Washing one’s body on Shabbat

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Showering on Shabbat

Hot Water

  1. One may not wash one's entire body or even a majority of one's body in hot water on Shabbat, even if the water was heated before Shabbat, and even if he does one body part at a time. The same is true of pouring hot water over oneself [1]
  2. Many water heaters or boilers are made so that automatically when hot water is removed cold water is added. If this is the case, it’s forbidden to remove hot water from the water heater, even if the water heater is turned off, because doing so will heat up the cold water which is added (which entails a violation of Bishul).[2]

Cold Water

  1. The sephardic custom is to allow showering in cold water on Shabbos. Many ashkenazim have the custom not to shower even in cold water.[3]

Washing Hands, Feet, and Face

  1. One may use water that was heated before Shabbos to wash his hands, feet, or face. The same is true of washing any other body part as long as one doesn’t wash majority of his body.[4]
  2. If one’s hands became soiled with mud one may not clean them off by wiping them on a towel or handkerchief. However, one may wipe them one a cloth which one isn’t concerned about cleaning (like a napkin). [5]

Squeezing water from one's hair

See Dosh#Squeezing Water Out of One's Hair

Swimming on Shabbat

  1. One should try to avoid swimming on Shabbat, even in a pool in their backyard. [6]

Entering a Bathhouse

  1. One may not enter a bathhouse even to sweat in a steam room or the like. Some poskim say that one may not even enter to for some reason other than bathing such as to remove an item, if he may come to sweat even if that isn’t his intention. [7]


  1. Rambam 22:2, Tur and Shulchan Aruch 326:1 based on that opinion of Rabbi Yehuda in Shabbos 39b. Mishna Brura 326:2 adds from the Magen Avraham 326:2 that the same is true for more than half of the body. Shemirat Shabbos Kihilchita 14:1, Aruch Hashulchan 326:2, Kitzur S”A 86:1 and Yalkut Yosef 326:1 agree.
  2. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 1:39
  3. Yalkut Yosef 326:3 says that it is permissible to shower in cold water on Shabbos, but one should be careful not to squeeze water out of his hair or his towel. Livyat Chen pg. 123, Rabbi Eli Mansour, and Kaf Hachaim 326:25 agree. Magen Avraham 326:8 says based on the Maharil 139 that one should not wash in a mikveh or river even in cold water because one may come to squeeze water out of his hair or towel or one may come to carry the drops of water on his body for 4 amot. Mishna Brura 326:21 agrees. Shoneh Halachot 6 writes in the name of the Chazon Ish that the same is true of showers. Minchat Yitzchak 6:32 agrees. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe 4:74-75) agrees that this is the minhag, but is lenient in case of tzaar such as a sick person or a heat wave. Shemirat Shabbos Kihilchita 14:11, Ketzot Hashulchan 137:8 and Sh”t Beer Moshe 6:73 agree. Biur Halacha 326:1 s.v. bimayim quotes Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 307:5 and 326:1) saying that one can bathe even in water heated before shabbos if he is suffering. Rav Schachter (end of Gemara Shabbos Shiur 57) says that the minhag nowadays is to allow showering in cold water on Shabbos.
  4. Shulchan Aruch 326:1 writes that one could wash his hands, feet, or face in water heated up before Shabbos. Rama adds that the same would be true for any body part as long as one doesn’t wash majority of his body. Yalkut Yosef (Siman 326 no. 2) says that really Rav Yosef Karo agrees in the Beit Yosef and in the Shulchan Aruch was only copying the language of the gemara. Mishna Brura 326:5 writes that this is talking about water heated up before Shabbos because if it was heated on Shabbos you cannot use it for anything. Gra 326:4 writes that water heated up permissibly on Shabbos is considered like water heated up before Shabbos. However, Magen Avraham 326:6 and Aruch Hashulchan 326:2 disagree. Nevertheless, Iggerot Moshe 1:126 writes that if a goy heats up water for himself, the Jew may use it for washing less than majority of his body. Shemirat Shabbos Kihilchita 14:2 is strict if the water was heated up with an action, but in 14:3 is lenient if the water was heated up on its own such as if they were placed on the fire before Shabbos or with solar energy.
  5. S”A 302:11, Mishna Brurah 302:57, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 14:26
  6. Yalkut Yosef Shabbat vol. 2 pg. 7. see also Chayei Adam 44:20, Sh"t Yaskil Avdi 6:1, Sh"t Minchat Yitzchak 6:32, Sh"t Beer Moshe 3:56, Sh"t Yeshuot Yaakov 3:25
  7. Shulchan Aruch 326:12 says based on the Gemara Shabbos 40a that one shouldn’t enter a bathhouse to sweat. Rama there adds that some hold that it’s asur to enter the bathhouse even if it’s for another reason, if he might sweat. Mishna Brura 326:35-36 says that according to that opinion it would be asur even if unintended but according to the Shulchan Aruch it would be permitted. Kaf Hachaim 326:55 says that though according to Shulchan Aruch one could be lenient, one should be strict if possible. Yalkut Yosef 326:9 is lenient as long as one doesn’t intend to sweat.