Crystal Clear: Mastering Hash Making Equipment Hygiene and Sanitation

Today’s focus is on the critical aspects of cleaning and sanitation in hash production. Proper hygiene is crucial to prevent cross-contamination of chemicals, flavors, or terpenes, and to avoid the introduction of harmful organisms that could adversely affect the product’s taste or stability.

Neglecting sanitation can lead to widespread contamination in the production facility, making it almost impossible to eliminate. Fortunately, in hash production, the risks related to pathogens are relatively low, but without proper cleaning and sanitation, the end product might taste unpleasant or become unsafe / non-shelf stable.

Cleaning Hash Production Equipment

While cleaning and sanitation might not be the most thrilling topics, they are vital for successful hash production. Remember that making hash should be enjoyable; approach it step by step, apply common sense, and keep in mind that it’s all in pursuit of a quality product. .

What Is The Difference Between Sanitation And Cleaning?

Cleaning involves removing soils from surfaces. Soils can include debris like dust, particulates, residual chemicals, and mineral deposits.  

Sanitation means treating cleaned surfaces to eliminate microbiological contaminants. A surface must be cleaned before it can be sanitized, as soils can shield microorganisms from the sanitizer, leading to ineffective sanitation.

The Importance Of Keeping Your Equipment Sanitized And Clean

Clean and sanitized equipment is essential to prevent the transfer of unwanted flavors, microorganisms, chemicals, and particulates. Failure to maintain hygiene can lead to off flavors, reduced product stability, or even harm to consumers.

Every area of the hash production facility should have a thorough cleaning plan. Regardless of the scale of your operation, it’s crucial to consider every aspect of your production area. It’s evident that equipment like extraction vessels, hoses, and fittings that come into contact with the product must be clean and sanitized, but what about the surrounding environment? 

Environmental sanitation is critical. Is the floor clean? Are there residues on the walls or mold under leaky equipment? Addressing these issues makes the entire process smoother and ensures a superior product for your consumers.

Cleaning and sanitation alone aren’t enough to guarantee quality hash production. Regular preventative maintenance is also key. Inspect all food contact surfaces regularly and replace any equipment that fails to meet standards. Hashtek equipment is primarily composed of stainless steel and food grade rubber. Stainless steel is durable, but can suffer from pitting, stress fractures, or rusting, especially if stored wet. If well-maintained, it can last indefinitely.

Products You’ll Need

Gloves– Thin nitrile or latex as well as waterproof/heat resistant gloves. Always wear gloves when handling cleaning chemicals, and when touching surfaces in contact with the product.

Rags– Good for removing surface soils, but must be washed between uses. Brushes are often a better option.

Cleaning Brushes- A range of brushes is needed for effective cleaning of all equipment in hash production, including tubing brushes, port brushes, and scrub brushes. Brushes should be appropriately sized and, in a production environment, color-coded for different uses.

Oxi-Clean – A potent alkaline cleaning agent that includes Sodium percarbonate and surfactants, ensuring efficient cleansing.

Star-San – A contact-based sanitizer made with food-grade phosphoric acid. It’s a no-rinse sanitizer; simple dilution neutralizes it effectively.

Isopropyl Alcohol – Ideal for removing tough resin. Use with caution due to off-gassing. Avoid using at full strength in pumps. For cleaning systems, dilution to 30% is advised, while full strength should be reserved for spot cleaning with a cloth.

Stainless Steel Polish – Enhances the appearance of tank exteriors by adding shine and removing fingerprints. Should not be used inside the tank due to the residue it leaves, which can be oily. Some facilities choose to avoid this product because of the oily surface it creates.

Bar Keepers Friend – A polishing powder for stainless steel, effective in removing oxidation, especially useful for tanks stored wet. It cleans and passivates stainless steel.

Scotch Brite Pad – Great for removing surface oxidation, in particular if you stored your false bottom screens wet.

Powdered Detergent Wash

A less aggressive alkali detergent cleaner, typically containing bases like Sodium percarbonate, and surfactants for effective cleaning. Unscented Oxiclean is our choice.

Non-Oxidizing Disinfectants (Sanitizers)

These include acid-based disinfectants like Star San (our recommended choice) or iodine-based ones like Iodophor. Isopropyl alcohol is also effective but not recommended due to volatility.

Non Polar Solvent

Typically Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol purchased in strengths from 70-99% and diluted as needed.

Types Of Contaminants

Physical -Physical contaminants are any particulates in the hash water, like dust, machinery hardware, etc. Mitigation includes detergent cleaning and good manufacturing practices.

Chemical – Chemical contaminants are mainly residual cleaning chemicals. Proper rinsing and pH testing of rinse water can ensure removal.

Biological – Biological contaminants refer to unwanted microorganisms. These are controlled through effective sanitation.

Cleaning Methods

CIP (Clean in Place) for Hashtek Equipment

CIP, or Clean in Place, is a method used in cleaning Hashtek extraction equipment without needing to disassemble it. This process is well suited because Hashtek systems are built for continuous recirculation. Simply recirculating the cleaner through the system with the agitator on is an effective way to clean the system.  

When using CIP for hash-making equipment, select low or no-foaming cleaning products to prevent pump cavitation.

We typically recommend circulating an OxiClean solution for cleaning. While some clients use diluted alcohol solutions (less than 30%) in the system, it’s important to be cautious about off-gassing and to guarantee proper ventilation.

COP (Clean Out of Place) for Smaller Components

COP, or Clean Out of Place, refers to cleaning removable parts of the Hashtek extraction equipment. In larger operations, this might involve a COP tank filled with a cleaning solution, where parts are soaked and agitated by a pump. However, smaller setups often rely on manual cleaning methods.

Foam Cleaning for Exterior Surfaces

Foam cleaning is effective for the external parts of Hashtek equipment. This process involves applying a foamy detergent solution and then rinsing it off. It’s less labor-intensive than manual scrubbing and is suitable for cleaning outer surfaces, floors, and walls.

Hashtek Equipment Deep Cleaning Process

1. Rinse: Begin by rinsing the equipment with hot, high-pressure water.

2. Alkali Detergent Cleaning: Clean surfaces with an alkali-based detergent, considering factors like time, temperature, concentration, and applied force. We recommend Oxi Clean

3. Rinse Again: Remove all traces of cleaning chemicals by rinsing until the water feels non-slippery.

4. Inspection: Visually inspect all parts, focusing on hard-to-reach areas.

5. Resin Removal: If there is resin buildup use alcohol to remove it.

5. Acid Wash: Periodically perform an acid wash to remove mineral buildup. Vinegar works for this. You may omit this step if using Star-San, and acid based sanitizer.

6. Sanitize: Use a suitable sanitizer, ensuring proper contact time for effective disinfection. We recommend Star-San.

7. Dry: Never store components wet. Leave false bottoms to air dry and hang up hoses on hooks so that they may drip dry

Avoiding Bleach in Cleaning

Never use bleach on Hashtek equipment as it can damage stainless steel and leave residues which can affect the quality of your hash.

Consequences of Inadequate Sanitation

Failing to properly sanitize equipment can lead to microbial growth, affecting the quality and shelf stability of the hash produced.

Remember to follow these guidelines closely for efficient and safe cleaning and sanitization of your Hashtek extraction equipment.

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Mississauga, ON