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Illustrations by Brittany England

Many people use crystals to soothe their mind, body, and soul. Some believe that crystals act on an energetic level, sending natural vibrations out into the world.

Crystals often travel long distances, from source to seller, before a purchase is made. Each transition exposes the stone to energies that may be misaligned with your own.

And when used for healing, these stones are said to absorb or redirect the negativity you’re working to release.

Regularly cleansing and recharging your stones is the only way to restore your crystal to its natural state. This act of care can also reinvigorate your own sense of purpose.

Read on to learn about some of the most common clearing methods, how to align a crystal with your intention, and more.

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Water is said to neutralize any negative energy stored inside the stone and return it back to the earth. Although natural running water — like a stream — is best, you can also rinse your stone under a faucet.

Whatever your water source, ensure that your stone is completely submerged. Pat dry when complete.

Approximate duration: 1 minute per stone

Use this for: hard stones, such as quartz

Don’t use this for: stones that are brittle or soft, such as selenite, kyanite, and halite

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Salt has been used throughout history to absorb unwanted energy and banish negativity.

If you’re near the ocean, consider collecting a bowl of fresh salt water. Otherwise, mix a tablespoon of sea, rock, or table salt into a bowl of water.

Make sure that your stone is completely submerged, and allow it to soak for a few hours to a few days’ time. Rinse and pat dry when complete.

Approximate duration: up to 48 hours

Use this for: hard stones, such as quartz and amethyst

Don’t use this for: stones that are soft, porous, or contain trace metals, such as malachite, selenite, halite, calcite, lepidolite, and angelite

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This method can also be used to draw out negativity in a safe and contained setting. It’s especially beneficial for protective stones, such as black tourmaline.

To do this, fill a bowl with dry brown rice and bury your stone beneath the grains. Dispose of the rice immediately after the cleansing, as the rice is said to have absorbed the energy you’re trying to eradicate.

Approximate duration: 24 hours

Use this for: any stone

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Although ritual cleansing is often centered around certain points in the solar or lunar cycle, you can set your stone out at any time to cleanse and recharge.

Set your stone out before nightfall and plan to bring it in before 11 a.m. This will allow your stone to bathe in the light of both the moon and sun.

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may weather the stone’s surface, so make sure you return for it in the morning.

If you’re able to, place your stone directly on the earth. This will allow for further cleansing. Wherever they are, ensure they won’t be disturbed by wildlife or passersby.

Afterward, give the stone a quick rinse to remove any dirt and debris. Pat dry.

Approximate duration: 10 to 12 hours

Use this for: most tumbled stones

Don’t use this for: vibrant stones, such as amethyst, in sunlight; soft stones, such as celestite, halite, and selenite, that may be damaged by inclement weather

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Sage is a sacred plant with a multitude of healing properties. Smudging your stone is said to clear inharmonious vibrations and restore its natural energy.

You’ll need:

  • a firesafe bowl
  • a lighter or matches
  • loose or bundled sage

If you’re unable to smudge outdoors, make sure you’re near an open window. This will allow the smoke and negative energy to disperse.

When you’re ready, ignite the tip of the sage with the flame. Transfer the sage to your nondominant hand and firmly grasp your stone and move it through the smoke.

Allow the smoke to envelop the stone for about 30 seconds. If it’s been a while since your last cleansing — or you feel the stone is holding onto a lot — consider smudging for an additional 30 seconds.

Approximate duration: about 30 to 60 seconds per stone

Use this for: any stone

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Sound healing allows a single pitch or tone to wash over an area, bringing it into the same vibration as the tone.

This can be accomplished using chanting, singing bowls, a tuning fork, or even a nice bell. It doesn’t matter what key the sound is, so long as the sound emitted is loud enough for the vibration to fully encompass the stone.

This method is ideal for collectors who have a large volume of crystals not easily inventoried or moved.

Approximate duration: 5 to 10 minutes

Use this for: any stone

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Large quartz clusters, amethyst geodes, and selenite slabs can be great tools for clearing smaller stones.

Place your stone directly inside or on top of any of these stones. It’s thought that the larger stone’s vibrations remove the inharmonious energies found in the resting stone.

Approximate duration: 24 hours

Use this for: any stone

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Carnelian, clear quartz, and hematite are also said to have an overall clearing effect.

Because these stones are typically smaller, you may need to have more than one on hand to successfully clear other stones.

Place the clearing stones into a small bowl, and set the stone you want restore on top.

Approximate duration: 24 hours

Use this for: any stone

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Breathwork can also be an effective cleansing method.

To get started, hold the stone in your dominant hand. Focus on your intention for a moment and deeply inhale through your nostrils.

Bring the stone closer to your face and exhale short, forceful breaths through the nose and onto the stone to bring the stone to its highest vibration.

Approximate duration: about 30 seconds per stone

Use this for: small stones

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Although this is considered the safest way to clear stones, it can be intimidating for some. The more in tune you are with your sense of self, the easier it may be to redirect your energy to the stone you want to restore.

Take a few minutes to ground and center your energy, then pick up your stone and visualize your hands filling with white, radiant light.

See this light surround the stone and feel it growing brighter in your hands. Envision the impurities flushing out of the stone, allowing the stone to shine brighter with renewed purpose.

Continue this visualization until you feel a shift in the stone’s energy.

Approximate duration: about 1 minute per stone

Use this for: any stone

Although crystals are said to have innate healing properties, taking the time to set an intention for your stone can help you connect with its energy and restore your own sense of purpose.

You may feel comfortable holding the stone in your hand as you meditate, or placing it on your third eye. You can also lay back and allow the stone to rest on the corresponding chakra, or area of body that you wish to work with.

Envision the stone’s energy merging with your own. Speak to the stone — silently or verbally — and ask for assistance in working through your current endeavor.

Thank the stone for its presence then spend a few minutes in meditation.

If your stone feels heavier than expected — like it’s lost its shine — it may benefit from a little energetic activation.

Try lending it some of your own energy by speaking to it, singing to it, or sending it some vital life force energy through your breath. A little interaction can go a long way!

If you have plans outside, consider taking the stone out with you. Many people find that allowing the stone to soak up natural energy at the park or beach has a powerful effect.

You can also create an activation grid by surrounding the stone with its more energetic counterparts. Popular choices include ruby, clear quartz, apophyllite, kyanite, selenite, and carnelian.

You can use whatever stones you’re drawn toward. Just make sure they fully surround the main crystal so that it can completely bask in their vibrations.

How often do I need to cleanse my stones?

The more often you use a stone, the more energy it collects. A good rule of thumb is to clear all of your stones at least once a month.

If an individual stone is feeling heavier than usual, go ahead and cleanse it. You don’t have to wait a designated amount of time between clearings.

What is the best method for clearing stones?

Find a method that resonates with you and your practices. What works best for you may not work as well for someone else, so pay attention to what feels right.

How do I know when a stone is cleansed?

The stone should feel energetically and physically lighter to the touch.

What should I do with my stones after they’ve been cleansed?

Find mindful places to keep your stones. If you can, keep them near windows or plants so they can absorb this natural healing energy. Otherwise, place the stones around your home, office, or other space in a way that aligns with your intentions.

When we care for our crystals, we’re caring for ourselves. We’re allowing energy that’s inharmonious with our lives and intentions to leave in a peaceful and healing manner.

Taking these small measures allows us to be more mindful in our interactions with the stones, with ourselves, and with others.


A natural born intuitive, Teketa Shine is known for her deep connection with the crystalline kingdom. She has worked intimately with gemstones for the past 10 years, moving between spiritual communities in Florida and New York. Through classes and workshops, she encourages healers of all levels to find and validate their own intuition by connecting with their chosen stones. Learn more at teketashine.com.