You Can Maximize the Healing Potential of Your Crystals By Charging Them on the Reg—Here’s How To Do It

Photo: Stocksy / Eliza Alves
Crystals are so much more than just pretty rocks. Whether you’re a baby witch, a geode geek, or simply like to obsess over colorful, intricate minerals (we see you, Hank Schrader), amassing a vibrant collection of different types of crystals for your home is a thrill all its own. Each one has its own unique crystal shape, color, and intended purpose; some crystals heal, some energize, and others can be used to cleanse your aura. Whatever their purpose may be, understanding how to charge crystals can help you harness their full potential.

“Crystals and minerals can be vibrational healing tools,” says Suzanna Finley, crystal curator and founder of Mineralogy Project. “There are things we can do to care for our stones, and there are things we can do to engage them.” While crystals radiate energy of their own, there are a few techniques we can use to amplify their power—which is where charging comes in.

Eager to learn more? Ahead, crystal experts explain the purpose of cleansing and charging crystals, plus their favorite effective crystal charging techniques.

What is the importance of charging crystals?

If you’re new-ish to crystals, you may have heard the terms "cleansing" and "charging" be used interchangeably. However, it’s important to distinguish the difference between the two, since cleansing your crystal is likely something you’ll want to do before charging your crystal.

Crystals act as conduits for energy, which means they can be used for a myriad of energetic healing purposes, says Amy Leigh Mercree, medical intuitive and author of Aura Alchemy: Learn to Sense Energy Fields, Interpret the Color Spectrum, and Manifest Success. “The downside,” says Mercree, “is that the more they are exposed to negative energy, the more negative energy they absorb. This means that every so often, it is necessary to cleanse the crystals of all the negative energy contained therein and then refill them with high vibrational energy.”

Cleansing, or clearing, says Finley, should be done when the crystal’s energy feels heavier, or is holding an energy that doesn’t belong to you. For example, a crystal healing practitioner that uses pendulums or throat chakra stones with their clients might cleanse their crystals in order to not cloud the effectiveness of the crystal that’s clung onto it from the previous client.

Charging, on the other hand, serves to enhance the existing energy that emanates from the crystal. In theory, you can harness and imbue the vibrational energy coming from different elements in order to give the crystal an energy boost.

Still, it’s important to note that crystals hold their own innate frequencies of their own; a lack of charging won’t diminish their innate power, so to speak. “You can lovingly clear out some energy that feels stuck, or put some energy into it, but don’t be wary of it,” says Finley. “They're not mutable!”

What are the best methods to charge crystals?

Just like there’s more than one way to peel an orange, there’s more than one way to cleanse and charge a crystal. Some people bury their crystals in salt, or the earth. Some people put them in water, and others use sound healing to charge them.

“Whatever you're being called to do, intuitively, is appropriate in terms of cleansing and clearing,” says Finley. In other words, employ the cleansing and charging techniques that call to you and feel best suited for your crystal. While some people develop charging rituals over time that they find more effective or suited for their purposes, the practice can be as simple as you want it to be. “In fact, I find that the more bizarre, convoluted, or inaccessible a practice feels, the less likely someone will actually do it consistently,” says Finley.

Ready to give your crystals a boost? Below are five of the best methods for cleansing and charging crystals, plus how to perform each.

5 methods for cleansing and charging crystals

1. Lay them out in the sun

One of the most simple yet potent crystal charging techniques involves harnessing the energy of our solar system’s shining star: the sun! Every 1.5 millionths of a second, the sun releases more energy than we could ever consume in a single year (!!!). This energetic power is why using sunlight for charging crystals is so effective.

Repeated exposure to sunlight, however, can fade the colors of transparent and semi-transparent crystals. Amethyst, aventurine, aquamarine, quartz, opal, and citrine are just a handful of the crystals that shouldn’t be left in the sun due to potential color loss. And because sun exposure can be very drying, brittle crystals like apophylite, calcite, celestite, beryl, and chrysoprase shouldn’t be placed under direct sunlight in order to prevent breakage.

How to charge crystals in the sun:

  1. Find a clear place to lay the crystal out so it will be completely covered by sunlight.
  2. If placing it outside, choose a location that is protected from the elements.
  3. Leave it out for at least an hour to charge; if leaving it out all day, make sure to check on the crystal regularly for signs of sun or heat damage.

NOTE: You can similarly use the sun to cleanse crystals as well, says Finley. Just use the same techniques outlined above for charging and practice caution when placing softer, more susceptible crystals in direct sunlight.

2. Lay them out under the moon

Technically speaking, moonlight doesn’t originate from the moon itself but rather is light emitted from the sun that bounces off the moon’s surface. So bathing your crystals in moonlight can recharge them with the lunar energy that stems from the sun.

Most moon phases are perfectly well-suited for crystal charging. You might get the most potent charge during a full moon, since the sun’s rays completely illuminate the moon, sending intense solar energy back toward Earth. But you don’t have to wait for the next full moon, says Mercree. Any waxing or waning phase will do, so long as the crystal is able to be exposed to moonlight.

According to Finley, some crystal healers warn against charging them during a lunar eclipse. Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth is situated directly between the sun and moon, causing the moon to darken and appear red. This can result in chaotic, unpredictable energy—not exactly the vibe you’d want if you’re using your crystals for personal healing.

Another reason to use moonlight to charge crystals? “Some crystals, such as amethysts, may change color when exposed to the sun,” says Mercree. “In these cases, cleansing them in moonlight is a great alternative.”

How to charge crystals in moonlight:

  1. Look up the next full moon date and plan ahead to charge it during this time, if possible; if not, any evening when the moon is visible will do.
  2. Find a clear place to lay the crystal out so that it will be completely covered by moonlight.
  3. Leave it out overnight.

3. Use running water or salt water

Water, the ingredient necessary for life, can be used for both cleansing and charging crystals.

A vital element of every single living thing on Earth, water has healing properties. This makes it a preferred cleansing element for crystal buffs. “Holding crystals under running water, for me, is what resonates; it's the only clearing practice I do with any regularity, really,” says Finley.

Water can be used to charge your crystals, too. Because non-purified water is conductive, energy can move through it easily. “You can get an electric shock if electricity comes into contact with water while you’re standing in it,” says Finley. Soaking crystals in saltwater or moon water (that is, water in a receptacle that has been left out under the moonlight) can be an incredibly effective crystal charging technique.

If you want to cleanse your crystal in water, locate a source of moving, non-stagnant water, “ideally a natural spring, river, stream, lake, or ocean,” says Mercree. (Running tap water can also work in a pinch.)

An important caution: Crystals that score low on the Mohs Hardness Scale are more susceptible to water damage. “This method should not be used for crystals that do not do well in water, like opals and sapphires,” warns Mercree, or any other crystal lower than 5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Crystals that contain iron or copper, like pyrite and magnetite, are prone to rust, so it’s best to use a different method to cleanse and energize them, too. On the other hand, harder crystals like amethyst, rose quartz, agate, moonstone, jasper, and Tiger’s Eye are well-suited for water cleansing and charging.

How to cleanse crystals with water:

  1. Find a natural source of running water; if you can’t locate one, use running water from your faucet.
  2. Place the crystal under the running water, covering it completely.
  3. Reflect on your intention of cleansing the crystal from discordant energy.
  4. Set the cleansed crystal out in the open air so that it can dry naturally.

How to charge crystals with water:

  1. Gather salt (preferably plain, untreated sea salt) and a bowl or bin large enough for the crystal to be fully covered by water.
  2. Sprinkle a spoonful of salt into the bowl.
  3. Fill the bowl with warm water to help dissolve the salt (which will support charging).
  4. Submerge the crystal in the salt water.
  5. Leave the crystal submerged for a period of time—an hour, all day, or overnight—depending on where your intuition leads you.
  6. Remove the crystal from the salt water and gently rinse it with clean water.
  7. Place it out in the open air to fully dry before use.

4. Bury them in salt, sand, or earth

Burying a crystal in salt, sand, or earth has a dual purpose of both cleansing and charging crystals, says Mercree.

Salt has been used for centuries for spiritual cleansing, and is purported to draw out negative energy from crystals, says Mercree. Burying crystals is the Earth is known to be restorative and cleansing for crystals, healing them of any lingering negative energy. Because sand is made up of rocks, placing crystals into it can be similarly restorative.

NOTE: Use caution when burying softer crystals that are below a Mohs Hardness Scale rating of 5. These crystals scratch easily, so avoid burying these in coarse salt, sand, or dirt.

How to charge crystals with salt or sand:

  1. If using salt (preferably untreated salt) or sand, find a bowl or bin large enough for the crystal to be fully submerged.
  2. Pour the salt or sand into the bowl.
  3. Bury the crystal in the salt or sand.
  4. Leave it overnight.
  5. When removing, dust off any remaining salt or sand residue.

5. Use sound

Crystals operate on vibrational frequencies. As such, any form of energy with vibrational frequency—sound included—can be used to cleanse them.

“The frequency of sound is so effective on crystals,” says Finley. Charging crystals with vocal tone, however, can be incredibly difficult, which is why Finley recommends against using your voice to charge crystals (unless you’re a trained singer, perhaps).

Instead, try using a sound healing instrument of some kind—like cymbals or a tuning fork—to impart the tool’s frequency into your crystal, allowing the sound waves to pass through them.

How to charge crystals with sound:

  1. Place the stone in front of you on a stable surface.
  2. Play a singular tone with your instrument, allowing the sound to travel fully before playing it again.
  3. Repeat for several minutes.

How often should crystals be charged?

There’s no one-size-fits-all method for charging crystals, says Finley. How often they should be charged is entirely subjective. Tapping into your intuition is key here: You may feel compelled to charge or cleanse certain crystals more often than others, especially after periods of heavy use or after using them with other people.

It’s important to remember that crystals are strong and retain energy, no matter how often you charge them. “They generally take hundreds or thousands or millions of years to form in the earth,” says Finley. “However you're going to engage with them—as long as it's with a grounded heart and a centered space—you're not going to ‘use’ it wrong.”

That being said, Mercree recommends charging crystals “as much as possible”, especially if you frequently use them for healing purposes or spiritual practices. “This likely makes the crystal’s overall experience of existing outside of the crust of the earth more pleasant,” says Mercree, who adds that regularly charging your crystals will ensure they’re ready for you to use them again.

“Our energy systems are super subjective and personal, and you know your energy system better than anyone else,” says Finley. “If you intuitively feel called to engage a stone in a certain way, that's probably what's right.”

The Wellness Intel You Need—Without the BS You Don't
Sign up today to have the latest (and greatest) well-being news and expert-approved tips delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

Loading More Posts...