How to Cleanse Tarot Cards: Purifying Your Spiritual Tools - Crystal Sand Tarot

How to Cleanse Tarot Cards: Purifying Your Spiritual Tools

Tarot cards serve as powerful tools for self-reflection and divination. Over time, these cards absorb energies from readings, environments, and handling, which can cloud their intuitive power. To maintain the purity and accuracy of your tarot readings, it’s essential to regularly cleanse your deck. There are various methods and rituals to cleanse tarot cards and ensure they remain conduits of clarity and insight on your spiritual journey.

When it comes to spiritual practices, a lot of things are completely personal. Everyone’s journey is unique and your intuition may guide you differently. Treat your cards, and they’ll treat you! 

When to Cleanse Your Tarot Deck

Cleansing your tarot deck is a habit for most readers, but not all. Personally, I cleanse my tarot cards as soon as I get them, and then every so often before or after readings. I also take note of special lunar energies that may give a more powerful cleanse or charge. However, there are plenty of reasons that you may want to give your tarot cards a good cleansing.

Buying Used Decks

I’ve bought a few used decks throughout my journey, especially as a beginner! Used bookstores were my best friend because I could buy a deck for much cheaper than brand new which meant I could practice reading without breaking the bank. However, I had no idea who’d owned the deck before me, or how they used their deck. It brings peace of mind to know that the energy from the deck is clean, positive, and safe. 

Getting a New Deck

This is similar to buying a used deck. The process the deck went through to get to you, or who and how many people touched it is unknown. Cleansing a new deck gives the ultimate fresh feeling, and ties it to your energy. There’s nothing more exciting than buying a new deck, but it feels even better once it’s been cleansed!

Before/After a Reading

Some people skip this step, especially if they’re the only ones reading the cards or if they only read for themselves. However, the cards tend to be more clear when cleansed before a reading, and you can feel more connected because they’re absorbing your energy before you read them! Cleansing after a reading saves you the process of cleansing before your next session or can clear that emotional energy from the cards while you let them rest before your next reading. 

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When Someone Else Touches Them

When someone else admires your cards or reads from them, their energy is left with those cards. Regardless of that person’s nature, it can do your tarot cards wonders to be cleansed and rejuvenated for your energy! 

When You’re Feeling Disconnected

Sometimes people get frustrated after reading for a while because they feel as though the connection with their deck isn’t as strong as it once was. If you think of a deck as any other tool, you recognize that your cards use energy to serve you and need to be recharged now and then to be used to their full potential. Try cleansing your deck to regain that connection. 

When Reading For Others

When you’re reading for other people, you’re merging your energy and theirs. That energy will linger with your cards and can lead to a bit of confusion if it happens often. When reading for someone other than yourself, cleansing is a good option to keep your deck accurate on the energies it’s reading for. 

Just Because

When you’ve been an avid reader, or have fallen into the habit of tarot reading often, you may encounter times where you just feel the need to cleanse your deck. If your deck is feeling “off” or you’re charging your crystals under the full moon, why not cleanse your deck? There’s never a bad time to rejuvenate those energies and give your tools a good cleansing. You’d be surprised at the difference you’ll feel when reading with cleansed tarot cards. 

Cleansing Methods 

Regardless of your reason for cleansing, there are an abundance of methods to do so. All of these are valid ways of cleansing your deck’s energy. The only thing you have to do is pick the one that suits you best! (Pun intended ;))


For those who like to take a more traditional approach, using incense is the most common method of cleansing. Herbs like cinnamon, rosemary bundles, or traditional incense sticks are all potential ways to cleanse. There are even herb bundles that provide cleansing as well as other intent infusions! 


Once you decide on your tools, all you need is your deck and your incense. Once you’ve lit your cleansing material, hold the tarot deck above it, being sure there’s enough space to prevent any accidental fires. Just allow your deck to be clouded by the smoke. Turning the deck ensures full coverage. Don’t forget to put out that fire! 


This one’s a bit messy, but it’s fast and simple. Basically, you stick your deck in a bowl, bucket, or any other container that will contain your deck and submerge it in salt. Leaving it here for a few minutes will allow the salt to purify the energy of the cards. Knowing how to cleanse tarot cards in salt can be changing on your spiritual path. It’s one of the fastest and most accessible ways to give your cards a good cleanse!

Pro tip: put your deck inside a sandwich baggie or in plastic wrap to avoid getting salt stuck to your cards! 

Moon cleansing

We love the moon! This type of cleanse works the best during new or full moons. I tend to cleanse all of my decks and crystals under the full moon. The full moon is known as the best time for setting intentions and releasing old tension. Just leave your deck out in a spot that will get some moonlight and you’ll have fresh, cleansed tarot cards the next morning! 


Sunbathing is an awesome way to recharge your deck with some bright light and warm vibes. It works essentially the same as moon cleansing, where you just leave your cards outside or in a place where they’ll get some direct sunlight for a period of time. That time is up to you, and how much you believe your cards need recharging or cleansed.  


There are so many crystals that provide healing, protection, and cleansing energies. For me, I find it beneficial to store my decks alongside a selenite wand. However, crystals like clear quartz, black onyx, and amethyst can do wonders for the protection and cleansing of your cards. Crystals can be paired with other cleansing practices, used as an individual practice, or even as a storage companion for consistent cleansing. 


This is definitely the fastest way to cleanse your deck! Just set the deck in front of you, face down, and knock the top 3 times. While doing this, make sure your intentions are set to cleanse and envision the unwanted energies being removed from the deck. 


As someone who loves organization, this is one of my favorite ways to cleanse my deck. It’s as simple as organizing your deck by suits and numbers and then stacking them all up in order. This way the deck is completely “reset”. Just don’t forget to shuffle, shuffle, shuffle when it comes time for your next reading.

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Chaotic shuffling

Do you remember the 52-card pickup game? Yeaaaa, now you get to play the 78-card pickup! Well, sort of. Chaotic shuffling opens up the energy and gets the deck completely mixed up. Basically, you dump your cards onto a surface and scramble them around the way a toddler would shuffle cards and then stack them up. From there, they’re all ready for you.

What Happens If You Don’t Cleanse Your Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards, like any spiritual tool, absorb and hold energies. When used frequently, they can become saturated with the energies from various readings, questions, and environments. Neglecting to cleanse your tarot cards can lead to:

  • Clouded Readings: Residual energies from previous readings may influence or distort new readings, leading to confusion or unclear messages.
  • Stagnant Energies: Just as stagnant water can become unclean over time, cards holding onto old energies can become sluggish in their responses or give repetitive messages.
  • Decreased Connection: A deck heavy with lingering energies might feel less responsive or disconnected from the reader, affecting the intuitive flow and connection between the reader and the cards.
  • Potential Negative Energy: If cards were used during times of emotional upheaval or in negative environments, they might hold onto those energies, potentially affecting future readings or even the reader’s mood.

Regular cleansing ensures that your tarot cards are in their best energetic state, offering clearer, more accurate, and more insightful readings. It also fosters a stronger bond between the reader and the deck, maintaining the sanctity of this spiritual tool. Frequent cleanses are best, but just be sure you don’t completely forget to cleanse your tarot deck!

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Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s important to choose a method that resonates with you and aligns with your spiritual practice. By incorporating regular cleansing rituals into your tarot card maintenance routine, you not only clear away stagnant energies but also rekindle the connection between you and your deck. 

As you embark on this journey of purification and renewal, may your tarot cards continue to be trusted companions on your path to self-discovery, providing you with guidance, insight, and clarity for years to come. Don’t forget to check out our Easiest Tarot Spreads for Beginners to kick off your reading journey!

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What’s your favorite way to cleanse your deck? Let me know below! 

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