I’ve heard that you need to wash your hands after you touch your shoes.

  1. First of all, do we pasken like this?
  2. Secondly, how is the washing done? Is it like Netilat Yadayim (either 111222 or 121212) or can you just wash your hands without the 3 times method?
  • 1
    We don't appreciate it these days but way back when streets were just full of horse poop and it was safe to assume your shoes were grosser than a modern toilet seat.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 19 at 17:01
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    Do you mean before davening/learning or regardless of what you're doing?
    – shmosel
    Commented Jun 19 at 17:26
  • @shmosel regardless. Are you saying you only need to wash your hands after you touch your shoes if you’re about to pray? I was under the impression this was for some kabbalistic רוח רעה reason and that we always had to wash Commented Jun 19 at 18:20
  • @DoubleAA so you’re saying nowadays if I just put my shoes on and it’s not dirty I don’t need to wash? Commented Jun 19 at 18:21

1 Answer 1


See shulchan aruch 4:18

אלו דברים צריך נטילה במים. הקם מהמטה והיוצא מבית הכסא. ומבית המרחץ. והנוטל צפורניו. והחולץ מנעליו. ...

The following things require washing the hands in water [after them]: One who rises from bed, goes out of the bathroom, or of the bath house, one who cuts his nails, takes off his shoes...

Mishna Berura (41)

מא) מנעליו - משום שנוגע בידיו בעת החליצה אבל בלא נגע בהם א"צ נטילה והחולץ מנעליו ונוגע ברגליו וחופף ראשו אינו משום רוח רעה רק משום נקיות ע"כ א"צ למהר ליטול ידיו תיכף משא"כ באינך דמשום רו"ר וכנ"ל בס"ק ל"ח: Their shoes - Since one touches their shoes when they remove them. But if one did not touch them, there is no need to wash. One who removes their shoes, or touches their feet, or washes/scratches their head [must wash their hands] not because of the "evil spirit", rather only because of cleanliness. Therefore, one does not need to rush to wash their hands immediately. As opposed to the other things [listed which are] because of the "evil spirit", as was seen above in se'if katan 38.

Per that information one needs to wash their hands when touching shoes only for the purpose of removing the dirt so it does not need netilat yadayim. Just rinsing the hands in water should be enough if all dirt got removed.

Note : shulchan Aruch Harav (128:27) notes that there is one needs to wash because of Ruach Ra'ah after touching shoes. Based on that one would need to use a cup for washing. In regards to washin once or 3 times with the cup, if you are stringent to wash r times after exiting a bathroom, then the same should apply here. But if you only was once after exiting the bathroom, then the same can be applied here.

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