Bud Washing: What Is It, How & When Should You Do It

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cannabis bud washing
Author avatar By Kyle Kushman
September 06, 2022
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Looking for ways to enhance the quality of your smoke? Incorporate bud washing after harvesting into your cultivation routine. 

Don’t worry, cleaning your nugs won’t eliminate the rich THC and CBD content. The process of removing impurities makes your weed smell and taste better. 

Read on to discover why you should practice washing cannabis and what it does for your buds. Learn how simple it is to carry out the procedure and enjoy the benefits when smoking your clean nugs.

What is cannabis bud washing?

Weed wash is cleaning your buds after harvesting by dipping and rinsing them in water. The method removes dirt, pests, fungus, and mildew, giving you fresh-looking nugs.

Growers fear that the buds lose their cannabinoid-rich trichomes during the procedure, reducing their flavor and potency. 

Rest assured, bud washing won’t dislodge the extremely sticky crystals, just as heavy rain doesn’t. Ensure you only use water and avoid unsafe chemicals in the process.

Whether or not you use pesticides during cultivation, ensure your nugs are clean before curing. Contaminated buds may taste harsh and unpleasant.

What is cannabis bud washing

The pros and cons of bud washing

Being aware of the pros and cons of bud washing helps you make an informed decision.

The pros of washing buds

Here are the advantages of washing buds:

Removes waste

Cannabis bud washing is an excellent way to eliminate fungi, bacteria, dust, and dirt from your nugs. 

Enhances bud aroma and flavor

Contrary to some growers’ concerns, washing marijuana improves the fragrance and taste because there are no impurities.

Eliminates the use of chemicals to exterminate pests

As bud washing removes pests, it’s unnecessary to use pesticides, especially before harvesting, ensuring a pure product.

The cons of bud washing

The potential downsides to cannabis bud washing include the following:

Prolongs the drying process

The buds may absorb moisture during washing, making it necessary for a longer drying and curing process.

Promotes mold and mildew growth

It’s important to use the correct proportions of water in the washing process, or your nugs may suffer from mold and mildew.

Affects the look of the final product

Be careful during the procedure as repeated swirling and dipping of the buds may affect their appearance.

Washing cannabis the right way: How to wash cannabis buds

To learn how to clean weed, review and follow this simple six-step procedure:

Step 1: Prepare the equipment

These are the items you need:

  • Three large buckets, preferably 10L, so you can fully submerge your buds in water.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
  • Lemon juice.
  • Lukewarm water.
  • Large spoon for stirring.

Here’s what you need to do before starting the technique: 

Bucket 1 – Fill with lukewarm water. The temperature should be about 68°F. Add two teaspoons of baking soda and two teaspoons of lemon juice for every liter of water—20 tsp each for your 10L container. 

Stir and mix the ingredients, which will break up the contaminants during cannabis bud washing but won’t remove the trichomes.

Bucket 2 – This bucket filled with lukewarm water will rinse the washed branches from the first container.

Bucket 3 – Fill this second pail with cold water. Rinsing twice ensures the removal of impurities.

Place your buckets in an accessible spot. We recommend having another container to hold the washed buds before drying.

Prepare the drying area before you start washing buds so they don’t remain wet while you look for a suitable space.

Step 2: Harvest and trim your buds

When harvesting, cut the whole branch to avoid touching the nugs when dipping them. To expedite washing cannabis, remove larger stems, so there are fewer to handle.

Pro tip: Trim your buds before cleaning to get rid of excess chlorophyll to eliminate the unpleasant taste it gives out when wet. If you prefer, do it after drying. 

Step 3: Dip buds into the first bucket

Submerge a branch into the first bucket with the bud-washing lemon juice and baking soda. The ingredients will remove waste from your plant. Gently move the stem around in the water to draw out more dirt.

After about 30 seconds, take the branch out and shake it lightly for several seconds to remove any leftover debris attached to the buds.

bud-washing lemon juice and baking soda

Step 4: Rinse in the second bucket

The next step in bud washing is repeating the swirling process in the second bucket to rinse and remove any remnants from the first container. After 30 seconds, take the branch out and shake it as before. 

Step 5: Final rinse in the third bucket

For the final rinse, repeat the first two steps in the third bucket with the cold water for another 30 seconds. Gently shake the branch to remove excess water, and the washing process is complete.

Notice the dirt and debris floating on the water in the buckets. That’s what you’d be smoking if you don’t practice washing your buds after harvest, highlighting that it’s an essential process when growing weed.

Step 6: Start drying the buds

Drying your buds helps bring out their potency and unique flavors and aroma, improving the quality of your smoke. 

After washing your buds after harvest, ensure you hang the nugs in a climate-controlled room to dry.  The ideal temperature is between 60–70°F with humidity levels 55–65%. Keep the room dark, so avoid using a space where light frequently enters.

We suggest using a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture and a fan to facilitate airflow so you don’t get mold and bud rot.

The drying process is as important as bud washing, especially the duration. Hang your nugs for 7–10 days, however, ensure the period doesn’t exceed two weeks so they won’t dry out too much.

Here’s how to test if your buds are well-dried after a weed wash:

  • Press your nugs to check if they feel dry but have a slight elasticity to them. 
  • Light up a bud. If it remains lit, the flowers are ready. Let them dry longer if the joint can’t stay alight. 
  • Flex your stems, and if they snap instead of bending, your buds are dry enough.
washing your buds after harvest

Should you wash your buds after harvest?

Washing buds after harvest is optional, but recommended. You might think the procedure is unnecessary if your growing space is sterile because there may be a lower risk of impurities. 

As there’s no guarantee that there won’t be contamination, we recommend that you clean your nugs before consuming.

Bud washing is also an excellent alternative to using pesticides to remove bug infestation before harvest. The process removes insects that may attach to the nugs, making it unnecessary to use chemicals.

Frequently asked questions about bud washing

To gain more knowledge about cannabis bud washing, review the following grower questions and answers from our experts:

Is bud washing good or bad?

Washing cannabis removes contaminants stuck to your buds during cultivation. Removing these impurities enhances their fragrance and taste. 

Although there are disadvantages, the good outweighs the bad, so it’s a great habit to adopt. After all, you clean your fruits and vegetables before consuming them, don’t you?

What is the purpose of bud washing?

Due to the exposure to dust, mold, pests, and other contaminants, your buds may taste unpleasant when smoked. Cannabis bud washing removes this unwanted matter, improving nug quality, flavors, and potency.

Does bud washing remove pesticides?

The process of washing marijuana gets rid of impurities, such as bugs, mold, and dirt. Cleaning your buds will remove pesticides if you use any in your garden. 

After harvest, cleaning your nugs is an excellent way to eliminate using chemicals to treat infestations as the procedure removes pests clinging to your buds.

Want tasty smokable nugs? Start bud washing

If you’ve tasted uncleaned herbs and want better-tasting nugs, incorporate bud washing into your cultivation schedule.

It’s a simple process that doesn’t take much time and uses no chemicals. The result is clean, aromatic buds that taste delicious, taking your smoke to another level.

Check out our blog section for more information on growing weed, maximizing yields, and increasing the satisfaction from your smoking sessions.

Are you ready to buy some seeds and start harvesting your own crop? Our seed store has you covered.


About the Author: Kyle Kushman

Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing – he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!