Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Absorbency of bedikah cloths

24 June, 2004

Question:

I noticed that the bedikah cloths I bought from the mikveh don't seem to be very absorbent. When I place a few drops of water on the cloth to make it less irritating, I find that most of the water rolls off, with only a portion of it absorbing into the cloth, even if I hold the wet cloth flat for a while to give the water time to absorb. The cloths say 100% cotton and "rabbinically approved" on the package. How absorbent do the cloths need to be?


Answer:

There is no precise halachic standard of absorbency for bedikah cloths; they just have to be white and of a natural material such as cotton. While you are correct in your observation that the pre-packaged clothes tend to be thin and not that absorbent, they are completely acceptable for use and in practice will show stains when they are present. Some women find it more comfortable to tear up well washed old white cotton underwear, which tends to be softer as well as more absorbent. All bedikah cloths should be checked just prior to use to assure that there are no pre-existing stains or small red or black fibers which could lead to confusion.


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