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Can I use my dishwasher for both milk and meat dishes?

by Rabbi Dovid Bendory, 11 Tishrei 5766 (October 14, 2005)

From a kashrut point of view, a modern dishwasher is by far the most complicated appliance in the kitchen. What goes on inside is the following:

  1. Some amount of hot water is sprayed around on the dishes inside.
  2. At some point, soap is released, typically from a compartment in the door. This soap gradually mixes in with the spraying water.
  3. In some dishwashers, a heating element heats the water inside to a high temperature, possibly even yad soledet bo.

If the dishwasher heats water to yad soledet bo, then the dishwasher is acting like an oven and is "cooking" the dishes inside.

Ashkenazic Jews therefore restrict use of the dishwasher to either meat or dairy dishes. Sephardic Jews are generally more lenient with dishwasher use. Some Sephardic rabbis allow the use of one dishwasher for both meat and dairy dishes even at the same time provided that:

At any rate, Sephardic Jews can certainly use the same dishwasher for meat and dairy during separate cycles, especially if they adhere to the above procedures. Check with your rabbi to see what is acceptable in your community.

Ashkenazim will not allow the dishwasher to be used in this manner l'chatchila, though b'dieved Ashkenazim will agree that accidental simultaneous use of the dishwasher for milk and meat dishes does not render anything non-kosher.

Questions to ponder:

See Also:

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