Ayurveda, as well as many holistic philosophies and approaches, recognises that the energies around us are powerful stuff: let too much negative energy accumulate and you will begin to feel less energised, even experiencing anxiety or depression. Every object we surround ourselves with can absorb the energy of the environment, so it’s important to cleanse these objects of negative vibrations. Vintage clothing in particular has been exposed to so many different energies — because we don’t know where our thrift-shop finds have been, I like to cleanse mine through sound or by burning white sage, lighting up the end of a smudge stick and letting the smoke envelop the clothes before with its cleansing properties before I wear them.

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Sage burning, or smudging, is a traditional practice traced back to the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes of North America — people have been doing it for thousands of years! It is believed to rid a space, objects or people of negative energy and evil spirits, and bring back purity and positivity. Read on for how to smudge clothes specifically, if you find they are emanating negative energy or you simply want to make them energetically like new again, and ready for their next life with you.

Even if you’re not into the spiritual stuff, remember that rituals are simply acts that invite us to connect to what is going on around us and what we want and value from life. They help us to commit time to what we are doing and inject our own good vibes into what we choose to surround ourselves with! Treat this like a meditation and tune into the breath. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can chant, pray or recite a mantra to aid the process.



  1. Get the garment clean using natural soap and following the washing instructions. If in doubt, use the hand wash cycle on your machine or do it the old-fashioned way.

  2. Allow it to dry naturally in sunlight if possible. If it’s knitwear, then dry it flat on a towel.

  3. Get ready to smudge.



  1. Hang up garment the garment on a hanger so both your hands are free

  2. Light the smudge stick, then wave it gently around, allowing the smoke to completely cover the item you are cleansing, including any pockets or folds, for up to 5 minutes, holding the bowl beneath it to catch any burning embers.

  3. While doing this, set an intention to release any energies from the garment that are no longer needed.

  4. Extinguish the smudge stick, then leave it to cool and pack it away for next time.

Note: If you don’t have smudge sticks, you can also try palo santo or even just take some deep breaths and simply use your own intention to do the cleansing.