Prayer beads, called rosaries in some cultures, have been used as meditation tools for centuries and can be found in many religions. The wearer typically uses the beads to count repetitions of chants, prayers or mantras. Some people believe the beads have metaphysical properties that can protect them from negative energy. Traditional eastern Japa Mala prayer beads are usually made from Rudraksha seeds, while rosaries can be made from many types of materials. Prayer beads are touched on a regular basis and need to be cleaned often to eliminate dirt, grease and other residual matter.

Cleaning Rudraksha Beads

Place the prayer beads in a bowl of warm water and leave them there overnight.

Scrub the beads with a plastic brush in the morning. Rinse them with cool water, and place them on a dry towel to dry.

Allow time for the beads to dry. Once they have dried, light sandalwood incense and hold your prayer beads while thinking of your mantra or meditation.

Apply sandalwood oil on the beads with the brush. Repeat usual mantra when applying the oil.

Cleaning Rosary Beads

Clean a rosary made of wood by applying a small amount of furniture cleaner to a soft piece of cloth and wiping the beads gently. Avoid using a furniture polish and never place this type of rosary into water.

Combine a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water in a small bowl to clean pearl rosary. Place the rosary in the water, swish the water around it, and gently wipe it with a clean cloth in the water. Remove it from the water and promptly dry it with a towel.

Clean a rosary made from lamp beads by adding water and a small drop of mild dishwashing liquid to a clean piece of cloth. Wipe the beads with the wet cloth. Use the towel to dry the beads by hand. Do not submerge lamp beads in water.

Things Needed

  • ['Small bowl', 'Water', 'Plastic scrubbing brush', 'Towel', 'Matches or lighter', 'Sandalwood incense', 'Sandalwood oil', 'Wood furniture cleaner', 'Wiping cloth', 'Mild dishwashing liquid']


  • Do not use a degreasing soap or any cleaner with bleach.

    Prayer beads should be cleaned every six months to help eliminate old residual energy or anytime the person goes through a significant life change.