ASK FATHER: Diluting Holy Salty Water… Salty Holy Water… just plain Holy Water

aspersoriumFrom a reader…


Hello Fr Z! Our pastor puts a lot of salt in the holy water. So much so that a MASSIVE crust forms on our font at home. Is it OK to dilute the holy water a bit with regular tap water to bring down the concentration of salt? I don’t know if diluting would remove the priestly blessing. I think it is awesome that our priest blesses the water with blessed salt but am worried about the effects of the salt on our clothes since we use it at home a lot. Thanks!

It is great that your priest is using the exorcised and blessed salt.  That suggests to me that he is using the older, traditional form which is the ONLY way that this priest will ever use.

Everyone… USE Holy Water.  The Devil really hates it.  As St. Teresa of Avila wrote:

“I know by frequent experience that there is nothing which puts the devils to flight like Holy water.”

The simple solution (pun intended) is cheerfully to show your priest a photo of the crust that forms from the great amount of salt.

I suppose you could add a little… a very little bit of water to your Holy Water.

But this brings us to the issue of dilution of Holy Water for the sake of extending it.

Please, don’t do that.  Get more Holy Water.

It is possible, in a pinch, to add a small amount of water to Holy Water or Baptismal Water if there isn’t a sufficient quality for the task for which it is needed. However, that should not be the usual practice and only a small amount, proportionally, should be added.  And, frankly, I can’t think of many circumstances in which you would urgently need a lot more.  I can conjure some… I guess, if I try.

It is better simply to ask Father to bless more Holy Water and make sure it is in sufficient supply.

It doesn’t take much time to bless Holy Water, even with the older rite in the traditional Rituale Romanum (which is the only rite which I have ever used or which I would even consider using… in case I didn’t mention that earlier).

Your priest clearly is willing to bless Holy Water.  However, if other priests out there are too lazy to do even what the Novus Ordo indicates… well… shame on them.  Someone should kick their reverend backsides. However, it is far more likely that this problem doesn’t occur to him, because he is not asked to bless Holy Water. Thus, he doesn’t think about it.


A good practice is for every sacristy to have a large card with the words “BLESS” and “BLESSED” on opposing sides. Prop up that card with the “BLESS” side displayed near the water containers (I’ve done several buckets at a time, no problemo) and the page-marked book and the stole and the salt.  A good deal of salt can be blessed ahead of time, by the way.  You just start with the exorcism and blessing of the water that way.  When the priest is done, he turns the card over to “BLESSED”.  Bada bing.  Holy Water!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. bibi1003 says:

    What is the proper way to put holy water in your bottle? Can I fill my bottle from the baptismal font?

  2. bombcar says:

    Could you mix some of the Holy Water at the parish and then carry the mixture to the priest and ask him to bless it? Or would that be a double blessing or something?

    [Why would anyone do that?]

  3. bibi1003 says:

    I forgot to mention that our church doesn’t have a dispenser for holy water.

  4. threej says:

    But Father! But Father! What if they’re attempting to dilute water blessed with the traditional form with water blessed in the new form? Can they use more then?


  5. VexillaRegis says:

    At a neighbouring parish the priest puts so much salt into the holy water, that making the sign of the cross leaves salt crystals on your forehead and stains on your nice dress or Italian silk tie :-( . The marble and brass fonts have a lining of plastic coated sheet metal which now has started rusting so that the holy water is miscoloured. Greenspan is seen on the brass rim. I’m quite certain that there must be something toxic going on in that water. Comments on the lack of font hygiene have been heard from physicians in the parish and many people have stopped using holy water. The priest just says “this is what you get – take it or leave it”. Doesn’t he want people to use the water? Sigh.

  6. jaykay says:

    I get Holy Water from the large recepticle by St. Anne’s altar in the Dublin Latin Mass Chaplaincy in… Dublin. It does leave a certain deposit of salt,very small, in my little font at home, but nothing major. They must be doing the “right recipe” ;). I was assured by the PP that all their Holy Water is blessed using the “old” formula – shouldn’t even have asked. It just gives one a certain… certainty. Of which, I think, I’ll continue to avail, God willing. I’m really, sorry to say, not sure about my parish church, given some of the fonts are sometimes even dry, which betokens to me a certain carelessness, sorry to say. And no evidence of salt in them, that I’ve seen.

  7. St. Louis IX says:

    We at our Parish actually put aside a Sunday after the TLM every few months or so, to bless many objects including Salt and Holy water in the old Rite (1962).
    Never can have to much Holy Water around.

  8. DAndrew says:

    Are holy water dispensers really that uncommon?

  9. APX says:

    Are holy water dispensers really that uncommon?

    We have one, but the water in it isn’t blessed according to the Roman Ritual anymore because the pastor won’t allow our FSSP priest make up the holy water anymore (even when the pastor is away on holidays. He gives the retired priest “faculties” to do it in his absence). Thus, if someone wants holy water, they have to get it made up privately

  10. Giuseppe says:

    I don’t think there’s a required salt concentration specified. I’d imagine that as long as there’s a few molecules in the water, that should suffice. I’d prefer that to dipping my finger into the Dead Sea.

  11. mariadevotee says:

    A parish I go to often has holy water fonts that are frequently grungy and with alge looking stuff floating. Is there something to be done? Can they add a few drops of vinegar or something? would a little blessed salt keep the holy water clear? any suggestions?

  12. mariadevotee says:

    These are the side fonts by the doors, I should have specified. the Baptismal on is fine.

  13. mariadevotee says:

    These are the side fonts by the doors, I should have specified. the Baptismal one is fine.

  14. un-ionized says:

    VexillaRegis, I would think that water in the condition that you describe would cease to be holy water due to contamination. Especially an unhealthy contamination such as poisonous metal salts or algae/mold. At my former parish they empty the baptismal font on a certain day of the week and scrub it with bleach. After airing out, they fill it again. It is many gallons. The tiny fonts on the pews are filled from the big one so the water is always clean.

  15. VexillaRegis says:

    un-ionized, thanks! I have a close friend who is a laboratory technician…

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  17. ACM says:

    Hydrogen peroxide or vinegar will get rid of all germs, residue, etc. just as effectively as bleach or anything else out there on the shelves. Plus it’s a lot cheaper and much safer, too. We have those plastic liners in the holy water fonts in our parish, and by the end of the week there is usually a residue in them. Fill the liners up with vinegar and let them soak 5 minutes or more to get rid of the residue. It will wipe right off, you won’t even have to scrub. If you want to be more economical, place a paper towel inside the liner and saturate it with vinegar, let it sit for 5 minutes or more, and then wipe it dry. The vinegar smell will disappear in a few moments, and you can speed that process up by rinsing the liner out in cold water. Works every time! Fill a spray bottle with vinegar or peroxide to use in cleaning the faucets, etc. in the bathroom and kitchen (of your parish, of course, because I am not giving out housekeeping tips for your home, though you certainly can use them there). Simply spray it on and wipe it off with a paper towel. How easy is that?

  18. St. Epaphras says:

    Someone told me that at our parish holy water is only blessed once a year — at the Easter Vigil. Somehow I think that person is mistaken. I do know that each week most of it is removed from the fonts by the doors, the fonts are cleaned and then some of the water is returned to them along with a good bit of tap water. I was told that the remaining holy water blesses the new tap water. I’ve not had the nerve so far to ask our pastor if he only blesses water once a year (!) Don’t want to sound like a nit-picker.

  19. St. Epaphras says: at our parish holy water is only blessed once a year — at the Easter Vigil.

    I suspect that Easter Water is blessed only once a year. Holy Water can be blessed at any time. As a matter of fact it is customary for priests to bless Holy Water before the principle Mass on Sunday. It is used in the Asperges.

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