How to Do a Proper Sage Cleansing

How to Do a Proper Sage Cleansing: A Step by Step Guide

Are you interested in learning how to do a proper sage cleansing? The practice of smudging your home has been around since the Native Americans. Doing a regular sage smudge of your house can not only keep the evil spirits out but all the bad energy left behind. So get out your sage stick and let's get started!


In the busy, overstimulating world we live and work in, it's easy to get stressed out. It's even easier to bring that negative energy home with you.

In fact, as many as 55 percent of Americans report being stressed daily.

You better believe that this stress doesn't stay neatly packed away in its own place. It explodes everywhere — into our downtime, our personal relationships, and beyond — making it harder to accomplish our dreams and goals.

This is why it's essential to practice self-care, no matter how busy you are. For many people, this includes clearing out negative energy in their homes by burning sage.

Keep reading to find out the benefits of sage cleansing along with a step-by-step guide to bring more peace into your life.

A Short History of Burning Sage

For thousands of years, cultures around the world have burned plants for spiritual and healing purposes.

Tibetan Buddhists practice sang pūjā, which is a ritual where various incense and woods are burned for purification.

Shamans across the world burn plants to cleanse energy and promote physical healing.

As for sage in particular, North American indigenous groups have a ceremony using sage called the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. This is where the term “smudging” sage smoke comes from.

It's a spiritual custom unique to native culture until recent times have challenged that.

“Cleansing” Versus “Smudging”

From the outside, “cleansing” and “smudging” with sage seem to be the same thing.

There's an important distinction to make, however, to remain respectful of indigenous culture.

It all comes down to word choice.

Smudging is a specific practice by natives and is deeply tied to spiritual ceremonies and customs. Cleansing, on the other hand, is simply the act of burning plant matter so that its smoke may benefit the space.

Cleansing isn't inherently spiritual and isn't bound to a specific culture.

So, when you are using sage to purify the energy in your home, you should say that you're cleansing, not smudging.

Using the correct terminology helps protect indigenous culture by avoiding appropriation.

Still, when using sage or other precious plants, you should enter into the occasion with intention and respect for what the plant has to offer.

Beneficial Properties of Sage

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a salvia plant that is a part of the larger family of mint. There are different varieties of it but many people look towards white sage for cleansing purposes.

Its name comes from the Latin words salvere (meaning “to heal”) and salus (meaning “salvation” or “well-being”).

This shows that the smoke of this plant has been used to heal and purify energy ever since it was first named.

Energetic and Emotional Benefits

There are a few metaphysical ideas behind burning sage.

The first is that as the smoke rises, your intentions and blessings go up with it. This puts a physical act towards your wishes and manifestations.

For example, you may want to bring more peace into your home. So, while burning sage, you would want to keep that in mind and imagine the smoke lifting it up into reality.

The second use of sage is to purify the air. Aside from simply smelling heavenly, sage smoke is thought to push out negative energy and replace it with positive energy.

If you want to amplify these effects, slowly work on de-cluttering your space. Minimalism can go a long way in improving your mental and physical health, in addition to sage cleansing.

Physical Benefits

The effects of sage go beyond psychological qualities, too.

It has proven antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, meaning it has the potential to improve air quality and immune function. (Side note: having living plants in your home does this, too.)

Research has shown that it also improves memory, provides relief from depression and anxiety, and may even help you sleep better.

As a formulated supplement, sage is used to treat digestive issues and a sore mouth or throat.

It's easy to see that bringing sage into your life will have a positive effect. Keep reading to find a step-by-step guide on how to perform sage cleansing so you can clear your space and reap its benefits.

Sage Cleansing Supplies

To burn sage, you have to have sage to burn.

Purchase sage from a quality source that is respectful towards the plant and doesn't over-harvest it.

Over-harvesting is becoming a huge issue as more people are interested in trying sage cleansing for themselves. So, do your research and find a distributor who grows or harvests sage ethically.

You can choose from loose leaves and sticks or a pre-wrapped bundle.

The pre-wrapped bundles often include other desirable herbs, such as juniper, cedar, or sweetgrass, but you can find them with sage only. You can also find sage burning kits that have everything you need.

Since you'll be using it intentionally and creating your own version of a ceremony, it's wise to create a small space where you can keep it. As opposed to throwing it in a junk drawer, create an area or an alter where you can keep it out of respect.

You'll also want to use a fire-resistant bowl to catch the ashes as it burns so that they don't damage your belongings. It can be made out of clay or you can use a shell.

Many people also use a separate bowl designated for sand. Sand is a great medium to extinguish the burning sage when you are done with it.

Finally, you'll want to have a flame to ignite the sage. Keep a candle handy so that you can light and relight the sage throughout the process without using a temporary flame such as a lighter or match.

Setting Intentions

Once you have your supplies and are ready to cleanse, think about what you hope to gain from this plant medicine.

You can think of a phrase or mantra to think about before and during the cleansing.

For example, you may want to internally recite, “I let that which does not serve me float away”. If you're sick, perhaps your intention would be health and well-being.

You may want to sit and think about intentions before beginning. You can write them down, meditate on them, or simply say it in your mind to set the tone.

Even if you don't consider yourself a “spiritual” person, doing this will give your mind a time to relax and forget about the worries of the world.

Cleansing With Sage

With all of these ducks in a row, you can prepare to start the process. Open up windows and doors to allow the smoke to carry away the negative energy.

Then, you can light the sage and let it burn for about 15 seconds.

The idea is to keep it alight for this time so that when you blow out the flame, a red ember will still be there creating smoke. At this point, you'll want to grab the ash-catching bowl to prevent any mishaps.

Many people start the cleansing process by fanning smoke near their heart, head, and along the front and back of their bodies.

From there, slowly begin walking about your home, directing the smoke towards the corners of the room, areas where you spend a lot of time, electronics, and mirrors. Spend a little extra time around entryways while keeping your intentions in mind throughout the cleansing.

Each person is different, so the details of how you go about cleansing your space are entirely up to you.

Make it your own ritual while going about these basic steps.

Once you've paced through every part of your home, give thanks to the sage and snuff out the flame in the dirt, a bowl, or your sand bowl. Don't use water to extinguish it, as the moisture may cause you trouble when you try to light it in the future.

Place the sage in its designated space and sit back. Enjoy the clarity of the smoke as well as the intentions you sent up with it.

Considerations When Using Sage

Many people ask how often you should sage your home. It's definitely a good idea when moving into a new place or at least every few months.

Aside from that, it's up to you and your intuition to decide when you need an energy cleansing. Check-in with yourself regularly to see if you're feeling stressed, stuffy, or in need of change.

While sage smoke may seem like a great idea for everyone, it might not be the best idea for those who have respiratory issues such as asthma. Smoke, in general, is irritating to sensitive lungs.

If that's the case, you can create a cleansing spray using essential oils. This is a great addition to smoke-free places, too, such as a workplace.

To make your own spray, put a few drops of sage essential oil into a glass spray bottle full of water. Be sure to shake it up each time you use it, as separation will occur.

Create Rituals to Improve Your Well-Being

Now that you know the ins and outs of sage cleansing, you can try it for yourself.

The bottom line of all of this is that there are ways to take care of yourself and your space to make all aspects of your life better (including work).

Check out more blog articles to amp up your personal and professional life so you can be as healthy and successful as possible. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out.