Washing Your Marijuana Buds Using the 3 Bucket Method

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Yes you heard that right, you need to wash your weed right after harvest. Now before you dismiss the idea outright, think about this: your plants, just like you, will accumulate dirt and dust throughout its life cycle. It will catch all sorts of stuff: dust will settle on it, bugs will bring dirt and leave their poop on it, etc and these contaminants will affect the taste and smell of your weed. 

Benefits of washing your weed

We wash fruits and vegetables before we eat them, so it seems like a no-brainer to wash your marijuana before you consume it. Especially with the top-shelf stuff, what you want is to remove all impurities that can not only diminish your overall experience but can also be harmful to you when ingested. Even something as harmless as dust (which is often dead skin cells), can you imagine smoking that?

More importantly, it can help get rid of any harmful waste products that pests might have left in the smallest spaces of your buds. These are often invisible to the naked eye but washing will almost certainly get rid of this.

Will it make my weed less potent?

You might be thinking, washing is all well and good but will it damage your plant’s precious trichomes? Short answer is: no, as long as you handle your plant gently while washing, it won’t get damaged. 

If you may recall, cannabinoids are not water-soluble and everything precious in the plant, the oils, resins and trichomes won’t dissolve in water during washing. Remember, marijuana grown outdoors even gets watered and rained on so washing shouldn’t be anything different. However, water by itself isn’t enough to clean your weed, you’ll need to add a few natural cleansers in your mix that will loosen or dissolve all other unwanted dirt and debris without affecting the taste and smell of your buds.

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When to wash your weed

You can wash your marijuana immediately after harvesting and absolutely before drying. It sounds like a no brainer but just to be really clear, don’t wash your weed after drying.

What you want to do is to wash your buds while they’re still on the branches that have been freshly cut from your plant. You’ll be using the main stalk of the branch to dunk the weed into the washing bucket and to hang it for drying. No, washing won’t cause molds as long as your drying process is correct. If you want to know more about drying your weed, check out our post on How To Setup A Drying Room For Weed.

What you need to wash your weed

This process isn’t difficult at all and you don’t even need any special equipment. Here are the only things you need:

Rubbermaid Roughneck Heavy-Duty Utility Bucket, 15-Quart, Bisque
  • 3 big buckets – these should be big enough to submerge your weed branches in
  • Baking soda or baking powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Lots of water 

Here’s what I used for washing my homegrown weed.

How to wash your weed

The idea is to wash your weed in a three stage process: 1. Wash, 2. Initial rinse, 3. Final rinse. You should dunk your weed branches exactly in that order. After you’ve cut all of your branches, it’s time to wash! 

By the way, you can do this before or after wet trimming your weed. If you’re not sure what this is, check out our post on Best Methods and Tools for Trimming Marijuana Flower.

1st Bucket – Clean

In this bucket, prepare a cleaning mixture of lukewarm water (around 20C) with 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. It’s a good idea to make a couple of buckets of this mixture, you wouldn’t want to wash later batches with a dirty mix.  It’s easy to see if you need to change your mix, it should change color from clear to cloudy depending on how dirty your weed is.

Dirty water from the first bucket

Dunk your weed into the bucket then shake it gently in there for around 30 seconds. You don’t have to shake it vigorously, too much agitation can also dislodge the trichomes. Let the mix do its work in dissolving the dirt.  

Take out the branch and shake off the excess water so that the next bucket won’t get contaminated.

2nd Bucket – Rinse

This bucket will only have clean water in it to rinse off the mix from Bucket A. Dunk your weed into this bucket and shake it gently in there for around 30 seconds or until you’re sure that it’s already clean. 

3rd Bucket – Wash

This bucket will serve as the final rinse and should have some cold water in it. Dip the weed branch in it a couple of times, take it out, then gently shake it off to remove all the excess water.

After this, you can hang your weed to dry. Point your fans onto your marijuana while it dries, the faster the water evaporates, the better so that your weed won’t catch mold or rot.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will washing cannabis bud damage trichomes?

If you wash your marijuana gently, its trichomes will not be damaged.

Is it safe to smoke flower that’s been washed?

It is better to smoke cannabis flowers that have been washed. However, washing will not get rid of rot, molds, and mildew, these buds should be discarded.

Will washing marijuana buds reduce the potency of THC?

No since the marijuana’s oils, resins, cannabinoids and trichomes will not dissolve in water.

When should I consider washing buds or flower?

You should wash your marijuana right after harvesting before drying. You can wash it trimmed or untrimmed.


One thing that this washing process does not do though, is get rid of mold or mildew. Never ever use buds that have been infected by both, even for extracts as this can be very dangerous and fatal in some cases. If you’re really sure that the mildew only got to the outer leaves and definitely not inside the bud, you can use a 3% hydrogen peroxide and water solution to wash that off. 

However, for everything else like dirt, dust, and residue left by bugs, this washing method can be very effective in improving the overall taste and smell of your buds.

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