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Mala Beads: Cleansing, Charging, and Caring for Prayer Beads

Mala Beads Necklace of Wood and Gemstone by Golden Lotus Mala

Why Cleanse Mala Beads?

The handling and wearing of your mala beads transmute and absorb energy as well as the prayer, blessings, and intentions you have set with them. From time to time you want to cleanse your mala beads of any unwanted negative energies.

Other reasons for cleansing a mala would be if friends or family members touch your mala, most people who are not acquainted with mala beads see a beautiful piece of jewelry and that’s ok, remember a mala is first a tool for prayer and intention. Like any tools, we have to cleanse them to keep them in top shape. When someone curiously touches or holds your mala don’t worry, let it go. You can always cleanse your mala.

If you set your mala beads on the ground, some practices believe this is a sign of disrespect and the mala will lose its energies. If this happens, you will simply recharge your mala and set the intentions again.  While practicing meditation or yoga if you are not wearing your mala, you can store it inside a mala bag instead of setting it directly on the floor or yoga mat.

How to Cleanse Mala Beads

The most popular method, burning white sage or "smudging" is a tradition that dates back thousands of years. Essentially, a smudge is performed to correct the energy in a home, in an office, in an object, or even in a person. This is accomplished by burning sage or sage and a combination of herbs, in a focused, intentional way to cleanse out negative energy and to replenish positive, healing energy.

  • Carefully light the sage and allow a stream of smoke to rise upwards, hold your mala directly above the stream of smoke until the smoke has touched the beads and tassel.
  • Allow the smoke to envelop the mala beads for a few moments.
  • You may choose to say a prayer or affirmation during this process, a suggested smudging prayer is:

I now release and send all negative energy surrounding my mala to the light. I release any energies that are no longer of service to my highest and greatest good, I ask that all energies that are less than love be discharged for the highest good of all. Surround this mala with positive energy and divine white light, and so it is.

  • It’s also a nice idea to smudge your meditation altar, yoga mat, and anywhere you may sit to meditate.
  • When you are finished smudging be sure to fully extinguish any burning sage.

You can purchase sage bundles specifically for smudging and one bundle can be used repeatedly. If sage is not available you can also use the smoke of incense, preferably one that is made of natural materials. Scents like sage, frankincense, or sandalwood are good options.

Sage smudge sticks for cleansing mala beads

How to Charge Mala Beads with Energy

Organic material like wood, crystals, and gemstones healing properties are “charged” or activated by the mind’s intention. These materials vibrate at certain frequencies and amplify the energies you send through them while drawing out negativity from the body.

After cleansing your mala you want to charge it. Charging places energy into the beads so they can function at their highest vibrational level. There are several ways to activate and charge your mala beads:

  • You can charge mala beads by leaving them lay out in sunlight or moonlight for a few hours. The energy of the sun and moon is said to clear the beads returning them to their own pure vibration. Be mindful of how long you leave gemstones in the sun as the extreme heat could damage them. Never put Amethyst in sunlight as it will fade.
  • If you have a large geode or cluster of clear quartz or amethyst crystals, you can place your mala beads in the cavity of the geode or on top the crystals for at least 24 hours to cleanse them.
  • You can charge mala beads through visualization, holding the mala in your dominant hand, close your eyes and visualize pure white light coming down from above entering through your crown chakra, traveling through each of your chakras and into your hand and onto your mala. Meditate in this way for at least 10 minutes.

Once you have cleansed and charged your mala beads you will want to set your intentions for it. Review our guide on manifesting intentions with your mala.

After you have some time to wear or pray with your mala beads, you will want to revisit cleansing and charging them on those occasions you feel they require it.

Caring for Your Mala

Some helpful tips to care for your mala and ensure the longevity of your prayer beads are listed below.

  • Like any cherished or sacred item treat your mala beads with care, store it in a safe place when not using or wearing. Keep it on an altar or another special place where you can see them to remind you of the mantras and positive affirmations you are currently working on.
  • Do not wear your beads while exercising or when practicing any strenuous activities as they may get caught on something and break.
  • Keep your mala out of the water, this is especially important if you have a wood or seed mala as the organic material will break down and shorten the lifespan and beauty of the beads.
  • Gemstone and crystal beads are fragile and can be broken if dropped or exposed to extreme pressures.
  • If you need to clean your mala, use a lightly damp cloth and carefully wipe over the beads.

What Does it Mean When a Mala Breaks?

When a mala breaks it is a positive expression of the law of cause and effect, creating good karma. If you have a broken mala, you can restring it and have it blessed or set your intentions as you did when you first wore it.

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