In the weeks before Pesach, the house and particularly the kitchen and eating areas must be thoroughly cleaned to remove all trace of chametz. Shulchan Aruch records and instructs that the "people of Israel" are particularly "Holy" and remove even the tiniest insignificant amounts of chametz.
Stoves, eating utensils, etc., which have been used for chametz the whole year through, cannot be used on Pesach. They must be thoroughly cleaned and steps taken to ensure they will not be used inadvertently.
This section deals with preparing the kitchen and “kashering”. It is not a complete coverage of the many laws of Pesach and should only be used as a basic guide.
Questions arising out of circumstances not covered by this guide should be directed to your rabbi, or to The Kashrut Authority.
All kashering, etc., must take place before the time for removal of chametz on the day before Pesach.
Cupboards and Pantry
1. All chametz utensils and all chametz food that will not be eaten before Pesach and will not be disposed of but will be sold, should be locked away in a designated cupboard or room, which should be locked or sealed with tape so that its contents are not accidentally used during Pesach. (See Selling the chametz)
2. All shelves should be thoroughly cleaned and then preferably lined.
Counter-Tops & Kitchen Table
These may be kashered by pouring boiling water directly from a pot or kettle over the entire surface after thorough cleaning.
The following material may all be kashered: Granite, Marble, Metal, Wood, Laminex, Formica, Caesar Stone, Quartz Resin and Corian. (In the past The KA has not recommended the kashering of Caesar Stone and the like in accordance with the view of the "Yad Yehuda" who compares these materials that are a mixture of ground stone and resin to earthenware. Many authorities argue with the Yad Yehuda including the poskim of the OU and CRC. As such The KA has reviewed its position and we allow the kashering of these materials).
Some authorities opine that Laminex, Caesar Stone, Corian and other resin based materials as well as plastic surfaces may not be kashered, those who wish to be strict should cover those surfaces.
1. All removable parts must be removed and thoroughly cleaned. The interior must be cleaned thoroughly.
2. Preferably shelf surfaces should be lined taking care to allow the free flow of air through the refrigerator.
3. Refrigerator cleaner that contains ethanol as an ingredient may not be used as the ethanol is likely to be chametz derived.
STOVES AND OVENS
1. All moveable parts must be removed and thoroughly cleaned. The body of the stove must be cleaned to remove all traces of grease and food particles.
2. For convenience the grates on which the pots and pans actually rest and the catchment areas should preferably be changed for new ones that are only used on Pesach.
3. If new parts cannot be acquired, the grates upon which the pots actually rest, can be “kashered” by the “glowing process”, i.e. they should be made to glow red hot. This can be done either by using a blow torch on the pieces to be glowed, or else by rotating them slowly over the actual flame of the gas stove until they glow in the dark. If this will damage the grates, some authorities permit the “light glowing” method for the grates as outlined in 4a.
4a. The catchment areas, etc., should be kashered by the “light glowing” method., i.e. the metal should be heated on the side facing the food until the other side of the metal becomes hot enough to scorch paper.
4b. Alternatively stove top and catchment areas (not the grates) may be kashered by the “scalding process”. The stove should not be used for 24 hours. A few nuts and bolts or rocks should be heated until red hot and placed on the stove top and boiling water poured all over the surface moving the heated bolts over the entire area.
5. A practical way to achieve 3 and 4 above is as follows:
After a thorough cleaning of the parts to be “kashered”, the stove should be reassembled and all gas jets turned on full. A sheet of metal the size of the top of the stove should then be placed over the flames. The heat thus generated under the metal sheet after about five minutes is sufficient to “kasher” the stove. This method achieves “light glowing” for the catchment areas and usually even “full glowing” for the grates.
6. The solid parts of the stovetop and the back plate of the stove (i.e. any part that can come in contact with pots or pans) should be kashered as in 4a, 4b above and/or covered with a double layer of strong aluminum foil. If this foil tears it should be replaced immediately. (It is wise to keep a few pieces of ready cut foil handy in case some is needed during Yom Tov).
7. Stove knobs, etc., should be thoroughly cleaned and preferably covered or replaced.
8. Many authorities do not permit the kashering of enamel. Therefore, enamel stovetop and enamel catchment areas should preferably be covered with two layers of foil or a Pesach Blech, after kashering. If this is not possible, the “light glowing” method will suffice. Enamel parts should not be kashered by the scalding method.
1. The tops and the catchment areas etc. should be “kashered” in the same manner as the gas stove.
2. The rings should be turned on to full heat allowing them to become red hot.
3. The centre knob should also be made red hot or else, after
cleaning, carefully cover the knob with a double layer of aluminum foil.
4. Be careful that any foil used on electric stoves does not come in contact with exposed wires, elements, sockets etc.
Corningware Stove Top
1. Turn to the highest setting for ten minutes.
2. Boiling water should be poured on the portions of the stove between the burners, and areas between burners should be covered with a Pesach Blech or 2 layers of aluminum foil.
Glass top Stove Top
This should be kashered by turning on full for a half hour , pouring boiling water on the surface around the embedded elements, and then covering the area around the elements with a double layer of silver foil. The place of the element can be left uncovered as the full heat will kasher the glass directly on top of the element.
Induction Style Stove Tops
Where the surface on top of the element does not become hot – this should be kashered by pouring boiling water on the entire surface of the stove top. One should then cover as much of the stove top as possible with silver foil. If the particular model will allow the element to work while covered with silver foil – this should be done. If this can not be done - as it is the custom of Ashkenazim not to kasher glass, preferably the stove top should not be used. In circumstances of need – please contact Rabbi Gutnick for further instruction.
1. It is preferable to clean the oven and not use it at all during the eight days of Pesach, due to the difficulty associated in cleaning the oven walls as well as the oven parts.
2. If the oven must be used it should be “kashered” as follows: All removable parts, and the interior walls must be thoroughly cleaned.
3. The oven, with the shelving inside, should be turned on to maximum heat for an hour.
4. If one wishes to be scrupulous the grates or shelves should be “Kashered” by the “glowing process”. This can be done by placing them on the top of the stove and turning on the gas flames and then allowing the grates to become red hot.
5. A griller tray or any surface upon which food was placed directly, not by means of a pan or baking tray, can only be kashered by the full “glowing" process.
6. Many authorities do not permit the kashering of enamel and therefore require that the enamel walls of an oven be covered with foil or an insert.
1. A pyrolitic Oven that undergoes a cleaning cycle is considered fully kashered.
2. The racks which are not in the oven during the cycle must be kashered separately as in "Ovens" points 3 & 4 above.
1. These should preferably not be used.
2. If necessary, the oven should be cleaned of all surface dirt and not used for 24 hours. A glass of hot water should then be placed in the oven, and the oven turned on so that the water boils and spreads steam throughout the entire oven.
3. The oven should then be turned off and wiped down with a clean cloth and cold water.
4. Any trays upon which food is actually placed should be covered with a double layer of Glad Wrap after kashering.
A metal electric warming tray (Israeli style Shabbat Platter) or Glass top warming tray, should be kashered by cleaning, turning on full for at least one hour , and then covering with two layers of silver foil. Some glass tops may crack if covered with silverfoil so care must be taken.
1. The whole sink and particularly the drain area should be thoroughly cleaned and not used for warm or hot liquids for 24 hours prior to “kashering”. All kashering must take place before the time for removal of chametz on the day before Pesach.
2. If the crevice where the drain sieve is attached to the sink cannot be thoroughly cleaned, the “light glowing” method should be used at the crevice. (see Gas Stoves 4a. Above).
3. Bleach should be poured into the sink and allowed to sit in the crevice around the drain as well as in the drain pip. Wait about 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly. This helps to destroy any food residue.
3a. A few nuts and bolts or small pieces of rock should be heated on a fire and then placed in and on the sink. Boiling water should then be poured over the entire area of the sink and draining area as well as on the taps. The hot stones or metal should be moved around the surface as they serve to raise the temperature of the poured water back to the point necessary to “kasher” the sink. The sink and draining area should then be washed down with cold water.
3b. If at all times only liquid chametz was poured into the sink it may also be kashered using just boiling water from a kettle ensuring an unbroken stream of water from the kettle.
4. The small strainer on the end of the tap should be removed or replaced for Pesach. The reason being that one may have accidently dipped the end of the faucet into chametz during the year.
5. Methylated spirits, etc., should not be used for kashering.
Porcelain & Earthenware Sinks
1. These sinks cannot be “kashered”. Boiling water should be poured over them and then they must be covered and bowls used for washing up or metal inserts constructed to fit inside the sink.
Dishwashers should not be kashered for Pesach because they are too difficult to clean especially around the drain and seals. In case of need consult your rabbi or The Kashrut Authority.
Mixers and Kitchen Whizzes
1. These should preferably not be used.
2. If necessary, beaters, blades, bowls etc must be purchased new.
3. The body of the machine must be spotlessly cleaned and then covered.
Electric Rotisseries, Broilers
These should not be kashered for Pesach. In case of need consult your rabbi or The Kashrut Authority.
If you have a Nespresso coffee machine, using your machine over Pesach is possible, only using the kosher le Pesach Nespresso coffee blends (product of Switzerland) as seen in our Pesach products guide - and here's how:
Firstly, it's important you thoroughly clean all surfaces and storage containers, then pop into a Nespresso Boutique to purchase a "Descaling Kit". Descale as per the express instructions, including final rinses, then leave for 24 hours. Then, fill your water container twice and run through your machine twice. Next, your milk warmer needs to be dipped in boiling water, however, if it has its own element, bring water to the boil in it, and over the edges. Finally pour boiling water from the kettle directly over the spout.
(Confused in any way? Call 1800 623 033 for Nespresso technical assistance). If your machine is not made by Nespresso, don't despair, call The KA office on 1300 KASHRUT or 02 93652933.
Kitchenware not being kashered should be stored away and sold with the chametz. (See Selling the Chametz).
Porcelain, earthenware or china dishes; or utensils which may be ruined when immersed in boiling water; cannot be “kashered” and must be stored away and not used on Pesach.
Enamel pots and pans should be treated as Earthenware and should not be kashered for Pesach. In case of great need they may be kashered with the light glowing method. Enamel baking dishes should not be kashered.
Glassware and Corelle
1. Glassware used only for cold or luke-warm food may be made fit for Pesach use by the “soaking method”. The glassware must be completely immersed in cold water for 24 hours and then the water replaced for a total of 3 x 24 hours.
2. Glassware, Pyrex and Corelle used for hot chametz foods and liquids or for strong Chametz beverages such as whisky, cannot be “kashered” for Pesach in this manner and must be stored away and not used.
The Sephardi community has differing customs in regards to glassware. Please contact your Rabbi for advice.
Metalware, Cutlery, Pots & Pans etc.
1. Metal utensils - except for those used for baking or frying - may be “kashered” by the “scalding process”. All articles to be “kashered” should be thoroughly cleaned and not used for 24 hours before. Care should be taken that baked-on grease, etc., be removed. Kashering must take place before the time of removal of chametz.
2. A large pot should be filled with water and brought to the boil. If one uses a chametz pot to Kasher, it should be kashered first.
3. The utensils should be immersed in the boiling water by means of a piece of string or a string bag. A large utensil may be rotated part by part until its entire surface has been immersed. It is preferable that the water continues to boil while the utensils are being immersed; however, if the water ceases to boil they should remain in the water till it begins to boil again. They should then be removed while the water is still boiling (Do not leave them in the pot and then pour out the water). Immediately after removal utensils should be rinsed with cold water.
4. If a pot is too large to immerse into another pot of boiling water, then water should be boiled in the pot to be kashered itself, and then a large stone, previously heated on a fire, should be dropped into the pot of boiling water thus allowing the boiling water to run down the rim and outside of the pot. Care should be taken to ensure that the boiling water spills over the entire rim of the pot. The pot should be emptied and rinsed with cold water.
5. The lids of pots and pans should be kashered by immersion in boiling water after they have been thoroughly cleaned. All handles and knobs should be unscrewed before cleaning and kashered separately. If handles cannot be unscrewed, then the joint should be thoroughly cleaned, and boiling water poured over the joint and the entire handle.
6. Metalware with joints or engravings on the inside of the utensil (i.e. where it comes into contact with Chametz on a continual basis) need first to have meticulous care taken to get into the crevice and clean it thoroughly and be kashered at the point of the engraving or crevice by the ‘light glowing’ method. The crevice needs to be heated on the side where it comes into contact with food until the other side of the metal becomes hot enough to scorch paper.
7. Similarly a pot with a tightly curled rim needs to be thoroughly spotlessly cleaned at the rim and then the “light glowing” method employed on the rim. This can easily be done by slowly rotating the rim of the pot over the stove fire. The hinge of a hinged pot cover also needs to be thoroughly cleaned and the “light glowing” method used on the hinge.
8. After kashering is complete, it is customary to re-kasher the pot in which the kashering took place.
9. Alternatively to the "scalding method", the light glowing method may be used.
Baking Tins, Frypans, Rotisseries and Spits
All cooking utensils usually used without liquids or very little liquid, cannot be kashered by the “scalding process” but must be caused to glow red hot. As this would normally damage the tin or pan, it is advisable not to attempt to “kasher” such items but to acquire separate ones for Pesach.
Frypans that are always used for deep frying with oil and never used for baking or "dry" frying may be kashered with either the "scalding" or "light glowing" method.
Non-Stick Frypans and Pots
These cannot be Kashered for Pesach, because the required kashering usually ruin the surface. (However the coating on such non-stick pots and pans is Kosher for Pesach use.)
1. It is preferable to purchase new plastic utensils for Pesach use as these are relatively inexpensive. However, plastic utensils that have not been used in direct contact with something that had actually been cooking on the stove may be kashered as follows:
2. If the utensil has been used with very hot liquids or foods, it should be thoroughly cleaned and “kashered” by the “scalding process”. If this may damage the plastic, it is sufficient to pour the boiling water in an unbroken stream directly from the pot or kettle, over the utensils to be “kashered”, making sure that the water covers all surface areas of each utensil.
3. If the utensil is used only to store cold food and liquids for longer than 24 hours at a time, it should be kashered by the “soaking process” as outlined under Glassware.
4. If the plastic utensil is used for both hot and storing cold, both methods, (2) and (3) must be employed.
5. Plastic utensils with scratches and cracks which cannot be cleaned properly, cannot be “kashered”.
Wooden utensils can be “kashered” by the “scalding process” outlined above for Metalware, but they must be thoroughly clean, and if necessary, sanded.
These should be cleaned before the time of removal of Chametz on the day before Pesach. If the garbage has not been collected by this time, the bin should be left outside one’s property and its contents deemed to be absolutely ownerless and inclued in the "Kol Chamira" before the hour of the removal of Chametz. Do not forget to empty your vacuum cleaner bag!
Tea Towels, Ovenmitts and Potholders
After thorough laundering, and provided they are not embroidered are permitted for use for Pesach. However, it is preferable to obtain a new set.
Tablecloths, which have been used for Chametz and are not embroidered, can be laundered and used for Pesach. Embroidered tablecloths cannot be kashered for Pesach. It is however preferable to purchase tablecloths for Pesach.
N.B. Starch is usually Chametz.
Utensils made of actual whole stone may be treated as metalware and may be kashered; however, glazed stoneware (which is made from ground stone) may not be kashered. Most stoneware utensils available are in fact made from ground stone and cannot be kashered.
A sieve or strainer may not be kashered for Pesach.
An important part of the kashering process is to toile the Keilim. It is important to note that the only keilim that require tevila min hadin are metal and glass (which includes corelle and corningware). China, wood and plastic do not require tevila, although many have the custom of toivelling china without a bracha. Some toivel plastic as well.
While min hatorah only metal require tevila. Chazal required glass to be toiveled as well. The reason is because, glass can be melted and repaired as metal. By contrast, plastic melts and burns, and therefore it does not require tevila. While in previous ages china may have actually been made with a glass coating, modern day china contains no glass coating whatsoever. It cannot be melted and cannot be repaired with heat. The shine cannot be construed to a layer of glass. Therefore, mai'ikar hadin it does not require tevila.
The above is a very important principle to be aware of. Firstly, it makes the process of kashering a kitchen easier. Secondly, you can sometimes be confronted by a situation where someone has a kosher home but you know that he has not toiled his dishes. While failure to toivel does not render the food non-kosher, it is questionable whether one can drink water from a glass in such a home. But a hot cup of tea in a china cup would pose no problem whatsoever!