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Cleaning Dry Sift Screens

Hello everyone!

iv been dry sifting with a few methods for a lil while now, keeping a Cold environment and using Forced air to clean them has been a regular thing.

but i work with very high quality resin strains (currently sifting Blue Lime Pie and Key Lime Pie) and even in a cold room (around 50-60F), sometimes i cant get them 100% clean. after air cleaning i can still see some heads lodged in the screen that wont go through. i started noticing that gently brushing with a soft paint brush helps push out what wont go through with the forced air but still cant get them 100% clean. is this normal? can you even get them 100% clean? am i being unrealistic in any way?

what suggestions can someone give? another sifter (wont mention who) on IG said that when this happens, they use ice cold water in a spray bottle to spray it out. i was very unconfident that this was a good idea (adding water to the screens!?) but what do you all have to say?

thanks ICMAG fam :tiphat:
 
T

tropicannayeah

There's no need to try and remove every single resin head that is stuck to your screens, but you don't want to try and sift with screens that are clogged which will really affect your yield and the time it takes.

For screens that are smeared and gummed up with squashed resin heads and bits of plant matter I find it's best to use a paint brush and alcohol. Alcohol dissolves resin and helps wash away the plant bits stuck with the resin...this will make your synthetic or stainless steel screens as clean as new.

Use lots of alc, a very wet dripping brush and brush the horizontally placed mesh so the alcohol drips through the mesh and not onto the frame. You will probably find that after two or three quick strokes back and forth across the screen you will need another dip in the alc as it runs off the brush fast, that's ok, use lots of alcohol. Brush both sides of the mesh over a dish, tray or run to waste outside. Alcohol will not affect wood, but if the wooden frames are stained or lacquered, then do your best not to wet the wood frame with the alc. Water will make wood swell, joints will open and you might/will wreck it, so I wouldn't suggest using blasts of frozen water (but if you do, let us know how it works)

Use magnification to check out the meshes before and after cleaning.

and much like the advice that goes with most dry sifting techniques about not allowing the contaminants in with the sifted resin in the first place by being gentle and careful rather than trying to separate the contaminant out later. ...to keep your screens clear, clean, unsmeared and unblocked up with resin for a longer duration between cleanings then it's best to NOT allow the resin to smear on the meshes in the first place.

Do this by only processing plant matter with resin heads that are dry, that usually means a cool, dry, dark storage of the plant matter for at least 2~4 months. Plant matter dries in weeks, but resin takes longer to lose moisture and become hard enough for sifting or you will clog up your meshes quick smart (with most dry sifting techniques).....if you want to try and sift material that is dry but with only a month or so of drying then use sifting techniques that require minimal contact of the material with the mesh (like DSW's gentle two screen technique) and use cold material in a cold, low RH locale.

.
 
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T

tropicannayeah

I could of just said "Use alcohol and a 2 ~ 4 inch, 50mm~100mm wide paint brush" but I could never write just a short little sentence when there's room for a paragraph or two or three.

Which reminds of the story......
 
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I use a vacuum hose and white cotton t-shirt. I've used alcohol based medical wipes just to attempt to dissolve any heads lodged in the screen.
Silk screens are typically used for solvent based ink but I'm sure rubbing alcohol is abrasive on the screens. Looking at a screen print website there's lots of screen wash cleaners, has anybody tried using these products on their sift screens?
 
luckily my screens are NOT gummed or smeared and in terrible condition, they are in pretty good condition so alcohol will not have to be used. jcoltrane and esteressence, i wasnt sure about using any sort of liquid on the screens, alcohol or not. luckily i do no need to.

if my screens are in fairly good condition (i clean them everytime but cant get every single head out and there is no gumming or smearing) is there anything else i can try when cleaning after? someone mentioned a vacuum?

im trying to discuss all the options we can safely do to keep our screens clean :) there is not enough conversation about this. keeping em clean is important!
 

EsterEssence

Well-known member
Veteran
If you have a brush on the vacuum, if not be careful of any sharp or rough parts, if you touch the attachment or hose to the screen it can tear really easily. As long as the crystals don't get to hot they should not smear or gum up the screens...
 
T

tropicannayeah

Sorry, but I feel alky is gonna damage the screens ... I use forced air and a brush

You "feel" but haven't actually tried it....hmmm ok I've used forced air and a brush and it appears to clean the mesh but under magnification, there was still lots of ruptured resin heads

Alcohol will ruin your screens. I just use a brush...


That's definitely not my experience. How will alcohol ruin your screens? Using a brush is good if there are no resin heads stuck or smeared on the mesh.

Silk screens are typically used for solvent based ink but I'm sure rubbing alcohol is abrasive on the screens.

"Abrasive" ? Really? Alcohol will not harm, damage or weaken synthetic meshes. Has anyone here who says alcohol is bad for cleaning for resin off cleans actually tried it and then used magnification to check if it's clean?

I've used alcohol and a brush to clean screen frames plenty of times and the meshes become 100% clean.

If your screens are blocked with smeared resin heads and the plant matter stuck to the resin then forced air or a brush won't clean all of the resin off the screens, alcohol will. If your screens are blocked with just plant matter then a brush and or air should work.....but do this to make sure, use magnification to see what your screens look like before and after cleaning, I have and alcohol cleans the best, it makes the screens 100% clean, just like new.

I've also used a brush with alcohol then gave them blasts of compressed air when still wet and that worked well, but alcohol will readily drip off the mesh and will dry very quickly with some air movement..or you can dab the mesh dry with a clean dry rag.
 
T

tropicannayeah

As long as the crystals don't get to hot they should not smear or gum up the screens...

Exactly!

But for those who try to sift material with still gooey resin with a 100 ~120 (lines per inch) Mesh or for those who use static carding or carding over fine meshes eg 200 Mesh in less than ideal conditions may find their screens partially blocked and unless the smeared resin heads are dissolved and rinsed off the screen will still be partially gummed up
 
tropicannayeah im glad you can attest for the alcohol working and making them like new. would you happen to have macro pics before and after? id really be interested to see whats happening on that level
 
T

tropicannayeah

Buy yourself a hand held magnifier, the low cost China made , battery powered illuminated, 16X ones work well at first, but the light usually stops working if dropped, but you can still use it in good light. I use my magnifier not just for sifting, I use it to check out seeds, young plants, insects, early sex, live resin and especially while dry sifting.
 
i have one of course, but i was wondering if you had any before and after macro photography to back up that the alcohol doesnt mess with the screens in any way? i can easily view with a magnifying glass but not sure i would risk it without proof that its a safe method for keeping the screens in tact :)
 

cl0ud

Member
Keep in mind, most people use alcohol to clean their gummed up bubble bags. We're dealing with the same material here. I don't see how alcohol could harm the screens.
 

EsterEssence

Well-known member
Veteran
Put a little kief in your hand and add some alcohol, wash your hands in that solution, let me know how long it takes you to make your hands not sticky... Who wants a sticky dry sift screen?
 
T

tropicannayeah

EE - you may be right on the palm thing with resin, alcohol then water?, but perhaps you could try brushing alcohol over a synthetic mesh that has been partially blocked with ruptured resin heads ....I find the meshes become like new again both to look at with the naked eye and under magnification after a brushing with alcohol.

but maybe the alcohol I buy here is different to what you buy?, I haven't used alc on screens for a few years, as I haven't needed to but when I do I buy it from a drug store/chemist in a plastic bottle and it's only 75%..I do know that it's not suitable for consumption.
 

EsterEssence

Well-known member
Veteran
If the alc dissolves some of the resin on the screen it is going to be a bitch to get all the sticky off, thereby creating a viscous circle of new dry kief sticking to the screen.
 
esteresssence this was a worry as well. i have used alcohol and a tooth brush to clean my bubblebags before, but from my research (hope its correct) it seems that Bubbleman has distinguished his Dry sift screens and BubbleBags screens as different with the Bubblebags screens made of Nylon or Parachute fabric and the Dry sift screens being made of Polyester. both synthetic but im aware that different fabrics act differently under differernt conditions, like for example... silk screens have been used for Sifting in the past cultures but CANNOT be used in a water/ice extraction due to the screen size changing while suspended in water solution.
 

Psuper

Member
If the alc dissolves some of the resin on the screen it is going to be a bitch to get all the sticky off, thereby creating a viscous circle of new dry kief sticking to the screen.

Nonsense.

A dry sift screen is going to be either a polyester or nylon monofilament mesh. Both are resistant to solvents. Nylon monofilament is less resistant to alcohols than polyester monofilament but often more resistant to hydrocarbons. A quick wash, followed by a water rinse is fine for our applications.

Bubblebags and other water hash bags use polyester monofilament because it doesn't absorb water like nylon can. The sift wizard dry sift screens also use polyester. This mesh can handle alcohols without a problem.

I've used this mesh in a professional capacity before; used to work as a liquid compounding technician in a vitamin laboratory.
 

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