It is going to sound strange but here is the question In the toilet there are these blue things that clean your bathroom with every flush by adding bleach hence it colors the water blue every time you flush are they allowed on Shabbos, On the same topic if I have a nose bleed and use a tissue is that Tzoveah?

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    This should probably be two separate questions... – SAH Sep 5 '14 at 14:33

I am going to deal with the bleeding first.
Shulhan Arukh O"H 320:20

There is an opinion who holds that when eating berries and other dyeing fruits one must take care not to touch one’s clothes or a cloth with fruit-colored hands, but if one colors bread with the coloring liquid it is not a problem because there is no prohibition to color foods.

Is where the whole complicated matter gets started. Well actually it gets started in the same place in the Tur, where the Beit Yosef cites the Yeraim saying that when eating berries etc. and one’s hands are dripping with colored fruit, care should be taken not to touch clothes or napkins, because of coloring. Even though it is mekalkel, it is ossur mid’rabanan. He adds that it is prohibited to place a cloth etc. on a bleeding wound because of. The Bais Yosef in siman 328:38 complements this saying that one should wash the wound and then place the cloth. The subsequent coloring of the cloth is through a g’rama, because the wound had no blood when the cloth was placed.

The Darchei Moshe in siman 320:2 says that the Agor(one of the Rishonim) holds that one may bandage a wound with a cloth or wipe one’s dirty hands on a cloth because it is called dirtying and has nothing to do with coloring.

The Magen Avraham 320:24 rules in accordance the Beit Yosef, against the Darchei Moshe. The M”A also says that wiping blood with a red cloth is worse than wiping with a white cloth. This can either be because the newly applied red color strengthens the old color or because it is not possible to say that it is dirtying when it is the same color. The M"B rules the same way.

From there the conversation heads in the direction of menstruation and the sheva nekiim: The Shulchan Aruch 303:15 says that a woman may wear a cloth used for absorbing menstrual bleeding in a reshut harabim, and the issue of coloring the cloth never arose.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav learned from here that a cloth designated for that particular use is not prone to coloring, because one does not care for its coloring. Only a regular cloth, which I understand to mean that sometimes one would dye it intentionally, is prone to the problem of.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says(as quoted in Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchta 14 footnote 62) that dyeing the cloth with blood is not coloring, because one is merely using the cloth instead of a spoon and not in order to color the cloth.

One should l’chatchila wash a wound before applying a cloth. The Shmiras Shabbat 35:18 says that bandages, plasters, gauze and everything set aside specifically for this purpose may be applied without prior washing the wound. This is based on the Shulchan Aruch HaRav mentioned previously.

Rav Auerbach also permits wiping with a tissue or disposable napkin because one does not care for its coloring since it is being disposed of.(Shmirat Shabbat 14:19)

Now as far as the toilet Coloring water for a decorative purpose is strictly forbidden even though water in itself is “food”, M”B 56.

It is much more tricky The reasons permitting it are a) the intention is to disinfect and ‘by the way’ the water gets colored. B) It is done by way of Grama- an indirect action, because flushing the water ‘causes’ the color to be flushed from the small container and color the water.

The reasons prohibiting it are A) the intention is to color the water as well, not only to disinfect; otherwise they could manufacture colorless disinfectant. B) The first rush of water is called your action and not.

It is a mahloket poskim. Where some permit and some forbid. Personally I am machmir and remove it before Shabbos, since Rav Shlomo Zalman forbade it(Shmirat Shabbat 23:14). Removing it on Shabbat involves muktze and one should do so with one’s foot. When confronted with this apparatus in someone else’s house, I suggest lifting it a bit with one’s foot and flushing (requires a bit of deftness). If impossible, I think one should flush (maybe using an elbow?) and rely on the lenient opinions because of Kavod L'Briut.

  • Wow,Thanx for that in Depth answer – SimchasTorah Jan 2 '11 at 3:11
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    Mekubal, why do you assume that a tissue would be under the same rules as a cloth? Is there even a question of Tzove'ah on Niyar? The Beit Yosef was not talking about paper napkins in the 1500's. It clearly is not Derech Tzvi'ah. – Yahu Jan 2 '11 at 9:08
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    I treated them the same because it is a mahloket poskim. Yeas there is a question of Tzove'ah on niyar, depending on the niyar, as a tolda not an Av(hence we instruct our children not to color in coloring books). However, I have cited Rav Auerbach's opinion on the specific situation of tissue. – Rabbi Michael Tzadok Jan 2 '11 at 9:38

I don't have much to add to the Rabbi's excellent answer. However, I want to point out that, with the blood, there may be a distinction between using a disposable and a non-disposable cloth. According to some Poskim, although soiling an object is not a Biblical violation--since the melachah of tzovaya refers only to improving or beautifying something through dyeing--it is rabbinically forbidden in this case. However, with a disposable napkin or tissue, apparently "all authorities agree" that it is permitted.

(Unfortunately I cannot tell you who these "some Poskim" or "all authorities" are, since I can't read my book's Hebrew footnotes. But the book itself is "The Shabbos Home: Volume Two" by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen of Lakewood, 2003.)

My source also agrees with Rabbi Tzadok with regards to toilet deodorizers. Bunim says: "There is dissent among the contemporary Poskim regarding the colored blocks of deodorizer commonly placed in toilet bowls. Some hold that these may not be used on Shabbos, for they cause the water to become colored during flushing. Others maintain that these deodorizers are permitted for use. Therefore, it is best to remove these items from one's toilet before Shabbos. In the event they were not removed, one should remove them on Shabbos. If this is not possible, and no other bathroom is available, one may rely on the Poskim who permit the use of these deodorizers on Shabbos."

(Since my book calls them "deodorizers," I would wonder if there were not also possibly a problem with makeh bepatish insofar as you are improving the scent of the water and toilet.)


Chacham Ben Tzion Abba Shaul in his Ohr L'Tzion 1:29( unfortunately Hebrewbooks does not have the first chelek) brings a bunch of reasons to be meikel by a colored soap in the toilet. Its not able to dye something else, it gets displaced very quickly ,one doesn't want to dye with it, and it is a psik reisha dlo nicha lei compounded with a koach kocho(indirect control ). In the end of teshuva he writes that one can be lenient with peshitos(simplicity).

  • I don't understand how it's lo nicha leih – Double AA Jul 2 '19 at 11:21
  • First off if its in a Shul or someone else's house we dont say nicha lei,and even in your own house one wants the cleaning aspect mostly not the dye – sam Jul 2 '19 at 14:47
  • You like knowing it's clean. Even in someone else's house you like that. They put the dye in it for a reason – Double AA Jul 2 '19 at 14:50
  • They make without dye,bubbles is usually the niche lei,I think it's very minimal to zero – sam Jul 2 '19 at 16:46

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