Thursday, March 4, 2010

If You Have the Extra Fridge

My extra fridge will be made ready for Pesach by the end of today. Why? Six reasons. First, it's one less appliance to wrestle with in the week before Pesach. The fridge portion gets double lined so that, if needed, fruits and veggies and drinks can still be stored in it that aren't Pesachdik. The only cleaning needed in the week before Pesach is to remove the extra linings carefully. The freezer will be ready for Pesach. Two, since most of the butcher shops in the NY area will already start having kosher for Passover meats beginning this week, it allows for some relatively leisurely shopping and provides a place to freeze those meats for the next few weeks. Empire products in the supermarkets already have the OUP on them. Three, in case something goes on sale you have a way to take advantage of the sale because you have freezer space to hold the items. Four, the closer you come to Pesach the surer you are to find that prices have gone up beyond what you paid for items only a few short weeks ago. Buying early because you have a place to store those items means you won't be hit with all of the price raises. Five, the stores are definitely less crowded now. You are going to have a more peaceful shopping experience without battling the crowds. Six, given the way our winter weather has been unfurling I wouldn't be at all surprised to see snow in March. We've already had the experience in NY of a blizzard at the end of March. If you have that extra fridge it is so worth the effort to get it Pesach ready now. And just as a reminder, vinegar makes an excellent cleaner for the inside of the fridge--pesachdik one of course.


Anonymous said...

I admit I know nothing about vinegar other than it smells bad. Why does it have to be Passover vinegar if you are using it for cleaning? And does it really clean anything?

ProfK said...


Most of the plain white vinegar sold is fermented using grain yeast, rendering it as chometzdik. If you are cleaning for Pesach using the vinegar, use a Pesachdik vinegar, which has not been fermented using grains.

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. It cuts grease, shines and disinfects all without added chemicals. You should see how sparkly windows get if you clean them with vinegar. Nor is it limited to just cleaning.

Check out for lots of other wonderful uses for vinegar.

Toby said...

Does this have to be what you call white vinegar (and what is that)or will any vinegar work? The vinegar can't smell any worse then all those heavy duty cleansers do.

Anonymous said...

you can just use a regular multi purpose cleaner too.

btw I completely agree; my extra fridge is getting cleaned and ready this week too, in preparation for a sunday shop of the sales...

ProfK said...


White vinegar is the plain, clear vinegar that most people associate with the word vinegar. The other types of vinegar aren't really appropriate for cleaning because of all the various added items that give them their unique taste--those items can also make them sticky.

The price is a lot better than all those "fancy" specialized cleaning products. King Kullen had its OU white vinegar in gallon bottles on sale for $1.99 a bottle. You aren't going to find any other cleaning product at that price. Even at regular price the vinegar is cheaper than the specialized cleaning products.

JS said...

I'm not looking for any halachic ruling here, just some info if anyone has it.

I just don't understand why pesach cleaning is as crazy as it is. If there's a good reason, fine; but, it just doesn't seem to have any basis in common sense or reason.

If you have a clean fridge, why do you need to line the shelves for non-pesach items that are in containers like orange juice or for other items like fruits and vegetables?

How is meat ever non-pesachdik?

Why can't you clean for pesach with "regular" vinegar? No one's going to lick whatever vinegar remains on the surfaces that were cleaned with it.

It just seems everyone runs around like a chicken with its head cut off cleaning and scrubbing and covering and re-covering and pouring boiling water all over everything without ever thinking if it makes any logical sense to do so.

Lion of Zion said...

I was thinking exactly like JS. Pesach cleaning doesn't need to be more difficult than what is required. It isn't, for example, necessary to line the fridge (not my psak, but the Star K's). And I also don't understand why the vinegar has to be KP. It's not like we can kasher the plastic in the fridge anyway and prepare food on it. So what's the difference what you use to clean it? Especially if you are still going to line it anyway?

Obviously one should consult their halakhic authority for these matters (whether that's your LOR or MIL).

In any case ProfK, I'm jealous you have 2 fridges. We have one tiny fridge that isn't big enough for during the year, forget about for stocking up for Pesach.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I plan to clean my fridge soon and use it for produce & milk (not OUP) without a lining for the next couple of weeks. If the outside of a regular milk carton may contain a smidge of chametz, so can the outside of an OUP carton - they're in the same dairy case, for crying out loud.

I don't use vinegar to clean, with a P or without - I personally love surfactants.

ProfK said...

An update on that vinegar. I spoke to a LOR and his take was that I should use the pesachdik vinegar. The fridge can be a damp place, particularly the condensation that regularly forms in the fruit and vegetable bins. If any of the vinegar residue mixes with this dampness you could have a chometz problem for the raw produce. Makes no sense to use non-pesachdik vinegar for only some of the fridge and pesachdik for the rest, so I do the whole fridge with the pesachdik vinegar.

Re lining the fridge, again my Rav says the Star K is both right and wrong. The shelves in my refrigerators are all glass. Only some glass is kasherable for Pesach, and not with the shelves in the fridge, even assuming they are of the kasherable type of glass. You bet that chometz has spilled on those shelves during the year. You bet that open containers of echt chometz have been on those shelves during the year. No matter how frenetic you are about cleaning the shelves and the plastic frames around them you are not going to necessarily get every crumb and spot. The Rav says to line those glass shelves and so I do. Only takes a few minutes and it's one less thing to wonder about.

Lion, even when we were still living in an apartment I had that extra fridge. I have loads of company all the time and I buy everything I'm going to use for Pesach before yom tov. I wouldn't make it without that extra fridge and freezer space. It sat in the corner of the dining room in one apartment and I didn't care how "weird" it might look.

JS, balabustas do things for Pesach that sometimes seem to make no sense--agreed. But some things make sense to them given what they know about their house and their cleaning habits and also what they hold by for Pesach.

I know that some people take keilim to the hagolah stations that are set up in various communities. I'm not saying that the pots that are purged aren't kosher for Pesach, but I couldn't do it. Just not the way my mom and mil made Pesach and not the way I do either. The only thing I "kasher" for Pesach are the silver kosos that I do at home. Doesn't make it a matter of right or wrong, but just the way I do it.

Anonymous said...

I am open to change, if it within halacha and it will make my life easier. My life is busy enough as it is. If a rabbi I trust and follow says it's mutar, you bet I will take advantage of any kula. I am not doing anything just because I can't bring myself to do otherwise.

Also, ProfK, you are lucky your mother and your mother-in-law did things the same way, apparently. What if they had very different customs? Whose customs would your family follow?

Anonymous said...

I remember the first year I didn't line cabinets. (I never had the practice to line the refrigerator). We had moved into a house with fairly new cabinetry, with shelves that were easy to remove & wash. Every inch of the shelves were sprayed with surfactants, which surely rendered any unseen crumbs inedible and therefore not chametz. My husband was hesitant - he could hear his late mother a"h saying to him that the cabinets should be lined. But logic won over and those cabinets were never lined for Pesach.

Of course I will line an old cabinet or shelf that can't be cleaned properly, but that's another story. In most cases, the inedible surfactants will create a taaroves (mixture) that will render any unseen chametz inedible. That's good enough for me, but some people prefer the literal security blanket of a lining. That's fine with me as long as you don't make me line mine too.

JS said...


Of course. I wasn't trying to disparage. Everyone should try to do what their rabbi says in combination with their family minhagim.

I think there's a tendency to not do the above and just go overboard sometimes. I remember the rabbi gave a shiur for pesach preparations and stated people should EITHER pour boiling water on certain types of counter tops OR cover them, but not both. Someone jumped up and started criticizing the rabbi for not having the halacha right. The rabbi then quoted from a sefer (maybe the mishna brurah, I forget) and told the person "Look, if you want to do it because that's what your family has always done, fine. But, realize it's not halacha and you don't have to do it."

Miami Al said...

Line what you want... We get a ton of Clorox wipes and wipe everything down. We pour boiling water on the granite/marble, and seal off what we're not using. We take whatever shelves, etc., that come out of the fridge/freeze, and do our best to clean the areas that gather crumbs at the bottom of both... then hit it with chemicals that render it inedible and move on with life.

With the kids making a mess, we'll have the couches cleaned out and the carpets cleaned, mostly because that needs to get done annually and now seems as good a time as any.

However, regarding spending a fortune? We go mostly vegan for the week, keeps the costs down. Last year I was at the produce place 4 times the week before Pesach, need to find a new place by my new office. We made Pesach the holiday of squash. :)

The most expensive thing is replacing the spices... Again, need to be replaced annually or more, now seems like a good time to do it.

The trend toward nuttiness leads to people wanting to do Pesach in hotels... I find it tragic that their are Orthodox children that have no idea how to have a family Passover... if you take it to an extreme that you resent the holiday or flee to a hotel, you've missed the point... badly...

Miami Al said...


Right, but realize that in the post-WW2 rush to suburbia, the goyim were big into lining cabinets, and replacing them every year as part of spring cleaning around Easter time. Remember, whatever the goyim did 2 generations ago is Jewish minhag now!

Grateful Reader said...

I always thought the vinegar thing was an urban legend. If it worked so great why are there millions of cleansers being sold? My problem is that even with a mask, gloves and long sleeves I get a bad reaction to all those cleansers, rashes and hives.

After reading this posting yesterday I figured that unless you were lying about the vinegar somebody says it works so what have I got to lose. The stuff is great! I tested it on a window and it's clear as well glass. I did the whole bathroom with it and everything shines and is clean. The best is that I got no skin reaction at all. And the smell goes away really quickly. Thank you!!!