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Bud Washing

Hiker

Member of the Month: April 2013
First off, I did not come up with the idea of washing buds as part of harvest. I'm not sure where the idea originated, but I learned of it via Curso and DocBud. :Namaste:

I've read with interest as several members have tried this technique. The idea already appealed to me on a logical level, but it was the endorsements of other members that really sold me. Granted, my sample size is only ~6 growers, but the responses I've read have been pretty unanimous. Every comment I've read has been something along the lines of, 'now I'm spoiled and don't want to smoke unwashed buds anymore'. That kind of rhetoric caught my attention! :yikes:

I can't yet say if I will have that same reaction, as my first attempt is still hanging to dry. I'm creating this thread as a place to discuss the techniques and/or principles involved with this practice. The what, why, and how if you will.

First, What are we talking about?

It's pretty simple. We're washing the plant during the harvest and curing phase. I honestly can't think of anything else to say about 'The What' without getting into the why and how, so let's get to it.

Why wash your buds?

Just like you wash your vegetables before eating them, it's probably a good idea to wash Cannabis before consuming it as well. How big an impact it makes will depend on the environment the buds were grown in. Was it outdoors or indoors? Was the indoor garden sealed or ventilated? Was any sprayed on the plant, ie food or pest control?

My flowering room is sealed, and I don't spray anything my plants. I certainly understand why it's important to some of the growers here that spray their plants weekly. My wash water actually didn't get too dirty. Yes, it certainly appeared to have cleaned something off. Even in my sealed room there will be dust and dirt on the plants.

How do you do it?

My technique was based off instructions from Curso.

I use 3 5g buckets. The first bucket has room temp, ie not cold, water with the lemon juice and baking soda. The second bucket has the hottest water I can get from the faucet. The last bucket is the coldest water I can get.

I do a pre-trim on each branch to remove any leaves without crystals. Then I dunk each branch several times and swirl them around a bit. When I dunked the branches, I did it fast enough to get the water sloshing around real good. I imagined I'm trying to get the water to get into all the nooks and crannies with some force to help clean out the dirt. I do each bucket for 10-30 seconds including a few second to let them water drain off before moving them to the next bucket.

After the last rinse, I hang them on a string above the bucket so it can drip back into the bucket. As I wash more buds, I slide the others to the side to make room so the freshest is always dripping over the bucket.

I let them dry about 24 hours before trimming. If I tried to manicure sooner than that, they felt too wet.

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So that's all I have to get things rolling. I really hope others will join in the discussion and share their experiences.

I have a question for anyone that knows. What is the reasoning behind the lemon juice and baking soda?
 

Gadfly

Well-Known Member
Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic. Baking soda is a foaming agent that will help break down grease and oil. Lots of cleaning products use it. I don't know if that's the specific reasoning behind their use for bud washing though. I don't wash my nugs. I don't use anything that I'm concerned about washing off, but I'm interested in seeing/reading about yours and other people's experiences w the process.
 

Hiker

Member of the Month: April 2013
It's come to my attention that Doc Bud is the originator of this technique. He said so himself. :)

I wanted to make sure to give him all due credit for sharing the idea. :Namaste:
 

Skybound

Well-Known Member
Hiker, when cycling your nugz through the buckets, especially the hottest one, aren't you concerned that you will be washing off the frost? A year ago, I bought an Oz from a guy for 200. They looked and smelled so good that I thought it was a sure thing. After smoking some and have others make too to make sure I wasn't crazy, sure as shit, the stone was so mild and only held for 5 minutes max. I never bought another thing from the guy and used to swear that he shook all the kief off the buds somehow to make hash and sold me the worthless buds. I am now wondering if those buds were washed a little too aggressively. What's your take?
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
Did you notice how plump and crispy the colas felt after the hot/cold cycle? I have a sense that the drying and curing goes better after a wash, too. Here's a closeup of a freshly washed cola in the bright sunlight.


 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
Hiker, when cycling your nugz through the buckets, especially the hottest one, aren't you concerned that you will be washing off the frost? A year ago, I bought an Oz from a guy for 200. They looked and smelled so good that I thought it was a sure thing. After smoking some and have others make too to make sure I wasn't crazy, sure as shit, the stone was so mild and only held for 5 minutes max. I never bought another thing from the guy and used to swear that he shook all the kief off the buds somehow to make hash and sold me the worthless buds. I am now wondering if those buds were washed a little too aggressively. What's your take?
I blew up a portion on the left to show the trichs - It seems like they'd be damaged, but they show no sign of it. Even the dried pistils are still attached. When it cured, this was extremely potent and sticky.

 

Hiker

Member of the Month: April 2013
Hiker, when cycling your nugz through the buckets, especially the hottest one, aren't you concerned that you will be washing off the frost? A year ago, I bought an Oz from a guy for 200. They looked and smelled so good that I thought it was a sure thing. After smoking some and have others make too to make sure I wasn't crazy, sure as shit, the stone was so mild and only held for 5 minutes max. I never bought another thing from the guy and used to swear that he shook all the kief off the buds somehow to make hash and sold me the worthless buds. I am now wondering if those buds were washed a little too aggressively. What's your take?
You could verify your suspicion with a magnifier. I bought a little one on the auction site for, literally, less than $5. It works great to view the trichomes. I screened some buds from my first harvest and you can totally tell it's been done when you look closely at the buds. You will see the stalks, but the glands' tops (look like little balls) will be stripped off. These structures have the highest concentrations of cannabinoids.

I don't think washing is affecting the trichomes. The first 2 buckets are not cold. The last bucket is as cold as comes out of my hose, but I'm also a little gentler in that stage. I feel that bucket is mostly to quickly bring the temps back down moreso than rinsing anything off. I looked at the trichomes on the washed buds and the glands all appear intact, so I'm not worried about that.

Let me be clear, washing certainly does improve the buds. Of that I'm nearly certain. All I am still question is whether or not it's worthwhile for ME in MY grow. If I was doing high brix, and therefore spraying things on my plants, I would probably reach a different conclusion. I'm witholding judgement however until I've had a chance to sample my cured samples.





Those are nice pics Graytail. May I ask how you took them? ie camera, lens, etc. I'd like to be able to photograph trichomes. My old DSLR kit was lost when I moved to WA, so I am trying to decide what to replace it with.

So do you basically wash yours the same way I was instructed? What was your thought in regards to taste, smell, or smoke?

I have not noticed the "plump and crispy" thing, but I try not to touch my buds ever. :9: I will say they look nicer. I do think the blanching improved the color for sure.







Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys. I know this topic is discussed in Doc's threads, and a couple others, but I thought it would be helpful to get a focused discussion going on this topic. :Namaste:
 

TanR

New Member
Hi Hiker (Graytail and all other proponents or curious students of bud washing),

Would love to add to the conversation. I too was taken with reading Doc Bud's experience with washing his buds and then followed along in Curso's and others' journals as they too adopted the practice and would make comments about how improved the taste and smoke was for having done so. I was intrigued at the thought that smokers haven't been doing this for years (kind of slap the forehead moment) and determined to do so for my first grow that had just started when I discovered Doc Bud's journal.

Fast forward 5 months or so and the grow is complete, buds trimmed and washed, hung in a dark coolish dry place (with a little air movement) with care, and now curing (in a dark, cool place) in lovely glass jars.

Disclaimer - I did not set aside any unwashed buds to use in a true side by side comparison, and the plants were from bag seed that I got from my son and did not sample myself. However, with that said I can honestly share that these buds are the best tasting, smoothest smoking buds I've ever had. They are pretty decently potent (again, do not know what the parent plant was like and it was my first indoor grow), taste great, look great, and smokes fabulously!

My wife smokes only occasionally as she has asthma and it sometimes really bothers here to smoke cannabis(sometimes not so much:3:) but with the washed buds she doesn't cough and has commented on how really smooth the smoke is. For that matter so did my son that did try the parent plant of the seeds.

I used only organic nutrients in soil and occasional foliar sprays with water and Epsom salt (I think I added some Superthrive a time or two) so likewise I didn't have a bunch of anything I was really looking to wash off. What I did notice that in the wash water was dry leaf material, a few dead dry pistils, and more than I care to admit bugs from a fungus gnat problem that popped up twice during the grow, some hairs (from tending the plants and obsessing over them) and what appeared to be a little dirt/dust.

Don't know what if anyone else's experience may be different, but washing the buds didn't much to the time it took to trim and hang the plants can't imagine that I will ever intentionally smoke unwashed buds again (unless to perform a side by side)!

Be well and happy growing.
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
Those are nice pics Graytail. May I ask how you took them? ie camera, lens, etc. I'd like to be able to photograph trichomes. My old DSLR kit was lost when I moved to WA, so I am trying to decide what to replace it with.

So do you basically wash yours the same way I was instructed? What was your thought in regards to taste, smell, or smoke?

I have not noticed the "plump and crispy" thing, but I try not to touch my buds ever. :9: I will say they look nicer. I do think the blanching improved the color for sure.
My camera is just an old mid-range Nikon Coolpix with macro closeup abilities. It has a great lens, so I can generally get a good pic and then blow it up for detail. It's not a very fast lens though, so it needs a ton of light and/or a tripod to get the best pics.

I take a shortcut with my wash. I only have to do one plant at a time, so for me it made no sense to fill three 5 gallon buckets. Instead, I just fill one side of the sink with hot tap water, the other side with cold, and stir the lemon juice and baking soda into the hot side. I dump the entire couple ounces of fresh branches into the hot side, then agitate 'em and toss 'em into the cold side one by one. Even though some of the buds stay in the hot side for 5+ minutes, I saw no difference after the soak in the cold side.

I spray foliars on my plants twice/wk for the duration of the grow, so my dirty water is really dirty and the difference in the smoothness of the smoke is night and day. The foliars are what first prompted Doc to look into washing, but even people who don't spray have started washing, too. The hot/cold will enhance color, just like it does for any fresh produce, and I think the soaking process plumps up the buds for a better cure.
 

CA215

Plant of the Month: Feb 2014
I tried the bud washing technique as I saw it floating around the forums as well. After following the instructions the end product came out outstanding! Although, after washing the buds the smell was effected (diminished abit) and the density of the nugs felt like it increased. I was able to keep the drying room in the 70-74f with 45-55 rH range for around 5 days and they were loving it. I trimmed when they dried down abit, I was having too hard of a time with the wet buds, very irritating ha. Final smoke proved to be smoother compared to the un-washed buds. I will definitely be using this technique with outdoor harvests that have accumulated dust, pollen, etc, possibly just plants that are outside of the greenhouse and what not.

Major props to the OP who thought of this, im sure it will help many MANY people!! :bravo:
And great job Hiker for getting this started up!
(When I was looking for the recipe on the site I was going nuts!)
Good to have it all bundled up on one thread!
 

Doc Bud

420 Sponsor
I'm glad to see people are adopting my bud washing technique!

Yes, I "invented" it. I shared it with you folks here on 420....and nowhere else. I've never met, spoken to, or heard about anyone else doing it before I tried it.....and I enjoy freaking people out by putting fresh buds in a bucket of water....

But as many have said here, the results speak for themselves!

Let me put it to you like this:

Let's say I grew lettuce, cucumbers, tomatos and carrots in my basement. It's dusty down there, I've got fans flowing all around....battled with some PM, had some mites.....every now and then I get some rot or other disease on my plants....bugs flying around, dead skin cells, hair.....and I spray the plants with compost tea, fish fertilizer, kelp meal, etc.

So, you wanna come over for a salad? We'll just pull the veggies out of the ground, plop 'em in a bowl and start eating! No need to wash.....right?


The first time you wash your harvest and see all that brown crap left behind you'll begin to see the light! Then, when you smoke your first washed harvest, you'll understand.

For those who are new to this, here's my method:

4 buckets total. (5 gallon buckets are perfect)

Bucket 1: 3 parts RO water to 1 part 3% H202.
Bucket 2: 5 gallons of RO with 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup Lemon Juice
Buckets 3 and 4: RO only.

Cut down plants, pull off fan leaves by hand, remove any necrotic leaves. Leave sugar leaves and anything with frosting on the plant.

Fully submerge in bucket 1 (H2O2) for 30 seconds. Submerge for a full minute if you had ANY sign of PM or bud rot. Let water drip from buds and then.....

Fully submerge in buckets 2 through 4 for 30 seconds each...lightly agitating the whole time.

Allow produce to drip dry. You can blow a fan on it if you like, just make sure it's blowing clean air.

Hang and dry per usual.

Final manicure of buds is best done after they dry. It goes very fast and you're left with washed, highly resinous trim....makes superb joints. I'm also educating my customers to select untrimmed buds, which are actually better than the manicured ones because they still have sugar leaves attached. The trichomes in the leaves have more THC than those in the buds.....so it's good to get the whole spectrum in there.

I give instructions for this in my journals, as I do it every single week, on every single harvest. Once you try it, you'll never go back.

This works so well for a couple reasons:

1. takes off dirt, foliar sprays, bugs, fiberglass dust, etc.
2. fully hydrates the leaves, allowing photosynthesis to occur for a day or two on cut and trimmed buds. I recommend leaving a light on the buds for the first day or two after washing.

This results in very, dense, clean burning, smooth tasting produce! That's the basic recipe....and I'm tweaking and changing it all the time.

Warning: Do NOT use an "organic produce wash" that is based on oils! They sell these in grocery stores and health food stores, and while they might be good for lettuce and cukes....the oil removes resin from the plants.....don't use it!

Water will not harm resin....oil can and does.


Anyone who wants to know more about my methods is welcome to ask me about them anytime!
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
2. fully hydrates the leaves, allowing photosynthesis to occur for a day or two on cut and trimmed buds. I recommend leaving a light on the buds for the first day or two after washing.
I'm glad to see you bring this up. Because the washing involves handling the branches a lot, I feel a difference in the final product. After being immersed in first hot and then cold water, the buds are heavier, plumper and crispier, and they seem to dry more evenly and more quickly. I think it cures better.
 

Doc Bud

420 Sponsor
I'm glad to see you bring this up. Because the washing involves handling the branches a lot, I feel a difference in the final product. After being immersed in first hot and then cold water, the buds are heavier, plumper and crispier, and they seem to dry more evenly and more quickly. I think it cures better.
I have not done the hot and cold yet....but if I did, I would make the "hot" part the lemon juice/soda bucket. About 120 degree water would be perfect...nothing icky would live between the peroxide and the hot water.

I've also noticed a more even dry, better density when dried, etc. The taste will sell anyone on this method....that and the nice, white ash left behind upon smoking.

There is a downside: I'm the biggest snob you've ever met when it comes to weed! I won't smoke something that isn't washed....which means I smoke my own weed and that grown by friends/students exclusively. I will not ingest any weed-based product unless I know who grew it and if it was washed.

Just last week, I went out to a garden as a possible consultant, and learned that this grower was spraying Malathion every week on his crops all the way till harvest! He wanted me to try his product.....no thanks.

Here's what's going to happen in the near future: Now that everyone is growing, baking, smoking, vaping, dabbing.....you're going to hear a story about someone getting very sick from edibles because of pathogens and/or pesticides on the product. This is going to lead to a "crack-down" and open the door to the public health inspector certifying grow ops and laws that allow ONLY produce grown under the aegis of the Public Health Department can be sold in dispensaries, etc.

This will make criminals out of growers again....but for different reasons. Only those with money and large processing operations will be legal.......unless we take responsibility NOW and start creating food-grade produce right now!

Bud washing does that! :cheer:

We sometimes buy bags of lettuce that are "triple washed." Well, my produce is quadruple washed.....
 

Skybound

Well-Known Member
Very good foresight Doc Bud! Most of the country is on the verge of touching their toes to weed waters, I think 14 states are considering for 2014 alone. Irregardless of what that number is, growers need to adopt this method into their final product for sanitary reasons alone. Now I can't WAIT to get my grow back on to use this method. Good post, +REPs for the education!
 

Graytail

Plant of the Year: 2014 - Plant of the Month: Dec 2014 - Nug of the Month: Feb 2015, Mar & Aug 2016, Dec 2017, Aug 2018, Jan 2019 - Nug of the Year: 2017 - Photo of the Month: June 2018
... malathion ...

Yeah, as we all know, some loadies are just ... dim.

... dim.
 

David Bowman

New Member
How important is it to use RO water? Can you use de-chlorinated tap water, which is what I use for my grow anyways, instead of RO water? If not, why not?

Also, should you use food grade plastic buckets or is that not required?
 
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Doc Bud

420 Sponsor
How important is it to use RO water? Can you use de-chlorinated tap water, which is what I use for my grow anyways, instead of RO water? If not, why not?

Also, should you use food grade plastic buckets or is that not required?

Not terribly important....if your tap water is decent you need not use RO. The chlorine would be a benefit, IMO.

I use food grade plastic for the lemon juice bucket. The other buckets are just Homer's....but I spray bleach in them after every use.
 

David Bowman

New Member
Not terribly important....if your tap water is decent you need not use RO. The chlorine would be a benefit, IMO.

I use food grade plastic for the lemon juice bucket. The other buckets are just Homer's....but I spray bleach in them after every use.
Cool, then I could use hot water for the second bucket as well as not have to worry about preparing 20 gallons of water ahead of washing time. Thanks Doc Bud!
 

Icemud

Member of the Month: July 2012, July 2014 - Nug of the Month: July 2012
Budwashing is awesome. I have been using the SNS 311 instead of the lemon juice/sodium bicarbonate method above and the results are simply amazing. Incredibly smooth smoke, and the hits "feel cleaner" for lack of a better way to describe it. The buds also seem to keep their vibrancy more through curing and help with bag appeal as well. I will always from now on wash my buds... Thanks DocBud for showing us this method and all those who have added their own twists and such.. I made a short video how I did mine. I didn't have enough rubbermaid containers/buckets to use so there was about 2 minutes between the hot wash and the cold wash, but overall still took a lot of junk off the buds and they look beautiful afterwords, and plump. :)
 
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