A. The prohibition:
It is forbidden to wash or launder clothing during the nine days.
The type of clothing included in the prohibition: It is forbidden to launder clothing of any material, even linen. It is forbidden to launder any cloth, even if not worn on the body, such as towels, tablecloth, or linens for the bed.
Gentile doing the washing: It is forbidden during the nine days to give one’s clothing to a gentile to launder. [This applies even if one tells the gentile to only launder the clothing after Tishe Beav.] It is however permitted to give a gentile clothing to launder prior to the nine days, even though she will launder them during the nine days.
Washing clothing of a Gentile: It is forbidden for a Jew to launder the clothing of a gentile during the week of Tishe Beav. [However prior to the week of Tishe Beav it is permitted to do so even according to the Ashkenazim.]
Ironing clothing: It is forbidden to iron clothing during the 9 days.
Laundering on Tishe Beav after midday: The custom is to forbid doing so, even if it is done for the honor of Shabbos, such as when Tishe Beav falls on Thursday.
May one clean a stain from his clothes?
Tzitzis: One may clean a stain from Tzitzis if the Tzitzis is not really wearable in its current state [and he does not have another pair available].
May one polish his shoes during the nine days?
Remove dust: It is permitted to clean dust off one’s shoes during the nine days.
Shine: It is forbidden to shine the shoes during the nine days. It is however permitted to polish and shine the shoes in honor of Shabbos.
May one wash a Sheitel during the nine days?
May one braid and iron a Sheitel during the nine days?
May one turn the washing machine on if it will continue into the night?
May one hang wet clothing during the nine days, such as clothing that were washed on Erev Rosh Chodesh?
Some Poskim write it is best to do so in private.
May one use a dryer during the nine days?
Time of need:
May one do laundry if all of his clothing is dirty? Even if one only owns a single shirt and it became dirty, one may not launder it in the week of Tishe beav. [One may however launder it up until the week of Tisha B’av, even according to the Ashkenazi custom. If one owns more than one pair of a certain clothing and all of that clothing has become dirty, then one may wash the clothes he needs up until the week of Tisha B’av. However this only applies to clothing that regularly become dirty and sweaty and is hence changed often. Thus one may launder socks, underclothing and shirts if all that clothing has become dirty, up until the week of Tishe Beav.] If Tishe Beav falls on Sunday the week beforehand is not considered the week of T”B. However if Tishe Beav falls on Shabbos and was pushed off to Sunday, it is disputed as to whether the entire week beforehand as the week of Tishe Beav, and the Ashkenazi custom is to be stringent in this matter.
May an Avel wash his clothing during the three weeks? If an Avel ended his Shiva during the nine days, he may wash his clothing although without using soap. This applies even on the week of Tishe Beav.
If one is traveling the week of Tishe Beav and needs to launder his clothing: One may launder all the Shabbos clothing that he will need for the Shabbosim of his trip. He however may not launder his other weekday clothing.
May one wash Shmates?
If one has no other clean Shmates available then he may wash the ones that he needs. One however may not wash it simply because it is giving off a bad smell.
For the need of a Mitzvah:
It is permitted to launder clothing for the sake of a Mitzvah.
Washing white garments for Shiva Nikiyim: It is permitted for a woman to launder her white garments which are needed for Shiva Nekiyim. However, on Tishe Beav itself she is not to [launder and] wear white garments, and is rather to simply wear a clean garment that has been checked.
Washing clothing for Shabbos: If one does not have any clean Shabbos clothing available he may wash them on Thursday or Friday in honor of Shabbos. [This applies even in the week of Tishe Beav. May it be sent before Thursday?]
May one iron his clothes in honor of Shabbos?
If one does not have any other ironed clothing available some Poskim rule that doing so is allowed.
May one send his Shabbos Kapata to the cleaners?
If the Kapata is dirty and one does not have another one available then it may be laundered or sent to the cleaners in honor of Shabbos. Thursda/Friday.
May one launder his Tallis Katan/Gadol if they are dirty?
If one’s current Tallis Gadol/Katan is dirty to the point that it is unwearable, and he does not have another one available, and is unable to borrow one in its place, he may launder the Tallis Katan/Gadol.
Laundering clothing of children:
It is forbidden for adults to launder children’s clothing starting from the week of Tishe Beav. [Some Poskim rule this applies even according to the Ashkenazi custom. Other Poskim however rule that according to the Ashkenazi custom one may not launder children’s clothing during the nine days, starting from Rosh Chodesh Av.] However, those children’s clothing which constantly becomes dirty with feces and urine, may certainly be laundered even the week of Tishe Beav. Furthermore, the custom is to launder all children’s clothing. [Some Poskim rule that this applies to children of up until 2-3 years of age. Other Poskim rule it is up until the age of 3-4. Other Poskim rule it applies at least until the age of Chinuch, which is approximately six-seven years old. Other Poskim rule it perhaps applies until the age of Bar Mitzvah, just as is the rule by Aveilus. Practically, one may be lenient up until the age of Chinuch, which is approximately six years old, and past the age of Chinuch one may be lenient up until the week of Tishe Beav.]
Washing in private: The clothing are to be washed [and dried] in private [i.e. in one’s home rather than a laundry mat, and not in the open view of the public]. [If however one does not have the means of washing the clothing in private, or if there is a better washing available in public, then it may be washed in public. Thus, one who does not have a washing machine may wash the clothing in a laundry mat, and if a certain clothing needs dry cleaning it may be sent to the dry cleaners.]
How many clothing to wash at a time: One is not to wash many clothing simultaneously [but rather one clothing at a time]. [However, in a washing machine one may be lenient to wash even many clothing at a time, so long as one is in need of all the clothing to be washed before Tishe Beav, and does not add to it any clothing of adults that cannot be washed.]
Having a gentile do the washing: When one is allowed to wash clothing of children during the week of Tishe Beav, it is best to have the laundering done by a gentile. [Prior to the week of Tishe Beav, there is room to be lenient to allow washing all children’s clothing who are below Bar Mitzvah through a gentile.]
May a dry cleaner or laundry mat remain open during the nine days?
If the store is open in a mainly gentile area, it is allowed to leave it open throughout the nine days and accept clothing from gentiles, or Jews which have children’s clothing that need laundering. However they may not accept clothing of an adult Jew, if it is forbidden for him to launder it. They may accept clothing of a Sefardi Jew until the week of Tishe Beav.
Q&A on clothing of children
May children launder their own clothing?
It is forbidden for children who have reached the age of Chinuch to launder their clothing during the above time period.
If one has the means to buy enough clothing for the children to prevent needing to wash them during the nine days, must he do so?
 551/3-6; Mishneh Taanis 26b
 Michaber ibid and Mishneh ibid regarding the week of Tishe Beav and Rama 551/3 and 4 that we are stringent beginning from Rosh Chodesh Av
Ruling of Michaber and Sefaradim: The Michaber ibid rules it is only forbidden to launder clothing during the week Tishe Beav.
 Custom or letter of the law? The root of this prohibition is from the letter of the law and is not a mere custom. However, from the letter of the law it only applies during the week that Tishe Beav falls in. [Michaber ibid; Mishneh Taanis 26b and Gemara 30a following the opinion of Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel] However, the Ashkenazi custom is to forbid laundering from the beginning of the nine days. [Rama 551/3 and 4 in name of Minhagim; Rokeaich and Oar Zarua]
The forms of laundry that are prohibited: See Michaber 551/3 and Taanis 29b for different types of washing and their ruling. Practically, today all forms of washing are prohibited. The following is a summary of the opinions in Michaber: Our form of laundry [in times of Talmud and Michaber] is permitted [Michaber ibid; Taanis ibid as explained in Rashi ibid] although ironing is forbidden, with exception to linen material clothing which is permitted to iron for wearing after Tishe Beav. [Michaber ibid; Taanis ibid] However, the custom is to prohibit even laundering linen, even for after Tishe Beav. [Michaber ibid; Tur in name of Avi Haezri] One may not be lenient in this matter being that it is an established custom, as well as that perhaps it is forbidden from the letter of the law. [Michaber ibid] The reason for this is because some rule our form of laundry is like the ironing of back then and is hence forbidden from the letter of the law. The difference of types of laundering is based on the quality of water, and whether clean or dirty water is used. In Bavel, since clean water was not available, all laundry was considered permitted, while in Eretz Yisrael, in which clean water was available, all laundry was forbidden. Accordingly, some say all of our forms of laundry today are forbidden being we have clean water. [Michaber ibid; Rav Yehuda Bar Reuvein] In addition, some say Gihutz/ironing means washing with laundry detergent whil regular Kibus is washing with just water. Accordingly, since in today’s laundering we do not use plain water, but also add detergent, it is therefore defined as the Gihutz of back then, which all agree is forbidden from the letter of the law even by linen clothing when done to wear before Tishe Beav. [Michaber ibid; Nimukei Yosef] Therefore, perhaps from the letter of the law one may not launder even linen clothing with intent to wear before Tishe Beav. [Michaber ibid] Therefore, the custom is to prohibit laundering all clothing, even linen, even with intent to wear after Tishe Beav. [
 Michaber 551/3 regarding the week of Tishe Beav and Rama 551/3 and 4 that we are stringent beginning from Rosh Chodesh Av; Rav Sheshes in Taanis 29b regarding the week of Tishe Beav [unlike Rav Nachman in Taanis ibid who permits it]
 Michaber ibid; Tur in name of Avi Haezri; See previous footnotes that from letter of the law it is permitted to do so for after Tishe Beav, although the custom is to be stringent.
 Michaber 551/3
 See previous footnotes for discussion regarding linen clothing
 Rama 551/3; Maharil; Tosafus Taanis
 M”A 551/15
 Michaber 551/5; Terumos Hadeshen; Yerushalmi
 The reason: This is forbidden due to Maaras Ayin. [M”A 551/19]
 M”B 551/43; Kitzur SHU”A 122/13
 Michaber 551/3
 Taz 551/14; See there for an analyses of the Gemara and commentaries for understanding this ruling.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/18
 This is similar to washing and is thus forbidden to be done.
 Rav Poalim 4/29; Kinyan Torah 6/31, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/10
 Igros Moshe 3/80
 Igros Moshe 3/80; Yabia Omer 3/31
 Shalmei Chaim 4/4
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/20
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/20
 Shaareiy Teshuvah 551/7 in name of Machazik Bracha in name of Zera Emes regarding soaking clothing in water prior to Rosh Chodesh Av and having it remain in the water into Rosh Chodesh; The same applies for a washing machine. [Shevet Hakehasi 1/171; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/22]
The reason: Although doing so is allowed from the letter of the law, nevertheless one is to avoid doing so due to Maras Ayin. [ibid]
 Shevet Hakehasi ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; based on M”a 551/26 that until Tzeis the customs do not apply
 Nitei Gavriel 35/15
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/45 based on M”B 551/83 regarding washing; Nitei Gavriel 35/29 in name of Emek Hateshuvah 92
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/22
 Michaber 551/3; Ramban in Toras Hadam
 Elya Raba 551/12; Chayeh Adam 133/12; M”B 551/29; Kaf Hachaim 551/60; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/21; Michaber 551/3 rules even if one only has one shirt available he may not wash it during the week of Tishe Beav until after Tishe Beav. Thus regarding before the week of Tishe Beav we are lenient like the Michaber in this matter even though we are stringent [unlike the Michaber] regarding other laundry.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/21
 M”A 551/17 that this applies according to all [even according to the 2nd opinion in Michaber 551/4
 Michaber 551/4
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/23, following the ruling of the M”A 551/35 as explained in Levushei Serud and P”M 551 A”A 35
 Taz 551/14 in name of Bach
 Nitei Gavriel 35/18 as it is no different than any clothing that constantly becomes dirty
 Rama 551/3
 Rama 551/3; Rokeiach; Or Zarua
 Rama ibid; Hagahos Sheid
 M”A 551/14; Chayeh Adam 133/13; M”B 551/32; Tur 551; Mishneh Taanis 26b; Hisorerus Teshuvah 337
 Nitei Gavriel 35/28 [his own opinion] based on M”A 551/14; M”B 551/32 that allow washing clothing for Shabbos and the same would apply to ironing if non other clothing are available.
 Rav Poalim 4/29; Kinyan Torah 6/31; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/10; See Sheilas Yaavetz 82; Pischei Olam 23; Kaf Hachaim 551/92
 551/14; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/45; Nitei Gavriel chapter 36
 Michaber ibid
The reason: As although private mourning does not apply to children, public mourning applies to children for either Chinuch purposes or for purposes of Agmas Nefesh. [M”A 551/38; Terumos Hadeshen 152] Seemingly, the practical ramification between the two reasons [Chinuch or Agmas Nesfesh] is regarding a child that is below the age of Chinuch, as according to the reason of Agmas Nefesh it would apply to children of any age [see Michaber Y.D. 340/27; Moed Katan 14b; Derisha, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 340/27; Bach 340] and so is implied in Rama ibid that it applies to even children in diapers. However see P”M 551 A”A 38 who states it only applies to the age of Chinuch. See Nitei Gavriel 36 footnote 8]
 P”M 551 A”A 38 in implication of Rama here; Chayeh Adam 133/18, brought in M”B 551/82, Kaf Hachaim 551/175
 Elya Raba 551/31 in name of Levush, following Rama 551/3 and 4 that we are stringent beginning from Rosh Chodesh Av, brought in M”B and Kaf Hachaim ibid
 Rama ibid
The reason: As such a washing is not done for purposes of Simcha. [Levush 551; Kaf Hachaim 551/178] Alternatively, as they need the clothing and the Sages did not make a decree that cannot be upheld. [Kaf Hachaim ibid]
 Rama ibid states “However those clothing which the children urinate and have bowel movements in, may certainly be washed. Furthermore, it is customary to wash even the clothing of the other children.”
 Chayeh Adam 133/18; Shaar Hatziyon 551/91; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 6; Kaf Hachaim 551/179
 Levush 551, brought in P”M 551 A”A 38-39
 P”M 551 A”A 38
 P”M 551 A”A 39 in implication of Darkei Moshe and Beis Yosef; See P”M 551 A”A 38 that at the very least, even the original prohibition written in Michaber must refer to from the age of Chinuch and higher, which is 6-7 years old, as below Chinuch there is no reason to be Machmir.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/45
 M”A 551/39; Elya Raba 551/31; Chayeh Adam 131/18; M”B 551/83; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 4; Kaf Hachaim 551/82
 M”A ibid allows doing it by a river even though it is in public and the Machatzis Hashekel and Levushei Serud ibid explain that one is only required to do it in private if he has the ability to do so and the washing quality will be equal to that of the public washing.
 M”A 551/39; Elya Raba 551/31; Chayeh Adam 131/18; M”B 551/83;Mateh Moshe 702; Hagahos Maimanis
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may wash even many clothing at a time, such as 4-5 clothing. [Shulchan Gavoa 551/24, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551/177
 Kaf Hachaim 551/177; See Nitei Gavriel 36/4
 Beir Moshe 7/32; Shraga Hameir 6/162; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/45; Nitei Gavriel 36/4; See Minchas Yitzchak 8/50
 Mahariy Bruno 11; Kneses Hagedola 551/7; Kaf Hachaim 551/178 and 180
 Toras Chaim Sofer 551/30, brought in Nitei Gavriel 36/1, as in such a case one may rely on those Poskim who rule even according to the Ramna the prohibition only begin the week of Tishe Beav.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551/24
 Aruch Hashulchan 551/17; Shearim Hametzuyanim 122/8
 See M”A 551/38 that the reason for this prohibition is to educate the child; Nitei Gavriel 36/2
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted for a child to wash their own clothing. [Maharil Tishe Beav; Rokeiach 310]
 Beir Moshe 7/32; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Nitei Gavriel 36/7