BEFORE YOU START
It is customary (and if one has the space, easiest) to remove the utensils and dishes that are used during the year, and to replace them with utensils used only for Pesach. For most people, this is not possible for major appliances and especially in a New York apartment, and it may not be possible for dishes and utensils, especially this year. Consider making do with fewer just-for-Passover items this year. For ones you can't do without, there are ways to kasher many, but not all, kitchen items to make them usable on Pesach.
Decide in advance which year-round equipment you want to use on Pesach. The process of switching an item over to Pesach use requires a 24-hour period between using it for hametz and making it ready for Pesach. It may not be possible to change something over at the last moment (unless it happens not to have been used for the past 24 hours).
STORING HAMETZ WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD
Separate hametz food and non-Pesach dishes and utensils from Pesach food and utensils and put them away in a box or a closed cabinet. A dishwasher that is not kashered for Pesach makes a good storage place! Tape hametz drawers and cabinets closed to prevent opening them out of habit.
POTS, PANS, DISHES & UTENSILS
The method for kashering kitchen utensils depends on how they are used. For an explanation, see Kashering 101, below.
The following procedures apply only to cutlery and utensils made entirely of uncoated metal. Baking utensils cannot be kashered.
Thoroughly clean the items, then leave them unused for a full 24 hours. Pay extra attention to pot handles. If a handle can be removed, do so for a more thorough cleaning.
After the 24-hour waiting period, immerse the items in water at a rolling boil in a Passover pot. Each item must be completely exposed to the boiling water. Immerse pots and pans in a larger pot (may be done one section at a time) or boil water in them and then drop something in to make the boiling water overflow and cover the rim and sides of the pot. In former times, one used a heated stone; the lid to a smaller pot also works. Immerse cutlery, kiddush cups, and other small items individually, so that every part of each piece is exposed to the boiling water. Finally, rinse each item in cold water.
Drinking glasses and glass dishes used only for cold foods may be kashered by a simple rinsing. Some people follow the custom of soaking them in water for three days, changing the water every day.
Glass cookware and dishes used for preparing and eating hot food are treated like metal utensils. Clean them, leave them unused for 24 hours, then immerse them in boiling water.
If it has not been used in the oven, treat it like glassware. If it has been used in the oven, then (like a metal baking pan) it cannot be kashered.
China and pottery cannot be kashered, except fine china that has not been used for a full year may be made kosher lePesach by cleaning it thoroughly in hot water. The dishes then become like new, and may be designated for either meat or dairy.
Most plastic items may not be kashered; however, heavy-duty items that do not stain permanently may be kashered by boiling water, provided they can withstand the heat.
Put self-cleaning ovens through the self-cleaning cycle. Wipe out ash residue with a Passover sponge. In other ovens, scrub the walls, top, and bottom, and scour the racks. Then heat the oven at maximum heat for an hour. Kasher a convection oven the same way; make sure to clean thoroughly around the fan.
If the stove top lifts, open it and clean underneath.
Clean the grates and drip pans. If the drip pans do not come clean, cover them with foil or buy a separate set for Pesach. Turn the burners to full heat (only two at a time, to avoid overheating the area). Electric elements should be heated until they turn red and glow; gas burners, for long enough to burn away any residue on the grates.
Smooth top electric ranges present a challenge. Clean the top thoroughly; turn the burners to maximum so that the stovetop becomes as hot as possible; then carefully pour boiling water on the surface area around the burners.
A microwave oven that has a browning element cannot be kashered. Other microwave ovens should be thoroughly cleaned. Then put two cups of water in a kosher lePesach container and microwave on high until half the water has boiled away. Move the container of boiling water midway through the process, so that the area under it is also exposed to the steam. Caution: boiling away all the water and running the microwave empty will damage the oven.
Enamel-coated dishwashers cannot be kashered. If the dishwasher is stainless-steel-lined, clean it thoroughly, including the drain and the filters. Leave the dishwasher unused for 24 hours. Then, to kasher it, run it at its highest heat setting, empty, with detergent in the dispenser and in the main compartment.
If parts that come into contact with food are not removable, the appliance cannot be kashered. Kasher removable parts in the same way as non-electric utensils. Thoroughly clean all exposed parts.
Refrigerator and Freezer
Clean the refrigerator according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Defrost (if necessary) and clean the freezer. Racks should not be covered.
Thoroughly clean the sink with special attention to the drain. Put a new rack or liner in the bottom and use a Passover dishpan. To kasher a metal sink so that you do not need a dishpan, clean it, and let 24 hours pass during which only cold water is used. Then pour boiling water over all surfaces of the sink, starting with the bottom first and working up towards the top including the lip.
The general rule is to clean them thoroughly, and then cover them with Con-Tact paper, foil, or plastic sheets (which can be saved year-to-year). Some types of counter may be kashered without covering them as long as they are not stained, scratched, cracked, or chipped; however, the process requires leaving them unused for 24 hours. For instructions and to see whether or not your counter is eligible, see the Rabbinical Assembly Guide.
Follow the same procedure as for counters. If the surface is not used for food prep, paper or cloth may be used for covers. The cloth must not have been exposed to hametz, e.g., starch.
Shelves and Cabinets
Wipe them well. If you use shelf paper, replace it. If not, wiped shelves do not have to be covered.