Practical Alternatives To Smoke Cleansing & Smudging

Practical Alternatives To Smoke Cleansing & Smudging

Smudging/ Smoke cleansing is a fantastic way to cleanse not only your sacred space, but also your physical body and home. Whilst the two terms are quite often used interchangeably these days, smudging actually refers to a Native American spiritual practice, whereas smoke cleansing refers to using smoke produced from lit material (usually dried/fresh herbs/ woods) to cleanse

woman holding burning smudge stick

your space/ person.

Whichever type of cleansing that you prefer, there may be times when you actually cannot perform smoke cleansing/smudging and need an alternative.

Times when you may not be able to perform these practices include:

  • When travelling.
  • When living in an apartment (depending on the country and the rules regarding burning substances inside.
  • Living in dorms etc.
  • When living with a respiratory disease, or an individual with respiratory issues.

Why would you want to use an alternative to Smudging?

These days with a strong focus on the environment, smudging has come to light as a possible detrimental activity. It has been suggested that not only is smudging not necessarily appropriate for non- Native American peoples, but that the White Sage used in the production of the Smudge Sticks that have become ever so popular, is in danger of being overharvested and improperly harvested. This is why many people have chosen to move away from smudging towards other forms of cleansing. It is also why we have chosen to use Australian grown White Sage Smudge Sticks instead of those that come from America, in order to minimise the environmental impacts of overharvesting that have been reported in America. 

If you believe that smudging is inappropriate due to cultural misappropriation, there are other alternatives that you can use including:

rosemary and scissors

Rosemary- Rosemary  is a protective and cleansing herb. It is easily grown in countries like Australia, readily available and easy to make smudge sticks from. To check out our blog on how make a Rosemary smudge stick, click here.

Frankincense- Frankincense is another substance which has been used to cleanse spaces for hundreds of years. It can be used as stick incense in the same way that the smudge sticks are used or the loose resin can be used in a censer, on charcoal and wafted around the individual/space being cleansed. It is one of the resins that is commonly used in churches.

Both of these alternatives are appropriate for everyone to use and they are easily obtained (in Australia at least).

If your issue is not one of misappropriation/environmental concern, but rather you cannot physically get or burn the herbs where you are, or you are around people with compromised lungs i.e. conditions such as asthma, COPD etc, there are still plenty of other alternatives for you.

Some practical alternatives to smudging include:

Smudge Sprays

Smudge sprays, like this one from Soul Sticks, are a valuable alternative to smudging, especially if you are travelling or are in an environment where you

soul sticks smudge spray

cannot produce smoke. They still contain the essence of the plant, just in a liquid form. To use a smudge spray, simply mist the spray around your sacred space/home/person as you would a smudge stick/smoke cleansing bundle.

Essential Oils

Using essential oils such as rosemary, sage, cedarwood and frankincense can offer some of the same space cleansing benefits as burning the herbs. Simply add a few drops of the essential oil to a diffuser/essential oil burner and place in your space or add them to a spray bottle containing water and spritz the area you wish to cleanse.


If you do not have access to the actual smudge sticks/herb bundles but still want to cleanse your space with smoke, incense is probably your next best option. If you want to use White Sage, plenty of incenses come in this scent. You could also use another cleansing incense such as Frankincense in it’s place.

Sound Cleansing

Sound can be used in many ways to dispel negativity and cleanse a space. Two simple methods to use sound for cleansing is to use a singing bowl or bells.

woman using singing bowl

The ringing of both the singing bowl and of bells is known within spiritual circles to raise the vibrations within a space. To use this method you can go from room to room with your singing bowl playing, or with a bell ringing and visualise all negativity leaving the space. You can also use the vibrations of bells and singing bowls on tools and/or people in the same way. To extend this benefit, hang a set of bells- either witches bells or wind chimes above your front door to keep out any negative energies.

Physical Cleansing:

Physical cleansing is an important part of many rituals. If your purpose for cleansing your space is to remove negative energy and to create a clean slate, & you cannot burn herbs, you may want to look at doing a spring clean. Cleaning and clearing your physical space and body can help to release old energy and bring in new vibrations. Running water is also very cleansing and the simple act of showering can be beneficial in physically cleansing the aura. Using a perfume oil containing Frankincense when you are physically clean can help to extend the benefits of physical cleansing. 

Open Windows and Doors

We have all been there. You enter the house of someone you know doesn’t go outside much and the place not only smells, but feels stagnant. A simple act of opening the doors and windows in a house to let the clean fresh air circulate (obviously this does depend on where you live) can go a long way towards removing stagnant energy and bringing in positive new energy.

With all of the alternatives to cleansing that are available nowadays, whether your issue is that you cannot burn smoke cleansing herbs or you have chosen not to, there is no need for you to miss out on the benefits of cleansing.

Let us know, what do you use to cleanse your space. 

If you are looking for Smudge Sticks/ Smoke Cleansing Sticks & Smudge Sprays, check out our collection here

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