Bud Washing: What Is It and Why Should You Do It?

Cannabis Bud Washing: What Is It and Why Should You Do It?

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
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It may sound like a crazy idea; washing your buds after you've spent so long growing them. Many worry about their precious strain losing potency and flavour after giving it a wash. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Read on to find out the real deal about bud washing. Just make sure you leave your soapy water and sponge behind!

"Bud washing?!"

When the method was introduced to the scene some years ago, growers were sceptical at first. They thought the idea of giving their buds a bath was either outright crazy or, at best, pointless. But is it really? In this post, we take a good look at bud washing, and clear up the myths surrounding this unique practice.

What Is Bud Washing?

What Is Cannabis Bud Washing?

Bud washing is the procedure of dousing your freshly harvested bud in water. It may seem like a strange concept to those who have never tried it; but the thing is, it can greatly improve the quality of your final product. If you dealt with a significant pest problem or dusty/ashy conditions, bud washing may be just what's needed to turn your crop around.

But what about those delicious-looking and cannabinoid-rich crystals on the flowers? Won't washing your buds strip them of their flavour and potency? As a matter of fact—no. Those crystals—known as trichomes—are extremely sticky after harvest, so even a drench with water isn't going to dislodge them from the bud itself. That said, anything else holding on for the ride, such as unwanted critters and dirt/dust, will get washed off with no trouble.

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Still sceptical? Just consider that basically everyone who has tried bud washing says they won’t ever go back to their old ways.

Aside from being effective, bud washing is also ridiculously easy and doesn't involve any elaborate equipment. You won't be tossing your weed in the washer or scrubbing it with soap; the process takes just a few minutes and doesn't involve any potentially unsafe or unsavoury chemicals.

Note: Bud washing is NOT the same thing as water curing; the two are very different!

Why Wash Your Buds?

Why Wash Your Cannabis Buds?

The advantage of washing your buds is, of course, a cleaner product. You'll be washing away any lurking insects and their eggs, as well as nasty pathogens like fungus and powdery mildew. It is also a good way to get rid of other unwanted substances, say if you've been using neem oil as a foliar spray and some of it ended up on your buds.

Bud washing also does a good job getting rid of regular dirt and grime that's always present. Look at it this way: When you get fruits and veggies from the store, you wash these before you consume them, don't you?

But it’s not just about getting “cleaner” bud. Those who wash their buds also say it gives them a tastier and smoother final product.

Does Bud Washing Affect Weed Quality?

Does Bud Washing Affect Weed Quality?

When bud washing was first mentioned on forums some years back, the “non-believers” claimed it would “wash away” potency and flavour (the cannabinoids and terpenes in the trichomes). However, this isn’t true at all.

Bud washing does not wash away THC or CBD, and there is no negative effect on taste. On the contrary, we do it to make our cannabis better, not worse. Think about it; if your flowering cannabis is subject to a heavy rain shower, it doesn't suddenly lose all of its trichomes. That would be the end of outdoor growing as we know it.

The trichs are far too sticky for water itself to remove. Even conventional cleaning products struggle to remove resin from surfaces like bongs—or even your hands—although you will not be using any unsafe chemicals when washing your buds.

In short, bud washing clears away all the bad stuff, and leaves all the good.

How to Wash Cannabis Buds

How to Wash Cannabis Buds

We've explained how quick and easy it is to do, so let's get down to business! Here's how to go about washing your cannabis buds successfully.

What You Need

  • Three large buckets capable of fully submerging your buds in water. Standard 10l plastic buckets should be sufficient.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Lemon juice
  • Lukewarm water
  • Large spoon (for stirring)


Bucket 1:

Fill one of the three buckets with lukewarm water. Around 20°C is good. For every litre, add 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. So, if you’re using a 10l bucket, add in 20 teaspoons of baking soda and the same amount of lemon juice. Using the spoon, stir for a bit to let everything dissolve.

The baking soda and lemon juice will produce a mild chemical reaction that breaks up stuff like dirt and other contaminants. Yet, it isn't strong enough to dislodge trichomes.

Bucket 2:

Fill this bucket with some lukewarm water. Again, about 20°C will be fine. We will use this bucket to rinse off the water from bucket 1.

Bucket 3:

Fill bucket 3 with cold water only. This is our second rinsing bucket.

And that’s it! We now have a “washing bucket” (bucket 1) and two buckets for rinsing. We’re using two rinsing steps because we want to ensure all debris is cleaned off.

Bud Washing: Step-by-Step Instructions

Cannabis Bud Washing: Step-By-Step Instructions

Before getting started, line up your three buckets so you can easily access them. A clean area on a balcony or terrace or somewhere in your home will be fine.

If you just harvested, you’ll likely have a container for your fresh buds. Keep another one ready where you can temporarily place the washed ones. Alternatively, you can just cut branches from your plant and, after some trimming, wash them right away.

Important: You'll also need to prepare a spot where you can hang your washed buds to dry. Only start washing when everything is prepared. You don’t want to end up with a bunch of soaking wet buds and not know how or where to dry them.

Step 1: Harvest Your Buds

Using pruning shears or a sharp knife, cut the bud-carrying branches off your cannabis plant. For washing and drying, it is more convenient to cut entire branches. Leave enough stem so you can handle the branches without touching the buds. Fewer but larger branches will also make quicker and easier work of washing and drying.

Step 2: Trim the Buds

Trimming your buds before washing is recommended. This will get rid of the excess chlorophyll and the grassy taste it imparts, especially after being submerged.

Likewise, it will be more effective to wash already-trimmed bud. Of course, you can still dry trim after washing and drying if that’s what you prefer. It’s up to you.

Step 3: Dip into Bucket 1

Take a branch and fully submerge it into bucket 1. The lemon juice and baking soda will immediately start their work. After a few seconds, you may see debris coming off your buds.

Holding the branch firmly by the stem, gently move it around in the water; swipe left and right, and swirl it around in a circle. The more you move the buds around, the more dirt and other contaminants will be removed. Just don’t be too rough. Keep washing for about 30 seconds.

Step 4: Shake Off Excess

Remove the branch from bucket 1 and gently shake it for several seconds. This will help get rid of any remaining water, dirt, and debris that may still be attached to the buds.

Step 5: Rinse in Bucket 2

Now, do the same thing you did with the branch in bucket 1, but this time in bucket 2 to rinse and remove whatever may be left from bucket 1. Move it around for about 30 seconds. Remove the branch from the bucket and shake off the water again like you did before.

Step 6: Final Rinse in Bucket 3

Now, dip the branch into your final rinsing bucket 3, the one with the cold water. Repeat what you already did before; gently swirl the branch around to give it its final rinse.

At this point, it’s likely you'll already see some dirt and debris floating in buckets 1 and 2. Can you imagine smoking all that stuff? Well, not anymore, because you've now washed it all away!

After about 30 seconds, remove the branch from bucket 3. Give it a final gentle shake to get rid of excess water.

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Step 7: Hang to Dry

Freshly harvested buds are already quite prone to mould, but now after washing we have buds that are soaking wet. This means we need to hang them to dry right away!

The best place to dry your buds is in a location with a nice breeze. If you hang them indoors, you'll want some fans nearby to help with the drying process. Turn the fan(s) on high for about an hour to allow a big portion of the water evaporate quickly. Afterwards, turn the fan back to its normal speed. A light breeze blowing gently across the entire drying room is optimal.

Pay Extra Attention to the Drying Process

Pay Extra Attention To The Cannabis Drying Process

The bud washing process by itself is straightforward, and there isn’t much you could do wrong, even if you don't have experience growing cannabis. The crucial part is actually afterwards, when drying the buds. The thing is, moisture and buds don’t really go well together. So ensure proper ventilation for your washed buds and avoid high humidity, otherwise there is a major risk of mould. A standing fan or two will be life-savers—not just for bud washing!

Washing Buds — Yay or Nay?

There are many situations where bud washing can come in handy: For example, say that you had a spider mite infestation not long ago. All kinds of nastiness could be sticking to the buds—most of it you wouldn’t even be able to see.

Likewise, no matter if you're growing outdoors or indoors, there is always dust in the air. And when growing outdoors in a city, pollutants can certainly be an issue. Just like the fans in your grow room will accumulate dust and dirt in time, so will your buds. And buds are particularly sticky, meaning all those things can easily end up in your bowl or joint.

So, is bud washing for you? It’s not complicated, but it does require some equipment, patience, and the proper drying space. Otherwise, there might be some risk of an issue arising.

However, if everything checks out, we do think you should give bud washing a try. After all, trying it out for yourself is the best way to see what a difference it makes!