How to Cleanse Your Crystals: A Complete Guide


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Have you ever noticed how one negative moment can ruin the rest of your day?

For example, just one minor tense interaction with your partner can impact your mood, productivity, mindset, and focus for hours, even as you change locations and go about your day normally.

Negative energy has a way of lingering around. And shaking off residual negative energy takes work. 

Intentional living requires us to be aware of residual negative energy, to notice the effect it has on us and the rest of the world– and to take action to neutralize and remove negative residual energy from our lives. 

If you have crystals in your life, it’s important to clear away their residual negative energy as well. 

Crystals are record-keepers– they retain the energetic imprints of the people, places, and situations they’ve encountered. Many crystals also amplify and focus energy. 

Negative energy held in a crystal for too long will start to poison everything around it. Negative energy accumulated in a crystal will also reduce its healing, protective, and attractive powers. 

Cleansing your crystals doesn’t have to be a chore. Crystal cleansing rituals are easy and enjoyable, providing you with benefits far beyond just clearing negative energy from your stones. 

In this article you will learn: 

  • How to cleanse your crystals (the best methods for different situations)
  • When to cleanse your crystals (and how often)
  • How to know when your crystals are fully cleansed

Let’s begin. 

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Sound

Sound cleansing is the easiest and fastest technique for cleansing crystals. 

How to do it: Use a singing bowl or tuning fork to create a single loud, resonant acoustic tone near your crystals. It doesn’t matter which note you choose, as long as the sound reverberates powerfully throughout the space and does not have to compete with any other notes. 

How it works: Your crystal will vibrate at the frequency of the sound you created, releasing any weaker, disharmonious frequencies it may be holding onto. As an added benefit, you and everything else around you can also enjoy the cleansing sound bath. 

Best for: Anyone who is in a hurry– but still wants to enjoy the process and squeeze in a quick sound bath for themselves– should try sound cleansing. Music lovers and meditators who already own crystal bowls, tuning forks, and other instruments will also enjoy sound cleansing.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Sunlight

Cleansing your crystals with sunlight is simple, passive, and environmentally friendly.

How to do it: Simply place your crystals outside (or on your window sill) for an extended period of time during a bright day. It’s essential that your crystal receive a full dose of direct sunlight for at least 4 hours. Just don’t leave your crystal outside in the elements for too long– keep your stones clean and in great condition for best results. 

How it works: UV rays have antimicrobial properties, and many believe this cleansing effect extends into the quantum/energetic realm as well. Just as receiving direct sunlight on our bodies can help us feel refreshed, crystals can also benefit from the broad spectrum UV light of the sun.

Best for: This technique is very passive, and well-suited for busy lifestyles. Simply set your crystals in direct sunlight (in a secure place) and walk away for hours. If you live in an urban setting or don’t have abundant access to natural light, this method might not be for you.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Moonlight

Cleansing your crystals by moonlight is best done during the Full Moon.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals: A Complete Guide 3

How to do it: Your crystals will receive the broadest spectrum of light when placed in the light of the Full Moon. Leave your crystals in direct moonlight for at least eight hours, preferably overnight. Choose a location that is wide open (the moon will move through the night, casting shadows) yet secure from tampering and theft. 

How it works: Although moonlight is just reflected sunlight, it has its own unique optical qualities. Many people prefer cleansing crystals by moonlight (versus sunlight) because the purifying energy tends to penetrate deeper– but more gently. 

Best for: Moonlight is ideal for sensitive, stressed crystals that require deep but gentle cleansing. Cleansing crystals by moonlight is also great for anyone with a nocturnal lifestyle, and will fit perfectly with your existing Full Moon ritual.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals By Grounding (Earthing)

You can cleanse your crystals by placing them directly on the earth. 

How to Cleanse Your Crystals: A Complete Guide 4

How to do it: Just place your crystals directly on natural ground outdoors– soil, stone, grass, and sand all work. Be sure you choose a secure location to ground your stone where it will not be disturbed or stolen. It is recommended that you ground your crystal for at least four hours. And don’t forget to brush your crystals off and clean with a damp cloth before bringing them back inside.

How it works: Grounding (also known as earthing) has been shown to improve human well-being, and it’s believed to have a powerful effect on crystals as well. The earth’s surface is abundant with subtle energetic vibrations, which penetrate and cleanse your crystals.

Best for: Grounding is perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors– many people take their crystals out for grounding and end up lying on the earth as well, soaking up that powerful energy. Iron-based and opaque crystals (hematite, black tourmaline, etc.) respond well to grounding.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Smoke (Smudging)

Many choose to cleanse crystals with smoke, by ritualistically burning a bundle of dried plant matter– called smudging.

How to do it: Here’s how to cleanse your crystals by smudging, step-by-step for beginners:

  1. Choose an appropriate* bundled dried herb or hunk of wood to burn safely in a well-ventilated environment.
  2. Hit one end of the bundle with a flame for several seconds, until you can see the plant matter glowing red.
  3. Remove the flame, and blow gently on the burning end of the bundle to encourage the red glow to spread.
  4. Wave the burning bundle near and around your crystals (and your home and consenting loved ones). Allow the smoke to surround and envelop your crystals, drawing out negative energy and restoring the full power of the stone. Just a few seconds of immersion is enough. 
  5. When you are done, put your smudge stick out by cutting off the flow of oxygen. You can tamp down in an ash tray, abalone shell, or a dish filled with sand.

How it works: Smoke has a magical way of moving around a space, due to the unique way its molecules interact with the air around it. The smoke of various herbs has a distinct, powerful vibration that can remove negative energy from crystals (and basically anything else).

Best for: Smudging is a ritual practice with roots in indigenous American history. It is a deeply relaxing and uplifting process, and many people love smudging even when they don’t have any crystals to cleanse. Smudging takes time, attention, and focus, and should always be done respectfully (with the consent of everyone present). It is an extremely powerful form of cleansing.

* Burning white sage is considered a closed practice by the owners of this tradition. Do not smudge with sage or to cleanse your crystals (unless you are descended from an indigenous culture that traditionally uses sage) if you wish to respect this boundary.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Other Crystals

Cleansing crystals with other crystals is an advanced, but effective, technique. 

How to do it: Here’s how to cleanse your crystals with other crystals– the two best methods:

  • Place your crystal into a bowl filled with smaller purifying crystals, like Black Tourmaline, Hematite, or Smoky Quartz. Allow your crystal’s negative residual energy to be absorbed and neutralized by the other stones for up to 24 hours
  • Put your crystal on top of a much larger purifying crystal– such as a selenite charging plate. Let your crystal to remain on the selenite plate (or other large crystal specimen) for up to 24 hours.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Water

Not all crystals can be cleansed with water, but many love this technique because of the unique energetic benefits water provides.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals: A Complete Guide 7

How to do it: Hold or place your crystals in a stream of running fresh water for several seconds, or up to one minute. Carefully pat them dry when you are finished. Only cleanse hard, stable crystals (like Quartz) with water. Never use water on soft or iron-rich stones, like Selenite, Pyrite, or Hematite.

Do NOT use or consume cleansing water afterwards as a crystal elixir– the cleansing water will retain the negative energy that was removed rom the crystals.  And do not ever use salt water to cleanse your crystals; the salt ions will penetrate microscopic cracks in your crystal, weakening it over time.

How it works: Running water is extremely purifying, and the unique energetic vibration of millions of flowing water molecules is able to cleanse crystals and dissolve negative energy almost instantly.

Best for: Unfortunately, unless you have access to a natural steam or river, cleansing crystals with water is wasteful (because you should not reuse the energetically dirty water afterwards). For this reason, I choose not to cleanse crystals with water since I do not live near a clear stream.

How to Cleanse Your Crystals with Salt

Cleansing your crystals with salt is effective– but it generates waste and can be messy.

bowl filled with pink salt and crystals laid on top, showing how to cleanse your crystals with salt
Cleansing my Clear Quartz and Ruby Kyanite with pink Himalayan salt.

How to do it: Fill a dish with salt and place your crystals on top of the salt. Allow them to remain there for at least 24 hours. Never put your crystals in wet salt or salt water– the salt ions will penetrate tiny cracks in your crystals and weaken the stone over time. And do not reuse or consume the salt you used for cleansing your crystals– it retains negative energy and must be discarded.

How it works: Salt is negatively charged, and excels at absorbing and neutralizing negative energy from the environment. Most crystals tend to respond well to salt because both substances are minerals from the earth, so they have a natural affinity for each other.

Best for: Like cleansing with water, this method is wasteful because you must discard the salt afterwards. It is best to save salt cleansing for extremely dirty crystals saturated with negative energy.

Common Questions About Cleansing Crystals

Why Do Crystals Need to Be Cleansed? 

Crystals carry residual energy from all the places they’ve been, all the people they’ve encountered, and all the situations they’ve witnessed. A build-up of residual energy can change the crystal’s inherent vibrational energy, making the stone less effective for manifestation, protection, and wellness.

Cleansing crystals resets their vibrational frequency, helping to release energetic residue and bring the stone back into alignment with its natural state of being. Cleansing crystals also serves as a soothing ritual to the user, leading to enhanced focus and relaxation that can further amplify the benefits of using crystals. 

How Often Do Crystals Need to Be Cleansed?

Many people can intuitively sense when their crystals need to be cleansed. When crystals have too much built-up energetic residue, the stones can give off a dull, tired, or muddy vibration.

However, it may be useful to create a crystal cleansing routine and schedule, since life happens and sometimes energetic shifts can go unnoticed. If you want a more structured approach, it is recommended that you cleanse crystals during the Full Moon each month. Cleansing your crystals any less frequently than once per month will most likely result in significant build-up of residual energy. 

When Should You Cleanse Your Crystals?

Cleansing your crystals during the Full Moon each month is an ideal schedule to keep– but sometimes it’s not enough. 

There are compelling situational reasons to cleanse your crystals more frequently than once per month. You should cleanse your crystals after experiencing turmoil, conflict, or negativity in your life, such as during a break-up, a fight, or work-related stress. I also recommend cleansing your crystals during any significant life change, like moving, starting a new relationship, graduating, or switching jobs.

How Do You Know When Your Crystal Is Fully Cleansed?

When fully cleansed, your crystals will look brighter, feel lighter, and give off stronger vibrational energy. These changes are often very subtle, which is why almost all the cleansing methods above included a recommended minimum duration. When in doubt, it’s always okay for your crystals to enjoy an extended cleansing. 

What Happens If You Don’t Cleanse Your Crystals? 

It’s unlikely that anything terrible will happen just because you didn’t cleanse your crystals.

However, crystals lose their vibrational luster over time as energetic residue builds up and blocks their inherent power. When you don’t cleanse your crystals, you allow layers and layers of residual energy to build up and weaken your crystals’ power. 

Conclusion: What is the BEST Way to Cleanse Crystals?

Only you know the best way to cleanse crystals for your unique situation. 

Some things to take into consideration when deciding how to cleanse your crystals include: 

  • How do you feel before, during, and after your crystal cleansing ritual? You don’t want cleansing your crystals to feel like a chore. Choose a method that you enjoy and that complements your lifestyle and personality.
  • Does your crystal cleansing ritual negatively impact the environment or the people around you? Many crystal cleansing methods have an impact on the overall environment. Smudging, in particular, can infringe on other people’s wellbeing, so be sure to ask permission before burning anything in a closed environment with others. When cleansing with water or salt, make sure to reuse your materials to prevent unnecessary waste.
  • How do your crystals respond to being cleansed? Do they give off a different energy during or after the ritual? Some crystals respond more powerfully to different cleansing methods than others. Use your intuition to gauge the best method for your particular stones, based on their energetic response.
  • How much time and energy are you happy to put forth when cleansing your crystals? A lot of people overestimate their ability to maintain a new routine, and that applies to crystal cleansing as well. If you have a full schedule, an elaborate Full Moon ritual or whole-house smudging routine might not be the best choice for you.

I personally have a very busy lifestyle, so I prefer quick, environmentally-friendly crystal cleansing methods– sound cleansing is my go-to technique. Passive methods like sunlight, moonlight, and cleansing with other crystals are also great for me. 

For others, cleansing their crystals is a self-care routine in itself. These individuals may opt for smudging or an in-depth Full Moon crystal cleansing ritual. 

When working with crystals, your intuition will guide you to the right techniques. 

You just have to listen. 


Writer + Creator of Vital Ethos

Sasha is a writer, spiritual teacher, highly sensitive intuitive, and artist on a mission to illuminate your path to personal growth and transformation with helpful tools and resources like digital journals and workbooks ✨

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