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By Witchipedia, Cleansing and Smudging

What is a Cleanse in Magick: Removing Energies

Updated on:


Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

The energies of strong and low frequency emotions, such as anger, pain and hatred, are denser than others and are more likely to remain attached to material objects than their positive counterparts. It is important to know how to purify your house, objects and any food of animal origin to dispel these negative emotions.

Cleansing an item for magick removes any energies the item may have absorbed from previous magickal workings, from contact with a previous owner or from the environment. Cleansing may also be performed on an area to prepare it to serve as sacred space. There are a number of ways to cleanse rooms or objects to prepare them for any of these functions.


In magick, a cleanse refers to a ritual or process designed to purify and remove negative energies from a person, object, or space.

It often involves the use of various tools, such as herbs, crystals, incense, or candles, along with specific incantations or intentions to clear away unwanted influences.

Cleanses are performed to create a clean and harmonious environment for magickal workings, enhance one’s spiritual connection, or prepare for specific rituals.

They can vary widely in complexity and can be tailored to different traditions and beliefs within the realm of magick.

When should you do it?

In every environment we inhabit, energies are released that influence our mood and state of well-being. It thus becomes really important for our health to live in an energetically clean environment, to improve our thoughts, optimize our actions and create better relationships. We can also perceive energy levels on a mental level, as when an environment is energetically burdened we struggle to concentrate and we become more nervous and irritable.

The frequency of which you cleanse an object or space is important too: a one-off is not enough as over time new negative energies will coalesce, so it is necessary to periodically cleanse things, rooms in particular, to keep the energy inside high and positive.

Type of CleanseDescription
Smoke CleansingSmoke cleansing, also known as smudging, involves burning herbs such as sage, palo santo, or cedar to purify a space or person. The smoke is believed to carry away negative energies, spirits, and psychic debris, leaving behind a cleansed and harmonious environment. Smoke cleansing is commonly used in rituals, ceremonies, or spiritual practices to purify the energy of a space or prepare for magical work.
Bath CleansingBath cleansing involves immersing oneself in a ritual bath infused with herbs, salts, or essential oils to cleanse the body, mind, and spirit. The water is charged with intention and magical energy, facilitating the removal of negative energies, emotional residue, and spiritual blockages. Bath cleansing rituals can be performed regularly as a form of self-care, purification, and energetic renewal.
Crystal CleansingCrystal cleansing involves using crystals or gemstones to absorb, transmute, or dispel negative energies from a person, object, or space. Crystals such as black tourmaline, selenite, or amethyst are commonly used for their purifying and protective properties. They can be placed around the home, worn as jewelry, or used in meditation to cleanse and balance the energy field.
Table 1: Types of Cleanses

Where does cleansing come from?

While researching various cultures, one often finds rituals of cleaning rooms, taking possession of the house and renewing the circulating energy.

Each culture has used the tools deemed most suitable to create such practices: crystals, the herbal incense, invocations of various kinds, exorcisms, shaman rituals and so on. We find these practices in American Indian, Chinese, Celtic and Egyptian cultures. In Italy, these practices are still widespread, especially in the South and in Sardinia. In physics, we find the nexus of all this.

cleansing home

How does energy work?

Albert Einstein, through the theory of relativity, decreed that all matter in the universe was nothing more than solidified energy with a vibrational frequency lower than the constant of the speed of light squared. So, if it is true that energy is equal to matter, then by the opposite effect matter is also equal to energy, in a ratio of 1 to 1,000,000.

When you go to touch any object, for example when you are holding a glass in your hand, you are really only touching the atoms it consists of. The limits of matter do not end at the barriers of simple physical contact, but expand into the thin layers of the ether enveloping the object in question with a speed that is more amplified than the initial concentration. This is the case of a subtle astral phenomena known as the Aura.

Physics also tells us that, when a higher energetic frequency comes into contact with a lower energetic frequency, it influences the vibrational condition of the smaller energy, raising or lowering it.

In other words, we are energy and so everything around us, and the vibrations we emit influence the energy of the objects we come into contact with.

How to cleanse your house

Energy cleaning requires physical preparation of the environment being cleansed.

The rooms must be clean and tidy, to allow energies to flow more easily. The rooms must be well ventilated and exposed to fresh air for at least 5 minutes before the cleansing ritual. Bringing new air into the rooms facilitates the exchange of energy; it is therefore good to have your windows open for at least five minutes on a daily basis as well, to keep the energies in the room circulating.

cleansing know how

Tips for an effective house cleanse

There are different types of house cleansing, all of which are important and effective.

One of the best known cleansing rituals is the use of coarse salt in the corners of the house or under the bed. This practice absorbs the negative energies present in the room and targets the corners, where negativity nest more easily.

A second known and powerful cleansing tool is Palo Santo, which is obtained from the wood of the Palo Santo tree. It is considered the natural incense par excellence for purifying environments and removing heavy energies. Using it is simple: just light the stick and bring its aroma to every room of the house to move any stagnant energy. It is widely used during meditations or before, during and after an energy treatment.

Other incenses also have cleansing properties, with slightly different effects:

  • Lavender to purify, give mental clarity, remove heavy energies.
  • Artemisia to break away from the conditioning of the past or to remove the energy of a past inhabitant from the house.
  • Sage for closed environments with sick people inside.
  • Laurel to bring new energy and oxygenate places.

The element that makes the most difference in any energy cleaning of the house is the intent with which the cleansing is carried out. We must have the intent of purification, liberation and healing from the energies that weigh us down.

The strength of our inner intentions will lead us to obtain the results we desire.

How to use old items

If you are really attracted by antiques, the first thing I recommend is to let yourself be guided by your intuition, as usually it is the objects that choose you, then proceed to cleanse them.

Keeping and displaying other people’s objects at home, but also hosting people who have negative intentions, causes a blockage of energy within yourself or in the environment in which you live. We know it may seem strange to you, but think of those individuals who have the gift to hold an object in their hand and see what kind of person it belonged to and what events it was at the center of. People hardly think about that in their daily lives, but the energies of these objects can cause the strangest of things to occur if we do not cleanse them.

In the United States there is a law that makes it mandatory to declare on the deed of a house if homicides or suicides have occurred inside it. This need arose because there was so many stories of people who, after buying a property that had experienced violent crime, found themselves experiencing disturbed sleep, anxiety, nightmares, or even reliving the event. Therefore, the law is protecting us from something that science, for now, is unable to explain.

I don’t mean that you have to stop buying used items or old properties; I love buying beautiful vintage clothing in the markets! But the first thing to do when you get them home is to energetically cleanse them (and then, obviously, put them in the washing machine).

The techniques for cleaning and energizing objects are different. Remember that we in ourselves are energy and we are able to emanate high vibrations, thus attracting only beautiful and pleasant things into our lives. We can use our own vibrations to impact our cleansing rituals.

How do you cleanse your magical items?

With water

Rinsing the item in running water is good for those items that are not water-soluble or will not be damaged by the water. It is generally preferred that natural water be used, that is, water that has not been treated or “purified”. If you have a well and do not use a water softener or filter, you can use the water from your faucet.

Alternatively, you can use rainwater or the water from a stream. Leaving the item out in a rainstorm is also an option if you can do this safely. Some people prefer to use moon water or salted water, or water infused with the essence of purifying herbs, whatever works for you. Sprinkling water around an area or over an object to cleanse it is called asperging.

With smoke

It is also popular to use smoke to cleanse items for magick, which is called suffumigation. This may be done with smoke from incense or resins, dried herbs, or the smoke of a ritual fire. Suffumigation involves placing an object over the burning substance so that the smoke rises around it. Fumigation involves filling an area with smoke or wafting smoke around an area for purification.

Both are done for other purposes as well, presenting offerings, awakening or attracting spirits, etc. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably or the word smudge or the phrase “purification by smoke” may be used as a general term to describe the process.

With salt

Covering an item with salt is another way to cleanse an item of residual energy. Salt is said to absorb any magickal energy it comes in contact with. After the cleanse, the salt should be discarded.

With soil

Burying an item in soil and digging it up again after a certain amount of time is another method that is sometimes used to cleanse an item.

Many people use a combination of these methods to cleanse items used in spellwork and many will incorporate the classical elements into the cleansing.

Purification by smoke then is cleansing by air and fire, and salt is added to water to cleanse by earth and water.

If salt is added, the water need not be running water, but it should still be natural water. The salted and blessed water is usually sprinkled or poured over the item.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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