Template:Diaper Wipes on Shabbat

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  1. The issue of using baby wipes has been widely discussed ever since they've arrived on the market. Some poskim are lenient to use baby wipes if one does it gently and doesn't press down,[1] while others prohibit using diaper wipes entirely and give preference to wetting the baby (with oil, water, "baby shpritz" etc.) and then using a dry tissue to clean the child.[2]
  2. The older baby wipes are made from more similar to paper materials and today they are made from cotton materials.[3] Although this change according to some poskim makes using the baby wipes forbidden, nonetheless, there are some who are still lenient.[4]
  3. Some say that one may use baby wipes to clean a baby if one does it gently and doesn't press down.[5] However, some advise not using baby wipes but rather tissues and water as described in the following halacha.[6]
  4. One should not wet a cloth and then wipe the baby rather the liquid such as water, thin lotion, or oil should be applied to the baby's skin and then wiped with a paper napkin or paper towel and if that's not available then one may use a dry cloth. If one uses a dry cloth then once it gets wet one should be very cautious not to apply pressure when wiping.[7]
    1. Rabbi Heshy Kahn (What's Doing, Greater Connecticut, 3/3/11) quoting Rabbi Moshe Plutchok based on the Har Tzvi and R' Shlomo Zalmen Aurbauch Zt”l, Rabbi Mansour on Dailyhalacha.com
    2. Minchat Yitzchak 10:25, Shevet Halevi 8:59, 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 351-3). Nishmas Shabbos 233 requires the wipes to be squeezed out prior to Shabbos to the extent that if someone touches the wipe he won't be able to moisten something else.
    3. Wikipedia entry "Wet Wipe" describes some of the history of baby wipes. It points out that originally wipes were paper clothes and today more of them are made with cotton materials. For example, Pampers wipes are made from cellulose, which is 90% of cotton, and polypropylene, which is synthetic. See also, Target wipes which are made from cotton fiber.
    4. Yalkut Yosef 2 p 90 writes that it is muter to use a diaper wipe on Shabbat. But Yalkut Yosef 2 p. 688 in a later edition he limits it to paper wipes and not cloth ones. Chazon Ovadia Shabbat v. 4 p. 148-154 says all baby wipes are permitted on Shabbat. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 14:37 says only paper ones are muter and not cloth ones. Har Tzvi 190 is lenient about using diaper wipes made from paper. Igrot Moshe 2:70 as understood by Rivevot Efraim 6:194:3 writes that paper wipes are permitted. Chazon Ovadia writes four reasons to say why it is derabbanan:
      1. It is only a derabbanan form of disha since the paper isn't meant to be squeezed out and it is like pickles and not olives (Shabbat 145a).
      2. Also, the water goes to waste (Meor Hashabbat v. 2 p. 522 quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman).
      3. Also, it isn't gidulei karka (Rambam Shabbat 8:7). Disha is only bgedulei karka. Even if it is made with cotton it still can be called non-gedulei karka since it is so processed and it is like panim chadashot (chatom sofer 6:81 by ketamim on toilet paper).
      4. Also, it is less than a shiur of a grogeret making the isur only derabbanan (Chacham Tzvi 86). He isn't sure to use this factor because perhaps there's no shiur for sechita in this form which is normal just to squeeze out a tiny bit (Chazon Ovadia p. 150).
      • If it is only derabbanan or a double derabbanan a pesik reisha is muter (even if it is nicha leh). Also it could be that we matir derabbanans for child who is like a choleh shein bo sakana.
    5. Yalkut Yosef 302:31 based on Har Tzvi OC 1:190, Rabbi Mansour on Dailyhalacha.com
    6. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 353)
    7. 39 Melachos (vol 2, pg 351)