Saturday, September 22, 2018 -
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A primer for Passover cleaning

Cleaning for Passover is a daunting task because of this fundamental stringency: Since leaven is not a forbidden food — not like pork — a Jew is used to eating leaven all year round. On Passover it would be easy to dip into some leaven by accident. Therefore, all leaven must be destroyed, not merely set aside.

To this the Sages added an additional stringency: Leaven is forbidden in the smallest amount (mashehu). For both of these reasons . . . cleaning is the order of the pre-Passover season.

Countertops

Clean thoroughly and carefully pour boiling water over the countertops.

If your countertop cannot withstand boiling hot water (and thus cannot be kashered) clean thoroughly and cover with a non-porous material that will not easily tear, such as tinfoil or adhesive shelf liners.

Refrigerator and Freezer

Clean thoroughly and defrost the freezer. Cover all surfaces with plastic or foil.

Sinks

Stainless Steel:

Clean thoroughly, leave unused for 24 hours, and then pour boiling water over the entire surface and faucet.

Porcelain:

Cannot be kashered. An insert should be purchased for Passover use.

Stovetop

Clean stovetop thoroughly, including, in the case of a gas stove, the individual grates. (Some opt to run the grates through a self-clean cycle in the oven, though not all ovens’ self-cleaning mechanism will work if the grates are placed inside.)

Make sure to scrape food residuals from the surface and the catch tray.

Remove (if possible) the knobs and clean thoroughly.

For electric stoves, turn the burners to the highest setting until they glow red.

For gas stoves, light the flames at the highest setting for ten minutes.

Oven

Self-Clean:

Run a high-temperature self-clean cycle with the racks inside the oven (again, if the self-clean will work with the racks inside).

Non Self-Clean:

Thoroughly clean oven, including all oven racks with razor blades, baking soda and steel wool. Clean catch tray if applicable. Leave for 24 hours. Turn oven to highest setting for one hour.

Some then cover the racks with aluminum foil.

Microwave

Clean thoroughly. After leaving unused for 24 hours, boil water in the microwave for several minutes so that it fills with vapor.

Cabinets and Pantry

Clean all surfaces thoroughly.

Dishes, Pots, Flatware

Silver, stainless steel and other metals may be kashered. Clean the items thoroughly. Leave for 24 hours. Bring a pot of water to a boil; maintain a rolling boil throughout the process. Submerge each item fully in the boiling water.

For larger items you will require larger pots for the process.

Adapted from the CRC Guide to Passover (Chicago Rabbinical Council) and The Kosher Kitchen: A Practical Guide (Artscroll).




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