Learn how to cleanse crystals with incense. Looking for alternatives to sage smudging and palo santo? This guide will explore the different types of incense available plus cleansing herbs, woods and resins you should know about…
Alternatives To White Sage & Palo Santo
There are a few reasons you might be looking for alternatives to white sage smudge sticks and palo santo. The reason these herbs and woods are used is because of their energetic cleansing properties.
The truth is there are many herbs, flowers, resins and woods around the world and in many different cultures that are used for the same purpose. You could use any cleansing herb, plant or tree to clear your home, yourself, your crystals or any object.
Look For Natural Incense
I just want to make you aware that there is a lot of incense on the market which use synthetic fragrances. Always read the label and find out if your incense is made from natural materials or not. Synthetic fragrances are not a substitute for herbs and could be dangerous to burn or breathe.
Another thing you should consider is if the incense is fair trade. Also, ethically sourced plants and trees. Common herbs and trees are usually not a problem it depends on the type of incense used. You can research and contact incense brands and makers online if needed. Some people grow and or make their own incense, but this is a lot more work.
Safety With Sacred Smoke
There are usually safety instructions on incense you buy so please follow these and use common sense. This is not a good method if you have any breathing difficulties. Children or animals should not be breathing smoke. I always open the windows in any room I burn incense. You can burn incense outside as long as it’s not too windy.
Always use a heat resistant incense holder and make sure that the incense has gone out completely before getting rid of the ash. Embers can hide in incense cones and stay lit long after the smoke has stopped.
Choosing From Different Forms Of Incense
There are many different forms of incense available. Some are easier to find than others. Some are harder to use than others. Different incenses produce more smoke or may have a stronger scent. It’s a personal choice and always about what works for you and your life. Below are some of the main forms of incense.
Loose Incense & Powder
This includes mixes of dried herbs, woods and resins. It may be just a resin or come in powdered form. This is one of the hardest to use and will need you to use an incense burner with a charcoal block. In some Asian countries, a sandalwood incense block (see below) is used instead of charcoal and powdered incense is sprinkled on top.
These are one of the easiest forms of incense to find and use. They can have a thin stick of wood through the middle or they may be solid incense. Some are made from powdered wood dipped in oils (more smokey) while others just use powdered plant materials. There are more high-quality natural ones appearing on the market. Thicker and jumbo incense sticks will burn for longer and produce more smoke. You just light the end and blow out the flame.
Incense Cones, Dhoop & Blocks
Depending on where you are incense cones are usually the easiest to find and use. These are all solid powdered incense blocks that may use oils or other plant material. You need to place these on a fireproof heat resistant container or incense holder. Then you light the tip of the cone, till it holds a flame and blow it out. These use quite a bit of incense and will burn with a lot of smoke for some time.
Loose Leaf & Whole Incense
Some people use whole dried leaves, sprigs of plants or sticks of solid wood as incense. These are lit and fanned to blow out the flame and then set in an incense holder or container. This method creates smoke for a shorter time when needed but it may need relighting. This is also more dangerous so I would recommend you use tongs to hold any leaves while lighting.
Cleansing Herbs, Resins & Woods
So, now that we have covered the main types of incense that people use for cleaning let’s look at the herbs. As I said earlier there are so many herbs, flowers, woods and resins that have spiritual purification properties. If you already know what these are where you live or in your spiritual tradition you can use them.
If you’re unsure what to use I have put together the following list to help you. Any of these can be used to cleanse crystals with incense or anything you like.
Frankincense & Myrrh
Dragon’s Blood (tree resin)
Cleansing Incense Blends
There are some blends of incense that are created especially for cleansing and space clearing. If you buy from a metaphysical shop or someone that makes incense they might have this as an option. I have been using these Big Cleanse jumbo incense sticks from the Temple Of Incense which I love.
How To Cleanse Crystals With Incense
To cleanse crystals with incense just light the incense of your choice and use a heat resistant container or fireproof incense burner. Once the smoke starts to rise you can pass your crystal through the incense smoke a few times or until you feel it is done. You want to try to have the smoke touch every part of your crystal.
As with any form of cleansing, I think you should have a clear intention while doing it. You could focus on cleansing any negative or unbalanced energy.
TIP – How To Burn Just A Bit Of Incense
One of the problems people have with incense sticks or cones is that once lit they can burn for about 40 minutes. With incense sticks that have no wooden stick like Japanese and Tibetan ones, you can break off a small piece to use and save the rest.
With incense sticks with a wooden stick, you can snuff them out. Keep a small pot of dry sand nearby and stick the burning end into the sand to put it out. The other way I know is to use a small metal candle snuffer. Place the cap over the burning end for a while until the smoke stops. I personally use a small brass incense cone mould that I just sit on the top of the stick.
With incense cones, dhoop or blocks you could use an upturned pot or dish and cover it. I don’t recommend you use sand as you could burn yourself with these. Any incense that has been snuffed out using the methods above can be relit at a later date.
Do you have a favourite cleansing incense or incense maker to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments below (PLEASE keep any questions you have concise and stick to this blog post topic if you want a response).
If you are looking for other information please search my website or visit the Resources page to see if it’s already been covered elsewhere.
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Copyright © Ethan Lazzerini – Not to be used or appear elsewhere without permission from the author Ethan Lazzerini.
I normally use the following brands when burning incense for cleansing my crystals – Star Child which is produced in Glastonbury, Fiore Doriente which is produced in Rome and has been for centuries, I like their Archangel Michael incense. I also use a brand called Heaven and Earth who are based in the USA and produce crystal incense, I have many different types of crystal incense by them, I would say that all these brands offer good quality incense and at a medium price point. I have noticed however that Fiore Doriente use honey, so I might need to find a blend without honey as I am now fully vegan. Having read your blog I have never questioned whether these brands offer ethically sourced as I just assumed it would be so I will most definitely look into this.
I have a question about the incense that you burn on a charcoal disk which is of course made up of resin, essential oils and herbs and bark, is there any way to get this burning for twenty minutes straight instead of having to constantly apply more of the product to the charcoal disk.
Thanks for the recommendations. Ethical sourcing is more relevant for certain natural ingredients that are controlled. I personally have never used charcoal but I do use the sandalwood incense block method which is similar. There are cup-shaped ones used by Buddhists that you fill with loose incense and I assume don’t need to be topped up.
thank you so much for this information, I love to make my own sage sticks and am looking to getting into making some incense cones. very exciting stuff. totally agree that good incense is hard to come by. blessings to you as always. Rosa
Thank you for this, can I ask about using essential oils. Do you recommend the use of pure essential oils?
Do you mean use essential oils to cleanse crystals and it what way?
What are your thoughts on smudge spray? I was recently given a bottle of Crystal Reiki infused Heavenly Sage Smudge spray. It does smell wonderful. Would it work the same for cleansing Crystals? Thanks.
I use these sprays to cleanse my aura or my home but I dont use them on my crystals. This is because they contain water, alcohol and oils. Not something I want on my crystals and potentially will damage certain minerals. There are so many other safe and dry methods available.
Thank you so much for your response. Love your blog.
I especially love this article thank you for all the great information
Great article! My favorite incense burner is a cup or bowl of sand. It will hold a stick, cone, or charcoal brick, and catch the ashes too. After trying all sorts of incense and even making a bit of my own I’ve found I prefer sticks for the convenience and snuff-ability, a little goes a long way.
Respect to you, sir, and thanks.
Your blogs always combine the practical with the metaphysical; you are thorough, and apply common sense where needed, intuition where needed. I love you!
I loved this article! But I have a question, can I use Vanilla incense to cleanse my room?
Thanks for the comment. I think it depends on what you know about vanilla. Its not a herb I have heard of for cleansing purposes but maybe some traditions say so. I see it as an incense I would use to bring in positive vibes, after I have cleansed with a space. I do love the smell of vanilla incense!