How to clean a shofar

Congratulations on receiving your new shofar! But what’s this? As you exuberantly lift it to your mouth preparatory to your first blast, you notice, well, a faint (or not so faint) odor emanating from your newest acquisition.
When you buy a shofar, please remember that since the shofar comes from an actual real, live animal, there may be some particles of sinew, muscle or bone left inside the shofar which may cause this odor.
No fear! Here are some tried and true methods for eliminating shofar odor!

How to eliminate shofar odor

The best way is to start with the lightest cleaning methods and work your way to the strongest if necessary. First, gently scrub the interior of the shofar with a toothbrush and water. Let dry naturally.

1. Vinegar method: Pour synthetic vinegar into the shofar and let dry naturally. Then soak the shofar in warm soapy water for twenty minutes and remove to dry. This method can be repeated once or twice.

2. Hydrogen peroxide method: Plug the shofar mouthpiece with an earplug and fill it halfway with hydrogen peroxide which will bubble as it cleans out the shofar from particles and residue. Swirl it around the horn and then pour it out. You can repeat this method once or twice, too.

3. Gravel method: Plug the ram’s horn shofar or the yemenite shofar mouthpiece with an earplug and pour in some aquarium gravel, not large or sharp pieces. Plug the large end with a foam nerfball and shake it for about fifteen minutes. Remove nerfball and gravel, then replace balll, fill halfway with alcohol and shake for a minute. Remove nerfball and earplug, pour out alcohol and let dry naturally.

4. Oxi clean method: Plug mouthpiece with an earplug, fill the shofar or the yemenite shofar halfway with hot water and put a scoop of “oxi clean” inside. Plug the large end with a nerfball and let sit for an hour. Remove ball, pour out oxi clean, rinse and let dry.

5. Shofar odor neutralizer spray: non-toxic biodegradable Shofar Odor neutralizer spray will eliminate unpleasant scents from your shofar leaving it odor free. Shofar Odor Neutralizer Spray


6. Baking soda method: Dissolve a few tablespoons of baking soda in water and pour into shofar. Block mouthpiece and large end as above and shake for about a minute. Pour out liquid, rinse and allow to dry naturally.

22 thoughts on “How to clean a shofar

  1. Thank you so much. I purchased 3 shofars for my husband and he is working hard. However, the odor is, well lets just say, not so heavenly…

  2. Oh, thank you! My new shofar from my Grandparents as a Bat Mitzvah gift is just…. oh my.
    Now for the first time I get to blow shofar for my temple (without odor!)

  3. Shalom, Tov Toda, I did receive from Yisrael the shofar which I requested, it was nice to get it, even though the box had been ripped to give any individual the chance to see the contents or given the chance to take it out, but By the Hand of the God of Yisrael it safely arrived, all was intact, the Shofar, the bag, the fragrance for the Shofar. Now I shall learn to play or blow it, at the appropiate times, stated in the Torah, or learn to blow the 4 types, I learned to play the harmonicas, so I shall learn this Great instrument, as an honor to my great friends in Yisrael and the Elohim of Yisrael. Tov David.

  4. Shalom Rav. Thank you so much for the info. We just got our new shophar and it’s such a blessing to have. I’ll definitely try out your advice. Tov Toda.

  5. It is sooo… amazing! I have successfully eliminate the odor from the shofar by using the ozone air purifier machine. I read a suggestion from one of the website and at home I happen to have the machine. It works far better than any other method. It eliminates the smell without even exposing the shofar with any kinds of chemical and objects. I only leave the shofar with the machine for a few hours, and the smell completely disappear! Before, the smell was very bad. When I read the ozone machine instruction, it says: eliminate odor caused by bacteria. SO it works! I hope this can help others! Daniel W Pradhana (Jakarta – Indonesia)

  6. I am going to try a product called Hydrocide. We use it for various smells in the Restoration Industry. It works incredibly well on odors as bad as Fox urine. It will completely eliminate the smell. I am hoping it will work on the Shofar. I will try and let everyone know.

  7. I use Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. I used it undiluted and flush it through its larger end. I use 1/4 cup undiluted. Later some ‘derby’ which is smelly comes out of inside.It works.Later I flush with running tap water and let it dry.

  8. I tried hydrogen peroxide(bottled) from any pharmacy store. Later I tried the Listerine mouthwash (undiluted) to flush it out many times with tap water. I use hair dryer to blow dry from bell end. This seem to rid of odor.

  9. Thanks for the helpful comments my Jewish brothers/sisters. I am a Christian with a smelly Shofar. :o) Will clean it out today. If we love the world, we are in enmity with God. With Love, Brother John

  10. I have had my Shofar for a few years and use it in church praise and worship and warfare. It needs a clean. Will try the apple cider method. My Shofar sounds so good and our church responds. Just starting the be smelly now.

  11. Am trying these methods listed above. so far the hydroen proxide did nothing. am trying the ozone next. The shofar did not smell when it first arrived and has been in the open out of sunight and when I picked it up to blow I almost lost the cookies as it were.
    the gravel is next. thanks to everyone. something will work. I need it for Shabbat services. shalom

  12. I tried the vinegar….but it still had a bad smell… what I did. I let it dry out..Then I put 1lb of GROUND Coffee in it… Left it in there for 3 days. And it took the smell out of it. I just need to learn how to play it…lol

  13. I Have been so Blessed to receive a Shofar ! Lo and behold the odor was not a gift.
    I was told with love to get past and I did ,yet I knew in my heart there was
    a solution, I tried Listerine full strength and to my delight it worked!!!!!
    Now I am able to blow the Shofar for Gods Glory!!!!!!

  14. Thanks for the tips. Each time I blow my shofar I end up with an irritation on my lips (a fine rash that dries out my lips and makes them red). I have been looking for a way to clean it as I now know it must be coming from the shofar (and the smell coming from the shofar mouthpiece seems to be getting worse). Is there something to make sure there’s no bacteria still floating around?

  15. I was told to wash it with arak.
    I couldn’t afford it, now i am trying the vinegar method, after few mins I will see if it works..

  16. I tried a few peroxide rinses without good results although a little sinew did rinse out. Then I rinsed it with Gain dish soap and warm water for about five minutes, swishing it around a bit, and the results were great! Finished it off by wiping the outside with olive oil a couple of times.

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