Cleaning for Pesach-Summary of laws-Unreachable Chametz

Chametz which is found in areas that are not reachable by hand:

*For full details and sources-see our corresponding Sefer and/or website!

  • Chametz that is in cracks and crevices of tiles and furniture: If one cannot remove the Chametz with his hands due to it being stuck under cracks and crevices and the like then it suffices for him to nullify the Chametz before the 6th hour [through saying the Bittul of Kol Chamira], and if he plans to do so he is not required to destroy this Chametz before Pesach. One is not required to undo the floor [or to undo furniture] to remove the Chametz even if he is capable of doing so, and rather the nullification suffices. This applies even if one is able to see the Chametz. [This applies even if there is a Kezayis of Chametz. This applies even if the Chametz is visible.] Thus, the Chametz that is in between the deep crevices of one’s floor between the tiles [or in the cracks of one’s table or other furniture], does not need to be removed or destroyed but is to merely be nullified. [If one did not nullify his Chametz and did not sell it before Pesach then he must destroy this Chametz on Pesach upon remembering even if it entails taking apart the furniture and the like.] All the above is from the letter of the law, however practically the Jewish people are holy and hence the custom is to destroy all Chametz that is in one’s possession, even the Chametz found in unreachable areas. One is thus to pour bleach or other spoiling agent over Chametz that he is unable to reach with his hands.
  • Does one have to destroy Chametz that is found on a high surface such as on top of a closet or bookcase? One is obligated to destroy a Kezayis of Chametz even if it is found on a very high surface. [Furthermore, even less than a Kezayis should be destroyed.] The above obligation applies even if one already nullified his Chametz. Thus, one is obligated to bring a ladder on the night of the 14th [or prior to it] and take the Chametz down from on top of his closets, dressers, bookcases and the like.
  • Chametz that is found in a pit? If Chametz fell inside a pit or was placed there to remove before Pesach, then if it is not common to descend into the pit throughout the year it is not required to remove the Chametz from there and rather mere nullification suffices. The above however is only discussing a case of Chametz that fell into the pit or was placed in there with intent to remove before Pesach. It is however forbidden to intentionally place Chametz in the pit for it to stay there until after Pesach, even if one plans to nullify it. If one [transgressed] and placed Chametz in the pit with intent to remove after Pesach then he must remove it and destroy it on the 14th, even if he hid it there prior to thirty days before Pesach.
  • The law of Mapoles-Chametz found under heavy items: If a wall fell in one’s house and created a mound of heavy rocks then if the mound is three Tefach in height one is not required to remove the mound and search there for Chametz, and is rather to rely on his future nullification. Furthermore, even if one knows for certain that there is Chametz under the mound, if there is three Tefach of mound over the Chametz he is not required to undo the mound and rather it suffices to nullify the Chametz before Pesach. If the mound is less than three Tefachim [24 centimeters] in height, or he is unsure if there is three Tefachim of rocks over the Chametz, then he must undo the mound to search if there is any Chametz under it even if he plans to nullify his Chametz before Pesach.
    • Must one search for Chametz under furniture or appliances? Pieces of furniture or appliances which are not commonly moved and are the height of 24 cm, such as closets, bookcases, and items of the like, do not have to be moved and have their Chametz cleaned even if one sees Chametz under them. If however the Chametz is reachable with one’s hands, one must destroy all the Chametz that can be reached. Furthermore, if the furniture is commonly moved then one is required to move the items and clean under them even if they have a height of 24 cm.
    • Does one have to use toothpicks and the like to remove Chametz from areas that he cannot manage to remove with his hands? No. However by one’s fridge and other items used with food, one is required to do so in order so Chametz does not Chas Veshalom come to fall into one’s food. In any event Yisrael Kedoshim Heim and it is thus proper to pour a damaging agent, such as bleach onto the Chametz in all cases that one is able to do so.
    • Must one remove his car seats in order to remove the Chametz that is stuck under them? All Chametz that is found under the car seat and is reachable by hand must be removed. All Chametz that cannot be reached by hand is not required to be removed even if one is able to see it. There is no obligation to remove the car seats in order to reach Chametz that is stuck under it. One is likewise not required to vacuum out unreachable Chametz. Nevertheless, practically, experience dictates that it is very difficult to remove even the reachable Chametz [due to abundance of crumbs] without either using a vacuum or removing the car seats. Likewise, in light of Yisrael Kedoshim Heim, Chametz that remains visible and unreachable under the car seat one is to pour bleach or another spoiling agent over it, although is not required to remove the seat.
    • Must one undo his chair if he sees Chametz in-between the crevices of the cushion and the chair? This follows the same ruling as the previous Q&A. Thus, all the Chametz that is reachable by hand [or that can be shaken out] must be removed. All Chametz that cannot be reached by hand [and cannot be shaken out] is not required to be removed even if one is able to see it and one is not required to undo the chair in order to remove it. Nevertheless, if there is Chametz that remains visible and unreachable under the cushion, it is proper, if doing so will not damage the cushion, to destroy it by pouring bleach or other spoiling agent over it. If, however, the Chametz stuck inside is less than a Kezayis and is dirty, then even shaking is not required, as explained in other Halachos.
    • Must one undo the keyboard of his computer to remove the Chametz stuck under the keys? No. This applies even if one knows for certain that there is Chametz found there. Nevertheless, in light of Yisrael Kedoshim Heim, those who desire to be stringent and undo the keyboard are not to be protested. In any case that a thorough cleaning was not done, it is strongly advised not to use the same keyboard on Pesach as that used during the year, as it is possible for Chametz to get onto one’s finger and end up in one’s food or mouth.

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