I saw that the Shulcha Aruch (I think it was 586?) states that one is allowed to pour wine into the shofar to clean it.

I have an old shofar that smells a bit musty and like ... old sheep (I guess it should smell like that?) At any rate, the smell isn't pleasant.

Plain water doesn't seem to do the job, and I think it does something to the structure of the inside, as it doesn't sound as clear after I rinse it. Maybe there is water in there, and it just gets too difficult to dry?

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can clean the shofar and get rod of most if not all of the bad smell? I don't want to use wine to clean my shofar, BTW. I'm afraid that I'll make a shicker shever ;-)

  • 2
    I've been told to try vinegar. [15]
    – Double AA
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:05
  • @DoubleAA, that would be consistent with the advice to use wine, wouldn't it?
    – Seth J
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:18
  • I dry my shofar with a hand dryer, but a hair dryer/blow dryer would also work, maybe even better. The problem with the sound after rinsing it is the water, just like when you hear people who get a lot of saliva in the shofar, there is something wrong with the sound, even if they're blowing well afterwards.
    – user613
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:28
  • 1
    @SethJ not completely. See answer. Synthetic (white) vinegar is different and, perhaps, not as harsh. It's certainly cheaper!
    – DanF
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:29
  • Is this more on topic than a question of how to clean my Shabbos shoes?
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:35

2 Answers 2


Judaica101 lists six methods in order from lightest to strongest and suggests:

The best way is to start with the lightest cleaning methods and work your way to the strongest if necessary.

See there for all the methods, but the first is to scrub it with water and a toothbrush; and the next is to let synthetic vinegar dry on the interior surface and later soak the shofar in warm soapy water (and to repeat as needed).

  • I know someone who's Shofar cracked because he left it soaking in water (which makes it softer) while the edge of the opening was leaning on a hard surface. So just make sure you leave it on a padded area until it's totally dry.
    – user613
    Aug 24, 2015 at 21:30

I've had my Shofar for at least twelve years now. I started practicing as soon as I got it, and started to notice the bad smell. I didn't know anything about how to clean it or how to get rid of the smell. My wife said to try putting some anointing oil in it, which we had bought at a book store with frankincense. I put some in the large open end of the Shofar, and, to this day, all you smell is the anointing oil – problem fixed.

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