How to Cleanse Your Space with Palo Santo? (+ Mantras, Prayers to Use)

Lit Palo Santo

Palo Santo, also known as holy wood, has been used by Shamans of the Amazon and the Andes for centuries to achieve spiritual purification, awareness, and energy cleansing. It is so sacred in certain regions that Palo Santo trees are protected by governments and the wood can only be harvested from dead trees or fallen twigs. So how can you use this powerful wood to cleanse your own life?

Steps to cleanse with Palo Santo?

Paolo Santo has a multitude of benefits, from relieving headaches and symptoms of a cold, to calming the nervous system and cleansing crystals. Cleansing with this spiritual wood is easy to do as follows:

Step 1: Simply light a stick of Palo Santo, allow it to burn for 30 seconds or so, and then blow out the flame. You can then move around the space you wish to cleanse negative energy from, ensuring that the smoke reaches into every corner.

Step 2: At this point, you can also recite a mantra or prayer to clarify your intentions for the cleansing ritual. Once you feel the area has been cleansed, place the Palo Santo in a bowl and allow it to burn out.

Step 3:Finally, it can also be beneficial to then sit and meditate for a few minutes in the space you have cleansed, and allow the earthy citrus scent to cleanse your mind.

What to say when cleansing with Palo Santo?

Palo Santo smudge

Adding a smudging prayer or mantra to your Palo Santo cleansing ritual will help to focus your mind on what you want to achieve with the cleansing process. Mantras can be simple or elaborate but the most important thing is that the words mean something to you.

Palo Santo is excellent for clearing negative energies which can be everything from bad habits and anxieties, to the heavy feeling that can often linger after an argument. It is important to be honest and clear with your mantra as this will help to bring focus and clarity to the ritual. If you are struggling with mantra ideas, here are a few examples that you can adapt to your own needs:

“I release my fear to the universe. I am grateful to the universe, which provides me with an abundance of all that I need. I release negativity and enter into a positive new future.”

“I ask that the plant spirit of Palo Santo please infuse this space with blessings.”

“I cleanse this space of all negative energies. Only positive energies may enter here.”

Palo Santo cleansing prayer

Cleansing prayers tend to be longer than mantras but they do have the added benefit of allowing you to really dig deep into the reasons why you are performing the cleansing ritual. Palo Santo is often used to welcome peace, harmony, and luck, which makes it particularly beneficial for spiritual or aura cleansing. Here is an example below:

“May my hands be cleansed,
that they may create beautiful things.

May my feet be cleansed,
that they may take me where I most need to be.

May my heart be cleansed,
that I may hear its message clearly.

May my throat be cleansed,
that I can speak rightly when words are needed.

May my eyes be cleansed,
that I may see the signs and wonders of this world.

May my entire being and this space be washed clean
by the smoke of this fragrant plant.

And may that smoke carry my prayers,
spiraling to heaven.”

Remember that when it comes to cleansing rituals, there are no set rules! So it is important to use words that mean something to you.

What is the best time for cleansing with Palo Santo?

Cleansing with Palo Santo can be done at any time of day, and as often as you feel it is needed. However, traditionally it is performed before a ceremony, ritual, or special event, to ensure that positivity and harmony are free to flow. For example, you can cleanse with Palo Santo just before a birthday party, thanksgiving celebration, or even prior to selling your home.

Palo Santo cleansing can also be used daily as a simple refreshing morning ritual to set you up for the day ahead. Simply light a stick of Palo Santo when you wake up, place it in a fireproof bowl, and then sit quietly for 10-15 minutes focusing on your intentions for the day and giving thanks for everything that you have in your life.

You can also burn Palo Santo before bedtime for some much needed relaxation.

Palo Santo versus Sage – which is better for cleansing?

Palo Santo and Sage bowl

Both Palo Santo and Sage have been used by cultures around the world for cleansing and raising spiritual awareness but what’s the difference between them? Traditionally, white sage was used in spiritual ceremonies to cleanse and purify. The process of burning Palo Santo was considered a sacred practice by indigenous communities (notably in the Andes) to cleanse the spirits of individuals and ward off evil spirits.

Although both plants are used for cleansing, sage is considered to be more powerful at removing negative energies. Palo Santo is considered to be better for adding positivity to a space.

The harmonious and cleansing properties of both of these plants make them ideal to use together in smudging ceremonies; burning the sage first to get rid of negativity, then using the Palo Santo to welcome in positivity.

During this process it is essential that you open a few windows in the house to allow the negative energies to leave, otherwise, you will trap them inside the house. Burning both of these plants together has a very powerful effect so they will work well after periods of intense stress such as a recent bereavement. If you just wish to cleanse and purify your space on a daily basis, then Palo Santo is considered to be the better choice as sage can be quite overpowering.

How to tell if Palo Santo is real?

Palo Santo has become increasingly popular in recent years which has unfortunately paved the way for fake substitutes to enter the market. The intense scent of Palo Santo comes from the natural oils trapped within the wood. Traditionally, wood that has fallen from a tree should be allowed to sit for 4-10 years on the ground before it is harvested and used as a smudging and cleansing tool. This is believed to give the oils enough time to develop fully. However, with demand for this holy wood rising, some suppliers harvest the wood too early which means the resulting Palo Santo is less effective.

Some suppliers may also add Palo Santo oil to the wood to mask the fact that the wood has been harvested too early or that it has dried out for too long. Based on this. here are two points to take into consideration:

1. Should have a subtle scent: When the sticks are not lit, Palo Santo should have a subtle scent, so if the smell is overpowering then oil has likely been added. Similarly, when lit, the the scent should be lightly woodsy and not too overpowering initially. Yes, the scent can get strong if burned for long especially in rooms with little ventilation.

2. The smoke should be white: When you burn Palo Santo, the initial smoke will be black but when the flame has been extinguished the smoke should turn white. If the smoke remains black then you probably have a poor-quality stick.

To ensure you get the best possible quality of Palo Santo, it is worthwhile ensuring that it has been ethically sourced. Many suppliers will be happy to answer any questions you have, and this will make you feel more certain that you are getting what you pay for!

Benefits of burning Palo Santo before bed

Burning Palo Santo before bed can be very beneficial if you suffer from anxieties, bad dreams, or insomnia, as the positive cleansing energy will help to relax your mind. Simply light a stick and sit calmly for a few minutes to allow its stress-relieving properties to soothe you before you go to sleep.

Other tips to bear in mind with using Palo Santo

Here are a few important tips to bear in mind before burning Palo Santo.

1. Make sure your room is ventilated

Burning Palo Santo is generally a safe practice however once it has been burned for 20-30 minutes the scent can become overpowering so it is best to have a few windows open during a cleansing ritual.

2. Use a fireproof bowl

Investing in a good quality fireproof bowl is also essential, especially if you plan to leave Palo Santo to smoke for a while. Never use a plastic or wooden bowl as these are often not fireproof.

3. Place the wood facing down

When you place the Palo Santo in a bowl after use, try to lay it down so that the ember’s side is facing down – this should allow the embers to continue smoking without relighting the flame.


Regularly using Palo Santo to cleanse yourself and your space can be incredibly beneficial. The anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and mystical properties of this legendary holy wood can bring harmony, positivity, and a sense of calm into your life which makes it especially beneficial if you suffer from anxieties or depression.

At the simplest level, Palo Santo can be used to refresh you in the morning or calm your mind before bed, bringing clarity and serenity into your everyday rituals.

You may also like...
About the Author
Carla is a writer, author and a practicing Wiccan for the last twenty years and loves anything to do with nature and spirituality! She lives in Cambridge UK, with her two daughters and husband. When she is not working she has a special interest in creative writing, with two novels in progress.
About Outofstress
The aim of this site is to provide down to earth, thought provoking content to inspire higher thinking, infuse positive energy, expand consciousness and promote self awareness.
Follow us on Faceboook & Pinterest.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Get FREE inspirational tips & guides delivered straight to your inbox once or twice a month by subscribing to our newsletter.