Healing crystals are a great addition to any self-care regimen. They can add life to your home, remind you of your financial goals, and help you attract love—but not overnight. The trick with crystals is that you need to make them your own and "program" them with a specific intention before they can start working for you.

Here are some tips on how to clear, program, and safely store your stones so they're always energized and ready to go.

The best times to clear your crystals & 5 ways to do it.

Cleaning and clearing any new-to-you crystals is very important since, depending on where you purchased your stones, several people could have touched them before you and left their energy—good or bad—all over them. In fact, consider cleansing your gemstones any time somebody else has been touching them to clear their energetic fingerprint. If you ever find an old crystal that's been hidden away and forgotten for a while, that's a good opportunity for a quick cleanse as well.

Here are a few strategies for clearing your crystal companion. They are all effective, so go with the method that most appeals to you:

1. Use sea salt.

Sea salt and water can help rid your stone of unwanted energy. If the stone is not brittle, using sea salt should be fine. However, you don't want to put a porous stone that has lots of little holes or ridges (think pyrite, hematite, etc.) in salt water since it can get damaged.

Leave the stone in the water overnight and add dried sage, basil, or lavender to enhance the bath's cleansing effect.

2. Use running water.

Holding your crystal under running water is also a very effective cleaning method. As you do so, ask the Universe to remove all of its negativity. I usually imagine a ray of white light around the stone as I do this, cleaning it and filling it with wisdom.

3. Use other stones.

Certain crystals associated with purification like carnelian and clear quartz are thought to actually cleanse other stones. Stack these stones on top of any crystals that need clearing, or keep them all in the same bag when you travel.

4. Try smudging.

Burning sage (aka smudging) is a popular way to clear stagnant energy from one's home, and it can do the same for crystals. To get started, light a dried sage stick and quickly blow out the flame. Then, waft the smoke all around your crystal as you envision it drawing out all of the stone's lingering negativity or impurities.

5. Place them underneath the full moon.

On the next full moon, place any crystals you'd like to cleanse on your windowsill to soak up some of the lunation's refreshing energy.

How to program your crystals.

Every crystal can be dedicated to a purpose. The best time to do this is directly after you've cleared your stone. I've tried programming my crystals with intentions a few different ways but found the following the most effective:

Hold the crystal in your hand. (Your left hand, preferably, since your left side is your receiving side.)

Stand in natural light, either outside or next to a window.

Say aloud, "I dedicate this crystal to the highest good. I ask that it be used in love and light."

Then, program the crystal for a specific use. Think about what you want that crystal to support you with, whether it's landing a new job or speaking more kindly to yourself. While still holding the stone in your left hand, visualize and feel into what it would be like if you were to achieve that intention.

Once you've envisioned the crystal's purpose, finish the process by saying aloud: "I dedicate this crystal for the [your purpose]."

This is optional, but I also like to wear my stones on me for seven days to further connect with them. Personally, I find this is the best way to energize them.

How to (safely!) store your crystals.

Crystals can be fragile, so handling them with tender love and care is essential. Some gemstones fade after prolonged exposure to sunlight, so when you're not using your crystals, keep them inside in a pouch or wrapped in a silk scarf to keep them safe.