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One might ask, how do you clean a soiled tallit? It is crafted from wool and is often old and looks like it has never been cleaned.
Wool tallit needs to be cleaned hand preferably wash with the use of delicate soap such as the Woolite that is specially designed for subtle wool garments. Soak this for few hours or soak overnight then hand wash. Repeat this procedure if necessary.
The tallit can also be dry cleaned, but it may not be advisable to give tallit to a dry cleaning establishment in your area especially those that are not familiar with the tallitot. Most cleaners who are not situated in places with orthodox Jewish populations do not usually know how to deal and handle this and can result in damages.
More about Tallit Cleaning
Tallit worn mainly during morning prayers. Though this does not need to be cleaned more often, cleaning the tallit once at least every six months helps keep its top condition. Since the tallit contains plenty of knots and mostly made of wool, cleaning this in a washing machine isn’t advisable. Cleaning the tallit must be done with utmost care and with the use of gentle detergents.
The following are helpful tips on how to clean your tallit:
- Clean the kitchen sink and fill this with cold water. If you have a larger tallit, consider using your bathtub instead.
- Add about ½ cup of mild detergent into the cold water and give your tallit some stir.
- Put your tallit in the kitchen sink and submerge it completely. Allow it to sit for about 3 to 4 hours.
- Wash tallit using your hands and if you notice some stains, rub over these stains gently using your fingers. Avoid using the brush in scrubbing away those stains. This can damage the tallit fabric.
- Drain the water from the kitchen sink and then rinse the soaps off your tallit with cold, clean water from the faucet.
Upon following these steps, you can now wring your tallit, hang it and allow it to dry. Using the dryer can cause damage on the Tzitzit’s knots. Therefore, it would be best to use the clothesline and allow your tallit to dry naturally. In cleaning, you will need mild detergent and of course water.
Your tallit can also be dry-cleaned. In case your dry cleaner is not Jewish, there is a possibility that your prayer shawl gets damaged during the process so choose someone you can trust in this work (Jewish- not a goy).
A gentile can also mix your woolen prayer shawl with linen clothes – and then there is a problem of shatnez.