altar cloth question


Don’t know the name of the cloth, but the one used to whipe the precious blood off the chalice.
Saw it sitting on the table after Mass (where people traffic through) and it looked like someone had forgotten it. So as I stared in disbelief, recognizing that Jesus’ blood was still there, I brought it back to the sacristy and i knew that we have this cabinet for laundering altar cloths and i asked someone where it was, they opened it and i place it in there.

Question is, was this wrong? Should I have rinsed it in the ciborium (twice as i understand it?) before placing it in the laundering bin?

thanks guys
God Bless


I don’t know what your parish does, but at our parish, you do not need to rinse. The altar ladies (or men if you have those) will do that.

Think about it this way. They may sit there for a few days. If you rinsed them out, they would sit there wet for a few days. They would then mold. Not a pretty sight.


purificator, these are the white cloths used to clean the vessels. The priest or deacon is the only one allowed to do this now. He can do this right after communion at the altar, or after Mass in the sacristy. Either way, the vessels are washed again after the purification, which is intented to make sure no trace of the precious species remain. The purificators must be rinsed in the sacrarium, are hung to dry, and then taken home by one of the altar society ladies, or the sacristant, or to a commercial laundry to be laundered in the normal way.
Wrong: let the vessels sit for more than a few minutes after Mass
throw the purificators in a pile for days without rinsing, or while wet so they mold
using them for any other purpose

the sacrarium is the sink in the sacristy with a drain that goes directly into the earth, not the sewer system.

the ciborium is the vessel used to hold consecrated hosts that will be reposed in the tabernacle for use by the sick or at a later Mass.

if you are an EMHC you should have had a thorough training about these matters. Here it is a year long course.


It should be rinsed in the sacrarium before being placed in the altar linen laundry bag.


i am not an EMHC.

what should i do now? go in there and tell the priest what to do?
i saw laypeople rinsing the vessels in the non-sacrarium sink after Mass today too.

thank you for your answers!

God Bless


as I said, if the vessels had already been purified by the priest, then yes, the sacristan or other lay persons will rinse them and wipe them thoroughly, lipstick especially is hard to get off.

when the purificators have been rinsed, they should be hung to dry, not thrown wet into a laundry bag, unless someone is going to do that laundry right away.

you may take it that the priest and lay people assisting know what they are doing unless you have definite proof otherwise.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit