Why (and How) You Should Cleanse Your Tarot Cards

Curious to know a little more about why you should cleanse your tarot cards? Want to know the most effective ways to cleanse them? Keep reading!

three card tarot spread with candles

Main image courtesy of Allure.

There are many tools of divination that you may want to try out, including I Ching, runes, scrying, and even tea leaves (yes it’s real!) before you find the one that really speaks to you. However, perhaps the most well-known of these tools are the tarot cards. If you find that the tarot speaks to you, that’s fantastic! It’s a great way to not only get to know yourself and where you fit in the universe a little better, but it’s also a fantastic method to develop and enhance your intuitive skills. After all, whether you’re doing a reading for yourself or someone else, you’re using the cards to interpret a situation, providing yourself or your querent with more information so you or they can make a decision.

Whether you use your cards once a day, or only a few times a month, were you aware that they should be cleansed? That’s right, cleansing your cards is a great way to clear the energy so your cards are always ready and in tune. But what’s the best way to cleanse them? In this article we’re going to point out:

  • Reasons you should cleanse your tarot cards
  • Why cleansing is important
  • Most effective ways to cleanse tarot cards

Reasons to Cleanse and Clear Your Tarot Cards

Why would you want to cleanse your cards in the first place?

tarot card reader with moons and crystals
Cleansing your cards is a great way to ensure their energy is in sync with yours. Image courtesy of Greatist.

Just like almost anything we use in life, at some point in time, it all needs a good cleaning. Your tarot cards are no different! Taking the time to cleanse them helps clear any lingering energy, and helps keep the connection strong between you and your deck. After all, tarot decks are a very personal item, they are like an energetic extension of yourself, providing you with ways to follow your intuition so you make decisions that are best for you. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep that connection and that good energy flowing. 

While it’s considered good spiritual hygiene to cleanse your tarot deck as you see appropriate, there are certain circumstances where you’ll definitely want to do a cleanse after. 

  • You have a brand new deck. While some people like to work with one deck, others collect them! Whichever camp you fall into, anytime you acquire a new deck, it’s a good idea to cleanse it. This ensures there’s no lingering energy from other people or places that could interfere. Need help choosing a new tarot deck? Check out some of our favorites available now
  • You read for other people. If you’re doing readings for others and yourself with the same deck, it’s important to cleanse it after you read for others. When the cards are providing information for other people, they’re working off of their energy and questions, not yours. Cleansing your deck afterwards keeps the spaces separate!
  • Your readings feel a little off. You have a personal relationship with your tarot deck, so you’ll be the first to know when your readings feel a little off. If you find yourself getting disconnected or confusing readings, a cleanse could be just what you need.
  • Someone else has handled your deck. Again, the energy transfer should be between you and your deck, not someone else. Keep all channels open and clear the air if someone else shuffles or uses your tarot deck. 
  • You feel it’s time to hit reset. We all like fresh starts, and sometimes, it just feels right. You can do the same thing with your deck with a cleanse.

Just like how often you do readings for yourself or others depends on you, so how often you decide to cleanse your deck is up to you. As we mentioned above, it’s always a good idea to cleanse it if you read for others or someone else handles it, but the rest of the time it’s up to you.

Why Cleansing Your Tarot Cards is Important

It’s a good idea to cleanse your cards 

tarot cards lined up for a reading
Keep that good energy going with a cleanse of your tarot deck. Image courtesy of PCP.

Your tarot deck works with the energy you’re giving off, and if you used it yesterday for some intense and emotional questions, you might not want that same energy the next day. You don’t want your cards holding onto any lingering energy (hence why you cleanse after you read for another person), so starting fresh with a cleanse seems like a good option.  

Cleansing and clearing is all about keeping the channels of energy between you and your cards open, and operating at the highest level possible. Keep in mind the cleanse works not only for your cards, but for you the reader as well! When the space is cleared, there’s a better connection between you and cards, giving you more accurate and helpful readings. But what are the best and most effective ways to cleanse your deck? 

Effective Ways to Cleanse Your Tarot Cards

Try out a few ways to cleanse your tarot cards until you find one that resonates with you!

incense cone to cleanse a tarot deck
Pick and choose which cleansing techniques are helpful to you. Image courtesy of Which Ritual.

There are a variety of ways in which you can cleanse your tarot deck, so try out a few and decide which ones you like best. Just like how everyone has a unique connection to their tarot cards, there may be a cleansing method that really works for you more than another.


This is a great way to really cleanse anything when you want to clear the air, especially if you’re bringing in a new tarot deck into your home. You can choose to use an incense cone or stick, or burn dry herbs you’ve put into a bundle. Popular aromas to use in smoke clearing your deck are sage, palo santo, or even better, local herbs you’ve dried and bundled yourself! You can choose to clear your whole deck, or go through it one card at a time. While you’re at it, may as well clear your space (and yourself) with the incense as well!

The moon

Using the light (or the lack thereof) of the moon is a potent way to cleanse and clear your tarot deck. You can choose to do this at the new moon, which is the beginning of the cycle and a great place to hit the reset button on your cards. The full moon is also a great way to cleanse your deck. Just leave it in an area where the moonlight will hit it for a little while. Moon beams are also great to charge crystals too

The sun

You can also allow your deck to sit out and soak up the sun for a bit as a way to cleanse. Talk about a wonderful (and easy) way to cleanse and charge your deck with radiant, positive, and warming energy!


Salt is a great cleanser and purifier. If you want to try it out with your tarot cards, simply place your cards in a sealable bag and put them in a container of salt, or surround them with salt. If you’re worried about damaging them, consider placing them near or on a Himalayan salt lamp or salt slab.


Have you ever thought to place a crystal on your cards when they’re not in use to cleanse them? It turns out that crystals are a fantastic way to cleanse and amplify the energy of your cards. It’s always a safe bet to go with clear quartz, but you could also consider using selenite or amethyst to enhance your intuition and connection with your deck. 


Super easy way to cleanse your deck. Just knock on it three times. Not only does it clear the cards but it gives them a little wake up call. Perfect!


Shuffling or spreading your cards out randomly is a great way to clear the energy. You can do this systemically, putting the major arcana together and each suit of the minor arcana together and then mixing, or you can spread them chaotically on the floor. Either way, you’re shaking up the energy and clearing the cards! A great add on to shuffling is to incorporate the powerful practice of meditation. You could chant or repeat a mantra, or visualize light literally cleansing your cards.

Remember, when and how you choose to cleanse your tarot cards is totally up to you! Your connection to them is powerful, so use a cleanse to make sure you’re always working with open channels of communication. 


Bridget Houlihan

Bridget Houlihan is a writer, poet, and cat mom living in Pittsburgh, PA.
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