5 Ways to Cleanse “Difficult” Crystals

So, the bog-standard crystal cleanse is pretty simple: immerse it in salt water, hold it under running water, cover it in dry salt, or stick it in the sun. Easy, right?

There’s only one problem: those areย very efficient ways to accidentally destroy a lot of different minerals. Your stones might come out energetically cleansed, but they also might be much worse for wear. (Cleansing selenite, for example, definitely shouldn’t involve water.)

It’s important to remember that, beneath that shiny surface, there’s a ton going on in a crystal in a molecular sense. Some crystals’ color and structure depends on water molecules bound up in their matrix, like opals. Some contain soluble material, like selenite. Some might leach toxic compounds into water when soaked, like pyrite. Some might just end up fading on you — especially translucent crystals, like amethyst or rose quartz.

So, how do you cleanse crystals that won’t survive regular cleansing methods?

1. Make some noise.

Sound cleansing is a simple, but effective, way to get negative or stagnant energy out of a thing. You can use music, chimes, singing bowls, or whatever you want, within reason. (I would not, for example, try to cleanse a quartz point with death metal.) To do so, just place your crystal(s) in an area where they won’t get knocked around, and make your noise. Pick them up and handle them every so often to get a feel for how “light” and “clean” they feel, so you know when to stop.

Before trying this method, there are a couple of things to remember:

  1. Don’t put crystals inside of singing bowls.
  2. Ascending scales lift the vibes, descending scales banish the bad ones.
  3. Keep your instruments cleansed, too.

2. Use other crystals.

Some crystals are particularly good at drawing negative energy away from others. Selenite and kyanite are often said to never need cleansing, and citrine’s bright, solar properties make it useful for keeping energy clean, too. To use crystals to cleanse other crystals, just place them in proximity to each other. You can also set up a crystal grid with the stone that needs cleansing in the center.

While kyanite and selenite supposedly never need cleansing, I do it anyway. There isn’t really anything particular about them that would lead me to believe that theyย neverย need a little TLC, and I’ve definitely handled some specimens that benefited from it. If in doubt, cleanse them.


3. Use your own energy.

Using your own energy is one of the easiest ways to cleanse anything, because you don’t need any special tools to do it. As long as you’re familiar with energy play, it’s simple: hold a crystal in your non-dominant hand, and sweep your dominant hand over it. As you do so, use your energy to sort of “push” away the negative or stagnant energy around or within the crystal. Use your non-dominant hand to get a feel for how much of that energy is left, so you know when to stop.

4. Use incense.

Incense smoke, or the smoke of reekening herbs, can carry negative or stagnant energy away. Some sources call this smudging, but that’s not accurate — smudging refers to a specific practice within a specific religion, all of which is a bit more complex than “burn herbs to cleanse [thing].” Smudging is not really equivalent to reekening any more than Wiccan cakes and ale are equivalent to the Eucharist.

While this method works, it’s one I use with caution. No matter how you slice it, smoke is made of particulates. These may be sticky, or even discolor surfaces they come in contact with. You shouldn’t be producing enough smoke in a single session to discolor a crystal, but residue can build up over time. So, I usually only bust this method out for particularly difficult stones that require a variety of methods.

5. Ask some plants for help.

Some crystals benefit from being placed beneath a plant, buried in a plant pot, or even buried in the earth itself. Soil is moist and some plants are delicate, so I would not recommend this method for soluble stones like selenite, or those that produce toxic leachates.

If you choose to bury a crystal in the earth instead of a pot, use a basket. Dig a hole about the size of the basket, set the basket in the hole, add some dirt, place the crystal on top of the dirt, and add more dirt until all but the handle are covered. That way, you’ll know where it is and you’re less likely to lose it if the soil shifts or settles.

No matter which method you choose, ask the plants’ permission first. If it’s a tree, lay your non-dominant hand on the trunk. If it’s a smaller plant, hold your hand a few inches above the leaves. If you get the feeling that you’re being brushed off or ignored, ask other plants until you find one that gives you a warm, welcoming sensation. When you bury the crystal, leave an offering. When you dig it up, give thanks and leave another.

Some crystals are beautiful and helpful, but are also delicate and difficult to cleanse. Others just seem to be magnets for gross energy. With these methods, you’ll have more ways to keep your stones in good shape.