If some leaves are particularly filthy and objectionable, you can wash them with a garden hose immediately after you pick them, so long as they are green or yellow. Don't wash brown leaf. If you do wash some leaf, be certain that the surface has dried, before you hang them in the shed.
Dirt or mud on a leaf (often the mud lugs or sand lugs) can stay there during curing. Once the leaf is fully cured, and brought up to case--so it is pliable, you can slap the dirty leaves against an object (or your pant leg) to remove the excess dirt.
In general, I agree with leverhead. I probably wash 20 leaves (from a crop of ~250 plants), usually because of bird droppings or heavy grass clippings on the surface.
Thank you guys I was asking mainly because my bottom leaves (muds) are dusty from soil. After curing I smelled them and I sneezed because I felt the dust in my nose. I cured some samples of upper leaves that I broke while de-suckering and they smelled just fine..I think because they were not dusty.
What about aphids/aphid eggs?? Will they fall off after curing??
Last year, on leaves with dirt splatter, I brushed them lightly with the softest paint brush I could get to remove excess/lose dirt before hanging. Note that leaf must be dry, no dew or moisture when picked for it to work, otherwise you get a smear of crud that does not easily come off.
Since I have closely mowed grass alongside each of my tobacco beds, I use the grass as a soft brush for removing dry dirt from the mud lugs, as I prime them. The only trick is to avoid injuring the leaf in the process.
This year I have begun washing every single leaf. I hate aphids. I tried an experiment where I washed the aphids off every plant in the field while they were still growing. Big mistake. At the time, 99% of the aphids were either located at the crown of the plant or on suckers, which I was picking off. After I washed my plants, the aphids climbed back up, only some of them got tired on the way up. Now I have aphids from the crown of the plant all the way down to the mud lugs. Since then I have begun washing every leaf immediately after priming, and it does make for some clean beautiful leaf, but with over 250 plants, it's a lot of work but I think worth it compared to the alternative. (I created a monster) I have just received some Orthene that I ordered and will be spraying the plants with it as soon as we are out of this rain pattern. I fought a losing battle with soapy water, especially after washing the aphids off and then they spread from top to bottom of the plants. (My conspiracy theory: Ivory and Dawn developed a soap resistant aphid to sell more soap. They introduced them into Alabama as a test run before setting them loose on the rest of the country) To paraphrase Paul Revere: "The aphids are coming!! The aphids are coming!!
I sprayed all the grass in the walkways with BT also when spraying plants this yr. I have had aphids out the ars also and hornworms in the past. Very few this yr. Crossing Fingers a month or two to go.
Any more, I just leave all the crud on the leaf, eventually, it all drops off in curing, handling and shredding.
I learned the hard way that brushing the leaf was bad, bad, bad. The brush quickly picks up juice (sap, whatever), then thickens and hardens, and then the brush will only bruise the leaf, and it cures very ugly rotten.
I just give each leaf a quick swipe with a soft bristled paintbrush. Takes care of the dirt, bugs, bug eggs, and bird dookie. I really don't want to know what a robin's turd tastes like in a cigarette, or a ladybug for that matter.
cure, fully dry to crispy, then bring back into med. case - the leaf re-hydrates way faster than the dirt which then brushes off nicely as you stretch the leaves out.
Don't try and get it off when green, waste of time IMHO.
The first year I grew (2012) 140 del gold and after a season of mowing grass I washed the leaf as I harvested them. I think it went well but I think I washed some of the resins of them which caused the leaf to cure differently, not necessarly a bad thing but the baccy was much milder.
I Just got done stripping the leaf off the pa red stalks.
I don't know how many times I told my wife and son not to shoot the grass on my plants when mowing.
The leaves were covered with grass and seeds. Stuck fast.
I used my air compressor with a blow gun And put the leaf flat on the table when I blew it off. It Worked great and quick too. Just be shure you are at least in med to high case so you don't blow holes in it.