Printed from chabad.org
All Departments
Jewish Holidays
TheRebbe.org
Jewish.TV - Video
Jewish Audio
News
Kabbalah Online
JewishWoman.org
Kids Zone

Shatnez-Free Clothing

Shatnez-Free Clothing

Kosherwear!

E-mail

You’ve heard of kosher food, but what about kosher clothes? Just like it is forbidden to eat a mixture of milk and meat, so too the Torah prohibits wearing a mixture of wool and linen. It’s called shatnez.

Why the Torah prohibits this mixture remains a mystery. Some write that the combination of these two materials confuses vital energies. Nevertheless, the matter still lies beyond our comprehension.

Suspect Materials

Based on manufacturing norms, most clothing can be presumed shatnez-freeAny cloth that might cover a person—including blankets, and even shag rugs—must be shatnez-free. Problem is that “100% wool” garments may still contain up to 5% of other materials. Also, labels often only describe the shell of the garment, ignoring padding and ornamental threads.

Nevertheless, based on manufacturing norms, most clothing can be presumed shatnez-free. Principally, you need to check your suits, skirts, woolen coats and imported pants. Call a shatnez laboratory to find out whether a particular garment requires shatnez testing.

Clearing Up Suspicion

A shatnez lab is where trained testers take appropriate samples from a garment (without ruining the garment) and examine them under a microscope to identify the fibers. Most major Jewish communities will have such a lab. They also will receive and return garments by mail. Your rabbi can direct you to the closest laboratory.

In most cases, a garment that contains shatnez can be fixed in the laboratory for a minimal cost. It’s a minor tailoring job. There is the rare case, however, when the operation just can’t be done. So hold on to your sales receipt!

More Details:

  • The rules of shatnez also apply to borrowed or rented garments, such as a tuxedo.
  • Simultaneously wearing one piece of linen clothing and another of wool is permitted—as long as the two are not connected, so that one can be removed without removing the other. (Otherwise, they are considered one garment.)
  • It’s wearing that’s forbidden; owning shatnez is okay.
  • No need to worry about camel wool, mohair, angora, cashmere, alpaca or vicuna. For the purposes of shatnez, “wool” refers only to wool from sheep or lambs.
Illustrations by Yehuda Lang. To view more artwork by this artist, click here.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
E-mail
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (12)
July 9, 2014
Pre-Certified Shatnetz free suits
There is a store in Toronto that sells Pre-Certified Shatnetz free men's wear.
Anonymous
Toronto, ON
April 21, 2014
If everything prescribed for use in the Temple were forbidden for other uses, then a lot of things would be off limits: oil, for example.

As for things that are unclean, yet are not proscribed, there are many examples in the Tanach: asses, horses, and camels used for beasts of burden; and the term often translated variously as dolphin, badger, seal (and sometimes goat, probably to salve the sensitivities who don't like the idea) used as a covering for the Tent.
Jerry Schwartz
USA
April 18, 2014
Denim
Denim is cotton, so shatnez isn't an issue.
Andy B
February 28, 2014
So all those fabrics are okay? Also is denim shatnez-full or shatnez-free?
Samantha Leon
February 13, 2014
To Samantha
The laws of shatnez apply only to linen and wool.
Chabad.org Staff
mychabad.org
February 10, 2014
what about acrylic, polyester, nylon, and cotton?
Samantha Leon
December 4, 2012
snail unclean and blue dye clean.
To: How can something unclean create something clean? Bees do- honey is a permitted food.
Barry
Israel
August 29, 2012
Secularly speaking...
Check out linsey-woolsey. It was used for quite a long time.

There is also a prohibition (Deuteronomy 22:9) against sowing two types of seed in the same vineyard, but that's how you get new varieties of grapes.

Somewhere, I can't remember where, there is a prohibition against mutilating animals; yet the word "ox" is used repeatedly. You can't get an ox without mutilating a bull.

A lot of this is confusing. If it weren't, we would have finished our Torah studies 2500 years ago.
Jerry Schwartz
New Britain, CT
August 29, 2012
secularly speaking...
I was raised with the explanation that Kosher meant clean. Plain and simply, so that we might live long (and not be affected by parasite and diseases of scavengers and bottom feeders, and dishes which were unglazed and porous). I realize many sects attach mystical significance to these laws, and I am not saying there is no truth in that as well. The textile mixing has always mystified me, but I suspect, from the practical, worldly perspective, that combining of linen and wool had some undesirable effect on the garment, or the wearer.
Jan
Washington , ME
August 28, 2012
Artificial materials
Can we assume that polyester doesn't count, no matter what it's blended with?
Jerry Schwartz
New Britain, CT
Show all comments