Compiled by Rabbi Yitzchak Hanoka and Rabbi Yosef D. Chanowitz
A) This year, due to unfortunate circumstances, many of us are faced with the reality of making Pesach on our own for the first time. Due to social distancing and illness, many people are unable to go out and purchase regular Pesach supplies. In order to assist you with kashering your kitchen for Passover due to the situation we are in this year, we have compiled a list of a few common kitchen appliances and utensils and how to kasher them according to the basic letter of the law.
If you find it too difficult, or unsafe, please consult with a kosher expert or your local rabbi, before attempting to kasher on your own. On the other hand, if you find that that your tradition is to be stricter than what we suggest here, please follow your traditions or discuss this year’s challenges with your Rav.
B) In order to execute the kashering properly and safely, please put on protective gear, including water proof and heat proof gloves, water proof aprons, etc., and made sure your face, body and hands remain as far from the boiling water and/or fire as possible. Please keep all children away from the kitchen during kashering.
C) We kept the answers brief so if something is not clear please ask your local rabbi or a kashrus expert.
D) The kashering kettle/pot should be preferably dedicated for Pesach use or kashered before one uses it to kasher other utensils. Alternatively, one can use a chometz kettle that was cleaned and was unused for 24 hours prior to kashering.
- Metal sink:
The sink should be cleaned well with soap or cleaning detergent and not used for hot for 24 hours. When you are ready to kasher, boil water in a pot or kettle. Immediately after the water reaches a full boil, pour the boiling water in a steady, uninterrupted stream on all of the surfaces of the sink (starting with the bottom of the sink, then the sides and top. Some authorities require that one uses both boiling water and a red-hot stone simultaneously to kasher the surface of the sink.
After kashering, one should rinse the sink with cold water. It is best to replace the sink strainer with one dedicated for Pesach use. It is also recommended to pour 3 ounces of soap down the drain after kashering. Some have a custom (if possible) to use a sink insert even after kashering.
Alternative Kashering Method:
One can place 2-4 sternos in the bottom of the sink basin and light them for about 45 minutes. The sink should be covered with aluminum foil to keep the heat in, taking care to leave a small corner open for air and as a way to check that the sternos didn’t extinguish. Extra caution is needed to make sure not to get too close to the foil, or open the foil, since the heat underneath is VERY intense.
- Other materials:
Marble and other natural stone sinks can be kashered like metal sinks. Composite stone sinks, as well as plastic and other synthetic material, may be kashered if needed. (Some do not rely on kashering such material but in our current situation there might be room to be lenient).
Ceramic, porcelain and fireclay sinks may not be kashered.
- Metal faucet:
Soak the spray nozzle very well with soap and scrub clean. Some require switching the filter. The faucet should be cleaned and remain dry for 24 hours. The faucet can be kashered immediately following the rest of the sink.
Boil a kettle of water and pour with a steady uninterrupted stream onto the faucet while the faucet is open to the hottest possible temperature. If you have a pull-out faucet, pull it out and pour water on that section as well. One should rinse the faucet with cold water. Some cover the handle as best possible.
- Plastic faucet:
They may be kashered according to the same method as a metal faucet. (Some disagree and do not permit kashering but in our current situation there might be room to be lenient).
- An instant hot water faucet may be kashered by the same method as the metal faucet.
- Metal countertops:
The counter should be cleaned well with soap or cleaning detergent and not used for hot for 24 hours.
To kasher, boil a kettle of water and immediately after the water reaches a full boil pour the water in a steady uninterrupted stream onto the counter, one counter section at a time. If, during the initial pour, boiling water trickles down to an area which was not yet kashered, one should wipe that area before kashering it. Some authorities require kashering the flat surface of the counter with a red-hot stone and boiling water together. One should rinse off the counter with cold water after kashering.
Some have a custom to cover the counter even after kashering and, in that case, one would not need to use the red-hot stone.
- Other materials:
Marble and other natural stone counters can be kashered like metal ones.
Composite stone counters, as well as laminate and other synthetic material, may be kashered. Some do not rely on kashering such material, but in our current situation there might be room to be lenient. With laminate one should clean extra well in any crevices. Thoroughly covering a laminate countertop is recommended, even after kashering.
Wood counters may be kashered under certain scenarios, however it is better to cover well after kashering.
Ceramic, porcelain and fireclay countertops may not be kashered.
- Self-cleaning oven:
One should remove any visible dirt, leave it unused for 24 hours, then run a full self-clean cycle until complete. Continuous clean cycle is not sufficient.
- Non self-clean oven:
One should consult with a local rabbi or kashrus consultant for the best method.
- Oven Warmer: cannot be kashered
- Gas stove top:
Grates: It is best to kasher them with Libun Gamur, by inserting them into the oven for a full self-clean cycle.
Burner: It kashers itself by turning on the fire for 5 minutes.
Stove top surface: It should be cleaned well and covered with two layers of heavy-duty foil. It should not be used for 24 hours after cleaning.
The trap does not need Kashering.
The hood: In most cases the hood does not get hot when cooking on the stove, therefore it is enough to clean well with a cleaning agent. If one’s hood does get hot, then, after cleaning, one should double cover with aluminum foil to the best of his ability.
- Electric stove top:
Burners: Turn all burners on to the highest setting for 15 minutes.
Stove top surface: Once clean and unused for 24 hours, it should be covered with two layers of heavy-duty foil.
The trap does not need kashering.
- Glass stove top:
One should consult with a local rabbi or kashrus expert.
- Metal Pot:
Clean well with soap and do not use for 24 hours. If the pot is made entirely of metal, then the easiest method is to place it in the oven at 550°F for 1 hour. It is best to do this after you’ve kashered your oven, but you can use a chometz oven that is clean and has not been used for 24 hours.
Otherwise, fill up the pot with water almost until the top of the pot, place on the stove burner and heat to a complete boil. Gently push the boiling water (with a Pesach spoon or ladle) in all directions, so that the water flows over all sides of the pot. Take care to stand back so you do not get splashed with boiling water.
The cover of the pot can be placed on the pot (in the normal manner) while the water is boiling for a few minutes to kasher it.
One should pour boiling water from a Pesach kettle over the pot handles, the lid and the lid handle.
If the handles or lid are screwed on or glued and there are areas which cannot possibly be fully cleaned, libun would be necessary on those areas. This can be accomplished by placing that section of the pot directly on the burner, while the flame is lit, for 2 minutes. The rest of the pot can be kashered as above.
Once kashering is complete the pot should be rinsed off with cold water.
One should avoid kashering. If necessary, one should ask their local rabbi or a kashrus expert.
- Metal cutlery:
If the cutlery is made of one solid piece, one should clean them with soap and leave unused for 24 hours. When you are ready to kasher, drop them one at a time in a pot of water that is boiling rapidly. Make sure the water has returned to a rapid boil before dropping in the next piece. Rinse each piece with cold water after kashering.
OTHER APPLIANCES AND KITCHEN AREAS
- Refrigerator, freezer, pantries, high chair:
They should be fully cleaned with soap or cleaning detergent, with special attention paid to edges and crevices where food can get in. It is best to cover over the surfaces where food touches. If one does not need to use the cabinets for Pesach, they make be locked or taped shut and sold (and do not need to be cleaned).
- Gloves, apron, tablecloth, towels and other fabric materials:
One should run them through a hot cycle in the washing machine with detergent.
Some are careful, ever after washing them, no to use them directly with food.
Utensils that were either purchased new from a non-Jew, or were used by a non-Jew and kashered, require immersion in a mikvah once they are owned by a Jew.
See https://www.ok.org/kosherspirit/spring-2014/a-guide-to-tevilas-keilim/ for more details.
Since keilim mikvaos are currently closed due to the pandemic, it is advisable for one to have in mind (during the purchase of such a utensil) that he does not intend to buy it, just borrow it. This will exempt the item from requiring tevila.
If one already bought the item, he should give it as a gift to a non-Jew and borrow it back. One should explain to the non-Jew that for Jewish ritual reasons we are requesting that he take ownership.
It is advisable that after Pesach, when putting away these utensils, one should mark them as not toiveled. This way he remembers to toivel them when preparing for Pesach next year.
Obviously, if a mikvah is safely available, the items should be toiveled right away.