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Article: How to clean liturgical vestments?

How to clean liturgical vestments?

How to clean liturgical vestments?

Liturgical vestments are essential for every solemn ceremony in churches. Every priest, and in Poland also a deacon, uses them outside of Mass, primarily in situations such as:
  • administering the sacrament of marriage, baptism,
  • community Liturgy of the Hours,
  • funerals,
  • procession with the Blessed Sacrament.

This very important element of the priest's attire can be characterized as a long cloak reaching usually to the ground, which is fastened around the neck. Extremely often lavishly decorated. But, how should such liturgical garments be cleaned?

How to effectively and safely wash embroidered liturgical vestments?

Liturgical vestments must be kept clean. Most often they are made of high-quality materials that can be successfully washed in a washing machine. However, it is usually advisable to keep the temperature quite low and at the same time refrain from spinning. On the other hand, when liturgical vestments have a large number of decorations, attached in such a way that they could be damaged in a washing machine, then washing is recommended, as well as hand cleaning in mild detergents. Above all, in order to keep embroidered liturgical vestments in optimal condition for many years, one must follow the manufacturer's cleaning instructions. If it is a dry-clean-only garment, it remains to make sure that the dry cleaner is experienced in the care of embellished garments and does not use chemicals that could damage the liturgical vestments. On the other hand, if it is an embroidered liturgical vestment intended only for handwashing, it should not be dry-cleaned.

Proper storage of church vestments

Equally important is the storage of church garments. Whether it is a choir dress, alb, liturgical vestment, cassock or chasuble, they should be protected from direct sunlight to avoid fading. To protect them from dust, store them in a garment bag. Finally, the way you hang your robe can also affect how well it keeps its shape. You should definitely use a hanger that is strong enough to hold the garment. They must be hung to prevent wrinkling and damage to the fabric, inside the closets. And folding can cause permanent damage to the fabric. Each garment should be protected from elements such as dust, mold and the like.

The right store for liturgical vestments

Priests and clergy take great care of their attire. Liturgical vestments are considered sacred by the Church and are an expression of devotion to God and the Christian faith. Therefore, it is important to preserve the beauty and sanctity of divine attire. Also, linens such as quilts and finger towels should be folded and stored in tight drawers, as they are small and can be easily stored in closed spaces. It should be noted that not all linens should be handled by laymen, but only by ordained clergy. While some parishes use the same vestments for almost a century, it can't be helped that one day they need to be replaced, especially when signs of wear and tear become more and more apparent. But removing vestments may not be as easy as it seems. Decorations on embroidered items can be removed and used later. These items should not be thrown away especially if they are not too damaged, as they may have cost a fortune to produce. If the vestments are not damaged but are not usable, they can be donated to other parishes. On the other hand, vestments with minor problems can simply be repaired by a competent tailor or seamstress. In particular, well-maintained liturgical garments, including, of course, liturgical vestments, testify well to the priest and the parish as a whole. As a result, it is essential to keep them clean. However, care should definitely be taken to ensure that the cleaning procedures performed do not lead to damage to the material or the embellishments on it, as this can easily contribute to making the vestment unsuitable for further use.


Thank you

Connie Gangl

Thank you for this information. However I am still so nervous washing the vestments in the washing

Machine. I have two vestments to clean for my Pastor. what advice can you give me.

Thank you

Connie Gangl

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