My 2 Rules for Happier Passover Cleaning

My 2 Rules for Happier Passover Cleaning

I’m really, really not a big balabusta. But I have discovered two rules that have helped to make Passover cleaning bearable, and even enjoyable (at least most of the time)…


CLEANING MODE #1 is QUICK AND EASY: This is the mode for cleaning things that will not come into contact with food during Passover. This includes most objects/places in your bedrooms, playroom, closets, entrance, and bathrooms. In these places (where you will not eat during Pesach) you are on the lookout for Chametz which is the size of a KeZayit (i.e., 30 grams, a square inch. I envision a mini pretzel.) I.e., You are NOT worrying about the grains of sand in the turned-inside-out corner of your daughter’s dress from last Rosh Hashana. You ARE looking for the forgotten cookie in the lego box.

This mode of checking should be quick and easy.

CLEANING MODE #2, THOROUGH AND VERY SERIOUS: This is the mode for cleaning things that could/will come into contact with food during Passover: This includes places like your tables and kitchen, and any other places you will be eating/preparing food. In these places, you must find and get rid of even the teensiest crumb of chametz. These are the rooms/things which should be checked VERY VERY seriously for every last bit of chametz.

BUT, don’t worry Jewish mom! In these food-contact places as well, you have other options which will NOT require careful cleaning.

A: According to Rabbi Scheinberg shlit”a, any article or object that will be closed up and sold to a non-Jew for Passover, does NOT need to be checked or cleaned for chametz.

B: Make the chametz inedible by going over it with a sponge filled with Ajax/bleach or covering it over with strong, sticky tape. This is a good solution for the stubborn guck in the back corners of kitchen cabinets and drawers.


I actually originally made up this rule for myself for hectic, stressful Fridays (in other words, every Friday). So I was really happy to hear my parenting teacher, Dina Friedman, discussing this same “Stop Smiling, Stop Cleaning” rule in the context of Passover cleaning as well.

Dina Friedman explains that at times when you are working so hard and giving so much, as we do during the weeks before Passover, you must remember to give a lot more to yourself as well. That means that the moment you start grumbling and yelling and feeling like a martyr—STOP CLEANING! That embittered feeling is a sign that you need to take some time to spoil yourself and to do something that you love.

For example, you just yelled at your child/spouse/mother because nobody helps you and nobody understands you and nobody appreciates you…You should get down off that ladder and do something that will make you happy, such as:

-Read a magazine
-Go on a walk
-Go to the gym
-Sit down with a cup of tea
-Go out to buy yourself something
-Learn some Torah
-Read 😉

I hope these two Passover Rules help to make Passover cleaning a bit more enjoyable for all of us Jewish moms so that we will all manage to have a Pesach Kasher V’(GAM!)Sameach

Photo by user Horia Varian


  1. I have another rule: don’t read magazines choc-full of cleaning tips from paid balabustas!!! I ended up with a headache and mild depression…
    Thanks for a friendly, focused and fun pesach post!

  2. BS”D

    Toda raba Jana!!! At mamash maleh libi besimja venotenet oti 2 raionot kedei lenaki besameaj ubeemete habeitenu!!!
    Iom Tov veSameaj javerati!!!
    Besimja tamid
    Margalit miBuenos Aires

  3. Beautiful, Chana!

  4. Hi. I tend to let the JewishMoms pile up but I read this one right away. Wonderful articles all around! Thanks for the booster shots.
    Chag kasher v’sameach, with lots of simcha getting there!

  5. words of wisdom.

  6. Miriam G.

    I also follow religiously 2 other rules: Dust is not Chametz and Peasach cleaning is NOT Spring cleaning. I don’t wash windows, dressers without food or organize clothers, etc. Life becomes much easier. The only minus, windows are never washed in my house, who has time for that 😉

    • uh-uh, don’t jump on that bandwagon. I for one think the concept of spring cleaning came from Pesach cleaning and not the other way around. The fact is generations of good Jewish women have gone completely nuts over Pesach cleaning, so as far as I’m concerned it’s Minhag Yisrael Savta and we must keep it!

  7. Wow
    What a lovely perspective and great site! Glad I found you before my OCD tendencies played dress up as pious ness! Made me smile already thanks ladies x and hag sameach

  8. Love the smiling/cleaning tip. I must admit that I’m still working on smiling about the cleaning in the first place…. Does that mean I’m off the hook? 🙂

    And I agree about not reading magazines full of tips from professional balabustas…. I’d love to read an article for once about some tips from the husbands! Now THAT would be original!!!

    “Happy” cleaning everyone!

  9. love #2 – never heard that one before – nobody wants a grumpy mom erev chag.
    I would add (and you’ve said this before chana jenny) get help if you can!

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