Last Updated on December 18, 2021
If you’re new to the crystal, stone, gem, and mineral collecting world—or you’re a seasoned collector and just need a refresher—the question of which crystals can go in water and which cannot is a critical one.
Generally, it is best practice to avoid putting any crystal that sits at a 5 or lower on the Mohs Hardness Scale in water. There are, however, some exceptions to this guideline.
Although consulting the Mohs Hardness Scale is a great way for determining which crystals can go in water and which cannot, it is not the only way. There are some additional factors you may wish to consider prior to putting any crystal in water.
So, if you are hoping to learn a little bit about what the Mohs Hardness Scale is, how it is used to determine which crystals can go in water and which cannot, alternative methods for cleansing crystals, and the additional factors that need to be considered with each crystal, this is the article for you!
What Crystals Can Go in Water?
Let’s begin with the Mohs Hardness Scale since it is usually the most trustworthy source when it comes to determining whether or not a crystal can go in water without getting damaged.
The Mohs Hardness Scale ranges from 1-10 and is used to determine a mineral’s hardness. The scale is an efficient tool to measure a mineral’s hardness because it was actually designed by taking different minerals, scratching them against one another, and seeing which ones came out smooth and clean and which ones became damaged.
The lower a mineral is on the scale, the softer and easier it is to scratch.
Soft minerals—the ones that are a 5 and lower—should not go in water because they are more likely to dissolve, break apart, or lose their color than hard minerals.
Hard minerals—the ones that are a 6 and higher—should theoretically be fine when they go in water since they are hard enough to withstand any potential damage from the water.
With this in mind, the following crystals can go in water without having to worry about damage, cracking, and fading occurring:
- Clear quartz
- Rose quartz
- Smokey quartz
- Snow quartz
- Tiger’s eye
There are also a few crystals that are considered hard on the Mohs Hardness Scale but oftentimes contain other minerals and metals that could react negatively in water. These crystals include obsidian, aventurine, tourmaline, and labradorite.
These crystals are technically fine to put in water but, if you do decide to do so, you run the risk of damaging them. It is up to you—as the collector—to decide whether or not you wish to put these particular crystals in water.
How to Cleanse Crystals That Go in Water
Yes, all of the crystals in the above list are technically safe to go in water, but there are some extra precautions that you should take when putting any crystal, stone, gem, or mineral in water.
It is always a good idea to opt for a quick rinse in water as opposed to a long water bath. When a crystal spends extended periods of time in water, the water can eventually make its way into any cracks and crevices on its surface and start to break it apart.
It is also preferred to rinse crystals using filtered or tap water rather than saltwater. Saltwater has the same effects as water does on crystals. The only difference is that saltwater tends to shorten the amount of time it takes damage to occur because salt can easily get wedged in cracks and gaps causing the crystal to break apart quicker.
For all crystals, lukewarm water is preferred over boiling water or ice cold water. Extreme water temperatures can put the crystal into a sort of shock-like state and cause it to break apart.
Finally, it is best practice to dry off a crystal completely once you are done rinsing it. A soft cloth or towel is the best tool for the job!
Should Crystals Go in Water?
Although rinsing crystals with water is obviously an easy way to cleanse and recharge them, it is also worth noting that rinsing them in water can eventually take a toll on visual appearance and color.
The fact of the matter is, most of us purchase our crystals online or from local gem and crystal shops. Any crystal or gem that you purchase likely has some sort of protective coating on it, be it an oil, polish, or finish.
Repeatedly rinsing your crystals in water can start to degrade that oil, polish, or finish on its exterior, which could end up leaving your crystals looking dull, lackluster, and faded. And—if the polish or oil does not degrade evenly across the crystal—it can leave the crystal with a different texture, as well.
This is not to say that you should not rinse any of your crystals in water. I put my crystals—the hard ones, anyway—in water to cleanse and recharge them as often as I need. It is just important to know that, just because a crystal can go in water does not necessarily mean that it is immune to wear-and-tear.
This also depends entirely upon which kind of collector you are. If you are like me and you collect crystals primarily so you can benefit from their energetic properties, then it might be worth rinsing your crystals in water on a regular basis just because it is the quickest and easiest way to cleanse and recharge them.
If you are collecting mainly for aesthetic purposes—you love the look of the crystals—then perhaps it is best that your crystals spend minimal time in water so they can maintain their shape and beauty.
What Crystals Cannot Go in Water?
This brings us to the crystals that cannot go in water. There is a whole slew of crystals that cannot go in water because of their low placement on the Mohs Hardness Scale and their solubility in water.
This being said, the following crystals cannot go in water:
- Fire opal
- Imperial topaz
In addition to the crystals listed above, there are also some crystals that cannot go in water either because they release toxins when they come into contact with water or they contain other minerals—like iron and copper—that rust in water.
Which Crystals Cannot Go in Water Because of Their Compositions?
There are several crystals that cannot go in water because of their compositions.
Magnetite, hematite, and tangerine quartz cannot go in water because they all have traces of iron within them.
Likewise—although most specimens of jasper are fine to go in water—red jasper cannot go in water because its color comes from high levels of iron.
Malachite cannot go in water because of its low score on the Mohs Hardness Scale and due to the fact that it becomes toxic in water.
Similarly, lapis lazuli cannot go in water because it releases harmful toxins into water. Lapis lazuli typically has flecks of gold pyrite in its composition, and pyrite releases sulfur when put in water.
What Happens if a Crystal That Cannot Go in Water Gets Wet?
If, for some reason, a crystal that cannot go in water—such as selenite, amazonite, or moonstone—ends up getting wet, there is no need to panic. Depending on how long the crystal was in water for, there’s a good chance that it is absolutely fine.
The first step you should take if this occurs is pull the crystal out of the water because the longer it stays in the water, the more damaged it is likely going to get.
Once the crystal is out of the water, simply dry it off with a soft cloth or towel.
After giving the crystal a good rub-down with the towel or cloth, it is also a good idea to put it in a safe place and let it airdry even further. Avoid putting it in direct heat, though, as most crystals do not do well in hot and cold temperatures.
For some extremely soft minerals—like talc and halite—sometimes the crystal is unsalvageable if left in water for too long since they can often dissolve like salt. Unfortunately—in cases like these—it may be best to just replace the talc or halite in your collection.
How to Cleanse Crystals That Cannot Go in Water
Because there are so many crystals that cannot go in water, you might now be wondering how you cleanse and recharge those crystals if water is not an option.
Well, luckily for all of us collectors, there are plenty of other ways to cleanse and recharge a crystal’s energetic properties other than water.
If you have a good number of crystals that cannot go in water, but you do not yet have a piece of selenite in your collection, then—as the first and simplest step toward keeping your crystals cleansed and recharged—I’d highly recommend you go out and grab yourself a piece of selenite.
Selenite is a rarity amongst crystals because it actually cleanses itself and can help cleanse and recharge your other crystals, too. To cleanse and recharge any crystals that cannot go in water, you can set them next to a piece of selenite and let it do the work for you.
Sunlight is an excellent way to cleanse crystals without using water.
If you do choose to use sunlight as a method to cleanse and recharge your crystals, there are a few precautions you’ll want to keep in mind.
First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure you keep track of how long your crystals spend in sunlight as too much time spent in the sun can actually end up fading crystals. Crystals should not spend any longer than an hour or two in sunlight at a time.
It’s also beneficial to place your crystals in a windowsill out of direct sunlight to avoid any potential damage. This way, the crystals can still recharge through sunlight but there is no risk of your crystals getting damaged.
The best times to recharge crystals are typically sunrise and sunset when there is minimal direct sunlight.
Just like sunlight can be used as a method for cleansing and recharging crystals, moonlight is an effective method, too.
Crystals can easily catch some moonlight and recharge if you leave them in your windowsill overnight. Moonlight is also a particularly popular method to cleanse and recharge crystals that hold feminine power—such as rose quartz—because the moon is known for its feminine energy.
Soil and Earth
Placing your crystals upon the earth—or even burying them in your garden for a period of time—easily cleanses and recharges them.
If you are choosing to place your crystals upon the earth, particularly on a bright and sunny day, then it is best to look for an area with sufficient shade to prevent any damage or fading from occurring.
Speaking from personal experience, I sometimes forget about my crystals when I’m recharging them using this method, so I find it useful to ensure they are out of direct sunlight!
Meditation and Breathwork
Last—but definitely not least—are meditation and breathwork.
These methods for cleansing and recharging crystals are ideal for the collectors who already meditate and do breathwork on a regular basis. If you are in this position, all you have to do is place your crystals near you, and then do your meditation practice as normal.
Your crystals should absorb some of your positive and calming energies during your practice.