Cleaning a rosary


I recently purchased an antique rosary on eBay. If you clean your rosary beads, how do you do this? Thanks in advance.


There are rubrics for altar linens, sacred vessels, and anything that may have come into contact with the Blessed Sacrament, such that some small fragment or drop might be present. There aren’t particular rubrics for cleaning other sacramentals, save that the cleaning or repair be done with a reverent mindfulness of what is being handled. You may use any cleaning or repair method that you’d otherwise use. It is OK, for instance, to use a jeweler’s tools to bend the links back into place and so on. You wouldn’t throw the rosary into the same “job box” with your other jewelry or bead work projects, though.

If a sacramental such as a rosary or a religious statue or icon is damaged or becomes too stained, worn or marred to be brought back to appropriate condition, it is normally burned, melted down, or buried.

Can. 1171 Sacred objects, which are designated for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated reverently and are not to be employed for profane or inappropriate use even if they are owned by private persons.

Cleaning is not irreverent.

PS Do you know that the rosary was blessed? Sometimes, sacramentals are made or even purchased and given as gifts but tragically never blessed or put to their intended use.


Wood, glass, plastic, cord, metal, what is the rosary made of?


Actually, that is exactly where I keep them. It is not irreverent to carefully store damaged rosaries in the box with all the beading equipment. I have three rosaries in there right now, waiting for me to have time to mend them.

Of course, I didn’t “throw” them in there. :wink:


I clean my rosary beads according to the materials of which they’re made. If you’re not sure what the beads are made of, and what the metal links are made of, take it to a jewelry repair shop and ask them for advice. They may be able to tell you what it’s made of, whether or not it’s in good repair, and how much they would charge for cleaning.


The rosary is made of glass crystal beads with filigree capped.


Any blessing would have expired when the item was sold on eBay. Selling a blessed object makes the blessing go away.
If the new owner wants it blessed, he can take it to be blessed himself.


As far as i know, it was not blessed. My next plan is to have it blessed but i would like to clean it first since the clear glass beads are a bit dirty from “use”.


I would try a little mild soap and warm water to start.
You could also ask a jeweler if they could clean it for you in one of ther machines, or sell you a cleanng cloth or cleanng paste.
I’d suggest maybe a jeweler that specializes in selling old estate jewelry, rather than one that only sells new things.


Well…yes, items that are purchased are usually blessed as if they had never been blessed, but technically if an item that is blessed is a gift or has been sold at cost, it doesn’t need to be re-blessed. In other words, what is forbidden is selling the blessing, not being reimbursed for the cost of a sacramental that has been blessed. But yes, you’re right: it must be assumed that the seller realized a profit.

I think the safest course is to treat the item as a sacramental–that is, to give it the reverent treatment due to its intended and probable past use, even though you cannot know for certain it was ever blessed or ever put to a sacred use–but take it to a priest and have it blessed on the premise that it is not known if it was ever blessed. As you say, the price can pretty much be presumed to have been higher than a mere “at cost” reimbursement that took place after the last time the rosary was blessed.

I’ve found jewelers to be very generous about giving advice about the care of jewelry. Jewelry salespeople aren’t all jewelers and aren’t all knowledgeable, but those with knowledge tend to want to let everyone know how to keep beautiful things in their best condition.


The best way to clean it would be steam. I have an electric pressure cooker, when it vents I hold jewelry over the steam (on a long fork) and it simply sparkles! Most real jewelers will offer steam or sonic cleaning services (not the “Kay” chain/franchise jewelry store, the non-chain place in town).

At home, soaking it a mix of dish detergent and ammonia (a little Windex will suffice) in warm water over night. Use a soft toothbrush to scrub the filigree before a good rinse in warm water, let it dry on an absorbent towel (cotton terry cloth).

Keep your rosary in a rosary pouch. Your local Catholic good store sells them, or if you know someone who crochets ask them to use some wool or other natural fiber sock yarn to crochet a little drawstring pouch.


Re-blessing never hurts and you can wash blessed items.

Heck, people have their houses blessed and they can still be cleaned, painted, repaired.

It is fine to deep clean your rosary, an people ought to keep rosaries clean. Skin oil build up can be nasty nasty on old rosaries! They will last longer if well cared for.


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