Is it permissible to use q tips on shabbat? The cotton devices used to remove ear wax. What are the possible issues involved?

  • MedicineNet.com says Is it OK to use Q-tips? Most attempts to clean the ears by using cotton swabs only result in pushing the wax further into the ear canal. ...Q-Tips, bobby pins or twisted napkin corners only serve as ramrods to push the wax deeper into the ear and can lead to problems. Feb 22, 2015 at 20:01
  • How does that answer the halachic question in any shape or form? Feb 22, 2015 at 20:14
  • You're right - it does not. But it does say that the procedure is medically not advised. Feb 22, 2015 at 21:40

1 Answer 1



Shemiras Shabbos k’Hilchasah 32:59 says there is no problem using a cotton swab on Shabbos. Harav A. Weiss, published in Ohr ha-Shabbos, vol. 18, pgs. 22-23 also permits using a cotton swab on Shabbos, however Orchos Shabbos 13:45 who does not permit using cotton swabs on Shabbos.

Question: On Shabbos or Yom Tov, is it permitted to use a cotton swab (Q-tip) to dab hydrogen peroxide, etc., on a cut or an abrasion?

Discussion: Based on the previous Discussion, there is no reason to prohibit using cotton swabs on Shabbos. Although it is forbidden to soak a cotton ball (or a piece of cotton batting) and then squeeze the liquid out of it, 5 this does not apply to using a swab. The small piece of pressed cotton at the swab’s end is not meant to absorb, nor is the liquid “squeezed” out of it. When used normally, the tip merely transfers the liquid to the cut without any squeezing taking place. It is permitted to be used. 6 Obviously, though, in the atypical case where the swab is used in a manner which would result in squeezing, it would be forbidden to use it on Shabbos.

  • 1
    Aren't they speaking about putting it into liquids? Would the same apply to ear wax? Feb 22, 2015 at 14:59
  • @AaronMiller All you asked about above was using a Q-tip. If you wish to ask about a specific use for it, I recommend you ask a new question.
    – msh210
    Feb 22, 2015 at 15:26
  • Ostensibly wax shouldn't be any worse than the other applications Feb 22, 2015 at 15:27

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