per litre
Just warm water
Get everything ready, you will remove a branch, and dip it in bucket 1, 2 then 3, and hang it to dry.
- Remove A Branch
Remove a branch or bud, that will fit into your bucket, trim off big fan leaves, but leave the tip leaf if you want to. You can still dry trim after harvesting if that is your usual method.
If you fully trim your plants before drying, trim them first, and then wash them after the trim. This will help remove any chlorophyll that has leaked onto the buds after chopping the leaves.
After trimming, you need to submerge the bud fully, into bucket 1.
2: Rinse in Bucket 1
Dip your bud into the warm water, and shake around. Be vigorous, the more you can shake, without damaging the buds, the better.
The lemon juice and baking soda will help remove any contaminants from the buds, the shaking will help the process further.
Do this for around 20-30 seconds. Remove the bud from the water, and shake it to remove excess water.
3: Rinse in Bucket 2
Bucket two is just warm water, this is to rinse off the water from bucket one, and any left over debris that hasn’t been removed. Follow the same process as bucket one, submerge the bud, and shake it around.
Again, do this for 20-30 seconds. After removing the buds from the water, shake of any excess water, and when the bud is not dripping, dip it into bucket 3.
4: Rinse in Bucket 3
To ensure all debris is removed, and there is no leftover residue from buckets 1 and 2, you will dip the buds into cold water.
This is the final bucket, and after 20-30 seconds in here, your buds should be fully cleaned and clear of contaminants.
You should again shake the buds to remove as much excess water as possible before hanging them. You need to ensure there are no hidden water droplets, be harsh with the shaking. When the larger water droplets have all gone, hang the buds to dry.
5: Hang to Dry
For the first couple of hours after harvest, you should have a few extra fans, on high power, just to help remove the excess water from the buds.
Then, you can reduce the speed of the fans and continue to dry in your usual way.
Ideal Conditions for Drying Buds After Washing
After rinsing your bud in its final bucket, you will need to hang it, upside down, with a good breeze blowing around the room.
Before hanging, make sure you have shaken the bud, so it is free from any large droplets of water, these will take longer to evaporate.
Keep fans on a high setting for the first hour or two, whilst the buds are drying off any large droplets of water. You can shake them every half hour or so, to help free u any trapped water, before turning the fans down, and drying in the ideal conditions.
If you’re new to growing, and would like to see a guide on how to dry your cannabis, then check this guide out here.
Final thoughts on Bud Washing
I have tried bud washing, and for me, it made no noticeable difference to the final product. No better, no worse. This however, is because my grow room is free from dust, and is kept clean.
If my harvest was dusty, or had bugs at some point throughout the grow, then I would definitely wash my buds before drying them. Any potential contaminants need to be washed off.
If you have a dusty grow room, or have had pest problem throughout your grow, give bud washing a try, you may find that it works well for you. Many growers say it helps them improve their cannabis. Maybe it will help to improve yours too.
Thanks for reading! You can find more information on anything related to growing in our cannabis grow guides. All of our guides are written by experienced growers, and members of our cannabis growers forum. If you have any questions, sign up. It is free, and we are always happy to help!