I have heard in the name of one posek that vacuuming carpets is forbidden during the Nine Days (between 1 Av and 9 Av, following Ashkenazic custom) since this is equivalent to laundering. Is this something that is generally accepted? Are there perhaps other poskim who explicitly allow it?

Edit: This view is recorded in the recently published Kovetz Halachos, a compendium of the rulings of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky. The reasoning is that we find with regard to Shabbos that one violates the melachah of 'libun' (whitening/cleaning) simply by removing dirt, even without using water (see Orach Chayim siman 302). This is further supported by the ruling of Igros Moshe that dry cleaning may not be done in the Nine Days, even though it does not involve the use of water. Does anybody know of other sources which might discuss this?

  • 2
    Now that's one I've never, ever heard before ...
    – Shalom
    Jul 15, 2010 at 15:39
  • 3
    Neither had I, 'till I heard it...
    – Dave
    Jul 15, 2010 at 16:31
  • As to the first part of the question, the fact you had never heard it before may be an indication that it's not widely accepted.
    – Seth J
    Jun 17, 2012 at 3:49

2 Answers 2


The Mechaber (551:3) debates whether cleaning with plain water is forbidden. He only forbids because our water cleans well, unlike that of Bavel. Dry vacuuming is a far cry from laundering. This must have been a misunderstanding on the part of the second party.

  • 2
    The logic was that the cleaning accomplished by vacuuming a carpet is the same level of cleaning that occurs when one washes a garment. The person who I heard this from is a respected Rov, who I don't think would so easily misunderstand the issue. Perhaps the original psak was in regard to shampooing a carpet, but that would probably be obvious that it's forbidden.
    – Dave
    Jul 15, 2010 at 16:30
  • IMHO, that is an illogical comparison. Would you wear your dirty laundry after vacuuming it? Try clarifying the issue with the original Posek.
    – YDK
    Jul 15, 2010 at 20:19
  • Please see my edit to the original question.
    – Dave
    Jul 16, 2010 at 15:04
  • Bimchilas kvod hoRav Shmuel, laundering during/for the 9 days has nothing to do with the m'leches shabbos. A proof to this is that laundering in Bavel with plain water, a melacha d'oraisa on shabbos, was permitted during the period of mourning because it didn't clean well. There was no blanket gezeira on cleaning. It depends on the process.
    – YDK
    Jul 16, 2010 at 15:59
  • The Iggros Moshe is also not a proof. Water is not the issue. We see that from the fact that Bavel water is OK but Gihutz (a type of ironing) is not OK. The difference being how much simcha the wearer gets from its freshness. Dry cleaning is certainly asur and probably more so than laundering. (I recall a T'shuva from R'Moshe that allowed wearing shirts that were merely laundered and not dry cleaned because the collar and cuffs were still unstarched or stained- I don't remember exactly.)
    – YDK
    Jul 16, 2010 at 16:03

I found that somone adresses a similar question Here they asked Reb Dovid Feinstein who said you can wash on wax the floor during the Nine Days but it seems Reb Shmuel Kaminetzky disagrees!? the same might apply here? The Question is 4th one the scanned in questions.

  • This sounds like the same sefer that Dave is quoting. Dave, can you confirm this halacha from your sefer and post the reasoning?
    – YDK
    Jul 19, 2010 at 22:40
  • That citation refers to waxing specifically. He compares it to painting ("tziyur v'kiyur"), since its purpose is to beautify rather than to clean or protect. By contrast, WRT mopping floors he is explicitly lenient (11:8), for the reason I mentioned earlier -- namely, the decree extends only to fabrics, not to solid items. (However, the note on the bottom clarifies that it would nevertheless be wrong to do this for purposes of beautification alone.)
    – Dave
    Jul 22, 2010 at 0:14

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