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Washing Clothes – Exceptional Circumstances

My son just came on a one-day leave from the army with dirty laundry. He is basically out of clean clothes. Can I wash his clothes during the 9 Days? If so, can I hang them out as usual or should I dry them in the dryer?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The reason we do not wash clothing during the Nine Days is because we are mourning the Temple’s destruction, and both laundering clothes and wearing freshly laundered clothes contradict the spirit of mourning. In this case, however, you are not doing it for pleasure but out of necessity – to avoid serious discomfort. You are therefore allowed to wash clothes as needed. However, it is better to do so privately, and not hang them where others will see.

It is also strongly preferred to wash clothes, when necessary, during the earlier part of the Nine Days and not the week of Tisha B’Av – from after the Shabbat immediately preceding Tisha B’Av. (Sources: Bach O.C. 551:8, Biur Halacha 551, s.v. V’Anu, Mishna Berurah 83.)

Much nachat from your son. May God protect him always.

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