It seems from here both that some types of water are considered too salty to be acceptable for ritual handwashing and that mikvah water is always considered acceptable. I am left wondering what, exactly, are the limits on water for handwashing. Could one wash with:

  • Very salty water? (--Presumably yes--in some cases--provided that a mikvah is always acceptable. But what if it's not a mikvah?)

  • (Visibly) dirty water? (Ditto: How dirty can it be if it's not a mikvah?)

  • Non-water (juice, wine, other liquid)? What percent non-water would it have to be for it halachically to be considered non-water?

  • Carbonated water (selzer)?

  • Water containing treyfs?

  • Water containing chometz during pesach?

Is any temperature of water acceptable?

Are there differences in the above between morning negel vasser and netilas yadayim upon bread? What about washing kohanim?

  • 3
    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30310. See also Shulchan Aruch OC 160, which discusses some of these points (Hebrew, English w/ Mishna B'rura).
    – Fred
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 5:54
  • This question does not show any research effort - essentially you want somebody else to sift through the (Kitzur) Shulchan Aruch instead of doing it yourself. :-( Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 15:22
  • 3
    @DannySchoemann Not everyone is capable of sifting through the Shulchan Aruch.
    – Mike
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 18:12
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    I would guess that water containing chametz during pesach would be forbidden since chametz is not batel beshishim and is forbidden for hana'ah.
    – Epicentre
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 6:30
  • 1
    @DannySchoemann I got it by asking a lot of very basic questions here
    – SAH
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


According to Kitzur (Siman 40:8-10), if the water is so contaminated (salty, dirty, etc.) that a dog would not drink it, the water is prohibited for netilat yadayim. I assume this would also apply to water that is so hot or cold that a dog would not drink it.

As for wine or juice, these liquids never started off as water, so I would assume they would be prohibited. Similarly, if something falls into water and discolors it (like if you poured wine or juice into water), it is also prohibited according to Kitzur.

If non kosher food fell into water, even if it did not discolor it, it still rendered the water repulsive, and Kitzur discourages its use. The only way I could see carbonated water being prohibited is if you consider it already "used" for a specific function.

As for water containing chometz, the various ways in which the chometz could have gotten there prohibit a generalized answer.

Finally, regarding the different types of netilat yadayim, I cannot find (so far) any place in the Kitzur where there is a difference between them.

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