1. Why must so much effort be put into preparing the kitchen?

According to Torah law, one may not eat even the tiniest crumb of chometz. A crumb that falls into food on Pesach will render the food forbidden. It is therefore recommended that the most time and energy be reserved for cleaning the kitchen. It should be totally free of chometz down to the last speck. One can be more lenient with respect to the rest of the house, since it is unlikely that a crumb will find its way from there into any food.

2. What are the general principles for making the kitchen kosher for Pesach?

Generally speaking, all items and areas that have been in contact with chometz must be dealt with in one of three ways:

  • Kashering.
  • Cleaning and putting away.
  • Cleaning and covering.

In some cases, cleaning is sufficient and subsequent covering is only a custom.

3. Is there any problem with kashering an oven?

According to some opinions, it is permitted to kasher an oven for Pesach. Others maintain that it cannot be kashered satisfactorily and that it should not be used for Pesach cooking. Accordingly, the oven should be checked for chometz and taped closed. [Ideally, one should follow the second opinion and use a separate oven for Pesach.]

4. According to the lenient opinion, how can an oven be kashered?

The oven should be cleaned thoroughly with an oven cleaner and then not used for twenty-four hours. It should then be switched on to the maximum heat for one hour. The racks that are used during the year may not be used for Pesach cooking and must be replaced. [Even after kashering the oven, cooking should preferably be done only before Pesach. If all six inside walls of the oven are covered with aluminum foil or a metal box insert is used, the oven may be used even during Pesach after it has been kashered.]

5. How can a self-cleaning oven be kashered?

According to most opinions, it is permitted to kasher a self-cleaning oven by running it through the self-cleaning cycle. In such an oven, the racks and the stove grates can be kashered by leaving them inside during this process.

6. Can the grates on the stove be kashered?

No. The grates (that the pots sit on) should be cleaned and completely covered with thick foil. [Some are stringent to use a blowtorch to clean them before covering them with foil.] The more recommended procedure is to use a separate set for Pesach.

7. How can the burners on the stove be kashered?

The burners (the circular metal pieces from which the flames appear) should be cleaned thoroughly, particularly in and around the holes. The gas should then be lit and left on high for 5-10 minutes.

8. How can the stove tray be kashered?

The tray onto which food falls should be cleaned well and covered with thick foil. (It is a good idea to smear vaseline onto the tray to help the foil stick. This will also make the foil easy to remove after Pesach.)

9. How can the second tray be kashered?

Some stoves have a second tray beneath the upper tray, which catches any falling debris. If this tray is easily accessible, it should be cleaned and covered. If the tray is not easily accessible, nothing needs to be done.

10. Does the surface above the stove have to be cleaned?

In the process of cooking during the year, a ventilator or cabinet that is above the stove is regularly hit by chometz steam. This surface should be cleaned and covered with thick foil or plastic. Similarly, the hinged stove cover should be removed and put away, or cleaned and covered. [Many have the custom to cover the wall behind the stove to prevent pots from touching it.]

11. How can an electric stove be kashered?

Electric elements should be kashered by switching on the highest heat for five minutes. The area between the elements should be cleaned and covered.

12. Can an electric hot plate be kashered?

No, but it can be used on Pesach if it is cleaned of visible spills and covered with thick foil. [According to some opinions, boiling water should be poured all over it after it has reached its highest temperature (remembering to unplug it first). It should then be covered.]

13. Can a microwave be kashered?

According to some opinions it can be kashered. It should be cleaned thoroughly and left for twenty-four hours. Then a bowl of water should be boiled inside it for 15-20 minutes. A new glass plate should be obtained or it should be covered. The walls and roof do not need to be covered, but the food should preferably be cooked in closed containers. [According to some opinions, a microwave cannot be kashered.]

14. Can a blech be kashered?

No. A separate one must be used.

15. Can a dishwasher be kashered?

There are many difficulties involved with kashering a dishwasher. It should be checked for chometz and taped closed.

16. Can one kasher a Shabbos kettle?

No, this item is difficult to kasher and a separate one should be used for Pesach.

17. Can a steel sink be kashered?

A steel sink can be kashered by pouring boiling water onto it. One must follow these points:

  • Nothing hot should be placed directly into the sink for twenty-four hours prior to kashering.
  • The sink should be perfectly clean and dry before kashering.
  • The sink should be kashered one section at a time. After one section has been kashered, the sink should be wiped dry before kashering the next section. This is to prevent the spreading of water from the kashered area to the non-kashered area, which would cool down the boiling water that is to be used for the next section.
  • One should not use a Pesach kettle for the kashering. One should use a regular kettle or a pot that has not been used for hot chometz in the last twenty-four hours.
  • The stream of water must be unbroken between the kettle and the sink.

18. Can an enamel sink be kashered?

No. It should be cleaned well, but it is not necessary to pour boiling water onto it. [Some are strict to do so]. Since it is forbidden to put a Pesach pot onto a chometz surface, the bottom of the sink should be covered. This can be done by using an insert, or by covering the bottom of the sink with plastic, wood, foil, or anything else that is waterproof. [Ideally, this covering onto which the Pesach dishes are placed, should be raised off the floor of the sink.] Some cover the sink with contact paper or thick foil.

19. What other precautions should be taken with respect to the sink?

Boiling water should be poured down the drain hole, followed by bleach that will spoil any remaining chometz.

20. What should be done with the sink faucets?

The sink faucets should be cleaned well and boiling water poured over them.

21. Should the sink spout be kashered?

The spout should be kashered since it is often hit by chometz steam and splashes. This can be done by turning on the hot water faucet and letting hot water flow through the spout, while simultaneously pouring boiling water onto it. It is recommended to remove or replace the filter that is screwed onto the spout.

22. May hot water be used in the sink during Pesach?

Yes. [Some have a custom not to do so, unless the sink is kashered or fully covered.]

23. Must one replace the cup that is used for washing one’s hands by the sink?

No. It is sufficient to clean it thoroughly.

24. How can the fridge be prepared for Pesach?

A detergent should be used to clean the fridge. This guarantees that any remaining crumbs become unfit for a dog to eat and no longer considered to be chometz. The handle should be cleaned well.

25. What about the rubber seal on the fridge door?

The rubber seal should be cleaned with a Q-tip, toothbrush, or a screwdriver that is covered with a cloth. If it is torn and there are crumbs inside, one should try to get them out. If this is difficult, the tear should be covered or bleach poured in.

26. Should the fridge shelves be covered?

One does not need to cover the shelves if they are clean, but many do. (If the shelves are covered, they should be perforated to allow air to circulate.) If chometz must be kept in the cleaned fridge during the last few days before Pesach, it should be wrapped well in order not to invalidate the entire cleaning.

27. Do the inside walls of the fridge need to be covered?

No.

28. How should the freezer be cleaned?

In the same manner as the fridge.

29. May food that is not kosher for Pesach be stored in the fridge or freezer during Pesach?

The following types of food may be kept in the fridge or freezer during Pesach although they may not be eaten:

  • Manufactured foods that are not certified kosher for Pesach, but contain no chometz.
  • Pure kitniyos.
  • Food that was cooked in a chometz pot before Pesach but does not contain any actual chometz.

Such foods should be wrapped well and labeled clearly to ensure that they are not accidentally eaten. Pure kitniyos do not need to be wrapped and labeled, but kitniyos products do.

30. If one wishes to sell definite chometz to a non-Jew, may it be kept in the fridge or freezer during Pesach?

  • If the fridge or freezer will not be used during Pesach, this is permitted. The fridge or freezer should be taped closed and labeled ‘chometz’.
  • If the fridge or freezer will be used during Pesach, this should be avoided, since sold chometz must ideally be put away in a place that will not be used during Pesach. In extenuating circumstances the chometz may be stored in one particular section of the fridge or freezer. It should be wrapped well, sealed, and labeled ‘chometz’.

These items should be specified in the sale of chometz.

31. Can mixers and blenders be kashered?

  • If flour or chometz was used in the mixer, the blades and bowl cannot be kashered but must be replaced. The rest of the machine must be opened and cleaned thoroughly to prevent flour or chometz being released during use on Pesach.
  • If flour or chometz was not used in the mixer, the blades may be kashered. The bowl may also be kashered if it is made of metal, but if it is made of glass or plastic a rav should be consulted (see question ‎45). The rest of the machine should be cleaned well and covered.
  • Since a blender is difficult to clean, the blades and bowl should be replaced. The rest of the machine should be cleaned well and covered.

32. How thoroughly must a toaster be cleaned?

Since this will not be used during Pesach, it is sufficient to remove loose crumbs by shaking well. The toaster should then be put away with the chometz utensils. It is not necessary to dismantle it to remove every crumb (see question ‎37).

33. How can the kitchen counter be kashered for Pesach?

  • Counters that are made of metal, pure marble or pure granite can be kashered by pouring boiling water onto them. One must follow these points:
  • Nothing hot should be placed directly onto the counter for twenty-four hours prior to kashering.
  • The counter should be perfectly clean and dry before kashering.
  • The counter should be kashered one section at a time. After one section has been kashered, the counter should be wiped dry before kashering the next section. This is to prevent the spreading of water from the kashered area to the non-kashered area, which would cool down the boiling water that is to be used for the next section.
  • One should not use a Pesach kettle for the kashering. One should use a regular kettle or a pot that has not been used for hot chometz in the last twenty-four hours.
  • The stream of water must be unbroken between the kettle and the counter.
    • If one is afraid that such a procedure may damage the counter, it may not be kashered. It should be treated like counters made of other materials.
    • Counters made of other materials should be cleaned well and covered with something waterproof that is strong and will not tear during Pesach. [Some are strict and pour boiling water over the counters before covering.]
    • Important note: Standard shayish counters in Israel are made from a mixture of materials and cannot be kashered.

34. Must the walls behind the kitchen counters be covered with paper?

here is no obligation to put paper on the walls if they are clean, but some do so. (See question ‎10 regarding the wall behind the stove.)

35. How should the kitchen cabinets be cleaned?

  • The inside of the cabinets that will be used should be cleaned well and checked carefully. [There is no need to cover the shelves, but many people do.]
  • Cabinets that will not be used do not need to be cleaned, but should be checked for chometz.

36. Should one clean the underneath of the (upper) kitchen cabinets?

Cabinets that are situated above counters and sinks are sometimes splashed underneath with chometz. These areas should be checked, and cleaned if necessary.

37. If the chometz pots are not being kashered, do they have to be scrubbed clean?

No. The custom of scrubbing pots clean originated when people wanted to kasher them for use during Pesach. [Some have the custom to check the pots for any chometz.] (See question ‎3 regarding the oven.)

38. How should the chometz pots and dishes be stored during Pesach?

They should be stored in a place that is out of reach, so that they will not be used by mistake. If possible they should be put in a different place from usual, but if this is difficult they may be left in their regular place. In either case, they should be made inaccessible by locking the cabinet, or by tying or taping the cabinet and labeling it chometz .

Kashering Utensils

39. Is it perfectly acceptable to kasher utensils for Pesach?

Although the Torah and the Sages have given clear instructions how to kasher utensils for Pesach, it is praiseworthy to avoid doing so. This is because many utensils are difficult to clean satisfactorily prior to kashering, and because the kashering process is sometimes not performed properly. It is strongly recommended that one use separate pots, dishes, and silverware etc. for Pesach, especially today when these items are relatively inexpensive. If a person cannot afford to buy new utensils he may rely on the kashering process.

40. Are the rules the same as for kashering treif utensils during the year?

No, there are many differences. Some of the rules of Pesach are stricter than during the year and some are more lenient. This chapter concerns kashering for Pesach only. When a utensil becomes treif from non-kosher foods or from a milk and meat mix-up, a rav should be consulted.

41. How are utensils kashered for Pesach?

There are two standard methods:

  • Hag’ala – purging. The utensil is submerged in a pot of boiling water.
  • Libun – burning. The utensil is heated directly by a fire or blowtorch until it reaches an extremely high temperature.

For most utensils, the first method is sufficient, and this is the standard way to kasher utensils for Pesach. Although certain utensils require the second more severe method, it is rarely performed today, since most utensils will be damaged before they reach the required temperature.

42. Which utensils require libun?

Those that are used on the fire without any liquid, e.g. a spit, frying pan, baking pan, stove grates, oven racks.

43. May anyone do the kashering?

Since most people are not fully acquainted with the laws of kashering, it should be performed by (or in the presence of) a Torah scholar. The custom is to take utensils to a communal koshering, where the kashering is done by knowledgeable and experienced people.

44. Which materials may be kashered?

One may kasher utensils made of wood, stone, bone, and all metals (e.g. gold, silver, copper, steel, aluminum).

45. Which materials may not be kashered?

One may not kasher utensils made of glass (including pyrex, duralex etc.), enamel, porcelain, china, and teflon. Opinions differ regarding plastic, rubber, and nylon and a rav should be consulted.

46. How clean must the utensil be?

The utensil must be completely clean. All food particles, dirt, grime, etc. must be removed prior to kashering, otherwise the kashering is not effective. As mentioned above, this is probably the most difficult part of the process, and is the reason why many people do not kasher any utensils for Pesach.

47. May one kasher a utensil made of two attached pieces?

Usually, such a utensil may not be kashered, since chometz may be lodged in the join, and the utensil cannot be thoroughly cleaned. Occasionally it may be kashered, if the join is perfectly smooth without any crevices. A rav should be consulted.

48. Does this also apply to handles?

Yes. Since chometz may be trapped between the utensil and the handle, the handle must be removed and cleaned before kashering. If the handle cannot be removed a rav should be consulted.

49. May all metal utensils be kashered by hag’ala?

No. Those that are difficult to clean cannot be kashered. These include a sieve, strainer, grater, and grinder.

50. May one kasher a pressure cooker?

Yes. The pot must be cleaned thoroughly, paying special attention to the valve hole. A rav should be consulted concerning the rubber parts.

51. May one kasher a Shabbos kettle?

No, this item is difficult to kasher and a separate one should be used for Pesach.

52. Does a pot cover need to be kashered?

Yes, because it absorbs chometz steam during cooking (see also question ‎48).

53. May one continue to use the utensil until it is kashered?

No. The utensil must not be used for at least twenty-four hours prior to kashering.

54. May one kasher several items at once?

Yes, but care must be taken to ensure that the water comes into contact with every part of each item. Therefore, if several pieces of silverware are lowered into the water in a wire basket, one must ensure that no piece touches another. A practical suggestion is to place the empty basket into the water and then throw in each item individually.

55. Does one recite a b’racha when kashering?

No. Although the Torah requires the kashering of utensils, one does not fulfill a mitzvah by doing so. The Torah is simply prohibiting the use of these articles until the forbidden taste is removed. In addition, since a person may instead use new utensils that do not require kashering, there is no obligation to remove forbidden taste from these articles.

56. May a child be sent with the utensils for kashering?

A child aged six or seven may be sent, and he is believed to report that the items were kashered.

57. Must one kasher new utensils?

This issue is not relevant to Pesach. According to some opinions, new shining metal pots should be kashered before use throughout the year. This is due to a concern that the fat or oil used to create the shine may be treif. According to other opinions, this concern is insignificant, and new pots do not require kashering. Some opinions say that it is sufficient to pour boiling water over the outside of the pot. Where kashering for Pesach is done communally, arrangements are often made for people to kasher new utensils in a separate vat. New utensils and used chometz utensils should preferably not be kashered in the same vat.

58. Does this apply to disposable aluminum pans or aluminum foil?

No. These items are heated to an extremely high temperature upon completion, and all traces of fat or oil are destroyed.

59. After kashering for Pesach, may one change the use of a utensil from meat to milk or vice versa?

During the year, one may not kasher a utensil with the intention of changing its use from meat to milk or vice versa. However, if one needs to kasher it for Pesach, one is subsequently permitted to switch its use.

Tags: Chametz kashering kitchen Pesach cleaning

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