by Judy Fisk
Fabric type is a key consideration when choosing a challah cover. Whether you're purchasing a cover for yourself or as a gift, you'll need to sort through a wide range of fabrics options and consider how those fabrics differ. As you shop for the ideal challah cover, you'll want to keep in mind several factors, including style, stain resistance, and ease of care.
Velvet Challah Cover
If you're a traditionalist, you'll likely be drawn to deep, dark velvet. Classic velvet covers feature a monochrome background of dark blue, royal blue, black or burgundy velvet paired with contrasting gold or silver embroidery threads. Gold or silver fringe typically completes the look. Today, many top-notch Judaica artists have moved beyond the classic use of velvet, and they now use this plush fabric to create fresh, contemporary styles.
Like velvet, crisp white satin offers a traditional look. Shiny satin covers tend to feature elaborate silver or gold embroidery and a fringed or scalloped edge. Like velvet challah covers, satin covers are now available in updated styles.
Some customers prefer the look and feel of non-traditional, natural fabrics. Popular lightweight fabrics include cotton, linen, and raw silk, all of which have more "flow" than velvet. Suede and faux leather are luxurious heavyweight options that hold their shape beautifully over time.
Artists who work with non-conventional fabrics have a thorough understanding of color, texture, and design. When shopping for these covers, you'll find an endless assortment of unique designs and dynamic color combinations.
Caring for Different Fabrics
Dark velvet covers and multi-colored covers with elaborate patterns hide spills well. Small wine and grape juice stains go unnoticed, so these covers require less frequent cleaning.
Light-colored fabrics require more care. To remove juice or red wine spills from lightweight, light-colored fabrics, you can use a clean soft cloth dipped in a mixture of non-abrasive liquid detergent and cool water. Gently blot the affected area with the mixture. Do not rub the stain vigorously. When you have removed the stain, allow the cover to air dry thoroughly.
Faux leather and suede covers can also be cleaned with a soft cloth and gentle detergent, if necessary. Dab at the spot or spots, and allow the cover to dry.
Some covers respond well to dry cleaning, but you should check with the manufacturer or artist to confirm that dry cleaning is safe.
Of course, the most effective way to protect any challah cover from spills and stains is to use a zip-on nylon cover during meals.