Published March 2023  •  Read Time: 8 minutes

Have you ever wondered how to cleanse your crystals?  Perhaps you are wondering about this topic on a purely physical level.  Maybe your crystals are dirty or scratched and you want to polish them back up to a brilliant shine.  Perhaps you’re thinking about the energetic realm.  Maybe your crystals feel dull and tired and you want to feel them come alive.  Here at Moonrise Crystals, the energetic and physical worlds are always considered in tandem, following the philosophical law of “As Above, So Below.”  Learn more about how to thoughtfully and gently cleanse your healing crystals.

Crystal Quality crystal quality

Physically Cleaning

Treat it like a rock, not like a spiritual tool

Some crystals are so perfect that all they need is for the dirt to be washed off.  Bu many crystals are also cut and polished to better highlight their colors and patterns, as well as to shape them and smooth out rough edges.  Crystals are always polished using just grit and water.  This is true whether the polishing takes place in a riverbed, in a drum tumbler, or by hand on a grinding wheel.  Over time, crystals, both rough and polished, will get dirty from the oils on our hands, the dust in the air, and whatever else is in the physical environment.

To cleanse them, it’s wise to treat them more like a marble countertop or a piece of fine jewelry, rather than as a spiritual tool.  Mix a little dish soap and water, then use a non-abrasive sponge or a soft bristle toothbrush for a gentle little scrub.  Dry them off and buff them with a chemise cloth.

If there’s a sharp edge that you want to file down a little, use sandpaper and buff the stone by hand.  For most types of stones, 80 grit will work for removing bumps or re-shaping the stone.  A finer grit, 150 or higher can be used for fine polishing.  For detail work on delicate stones, 220 grit is recommended.

Practical Considerations

The majority of stones are perfectly safe around water and soap, but a few of them should be handled with more caution.  Some stones are sensitive to water and can be damaged by exposure. These crystals should be cleansed gently and quickly.  In most cases, a dry dusting cloth is a better choice than water.  If water is used, let the crystal get a quick shower, rather than a soaking bath, and make sure to dry them thoroughly.

Stones that Melt

A few stones are soluble in water, which means that they will literally melt if left in water too long.  Think of them like a brick of salt and handle them with care.  The most common ones found in healing crystal collections are variations of the mineral Gypsum.

Stones that Rust

Rust can form on iron-bearing rocks and minerals.  Hematite is the most important iron-bearing ore mineral and is actually a form of rust!  Hematite rust is what gives many stones their reddish color.  It is also why we call Mars, “the red planet.”  Polished Hematite is generally stable enough that water won’t affect it.  Rough Hematite can corrode in water.  Water does not impact Hematite that is fully enclosed in Quartz.  Here are a few other common crystals with a high iron content:

Stones that Tarnish

Rust is what happens to iron-based rocks.  Tarnishing is what happens to all other metals, including precious metals like Silver.  Pure Gold and Platinum do not tarnish, they always have a brilliant metallic shine.  Tarnishing can be an ugly imperfection or a dazzling display of color.  Peacock Ore is normally a gray Bornite or golden Chalcopyrite, but can display fabulous colors due to tarnishing.  This tarnish can happen in nature as well as in a factory setting.  Peacock Ore is always rough, because to polish it would rub off the tarnish!  Here are some common healing crystals that can tarnish:

Energetically Cleansing

Why do healing crystals need to be cleansed?

Healing crystals are a type of ritual tool that date back to the earliest days of medicine and religion.  Just like we want a hospital or a temple to be clean, we want our ritual healing tools to be clean.  This is done partially by physically cleaning, but there is also a spiritual aspect in which we take the time to purify and sanctify the energy.

Some people can feel crystal energy and will sense when it’s “dull” or “weak.”  Other people don’t feel crystal energy and might feel silly or unsure about cleansing rituals.  Regardless of whether or not you can feel crystal energy, there is value in cleansing your stones.  Purification rituals are a mindful prayer to remove negativity as well as to create a connection with the Divine.  Purification rituals are found in all cultures, ancient and modern, and come in many different forms.  In the 21st century, healing crystals have developed their own rituals for cleansing.  Some of these take their cues from nature and modern paganism, while other rituals have been borrowed from Eastern religions or indigenous spiritual cultures.  There are no dogmatic rules that you must follow.  Instead trust your own instincts and pay attention to what feels good.

Recommended Methods

Water & Salt

Water is the simplest and most convenient way of cleansing your crystals.  Fresh water can be used to both physically and energetically cleanse.  It can be as simple as a quick rinse or it can an elaborate ritual.  If you want to delight your crystals, let them soak in fresh water with fresh or dried flower petals.

Salt water can also be used ritualistically.  However, it is recommended that any crystals exposed to salt water are rinsed off with fresh water before being put away.  This is purely for practical reasons since salt can act as unintentional abrasive on soft minerals.

Dry salt has been associated with purification since ancient times, since it preserves meat from spoiling.  Most people think of salt as something we eat, but it’s also a type of crystal!  Some practitioners of ritual magic, such as wiccans, will use salt to draw a magic circle.  Any circle can act as an protection boundary for spells, but salt is specifically used to help purify and sanctify the sacred space within the circle.

Moonlight & Starlight

Crystals are often used in tandem with celestial events.  After washing your crystals with water, allow them to dry under the night sky.  This can be done outside in the open air, or by placing the crystals near a window.  They can be left there for just a little while or overnight, whatever feels good and reasonable to you.  Approach this with good intentions and don’t worry if you’re doing it “right.”

The phases of the moon are often considered in ritual cleansings.  A new crescent moon is ideal for cleansing before setting an intention for a project.  A full moon is ideal for cleansing when harnessing abundant and generous energies.  A dark moon can be a powerful choice for cleansing before shadow-work.  You may find it helpful to also consider the astrological phase of the moon or the seasonal name.

Other celestial events like eclipses, meteor showers, or planetary alignments are fantastic opportunities to take your crystals outside.  Let them cleanse and soak up the magic.  Spend some time looking up and let the Universe fill you with wonder.

Plants & Soil

Sometimes a crystal feels very tired and needs some extra TLC.  This may happen if you rely on a single crystal for serious energy healing over a long period of time.  Sometimes even the most generous healing crystal needs a little break to get recharged.   A crystal can be buried outside and left for awhile.  It can also be placed on or in the soil next to a potted plant.  The crystal and the plant will both be perfectly happy to snuggle.  This method is best when it is not rushed.  Moonrise Crystals recommends that a buried stone be left alone for at least one full lunar cycle.


Sound is also a powerful cleanser.  Sound healing can take the form of chanting, singing, or prayers.  It can also be done with ritualist tools such as a drum, bell, or singing bowl.  It’s important to listen to the tone of the sounds.  A dull or off-key sound should be avoided.  The tone can be high or low, but it should be clear and the sound vibration should feel good physically and mentally.  If using words, choose them with care.  Words are powerful magic.


There are a few stones that can be used to cleanse other stones.  In recent years, Selenite has become the most commonly-used cleansing stone.  This pretty mineral is often used to make charging plates and bowls.  Selenite is actually a form of hardened salt, so the idea that this mineral will cleanse and purify energy is based on the same logic as using table salt in spellcasting rituals.

Selenite, Kyanite, and Citrine are considered “self-cleansing” crystals.  Think of them as energetic soap.  They are naturally clean and are meant to energetically cleanse everything around them.  But, just like soap can get covered in a dirty film or strand of hairs, these crystals can also get physically dirty.  If used too much, they can even get energetically tired.  However, these three tend to recover very quickly and soon return to their full energetic strength.

Other stones can be used for cleansing too.  However, these stones don’t self-cleanse and so will need more attention.  Think of them like a towel or dust cloth, rather than soap.

Other Methods – Proceed with Caution


Sunshine is often recommended as a method of energy cleansing.  This method is fine for white, gray, or brown opaque stones, but isn’t recommended for other stones, particularly colorful transparent stones.  Over time, sunshine will cause the colors to fade, just as sunshine will fade paint or any kind of dye.  It’s fine to put your stones in direct light for a little while, just be aware of the physical consequences if left there long term.


Smudging, particularly sage and palo santo, have become increasingly popular methods for cleansing crystals.  Smudging doesn’t necessarily refer to any particular herb, it is cleansing by smoke.  Any plant can be used and different plants will bring a different kind of energy to the ritual.  Smudging is practiced by shamanistic indigenous peoples around the world, and can also be seen in the ritualist use of incense in synagogues, temples, and churches.

White sage from the western United States has become closely associated with healing crystals.  The majority of the sage is wild harvested in an unsustainable manner.  Moonrise Crystals offers organically farmed White Sage.  Palo santo is native to Peru, Ecuador, and other parts of Latin America.  At one time, it was listed as an endangered plant in Peru due to overharvesting.  In 2019, it was listed as “of least concern” by the IUCN.  However, the dry tropical forests in which palo santo grows are threatened.  Dry forests are easier to log than wet rain forests.

Beyond the environmental concerns of using these plants, there is also the potential for cultural appropriation, which is when an element from a non-dominant culture is used inappropriately or without acknowledgment by a dominant culture.  This is a problem because colonialism has already caused so much to be lost, physically and culturally.  When spiritual culture is watered down and commodified, it can have far reaching consequences both practical and emotional.

Non-indigenous people may choose to use these plants for smudging to connect to the land and may even feel a kinship with pre-colonial cultures or modern indigenous groups.  If you choose to use sage or palo santo, know where it comes from and if it was harvested ethically.  If you truly feel an affinity for indigenous spirituality, be sure to use your vote and your voice to protect these cultures.

Essential Oils

Healing crystals and essential oils are both popular commodities in the wellness industry.  Unsurprisingly, some people are encouraging the use of essential oils for cleansing and charging stones.  Moonrise Crystals does not recommend using any kind of oil.  Many common healing stones are porous and so the oil will soak in and stain the stone a darker color.  Rather than trying to keep track of how porous each type of stone is, it’s far easier to treat them all as porous.  Save the essential oil for yourself.  ;)