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How to Clean for Passover (in 10 Days or Less)
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Israel navigation feature buckets. We use a "light" form of "burning out" called libun kal. Practically speaking, you heat up the grate until it is so hot that if a piece of paper touched it, it would turn brown. The easiest way to do this is to heat up your oven, stick in the grates, and that will be sufficient. Or, you can turn on a few burners, and put your Shabbos blech right on top of the grates.
Don't turn on all four burners, because with the blech there is not enough oxygen and the fires will go out.
Instead, turn on two diagonal ones, then do the other two on the other side. In either case, be sure the grate is hot enough so that a piece of paper touching it would turn brown. Stainless steel counters can be kashered. First, make sure they've not been used for hot chametz in the past 24 hours. Then, clean them well. And finally, pour boiling water from a kettle all over them. The problem is this is a really messy job and you may have to fill up lots of kettles. So one alternative is to put cold water all over your counter put something on the side so the water doesn't spill over , then take an electric steam iron, and go over the entire countertop.
This will make the water "sizzle," which is the halachic equivalent of using a red-hot stone -- eh'ven meluban. Don't worry, a steam iron is waterproof and this will not ruin your iron. But remember -- this only works on stainless steel counters. What if you have stone or marble counters?
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That depends on the type of stone. In Israel, most people have what is called shayish. This is a combination of stone and epoxy -- and cannot be kashered for Passover. You have to cover it with something waterproof. And although it's not required, some people pouring boiling water over it before covering it properly.
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If you have what they call "granite," that is real stone and can be kashered for Passover. Use the methods described above for stainless steel. The only problem spot is the seams where you have a little crack filled with plaster. Some people put rubber mats over their granite even if they do kasher it just to cover these seams. But halachically, if you pour boiling water there, it should be sufficient.
What about the wall behind the countertops? Since your pots touch the wall during the year, make sure to cover it. It doesn't make a difference what the wall is made of, you should cover the wall behind the counter. Additionally, you should cover the underside of the upper cabinets that overhang the counter. Because some Passover food may touch it.
But beyond this, there is steam that can go up and absorb the taste of chametz steam that was absorbed there. Not everyone agrees, but I believe that surface should be covered. As for the outside of the cabinets themselves, we assume that food will not touch there directly. But make sure you clean them well. As for the kitchen table, it is the same as we said for the dining room table: cover it with something waterproof. If your tabletop is made of wood, metal or stone, you could pour boiling water from a kettle directly onto your table, and that would actually enable you to use the table without any covering.
This method does not work for formica.
Most people generally don't put hot food directly into the refrigerator. But if you do during the year, don't do it on Passover! The basic rule with a refrigerator is the same as doorknobs: It must be cleaned spotlessly. First take out the shelves, then clean the entire inside very well with something that renders food non-edible.
It may be a little difficult to bend in there, but the surface itself is smooth and not too hard to clean. What about the shelves themselves?
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If you try going over every surface by hand -- in between the little slats -- it's going to take forever. So the best thing is to fill the bathtub about halfway with water, add some ammonia, and put all the shelves in there. Wash them off under pressure, and make sure that nothing edible remains.
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Although this is sufficient, some people still feel uncomfortable putting Passover food directly down onto the shelves. You can cover the shelves, but be careful: If you cover them with something that air cannot go through, then there will be no circulation in the refrigerator, the thermostat will get confused and the motor will run forever. You can kill your fridge that way!