Healing and empowering crystals are becoming a more and more popular way to indulge in some self-care these days. Because really, who doesn’t want a pretty gem or crystal around them all the time, especially if they have dual purposes like cleansing or helping you concentrate?
But to be honest, and you may have noticed this too, some of them start to get a bit mucky after a while. Not necessarily physically dirty, but energy-wise. To bring them back to their full potential, remember to cleanse your crystals as necessary. We’ve created a guide for the most important times to cleanse them and how to do it, but remember it’s only a guide. Do what resonates best, with you.
#1. Someone Else Has Used It
Maybe you bought it at a thrift store or a friend gave you one of theirs. Either way, you’ll want to clear out all the old energy lingering in it from whoever owned it before.
#2. It Doesn’t Feel Right
Does holding your crystal put you in a bad mood? Does it seem uncomfortably cold or too warm to the touch? Maybe there’s just something peculiar about it. This is a good indication that it is time to cleanse your stone; it may have been absorbing energy from something else and is interfering with how you use it.
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#3. You Don’t Have a Connection To It
This is one of the most important reasons to cleanse a crystal. They work best when you have a personal, emotional, or energetic connection to the stone. So if you’re holding it and you don’t feel a single thing, try cleaning it. Afterward, if it’s still not working for you, that particular stone should just be used for decoration or given away.
#4. You Want To Use It for Something Else
You wouldn’t forget to wash a bowl you had spaghetti in before eating ice cream out of it, right? So don’t do the same to your crystals. If you’ve used it for something already and want to change it up, give it a nice cleanse. It’ll work much better after, promise.
It’s just not working. If no matter what you do, the crystal just won’t serve its purpose or you can’t connect with it, it’s probably time to let it go. This one just wasn’t meant to be.
If you have a sage bundle or incense (cedar or sandalwood is best for this purpose), light it and let it smolder until there’s an ample amount of smoke. Then, hold the crystal in the smoke for 20-to-30 seconds while visualizing your energy flowing into it.
This applies to all types of light. Sunlight, moonlight, or a specifically chosen colored light. Sunlight and moonlight are the most common—just leave your stone outside for a full or overnight (ideally on a full moon) to allow the energy of the universe to soak back into the crystal. Similarly with the colored lights, choose one that matches the intention of what you want to do (think green for prosperity, pink for love) and let the crystal sit under the light for a day.
Using salt to clean crystals is effective but can damage certain types of stones. Research to determine if your crystal is salt-safe and if so, bury it in a bowl of salt and leave it there for as long as you feel necessary. When you’re done, rinse the stone to remove all the salt and throw the salt away. For a method that doesn’t involve direct contact with the salt, put your crystal in a smaller vessel that can be buried halfway into the bowl and follow the same steps.
Similar to salt, some crystals dissolve if they’re left in water (I’m looking at you, selenite). Be sure you’re aware of potentially negative effects. To cleanse crystals with water, submerge them in a bowl of salt water, run them under cold tap water, put them outside during the rain, or secure them in a natural pool of water somewhere. Leave the crystal in the water for as long as you think it needs. If you don’t have access to clean water, bury your stone in dirt outside instead.
#5. Other Stones
Some stones have a natural cleansing ability all their own; they absorb energy from other things around them. If you have a piece of selenite, either wave it around the crystal you want to cleanse or sit them next to one another for a day. Quartz, amethyst, and carnelian will work as well. You can also place your crystal inside a geode if you have one. —By Jennifer Billock
Jennifer Billock is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times, and Smithsonian.
photo: @elinadjan via Twenty20