This article was originally written for the May 2022 edition of "Witch, What?" It was posted to this blog in June 2022. The article was then updated in January 2023 to better communicate certain ideas and add more information.
There’s a million ways to cleanse. The first seven issues of our free newsletter, "Witch, What?" each cover a method of cleansing. The first one we covered was Salt Cleansing!
Many witches feel the need to cleanse themselves, items, or place because they feel those things have been affected by curses, negativity, or bad energy. However, many also simply prefer to do cleansings to "reset" something's energy. For example, a rose quartz was used in a working to send a friend happy thoughts, and now the witch wishes to use the same rose quartz in a different working.
To cleanse objects such as crystals, simply fill a bowl or plate with salt, then set your items in the salt. Some witches choose to bury their crystals in the salt while others do not feel that is necessary. Leave the items overnight, and in the morning, they will cleansed and reset!
However, it is important to note that rock salt has a hardness of 2.5, so very soft materials under a hardness of 3 could be damaged by this method. Luckily, the only crystals most collectors have that are this soft are selenites, which are naturally self-cleansing. Still, if you're unsure, look up the hardness of your crystal or mineral before cleansing.
Another method you can use is buying a bowl, plate, or slab carved from rock salt (or even a simple chunk of rock salt) and using that to cleanse your stones.
If you want to use salt to cleanse a person, it’s as simple as a ritual bath. Prepare a mixture of epsom and regular salt. You can get fancier with it if you like, so long as there is salt. Have a bath, making sure to take at least twenty minutes letting the salt water cleanse your skin of what you need to be rid of, and purifying your being.
Many people like to use salt to cleanse a space or create barriers. In the home, we simply warn of potential danger to very small children and pets, who may eat it up and get sick. We personally prefer salt lamps for cleansing spaces, but some people's pets have licked those to the point of getting sick. It's not a super common problem; most pets will either ignore it, not be able to reach it, or only lightly lick it occasionally. But if you know your pet has a problem with this or if you are unable to monitor your pet 24/7 to be sure, you may not want to use any salt for cleansing your home.
When it comes to using salt for cleansing or barriers outdoors, we do not advise doing that, as salt can be a danger to plants and microfauna. The only exception would really be if you were already in a salty environment, like the seashore, in which case... why do you need to bring more salt with you? We have seen suggestions such as putting down blankets or tarps, spreading salt on that, then gathering it all up at the end. We think it best to just ritually cleanse the tarp at home and then bring it out without salt; you get the same effect.
Lastly, we are often asked "What kind of salt?" Any kind of salt. Many prefer natural salts like sea salt and rock salt (Pink Himalayan salt is a rock salt.), but table salt works fine. Kosher salt is literally just chunkier than most other table salt, it has no other difference. Epsom salt is a magnesium salt, so it's not really the kind of salt we're talking about, but we find it works okay-ish in a pinch and very much helps enhance bath blends.