Okay, this is a subject I’m really passionate about, because my home is my sanctuary. It is where I escape from the world, and, as an empath, I absolutely require it to be energetically clean and welcoming. I also spend a LOT of time at home, because I work remotely, so opportunities to leave the house aren’t as plentiful for me.
But, even if you only see your home as a place to sleep, you still need it to be energetically clean for you.
And, if you are working any type of magick, its important to keep your place energetically in tip top shape, so its not too inviting for anyone/anything you don’t want to invite.
Whether you are just moving in, or you feel as if you need to perform some energetic maintenance on a current living situation, these tips will all be applicable.
Why Should You Energetically Cleanse Your Living Space?
If you are not the first person to live in your current residence, you gotta cleanse it. People leave energy imprints and signatures on buildings and objects. Apartments are by far the worst offenders, but houses, condos, and yes, even hotels, can be just as bad.
Have you ever walked into an otherwise empty room that felt heavy or sad? Have you ever touched an object that just felt icky to you?
These are energy imprints left by others.
And no matter how happy one person may be, they can still leave lots of other emotions imprinted on a residence for long after they’ve moved out.
Add to that layers of former residents, as far back as the building has been standing, and you’ve got a recipe for literally any possible type of energy or entity just hanging around your place. Think about decades or even centuries of love, loss, grief, anger, regret, struggle, arguments, fights, hatred, and more just clinging to your walls.
Even if you’ve got a brand new build, you will still want to remove any energy that’s taken up residence before you move in. This could be left from work crews, the energy of the land itself, which normally isn’t harmful, but it could host a number of other types of spirits you may or may not want to give a pass to share your home.
And then, once you’ve cleansed it, fill that void with your own positive energy, if you’re using a method that does not replace negative energies with neutral or positive ones, such as most smoke or smudging.
Before energetically cleansing a space, you of course need to physically cleanse it, otherwise, pockets of negative energy tend to stick to messes, clutter, and dusty corners.
Cleansing with Sound
I find that cleansing with sound does not usually require you to ‘put back in’ a positive energy source, as it both removes negative energy and replaces with positive, in most cases.
Options to cleanse with sound:
- bells, ring them in each room, every corner, every open closet, cupboard, under stairs, any little spaces you can find; be thorough
- music, leave a stereo plugged in before you move into a place and just let it blast something happy and uplifting for a couple of days; not many people know this about me, but I am a classical violinist and have often used various pieces of music to instill positive energy into living spaces over the years; I’ve used everything from Tibetan chants to the full works of Handel’s Messiah to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony to LA Guitar Quartet to Paginini’s Caprices to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue to Scott Joplin; your place will just feel so high vibe after a couple days of music, whatever you find that lifts your soul
- singing, this may overlap with music for you, but if you’re a singer or have a good singing voice, go room to room singing something uplifting and meaningful, making sure to cover corners and any spaces you don’t typically get into much
- drumming, again, some overlap with playing music, but instead of playing from a stereo, if you’ve got a drum or other percussion instrument, perform the same room-by-room cleansing as you would for singing, making sure to be thorough in each area
- clapping, channeling your positive energy to your hands and clapping, letting the energy ripple out into the space is another way to remove unwanted negativity or low energy and replace it with your own positive vibes
Cleansing with Smoke
Cleansing with smoke consists of burning one or more plants, usually dried, to remove unwanted negative energy from a space.
Your options here are almost unlimited for which combinations of dried plants you can use, but some of the ones I’ve used and recommend are:
- cedar; strong purifier and good for heavy negative vibes; used in many cultures for spiritual cleansing; I keep a huge bag of cedar tips for things like baths, burning for incense/purification, and even to freshen up a room by placing sachets of it around
- sage; this is commonly used for a wide range of energetic purification; I don’t find its as strong at removing heavily entrenched negative energies though
- pine; similar to cedar, good for heavier negativity
- rosemary; I love rosemary to burn in a space and I actually use this more frequently than sage; its quite uplifting and I find I don’t need to fill in any additional positive energy because rosemary does not leave a void
- palo santo; this is also a good option for heavier negative energies and is commonly used to repel evil spirits in some cultures; palo santo is said to not produce an energy void like sage does, and does not require you to add back in another positive energy source
- osha root; I picked up this tip from The Exorcists’s Handbook (awesome read, I recommend it) as a really strong purifier and spiritual cleanser when burned in a space, particularly for exorcisms and malevolent energies; one word of caution is this root is over-harvested in some areas and I would not recommend just buying it and burning it for fun, as its both expensive and has a tendency to be depleted in some natural environments from over-harvesting
- flowers; take your pick, pun intended, of dried floral plants to burn in a space, and they normally do not create an energy void that also needs to be filled by something else
- yerba santa; its name translates to ‘holy herb’ and it is an excellent uplifting herb to burn to purify and protect a space
- sweet grass; this is native to N America and was used by Native Americans to invite in positive energy and kindness
Cleansing with Incense
I separate incense of out smoke because I consider it a different category, but you may not and that’s okay. Most incense also does not leave an energy void after removing negative or heavy energies, so I also consider it different in that respect.
Incense comes in a variety of forms, usually cones, sticks, and resins are the ones you will come across most often. I would place diffusers in a different category (essential oils, which I’ll cover after incense).
I think you really can’t go wrong with any incense for energetic cleansing, its just that some are stronger at purification and removing negative energy than others.
I have really found I like using resins on charcoal discs much better than stick or cone incense. I feel like the scent is purer that way and has less additives it throws out into the air.
If you haven’t tried this method, you can pick up an inexpensive censer and some charcoal discs at most metaphysical shops, but can also grab them on Amazon if there aren’t any metaphysical shops near you.
Some of my favorite incenses to use for energetic cleansing are:
- myrrh; this is commonly used in purification and religious ceremonies; it goes waaaay back to use by many ancient cultures as a holy incense
- frankincense; same as myrrh, its great for purification. I also add some frankincense EO to a mixture of cleanser I make for cleaning with, to add a spiritual cleansing element to what would otherwise be just a regular home cleaning solution
- copal; this is a sacred resin of a tree from Mexico and is sacred to the peoples of Mexico, who view it as the blood of trees, a gift from the gods and used to honor their gift to us of the Earth; it is a great uplifting energetic cleanser
- benzoin; I personally love benzoin and burn it almost every day to give myself and my office a bit of a pick me up; it has a really soothing musky almost vanilla-like scent to it; its used for spiritual cleansing similar to frankincense, myrrh, and copal
- sandalwood; this is kind of a universal incense and can be used for a wide variety of cleansing and energetic raising; I don’t find its as strong for heavy negativity as some of the other options, but a really good daily incense option for just general use
- dragon’s blood; this can either be the actual resin from one of the following trees: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang, Pterocarpus, or it can be an incense blend made of a number of other scent substances, but usually includes cedar, orange, clove, patchouli, and maybe vanilla, rose, or jasmine; they are not really the same scent, but are used for the same purposes of cleansing energy
- other incense; this category is meant to capture all the other things like incense blends you’re going to run across in metaphysical stores, hobby stores, incense suppliers, and ethnic grocers (seriously, if you are a relatively sheltered white person, I highly recommend you venture into your local Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic stores and check out the range of incense they sell; you will find things you have never heard of and will 9 times out of 10 really like them, and in doing so, you are supporting a small, local minority-owned store, as well as expanding your own horizons; I count myself lucky because I live in a really old historic part of KC that is full of small ethnically diverse stores with all kinds of amazing finds like that and, while I don’t consider myself to have lived a sheltered upbringing because I had super eccentric parents, I still think I’m far better off for the ability to shop at these places, and I encourage others to do the same)
Cleansing with Essential Oils
Essential oils can be used in a few different ways to energetically cleanse a space, and they combine well with other methods, because they can also account for physically cleansing in some cases.
- diffusion; whether you use a reed diffuser or a diffuser that uses either small amounts of water or a nebulizing diffuser, which does not use water to disperse the oils; I have a nebulizing diffuser and love it; diffusing is also a great option if you can’t burn things where you are trying to energetically cleanse; I have experienced that electric diffusers have much better scent dispersion than reed diffusers do
- solution; add some drops of an essential oil to a cleaning solution, or some castille soap and use it to physically and spiritually wipe down surfaces at the same time; you can also just add it to distilled or spring water and shake well, spray on surfaces and leave it to air dry; just remember to shake each time, as the EOs separate from the water unless you use an emulsifier like soap
Some essential oils have better purification properties than others, and the ones I use most often usually overlap a lot with the herbs, resins, and incenses mentioned above:
- frankincense and myrrh; these are easy to find and work well in both diffusers and cleansers
- sandalwood; this, again, is lighter and works well for regular maintenance, and lighter cleansing efforts
- sage; this is an astringent herb when in EO form, and has a very strong smell, so I tend to add others to it to help take the edge off, like florals or citrus EOs
- thyme; I feel like thyme EO works almost identically to sage, and is similarly astringent, so it benefits from adding something softer to keep it tolerable if you’re going to use it while you’re present in the same room
- basil; this one is a bit sweeter than thyme and sage, less aggressive astringency, and still provides the same level of cleansing and purifying
- cedar; as an EO, this one is also very strong and initially does not smell fantastic when used alone in cleansers; it goes best with other uplifting scents like clove or lilac, which also invite in positive energy, so win-win
- chamomile; this is a softer and less harsh EO, and typically brings positive energy to a space very quickly
- lavender; this EO is really commonly used in diffusers, and it works awesome in cleansers, to, especially if you’re using astringent herbs like sage, thyme, or tea tree oil
- mint; this includes peppermint, spearmint, and any other mint family plant you want to use. Mint has a pleasant cooling scent to it and helps to raise the positive vibes in spaces easily
Other Ways to Cleanse
While the aforementioned methods are pretty well tested and supported, and things pretty much anyone can do, here are some other ways to spiritually cleanse your space that don’t quite fit into those categories:
Make a spiritual cleansing spray out of Florida water and distilled water. Spray as needed.
You can also used blessed water (if you are good with blessing your own water) or holy water to add to a cleanser.
Throw a house blessing and invite your friends over to sing, dance, and raise positive energy with you. Maybe don’t do this if you have neighbors that will complain, though.
Sprinkle salt, especially blessed salt, around the corners, baseboards, thresholds, and windowsills. Or let blessed salt dissolve into your Florida water spray mixture and use it to wipe and mop.
Combining Cleansing Methods
In order to make this as helpful of a post as possible, I really need to impress upon you the fact that you will likely need to use more than one of the above methods in tandem. IN ADDITION TO PHYSICALLY CLEANSING, TOO.
Its so important to get things clean physically before spiritually or energetically cleaning, so I can’t understate that.
If you want to know my personal process, which I find works remarkably well, especially considering my home is 130 years old and literally who knows who or what has taken up space here at various times before I moved in 2 years ago, here you go:
Focus on only one room at a time.
Remove and tidy up any clutter or piles of chaos. Put things away in drawers or containers.
Vacuum. I got dogs, okay. My baseboards get cray sometimes.
Wipe ALL surfaces with a dual duty cleanser (something that actually cleans/disinfects and spiritually cleans).
I mix castille soap, spring water, blessed salt dissolved in it, a dash of Florida water, EOs of cinnamon, clove, cedar, frankincense, and myrrh, sometimes jasmine, too. I’ve been experimenting with making osha root extract and have had some good results with that).
This includes walls, floors, baseboards, door trim, window trim, furniture, and even spritzing it on ceilings.
And this also includes in closets. Not saying there’s monsters in your closet, but energy and entities can hang out anywhere and you don’t want to flush something out of a room only to let it hide in a closet. So wipe all of that down, too.
That step you will need to do at least once after moving in, and then realistically you don’t necessarily have to do the deep wall and ceiling clean more than once a year, or if you start to feel some stagnant or sticky energy in there, then do it periodically as needed. But I do the trim and other surfaces about once every 4-6 weeks in addition to just regular cleaning.
I then remove any linens I can like bed stuff, curtains, pillow or cushion covers, etc and throw them in the wash with Zote soap*, dash of Florida water, and a handful of salt.
*If you haven’t used Zote soap flakes, you need to give it a shot. It’s a more natural lard-based laundry soap instead of a laundry detergent and I love it for cleaning fabrics to remove lingering energy. It’s made in Mexico, so you can probably find it at your local Hispanic grocer (the one on my corner sells them super cheap and the smell is ridiculously fresh, plus no detergent additives and unnatural sulfates, parabens, etc). I have seen this at places like Walmart, too.
Once the space is physically cleaned and you have tidied up all surfaces, shelves, and are washing anything fabric that you can, if you have carpet**, in addition to physically vacuuming, spray some of your spiritual cleansing spray on that and either let it sit, or get a carpet steamer and steam all that stagnant energy up out of there.
**I personally hate carpeted places for the reason that I feel like it is ridiculously hard to get previous tenants’ or owners’ energy out of it for some reason, so if you have the means and own the space, consider getting rid of the carpet altogether in favor of hardwood (if there is some underneath you can refinish), laminate, stone, tile, or something less absorptive than carpet. If you’re renting or can’t afford to do this, its totally okay, but just be really diligent and invest in a good couple of steam sessions; renting a steamer from a local store is typically ~$50.
Again, this really deep cleaning part doesn’t have to be done every time you clean, but if you didn’t go this deep when you moved in, do it now, and then once a year, or as needed.
I have had friends who moved into apartments and experienced nightmares, heavy presencea in certain rooms, and just all around bad energy. Once they went through this deep clean process 1-2 times, it all resolved.
The key with this is to create an environment where any negative, dark, malevolent, or unwanted energy doesn’t want to stay.
Energetically and Spiritually Cleanse
Now that I’ve removed all the physical debris, I’m ready to use incense and/or smoke.
I mentioned before that I prefer benzoin, so usually I go room to room with my censer and get a good couple charcoal disks with plenty of benzoin going, waving it into all corners and nooks with some peacock feathers (please make sure if you’re using feathers, they are ethically harvested).
If I don’t use benzoin, I usually use bundles of dried rosemary. Same process, burn it in a shell and use a feather to wave it into all spaces.
Make sure all closet doors and cabinets are opened up, as well as dresser drawers and so forth.
I will also play some music on a portable bluetooth speaker while I do this. It varies what I play, but pick something that you feel fills the space with the vibes you want it to have. It should be something that moves you.
I might occasionally shout, “If I didn’t invite you, get the fuck out.” But that’s optional. 😉
And that’s it.
Realistically, unless you’ve got a smaller space, you won’t accomplish this all in one day, or even a weekend. I do this broken up over the course of a week or more, because my house has 3 floors and its quite big. I usually try to get a couple rooms on each floor done each day and shoot for doing this deep type of clean once a year on the whole house.
I do a less deep clean (not wiping walls down) on my office and bedroom probably more frequently, because I consider those my personal sanctuary within my home sanctuary.
If you have friends or acquaintances over often, or have romantic partners that come and go from your life, you may also want to consider doing this deep clean after someone leaves, especially if they’ve got some sticky and unpleasant energy left behind.