Cleansing an item for magick removes any energies the item may have absorbed from previous magickal workings, from contact with a previous owner or from the environment. Cleansing may also be performed on an area to prepare it to serve as sacred space. There are a number of ways to do this.
Rinsing the item in running water is good for those items that are not water-soluble or will not be damaged by the water. It is generally preferred that natural water be used, that is, water that has not been treated or “purified”. If you have a well and do not use a water softener or filter, you can use the water from your faucet. Or you can use rainwater running out of a gutter. Or you can use water running in a stream. Leaving the item out in a rainstorm is also an option if you can do this safely. Some people prefer to use moon water or salted water, or water infused with the essence of purifying herbs, whatever works for you. Sprinkling water around an area or over an object to cleanse it is called asperging.
It is also popular to use smoke to cleanse items for magick, suffumigation. This may be done with smoke from incense or resins, dried herbs, or the smoke of a ritual fire. Suffumigation involves placing an object over the burning substance so that the smoke rises around it. Fumigation involves filling an area with smoke or wafting smoke around an area for purification. Both are done for other purposes as well, presenting offerings, awakening or attracting spirits, etc. The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably or the word smudge or the phrase “purification by smoke” may be used as a general term to describe the process.
Covering an item with salt is another way to cleanse an item of residual energy. Salt is said to absorb any magickal energy it comes in contact with and then it can simply be discarded.
Burying an item in soil and digging it up again after a certain amount of time is another method that is sometimes used to cleanse an item.
Many people use a combination of these methods to cleanse items used in spellwork and many will incorporate the classical elements into the cleansing. Purification by smoke then is cleansing by air and fire, and salt is added to water to cleanse by earth and water. If the salt is added, the water need not be running water, but it should still be natural water. The salted and blessed water is usually sprinkled or poured over the item.