This sinus rinse

This sinus rinse is manual. You fill the plastic bottle with water and add a small packet of saline powder and mix it. Then, you insert the bottle tip into your nostril and squeeze the bottle so that the water / saline mix goes up your nose and rinses out the mucus and other "junk". (Yes, it's quite uncomfortable, for a short while.)

I read somewhere, possibly Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchato, that you are not allowed to squeeze non-food items on Shabbat, and there is a problem mixing / or dissolving non-food items, so I may not be allowed to use this. Am I wrong? Are there any possible halachic problems?

I gather that I can't tear the saline packet on Shabbat, but I can have it pre-torn before Shabbat.

  • 6
    CYLOR. Another thing to keep in mind is the prohibition of refuah (healing) on Shabbos.
    – MTL
    Nov 2, 2014 at 1:57
  • I'm working on an answer to this one ( I saw that it got bumped by the Community user over Shabbos ) .....if I don't answer it within the week, ping me here.
    – MTL
    Dec 7, 2014 at 0:09
  • @Shokhet It got Community-bumped again, and you still haven't answered it.
    – Scimonster
    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:05
  • @Shokhet - Not sure what "community bump" means, but, as a reminder, you beagn debating my answer. Reminds me that I might need to re-ask dinonline, but I don't jbow if I can get more info on their orig. answer. May be worth a try, though.
    – DanF
    Apr 12, 2015 at 18:54
  • I don't have the sefer with me at the moment...but I'll see what I can put together.
    – MTL
    Apr 12, 2015 at 23:02

3 Answers 3


The prohibition of items used for refuah (as Shokhet said) are very complicated. Aside from the level of pain (nafal l'mitah), there are other permitting factors, such as whether the item is a typical food item (salt water), and/or whether healthy people might use the item to stay healthy (e.g. vitamins). However, this is not something a normal person can decide for themselves and then be confident that they are either unnecessarily prohibiting something allowed, or allowing something prohibited. Shmirat Shabbat... is a good reference, but unless you find your exact case, you can't be sure you are doing the right thing. So it is very important you find a Rabbi to consult for these questions.

Note, however, that on second day Yom Tov, there is no problem using this at all (except second day Rosh HaShanah - which is יום אריכתא, i.e. part of one extended day).


This is the answer I received from Dinonline. They claim that there is no problem squeezing the liquid, and this is not considered "refu'ah" / healing.

I am assuming that the reason it is not considered "healing" is that there is no medical condition or sickness for my using this rinse. My doctor recommended it to me as a daily "maintenance" for nasal hygiene, similar to brushing your teeth. I know that there are other issues with teeth brushing on Shabbat, but, I'm just using the analogy about hygiene.

  • What is it, exactly, that makes this "not an act of refuah"? ( genuinely curious, currently studying refuah baShabbos )
    – MTL
    Nov 6, 2014 at 19:20
  • @Shokhet - You ask a valid question. I have to research the definition of "refu'ah" on Shabbat. Apparently, it may have specific nuances that I am unaware of. If you wish, you may want to ask this question to dinonline, directly, as you may get a quicker answer. My understanding is that "refu'ah" means "healing" which implies that you are treating an injury or illness. In the case of the sinus rinse, I have neither. As I explained, it is done for nasal hygiene, which may explain why the rabbanim stated this is not "refu'ah". Suggest that you include brief links on any add. info you find.
    – DanF
    Nov 7, 2014 at 4:15
  • Specifically, it's not "מאכל ברי," which is something done by people who are healthy as well as people who are sick -- which is why chicken soup is not considered "refuah." (AFAIK, nobody willingly takes nasal rinse)
    – MTL
    Nov 7, 2014 at 4:42
  • @Shokhet is blowing your nose "refuah"?
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 16, 2015 at 20:25
  • @Shokhet I believe there is a distinction between an act/medicine taken to cure an existing medical condition versus one taken as a standard preventative practice. Ergo, taking tums when one EXPECTS an episode of heartburn later is different than doing so WHILE one is suffering from heartburn. Similarly, this is preventative care as opposed to reactive care. I wish I could quote you the source, but I can't seem to find it... Dec 16, 2015 at 1:46

Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa says it is assur if it is apparent it is being done for refuah, such as a bad cold. See chapter 34 siff 10.

In chapter 38 siff 15 he says that even in a case such as this, it would be allowed to be done through a nonjew, as long as it is a drip action, not spray. A spray would only be allowed for an extreme case where his entire body is affected by the sickness, as per chapter 34 siff 3.

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