Laws pertaining to Preparing the House for Pesach – Part III
Kashering the Kitchen, its furniture and accessories.
A. The main body of the kitchen area itself needs a thorough cleaning and bedikah since this is the main place where chametz is found throughout the year. With regards to the obligation to perform bedikas chametz on the main floor space, as we have mentioned in previous weeks, one can rely on cleaning alone, but with regards to the corners and crevices/grooves, under the fridge and between the cupboard, one needs to perform a bedikah as well.
B. Kitchen Cupboards:
One needs to remove all the contents of the shelves and clean them well so that not even a single crumb will remain. One also needs to perform a thorough bedikah even though one has used cleaning materials there, due to a fear that some crumbs may fall into a utensil or food. The main bedikah revolves around the corners and hinges (where for example “soup almonds” or pasta pieces can fall). NOTE: Even though one has cleaned there, one needs to do a bedikas chametz before one places the Pesach utensils and food there, as afterwards it is not possible to perform a bedikah. Many are negligent in this point since when they do the bedikah on the night of the 14th, the shelves are already full of Pesach goods and it is difficult at that point to remove everything and thereby perform a thorough bedikah – and what usually happens is one ends up only superficially looking over the shelves and this is not considered a bedikah at all!
Cupboards that one intends to include when selling one’s chametz, do not require cleaning or bedikah.
There are those that line their cupboard shelves with paper/plastic lining or the like, but it seems that if the selves are made of Formica, there is no need to line them at all as this minhag of covering them comes from yesteryear where most shelving was made of solid wood which had many grooves and there was no real way to clean them well. Conversely today, when one is able to clean such smooth surfaces well, there is no need. However, if one was not able to clean one’s surfaces appropriately or there are some grooves or cracks etc, there is room to follow this minhag.
C. Kitchen Drawers:
One has to follow the laws described above in regards to the Kitchen cupboards, but one needs to be even more careful with regards to the corners and railings of the drawers. After one has cleaned them well, one needs to perform a bedikah. If it is during the day, one can take the drawers into the sunlight (E.g. by the window) and perform the bedikah; if at night, with a flashlight.
Also over here, if one has performed the appropriate bedikah and there is no separation between the bottoms and the sides of the drawers, one does not need to line them with paper/plastic lining (or the like). However, if one still suspects there may be some chametz in the grooves, instead of the lining, it is possible to spray some detergent there or to seal the grooves with tape.
D. Bread Drawers:
The correct minhag is not to use these at all on Pesach. One who does in fact make use of this space, should seal all the corners and grooves with tape as even after cleaning, it is very likely still to have crumbs of chametz there. Also the railings in the case of such drawers, would need to be cleaned exceptionally well and then sprayed with detergent afterwards in case any remaining crumbs should fall into the drawers below.
E. Drying Racks:
According to the main essence of the Halacha, it is enough to clean the drying racks well. However, in the case of drying racks built into the cupboards, it is likely that they may have absorbed steam from chametz and therefore, when steamed again during Pesach, the racks will exude this chametz to the Pesach utensils. Therefore, it would appear that one should kasher them with steam. In practice, one should boil water in an electric urn/kettle and while it is still boiling steam, hold/place the kettle under the drying racks letting the steam of the kettle draw out any chametz that it may have absorbed.
F. Counter tops:
One needs to clean these surfaces extremely well and carefully because they will be used on Pesach itself. It would appear that according to the strict fulfillment of the precept, one should perform a bedikah on them as well. In practice, most people in Eretz Yisrael do not have real granite (which is normally a mixture) and therefore it is not possible to kasher them. One is therefore required to cover them. It is preferable to cover them with a thick enough material that will not tear on Pesach e.g. pvc, or 100 micro foil. If one uses such material, there is no need to perform Hagalah (pour boiling water over the counter tops) prior to covering it. If one wants to be scrupulous, one should not place any hot pots on the surface directly, but rather on an intermediary place-holder between the counter and pot. Note: those who have genuine stone/granite or stainless steel counter tops should ask a halachic authority about the methods of kashering them, due to the complexity involved which we are unable to go into over here.
G. Ceramic Tiles
One should clean these surfaces (backsplash etc) well, since they are susceptible to absorbing steam given off by, or from splashes of chametz. Should these surfaces come in contact with a Pesach pot etc, the pot could absorb the taste of the chametz. In practice, hagalah would not help with ceramic since it is porous and therefore one should cover these surfaces with the likes of regular aluminum foil.
One should clean them well and pour boiling water over them. The process is as follows: First, one should open the hot water and let the water flow until the tap itself becomes hot and then pour boiling water over the tap at the same time. With regards to removable faucets with a hose, since there are parts that do not get very hot when the hot water is turned on, one should pour boiling water on the hose etc as well.