Think about the crystals on your mala as tiny energetic sponges. Almost all crystals (with a few exceptions) are capable of collecting and storing energy that they come in contact with. This is part of what makes crystal malas so powerful, because they hold onto all of the beautiful energy of your meditations and intentions. That said, it is this same quality that makes crystal care so important.
If we are wearing our malas out in the world, crystal clearing becomes especially important. There is nothing wrong with wearing your mala out (I wear mine almost everyday), but doing so exposes your crystals to whatever energy is around you. Regularly clearing/cleaning your crystals ensures that they are aligned with you, your energy, and your intentions and providing you with their highest vibrational quality possible.
When should I clear/clean my mala?
Clearing your malas regularly is a great practice but it is especially important to clear them when:
(1) Someone else handles or wears your mala; (People may be drawn to your mala's energy, but it's ok to ask people not to touch it!)
(2) You find your mala after misplacing it for some time;
(3) You travel with it;
(4) Before you charge it under a full moon;
(5) You have an experience or interaction while you are wearing your mala that leaves you feeling drained, uneasy, or uncentered.
Clearing your crystals
How can I clear/clean my mala?
Crystals can be cleared in a number of ways.
Smudging with sage or palo santo;
Wrapping around clearing crystals like kyanite and selenite;
Dipping in salt bath; or
Taking them into the ocean
Charging your crystals
Once you have cleared the crystals on your mala, it's time to recharge them! Crystals love soaking up the sun as much as we do, so leaving them on a window-sill or out in the direct sun will do the trick. If you are aware of the moon cycle, it's also a great practice to charge your mala under the full moon! The moon energy supercharges your stones and is especially powerful for stones that already carry it like moonstone and labradorite!