Cleansing and Charging Gemstones: The Difference and How To

Posted by EarthRites     Category: Crystals and Minerals, Energy Work

There is a plethora of information on the Internet on how to cleanse and charge gemstones, but I often find the information given a little misleading. Usually I will read something like “Cleanse and charge your gemstone by…”. Although not completely wrong, it’s not exactly correct either.

I understand why many people lump these two together. There is so much information to give that one can easily write a book about this. But do not be mistaken, cleansing and charging your gemstone are two different things and therefore may require two different procedures. By understanding the difference, it makes it much easier to identify which it is your gemstones and crystals need as well as deciding how to proceed.

It may be a bit easier to understand the difference by thinking about your gemstones as a car battery. I know, it’s a bit of a stretch, but hang in there with me. When your car will not start, even us laymen will open the hood and look at the battery. When we see all the corrosion on it, we can clean it by pouring a bottle of soda on it. Sometimes this is all that is needed and you have thus cleaned your battery. By driving it around it can begin to recharge itself and it needs nothing further from you.

However, sometimes cleaning the battery is just not enough. We must charge it with a set of jumper cables and another power source. Our battery is not dead, it just needs some help to get it going. Once it receives that “jump” it can once again recharge itself.

Gemstones and crystals are like batteries in that they hold energy. They can become “dirty” or “corroded” by the energy of others or it’s environment and once this negative energy is removed it can continue to self regenerate it’s own life force. But when it is used frequently, especially for healing purposes, rituals or mistreated and/or neglected for long periods of time (such as what may be acquired from an estate sale) a deep cleansing and even possibly a charge is needed. When in the ground, these gemstones are being continually cleansed and recharged by the Earth because the Earth is pure and full of energy. Unfortunately, we are not and therefore we must be conscientious of the needs of our stones.

Remember how I said there was a difference between cleansing and charging? Well, here becomes the tricky part. Some cleansing techniques can charge as well, while others do not. So why does it seem that I am over complicating things? Because if we do not know all of this, we can become frustrated when we do not achieve the desired results. Then why not just utilize one method that will do both on all our gemstone and crystals? Because each stone is unique in both mineral and energy make up and they will not all respond well to the exact same method and even can be harmful for the stone.

Below you will find some basic techniques for cleansing and/or charging your gemstones including pros and cons for each.

Use of smoke, such as sage, lavender or cedar to cleanse stones and crystals. This is a very gentle way to cleanse your stones, but does not charge them. Great for newly purchased stones and jewelry pieces but does not provide a “deep” clean.

Salt Water
Provides a “deep” clean with slight charging properties. Use natural sea salt for a stronger charge. This is equivalent to scrubbing yourself with a pumice stone so best only used as necessary. Should not be used with all gemstones! This can actually dissolve stones such as selenite, calcite, fluorite (pretty much any stone that ends in “ite”), lapis lazuli and turquoise.

Place in Running Water
Although any water will cleanse, the purer and more “natural” the water source, the greater the results. Natural water ways such as streams and lakes will provide a better charge. When using tap water, allow the water to pour over the stone and any points should face the drain to encourage the washing way of negative energy (just be careful you don’t drop it down the drain!). When using natural water sources, make sure you have a good hold of your gemstone or place in a mesh bag that is tied to a branch, root or other non moving item. See caution above.

Charged Crystal Water
This is water that has been charged with a crystal under the moon light and carries the properties of the crystal and may or may not contain essential oils. Typically a gentle cleanse which may or may not charge your stones, based upon the original crystal used. Can be costly, but a little goes a long way. Lightly spray your stone and allow to air dry. May be combined with other methods. See cautions under salt water.

Brown Rice
Lightly cleanses, but does not charge. Submerge in a bowl of brown rice to remove all “toxins” from your stones as it will pull out impurities. Great for softer stones such as turquoise, howlite, opal and onyx. Terrific alternative to smudging for those sensitive to smoke. Just be sure to throw out the rice as you do not want accidentally ingest this. I strongly suggest using a fresh batch of rice for each stone vs. reusing the rice.

Burying in the Ground
One of the most effective ways to cleanse and charge your stones, however, also one of the slowest. Depending on the gemstone and how tainted it is, this can take a few days (usually a minimum of 4 days) to weeks. Grounding gemstones that deflect negative energy cleanse quicker than those that absorb and neutralize the energy. If utilizing this method, be sure to mark where you buried it or you may never find it again.

Sun Light
Best for “solar” gemstones. These are often in hues of yellow and orange. Early morning sun light works best and will both cleanse and charge your stones. Place in sunlight for 1-3 hours. A sunny window sill will work just fine. Be aware, this method can cause some stones and crystals to fade, cloud or crack such as any quartz, aquamarine, celestite, opal and kunzite.

Much gentler than sun light and therefore may take a few extra days. Place on a window sill or outside under the light of the moon. Many people say that this should only be done with a full moon, however, I find that this is not true. Best results are during the waxing phase (getting bigger) up to about 3 days after the full moon.

Meditation or Visualization
This will actually more effectively charge than cleanse your stones, although it will do both. While holding the gemstone in your hand, visualize the stone becoming clean and then fill it with the Universe’s life force by surrounding it with a ball of light. Also a great way for you to become more in tuned with your stone.

Other Stones
Some gemstones have natural cleansing properties, meaning they are self cleansing, and will clean other stones. Use natural clusters or slabs and they should be ideally at least twice as large as what you are cleansing. Two of my favorites are citrine and selenite. Citrine in particular will also charge your stones. I find this method works best for jewelry pieces where you may not want to expose them to other elements such as dirt or water. Keep in mind that although they may be self cleansing, if they are heavily used, such as being placed next to your computer for EMF protection, that they will occasionally need to be recharged.  Sometimes this can be as simple as allowing it to rest for a few weeks.


As I stated before, there is so much information to share on how to cleanse and charge your gemstones and crystals that it would be impossible to cover everything while trying to keep this simple. Although I am providing a sampling of techniques, keep in mind that not all of these may work for you or your stones and your results may even be different than what I have shared. Gemstones and crystals are living objects in that they carry their own unique vibration and energy signature. So even though you may have had one carnelian that loved to be cleansed in the stream, you may find another one that will respond better to crystal water and another one that prefers visualization.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and go with the flow. If in doubt of what method to use, research a little more on your particular stone. Still unsure? Sit with it and meditate with it for a while and it just may tell you what it wants.

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8 Responses to “Cleansing and Charging Gemstones: The Difference and How To”

  1. fallawake Says:

    What an incredibly insightful and educational article, Lesha! Thanks so much for sharing all of this with us – so much new information! You’ve got a lot in this that I’d never heard of (brown rice for cleansing) and others I never thought of such as cleansing and charging a stone all in one step. Well written and beautifully explained! Very understandable and useful for anyone of any level in their metaphysical/energy work. đŸ™‚ Kate

  2. Leisa Says:

    This is all very informative and helpful, and the battery analogy is a perfect illustration. I never knew there are ten different methods for cleansing and/or charging stones and crystals. It makes so much sense… no stone or environment is exactly the same. Thanks, Lesha!

  3. Lesha Says:

    Thank you ladies. There are so many more ways to cleanse and/or charge your stones, I just couldn’t fit them all in without writing a book. These include submerging your stones in a bowl of herbs, using fire (which I strongly do NOT advocate), using live plants (such as placing on top of the soil of a favorite potted plant) or burying in a bowl of salt.

    Pretty much anything that can cleanse your energy or recharge it will also work on your stones.

  4. HowlingCaterpillars Says:

    Excellent information!! I never woulda thought of RICE!
    Great analogy with the car/battery.

  5. Lesha Says:

    Thank you! Funny thing is I say on the fence whether or not to use the car battery. Really glad I followed my instincts :0)

  6. WhiteMoonWitchcraft Says:

    Wonderful refresher course — I enjoyed it very much, and learned some new things I didn’t know!

  7. Morika Says:

    Wow… never knew there were so many different ways to cleanse. I only knew of and practiced a few! This was a great article and very helpful! Cool!

  8. EarthRites Says:

    Thank you Kate and Morika!

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