Clearing the table

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Some of the issues involved with clearing the table are preparing for after Shabbat (Hachana), handling items which are Muktzeh, and cleaning with water (Melabain).

In preparation for after Shabbat

  1. It’s permissible to clear the table even after Seudah Shelishit so that the room looks presentable unless one knows that will not use that room until the end of Shabbat (which is common if Seudah Shelishit finishes late). [1]

Cleaning a table with water

  1. One may use a rag or towel to wipe up a spill if the rag or towel is able to soak up the entire spill without needing to wring it out. One may also use many rags at the same time if together they can absorb the spill. [2]
  2. One may not wipe a surface such as a counter or table top with a wet cloth. However, if a counter is sticky one may sprinkle water on the surface and then wipe it clean with a dry rag but it's preferable to used a paper napkin.[3] When necessary one wipe a surface very gently using a saturated rag or wet wet napkin. [4]

Sources

  1. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 28:79
  2. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 350-1)
  3. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 351)
  4. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 355)