Most selenite crystals are actually the crystal variety of gypsum, which dissolves in water.
This makes selenite quite challenging to clean.
In this article, you’ll learn the ins and outs of physically cleaning your selenite crystal.
How to Clean Selenite (EXPLAINED)
Determine What Kind of Material You Have
When you are new to crystals or minerals, it can be difficult to tell what kind of stone you actually have.
While it would be nice to trust everyone you meet, just because someone tells you that the crystal you have is selenite, you can’t always accept what they have to say.
Before you start trying to figure out how to clean selenite, you need to first confirm that what you have is, in fact, selenite.
For example, selenite as we know it in crystals is actually gypsum, which contains no selenium whatsoever in it.
In contrast, sodium selenite has selenium in it, but is unusual to see in a crystal shop because it is quite toxic.
Some minerals should not be placed in water, while others should not be cleaned with products of any kind.
Still others should not be touched with your bare skin.
Experienced rockhounds and gem hunters always start the care process with confirming what it is that you’ve found and collected.
This is partially for the stone, so you don’t destroy it by accident.
This is also partially for your safety, so you don’t accidentally create toxic fumes or damage yourself.
If you aren’t sure what you have, you can try and self-diagnose by looking at the known properties of the stone, or taking it to a more experienced mineral collector for a second opinion.
Should You Clean Selenite With Water?
In general, the answer to this question is no.
No, you should not clean selenite with water.
Gypsum is a very soft material, rating only a 2 on the Mohs hardness scale, and is very water soluble.
This means that if you were to submerge the stone in water for any length of time, put it under running water, or even rub or scrub it for any length of time with water and a cloth/brush, you do risk losing some of the exterior of the material.
Using water could also mean taking off the careful finish on the stone, which could leave the surface of the stone looking milky or dull.
Some people do clean selenite with water.
But if they do, in general they were spritz the stone (rather than dunk it) and rub it quickly to clean it and remove the water.
What Are Some Alternatives to Cleaning Selenite With Water?
Rather than cleaning the material with water, here are some other options:
- Rub the stone with a soft cloth. Sometimes just spending a little time buffing the surface can help clean up the stone. Just don’t use anything terribly abrasive, especially if you are cleaning up a stone that does not have a sealant.
- Try using a cloth lightly moistened with acetone or drug store alcohol (70%). If you use either of these, rub briefly and lightly, then dry off the material. Don’t allow the acetone/alcohol to sit on the stone for an extended period of time.
- If your material is a series of crystals in a clump, you could try using canned air to blow out dust, dirt, or even sand particles.
What Are Some Methods to Avoid When Cleaning Selenite?
Here are some cleaning methods to avoid:
- If you are going to use water, try to use warm or even hot water to do your cleaning. Selenite is actually more soluble in cold water than it is in warm water.
- Do not use acids on the stone, including muriatic acid. This is sure to dissolve your material and fairly quickly.
- Avoid cleaning with salt water. The salt in the water actually makes selenite dissolve more quickly.
- Avoid using anything strong smelling. This will cause your crystal to smell of the cleaning product, and if you sleep with your selenite, you’ll have a nose full of the fragrance.
How To Use Water To Make Selenite More Beautiful
Selenite pieces often come looking discolored, or have pieces of sand or other stones that appear to be on the surface.
Sometimes these spots or the sand can be easily brushed out or cleaned off.
Other times, those materials are embedded into the selenite.
One of the ways collectors clean up the stone is to purposefully submerge it in water (or just the problem area) to encourage the bad spots to dissolve.
They might scrub at the area with a toothbrush and water.
This can work, but may require a polishing at the end to make the surface shiny and bright.
Folks will experiment with using hot water and/or cold water to see what sort of finish can be created.
This method can work, but should be used with caution.
Consider trying this out on a stone that you care less about before trying it on any selenite you are particularly in love with.
How To Keep Selenite Clean
Selenite can turn yellow over time, or appears to get dirty quickly.
As we have discussed at length above, you can’t easily clean it with water.
Keep the stone in a clean pouch (apart from other stones so they won’t cause dents or scratches).
If you can, keep the stone off of your skin, which carries a lot of oil.
Wear gloves when you handle it.
Or try keeping it in a case that would keep dust and oil from the surface.
One of the things we might suggest is covering the stone with a sealant to keep dirt off the surface, to protect the surface from oil/dirt, and also to make cleaning much easier.
And while we wouldn’t soak a sealed piece of selenite for long, we would be less likely to worry about cleaning it with a damp rag regularly if that were the case.
However, if handling a raw selenite crystal is important in your metaphysical journey, then getting it dirty and cleaning it in turn is just going to be a part of your regular care of the stone.
How to Polish Selenite
Because it is soft (and water soluble), selenite poses a real challenge for polishing. In general, we wouldn’t recommend tumbling it, though if you do, be sure to only tumble it with other stones of similar hardness and use a lot of cushion material.
Instead, we recommend that you work on one piece at a time, polishing it by hand. You can use sandpaper, working up to finer and finer grits, then move to a polish like this aluminum oxide polishing paste.
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How to Cleanse Selenite Crystals
Many practitioners cleanse their stones but submerging them in water, or even soaking them in salt water. You won’t be able to cleanse selenite this way.
Selenite is a crystal that self-cleanses. In most cases, you won’t need to worry about cleansing it in water or not.
But sometimes it feels right to cleanse a crystal, even if it is supposed to be able to do it on its own. Here are some suggestions to do a spiritual cleansing:
- Let the crystal rest on the earth.
- Allow the crystal to sit in natural light, catching both light from the sun and moon. Just remember, it is best not to let crystals sit in full sun during the hottest or most direct sun of the day.
- Use other cleansing stones: place your selenite on top of a larger piece of amethyst or quartz, or place your selenite on top of a smaller pile of carnelian or hematite.
- Meditate over the stone.
- Use breathwork on the stone.
- Let the stone rest on fresh herbs, or sprinkle herbs over the top.
You might try various methods until you get the feeling that one of them is just right for you and that particular stone.
Don’t worry if it takes a while. Sometimes stones are just like that.