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How to Cleanse and Charge Your Altar: A Beginner’s Guide

An altar is a place where we can ground and center. It’s also a place where we perform ritual, cast spells, and meet with our gods, ancestors and guides. But we can’t just set up an altar and leave it there. It takes maintenance – regular cleansing and charging. If you don’t know how to set up an altar, click here. Then learn how to cleanse and charge your altar and tools below.

Why Cleanse and Charge Your Altar and Tools?

First, let’s talk about the importance of regular cleansing of your altar. Cleansing is a crucial aspect of the craft and of spiritual practices of all kinds. Why? It removes negative or unwanted energies and makes room for beneficial energies. Just as we cleanse our auras and our homes, we should cleanse our altars too. Negative energies can attach or be drawn to our altars because of new items added to the altar OR energies around the altar itself. Cleansing an altar can be done in a few different ways, which we will detail later in the article.

Charging an altar is important because it imbues our intentions (either magical or spiritual) into our altar and tools. Charging means to fill an object or space with our intentions and energy OR with a god or ancestor’s energies. People also call this process blessing and sometimes consecrating. If you don’t charge or bless your altar, you’re skipping an important step in the magical process and leaving your altar and items open for other energies to take up space. Learn how to cleanse and charge your altar below.

How to Cleanse Your Altar

This is my way of cleansing and charging my altar, so feel free to change it and tailor it to your needs and preferences. I use a combination of smoke and water.

What You’ll Need:

  • Smudge bundle or incense (plus lighter/matches/candle flame to light the smudge bundle)
  • Abalone shell or fireproof container (to catch ashes of smudge bundle) OR incense holder
  • Clean rag
  • Lemon juice OR holy water (pledge works if you don’t have anything else)

What To Do:

  1. First, take everything off of your altar and set it to the side.
  2. Next, take your rag and lemon juice/holy water/pledge (cleaning agent) and wipe down your altar in a counter-clockwise fashion. The entire time you’re visualizing and/or saying out loud that you’re cleansing negative energies from your altar and making it as a clean slate for divine energy.
  3. Take your rag and clean all of your tools/supplies that will be going back onto your altar. Continually visualizing and stating your intentions.
  4. Next, light your incense or smudge bundle and gently blow smoke onto the top of your altar and all around it. The smoke serves to further cleanse your altar of unwanted energies. Visualize the smoke blowing away all negativity.
  5. Do the same to your tools and altar supplies (smudge or blow incense smoke to cleanse).

Next, you’re going to charge your altar and tools, like so:

How to Charge Your Altar

Again, charging your altar will depend on your preferences and needs, but here’s how I do mine!

What You’ll Need:

  • A clean rag
  • Essential oil OR herb infused oil OR olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Directly following the cleansing ritual, get a clean rag and your oil.
  2. Drop or dip your rag into the oil of your choice.
  3. Wipe your altar down in a clockwise fashion with the oil. The oil is used as a blessing substance. State your intentions out loud. For example, “bless this altar in the name of the Goddess. May it be a space for magic, healing and divine connection.” (change this to meet your needs and preferences)
  4. Now do the same with each tool or supply you’re adding back to your altar. Bless each one with the oil and state your intentions for each object out loud. Your words are charging the altar and tools with your intentions.

Other Methods of Cleansing Your Altar

I always use smoke and water to cleanse my altar, but you can use a combination of any of the elements or just one. It’s up to you! Try these cleansing methods:

  • For a quickie cleanser: spray a smudging spray or floral water over your altar and tools
  • Asperging is an easy way to cleanse and bless using a sprig of herb (rosemary or rue) and dipping in holy or moon water then sprinkling your altar and tools
  • Different waters can be used for cleansing: holy water, moon water, sun water, lavender water, rose water, etc.
  • Herbal infusions can be used as cleansers: rosemary and rue, basil and thyme, lemon peel, etc.
  • Fanning with a sacred fan or feather wand will blow away negative energies (also a quickie cleanser)
  • Brushing negative energy away using a small sacred besom
  • Placing a bowl of salt to absorb negative energy
  • Place stones that absorb negative energy like black tourmaline

Other Methods of Charging Your Altar

  • Instead of charging each tool and your altar with YOUR intentions, invoke your gods/goddesses/ancestors, etc. and ask them to fill your altar and tools with their divine energy
  • Reiki attuned people can imbue altars and tools with Reiki
  • High vibration crystals like lapis and selenite placed on the altar in a specific place can charge the objects near it (or set up a crystal grid for superior high vibrations!)
  • Spray or diffuse essential oils over your altar and tools for a specific intention
  • Charge your altar and tools by placing your hands over each item and visualizing white light divine energy flowing into the crown of your head, through your heart, down your arms and into your altar and tools
  • Charge your tools by moonlight or sunlight
How to Cleanse and Charge Your Altar for Beginners


  1. Maggie

    October 29, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    How often should I cleanse my alter ? And does the moon phase/day of the week matter ?

    1. kitty fields

      November 5, 2021 at 9:37 am

      I try to cleanse my altar once a month…at least once every 3 months. I also like to do my cleansings on a new moon but this is all truly up to you.

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  3. melody

    April 15, 2020 at 9:27 am

    hi, i was wondering if i could use cinnamon stick like an incense? is it possible or does it have to be incense or sage?

    1. Anonymous

      November 15, 2020 at 2:26 am

      I’m not sure how well cinnamon burns, but you can use any plant to smoke cleanse as long as it is SAFE to burn. Different plants just have different properties, garden sage and rosemary are good cleansers specifically, but smoke is a just a good way to cleanse in general. Just make sure to keep the smoke away from animals or people with lung issues.

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