How to Cleanse Healing Crystals and Gemstones

By Mary Ancillette |

A guide to cleansing a healing crystal

Crystals need to be cleansed regularly to remove negative energy absorbed from the environment and other people. Here are seven easy ways to cleanse any crystal.

Adding a new crystal to your collection is always exciting. But, before you can harness the healing properties, it’s important to cleanse it to remove negative energy and toxicity.

Crystals absorb energy and vibrations when being excavated, shipped and handled before you receive it. So, you’ll need to ensure your stone is free from these influences.

Also, if you’ve been using a crystal for healing, or as part of your own spiritual practice, it will have absorbed, balanced and transmuted energies for your benefit. Before you use the stone again, it’s best to cleanse it. This restores its natural state and ensures any energy released into the crystal isn’t passed onto another person or reabsorbed yourself.

There are many ways to cleanse a crystal, but I’ve listed some of the most common below. Remember, whichever method you choose, your focused intention needs to remain on the purpose of cleansing.

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The Quick Answer...

Negative energy absorbed from people or the environment can affect a crystal’s healing energy.

Cleansing using water, salt, smudging and moonlight are all effective ways to clear this negativity.

My favourite method is to use moonlight. I like to place my crystals directly on the earth in full moonlight for a more profound cleansing effect.

7 Ways to Cleanse Your Healing Gemstones

Method #1: Running Water

Running water for cleansing

Running water is a popular way to cleanse crystals and is especially good for the quartz family. Whether we’re washing ourselves, clothes or other items, water is the main component. So, it makes sense to use it for our crystals also.

But we’re not simply washing crystals and rocks to remove dust or grime. Water is brilliant for clearing any negative energy stored within the stone that may hinder its energetic prowess.

This is because water neutralises unwanted energy and grounds it back to earth. By washing a gemstone, we can rejuvenate the energetic sparkle that may have been lost through handling or previous healing work.

Cleansing crystals in a spring, stream or river is ideal – even rain drops can work well. But a running tap is just as effective.

There are some crystals that aren’t suitable for cleansing with water though, as they may fracture, dissolve or even rust. Fragile gemstones may also crumble in a strong water flow. So, make sure you’ve done your research before using this method.

There’s more information about this in my article How to Store a Healing Crystal. If you have citrine in your collection, you may also want to read my guide to whether citrine can go in water.

How to Cleanse Your Crystal with Running Water

Set your intention that all negativity will be washed from your crystal before starting the process. Remain focused on this goal throughout the cleansing.

Hold your crystal under the flowing water for up to 5 minutes. You may only need 1-2 minutes if you cleanse often, but use your sense of judgement to determine this.

Once cleansed, pat dry with a cloth made from a natural fibre.

Method #2: Salt

Himalayan Salt

Salt has been used over centuries for absorbing negative energy and for protection. It’s easily accessible and is favoured by psychics and crystal healers alike, due to its purifying excellence.

There are three ways to cleanse your crystals with salt – using sea water, the indirect method, or the dry method. There isn’t a best way, it just comes down to personal preference and suitability for the crystal.

I recommend sea salt or pink Himalayan salt for cleansing, as table salt often contains chemicals.

Note: Not all crystals are suitable for submerging in water or having contact with salt. As a general rule, if a stone is porous, soft, has a metallic or water element, or has been treated, you’ll need to choose another cleansing method. But there are other exceptions so make sure you check before doing this.

How to Cleanse Your Crystal with Sea Water

If you live near the sea or are away on vacation, this is a perfect opportunity for cleansing your crystals. Put your stones into a mesh bag and, having set your intention to cleanse them, lower them into the water. Allow the waves to wash over them.

If you only have a couple of tumble stones or small crystals, you may wish to cup them in your hands to prevent them from being washed away, before lowering into the sea.

Sea water is a hugely effective method for cleansing crystals. It doesn’t take more than a minute to cleanse them thoroughly. You could even take sea water home in a jar for cleansing crystals when needed.

Make sure you rinse the crystals with clear water and pat dry with a natural material immediately, to ensure no salt residue remains.

Another method is to get a glass or pottery bowl (don’t use a plastic or metal container). Fill it with water and add several pinches of salt, then mix until it dissolves. Allow the crystals to soak in this for a few hours or overnight. Then rinse and pat dry with a natural fibre.

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Using the Indirect Method

The indirect method is often preferred when cleansing jewellery or crystals that don’t tolerate contact with water and salt.

Fill a glass or pottery bowl with water. Add either sea salt or pink Himalayan salt and allow it to dissolve. The amount of salt depends the bowl size, but as a general rule add 2 generous pinches for a small cup and up to 1-2 tablespoons in larger bowls.

Lower another glass or ceramic bowl or jar in to the salt water, ensuring that the water doesn’t overflow into it. Place your crystal or gemstone jewellery into the dry bowl where the energetic intention of cleansing can take place without having contact with the salt water.

Leave for a few hours or overnight.

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Using the Dry Method

Salt is a powerful tool when it comes to any form of spiritual cleansing. And for crystals it’s often favoured above other methods.

That said, you need to do some research before choosing this method, in case the crystal isn’t suitable.

The dry method involves burying crystals in sea salt or pink Himalayan salt. This is the most concentrated method of salt cleansing and will remove all impurities and negativity that may have accumulated.

Using a glass or ceramic dish, half fill it with salt and either bury your crystals completely or leave them sitting on the top.

Leave for a few hours, overnight or even a few days.

Once the cleansing is complete, rinse thoroughly under running water and pat dry with a natural fibre cloth. Or you may wish to gently brush off every grain of salt to ensure it doesn’t get damaged.

Make sure you discard the  salt afterwards as it has absorbed the negative energy from the crystals.

Method #3: Smudging

Smudging crystals

Smudging has been used for centuries by Native Americans and ancient cultures, and is considered a powerful technique to purify negative energy and restore balance. It’s one of the least invasive forms of cleansing, so is great for crystals that aren’t suited to water and salt.

At a basic level, “smudging” is when we use smoke to cleanse the crystal of negative energy. It’s highly symbolic of connecting to heaven, like prayers and intentions rising up in the smoke.

You can choose from a variety of incense sticks, smudge sticks, dried herbs, plants and wood to burn for this purpose. Many people use sage sticks, which are said to drive out negative energies, and cedar, palo santo, incense or sweet grass are also popular. But you can try exploring with a range of  herbs and plants to get a better understanding of the benefits.

An added bonus of smudging is that it’ll purify the home and yourself at the same time!

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Through Smudging

If you’re new to smudging, start with either sage tied in bundles or loose dried. Smudge kits, such as this one, can also be a great way to get started.

Choose a natural fire-proof container to hold the herb or bundle, and place it on a heat-proof surface. I like to use an abalone shell for this purpose, as it brings a water element to the ritual.

Light the stick or herb. If a flame appears, shake it or blow it out so it’s just smouldering. Hold the crystals over the smoke for a 20-30 seconds. You can use your hand or even a feather to waft the smoke over it.

Keep your focus on cleansing through the process. This intention will help remove undesirable energy.

Method #4: Larger Crystals

Amethyst geode

Some healing crystals can be used to purify other gemstones.

Large amethyst geodes or clear quartz clusters are most commonly used for this purpose, but selenite, carnelian and citrine are also excellent options.

Cleansing with a larger crystal is an ideal option for smaller stones, pendulums and jewellery, along with fragile or crumbly stones.

Tip: I’ve also written a full guide to how to cleanse crystals with selenite.

How to Cleanse with a Larger Crystal

If you wish to cleanse jewellery, place the items carefully on a cluster for a few hours or overnight. If you’re concerned that either the crystal or jewellery may get scratched, use natural cloth for protection.

You can do the same with small pieces of crystals.

To use a geode for cleansing, place your smaller stones, pendulums or jewellery inside for 24 hours or longer, to allow them to be cleansed and recharged.

Remember to cleanse your cluster or geode from time to time, using one of the other methods mentioned in this article.

Method #5: Moon or Sun

Holding crystal in sunlight

Cleansing using the power of the sun or moonlight is a lovely way to re-balance the yin-yang in your crystals.

Masculine sunlight represents growth and passion, while feminine moonlight is linked to receptivity, abundance and gratitude. You can use either for cleansing your crystal, or combine them as a unifying ritual over a 24 hour period.

That said, sunlight is very strong and needs to be tempered with a good understanding of how your individual crystal will respond.

Even five minutes of sunlight may zap some crystals of colour or cause it to become brittle, so don’t take any chances. If in doubt, use moonlight or another method to cleanse your crystal. You’ll find more information about this in my article “How to Store a Healing Crystal.”

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Using Sunlight

Sunlight is a wonderful way to invigorate your crystals whilst cleansing. But this method isn’t suitable for all crystals. If you have a crystal that may fade or become brittle if exposed to sunlight, I suggest that you use a different method.

Place your crystal out in the sunlight, sitting it either directly on the earth or on a natural substance like wood. I tend to put them out in early morning sunlight or later on in the day when the light seems less intense. But this is your choice.

Leave for a few hours or the whole day if you wish. You can also leave crystals out for 24 hours to gain the complete cycle of cleansing between sun and moonlight.

NOTE: Quartz can focus the sun’s rays (like glass) and so may be a fire risk if left in direct sunlight.

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Using Moonlight

There isn’t a single crystal that doesn’t enjoy a good moon bath. Just after sunset, place the crystal on a natural surface or directly on the earth. If that isn’t convenient place, put it near a window where it can get direct moonlight.

Don’t worry if there’s cloud cover. But if it’s raining, make sure your stone can tolerate water. If not, you could put the crystal into a sealed glass jar to protect it, or place it indoors on the windowsill.

The best time for moonlight cleansing is the three days over the full moon, but moonlight can cleanse at any point during the lunar cycle.

Method #6: Sound

Crystal singing bowl

Sound is a lovely way to cleanse, as it creates a sonic vibration that shakes off negative energy at a molecular level.

This method is effective for all types of crystal and can be achieved using a variety of instruments.

Tuning forks, crystal singing bowls, bells, drums, Tibetan cymbals and chanting are all very effective, but you can use any form of sound energy. It doesn’t matter the frequency or note, you can even clap your hands in a clockwise direction.

The main thing, when you’re using sound for cleansing, is to retain the focus of cleansing throughout the process and allow the sound waves to shift any stagnation.

Method #7: Visualisation and Breathe

Sunlight cleansing

Did you know that intention can cleanse crystals?

By visualising your intention to cleanse, you can clean the stone of any stored negative energy.

This doesn’t involve anything other than your own will and intention. What could be easier?

How to Cleanse Your Crystal Using Visualisation and Breathe

The use of the breath during meditation can be powerful. Place the crystals in front of you before you start your practice. Once you’re relaxed and are in a true meditation, blow balanced breaths over your crystals, visualising, as you do so, an encasing of white light.

White light is very cleansing. You can imagine white light filling your body before passing from your heart, hands or breath into and around the crystal, or imagine it coming straight  from the heavens. Anything will work, just so long as you remain focused through the whole process.

An additional component you could add is to have a window open and imagine the negative energy dissipating into the fresh air.

Keep the visualisation of the white light encompassing your crystal until you sense it’s fully cleansed.

Other Methods

There are numerous ways to cleanse a gemstone, and all are very effective.

Brown rice (bury the stone for 24 hours and throw rice away after use), essential oils and crystal cleansing sprays are all lovely methods to use also. Choosing a method is mainly down to personal choice, the type of stone and listening to your intuition.

How Often Do I Need to Cleanse My Crystal?

Cleansing is an important part of caring for your crystal, but there are no fixed rules about when to do it.

When you first buy a crystal, it’ll have absorbed numerous energies and influences through the length of its journey to your door. So, it makes sense to cleanse it so you can enjoy its healing power and vibrational efficiency without the risk of taking on other people’s negativity.

Likewise, if you’re carrying a stone all day, or are working with it, you should cleanse it more regularly. Crystal healers should certainly cleanse a stone between clients, to return it to its full healing potential.

If you have crystals sitting on your desk or around your home, then you can cleanse them less often, unless there are a lot of  people handling them.

Certain crystals also need cleansing more than others, such as fluorite.

But the main point I’d like to make is it’s not an exact science. It’s down to intuition and judgement. If you sense your crystal needs an energy bath, is looking ‘tired’ and dull, has been handled by lots of people, or you’ve been using it for energy healing, then you’ll want to cleanse it.

Trust those indications over setting a routine, unless that’s what your intuition is guiding.

Do All Crystals Need Cleansing?

Not all crystals need cleansing. Some can naturally purify themselves and other crystals.

Citrine, amethyst, selenite and kyanite are good examples, as they don’t hold negativity. But I still like to moonlight cleanse these crystals to realign their energies. I think of it like tuning a musical instrument.

There is much talk about this subject and I’m sure other resources will say something different. So, my advice is to always trust your intuition.


When you’ve been using a crystal for healing work, in your own spiritual practice or other people have handled them, it will have absorbed negative energies from the person or environment.

This can reduce the crystal’s effectiveness, makes it dull and risks passing energies between people.

Cleansing ensures you’re caring for your crystal by keeping it vibrationally active and ready to continue absorbing and releasing energy for your benefit.

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