No sooner have we put away the peroxide hair dye than it’s time to go once more into the bleach, dear friends – at least once more – as we begin the mammoth task of Pesach cleaning.
A wide variety of cleaning fluids currently line the entrance to every supermarket in Israel, but bleach is still the most popular way to clean almost everything here.
It would be all too easy to panic right now, when friends tell you, whether you have asked them or not, how far they have progressed with their Pesach cleaning schedule. I find it helpful to pre-empt them by announcing casually to all and sundry the day after Purim: “I’ve just baked my first batch of cinnamon balls.”
By implication, you will have indicated that, in record-breaking time, your house is Pesachdik. I guarantee it will be a conversation stopper, and you will be able to carry on at your own pace.
There is too much one-upmanship and peer pressure at Pesach when it comes to what to clean, how to clean it, and what to eat. No matter what anyone else may tell you, there is really no need to clean the roof tiles and vacuum the bedroom walls. And your cat is allowed to eat kitniyot.
Even people who decide to go away for Pesach aren’t necessarily exempt from the stress. It can be a complicated procedure to find a suitable hotel for those who specify that they require glatt le mehadrin, non-gebrocht, non-kitniyot and shmura matzah – as well as a sea view.
I’m home for Pesach this year and I’ve just started my own preparation for the festival with a trip to the supermarket to check out the cleaning products. The range is quite mind-boggling.
Who could resist microfiber cleaning cloths in yellow for thorough cleaning, pink for general cleaning, blue for glass and screens, and orange for light scrubbing and wiping? And aside from the ubiquitous bleach, there are multi-colored bottles, sprays and wipes, most on special offer and each designed to clean a specific corner of your home.
I feel I’ve made a good start as I survey my brand new dusters, sponges, floor cloths, plastic gloves, oven cleaner, microwave cleaner, wood polish, floor cleaner, wide angle broom and, of course, bleach neatly piled up in my hallway.
After all that effort, it’s time for a cup of tea. And a freshly baked cinnamon ball.