Single Sink for Meat and Dairy Dishes

December 2, 2016 | by

We have become more careful with kashrut in recent years and we now own two sets of dishes for meat and for dairy. However, our kitchen has only one sink (which our rabbi helped us make kosher). How can we go about washing our dishes without causing problems?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

It’s great to hear of your increased observance first of all! Because of many potential issues, the preferred is certainly to have separate sinks, one for meat and one for dairy. But if that is not feasible, it is fine to use a single sink, so long as you keep the following precautions:

(1) You shouldn’t put the dishes directly in the sink, but on a rack inserted into the sink, and you should have separate racks for meat and for dairy (as well as one for pareve if desired).

(2) You should have separate sponges for washing the meat and the dairy dishes.

(3) You should clean the sink out in between each use.

(4) You should take care that the water not back up and reach the level of the dishes.

(5) You should be careful not to have meat or dairy food touch the hot water spout.

Note that if a mishap occurs, such as a dish touching the sink or the water backing up, the utensils will very often still be kosher, due to several mitigating factors such as the water not being hot enough to cook or the dish soap ruining the taste of the food.

(Sources: Igrot Moshe Y.D. I 42, The Laws of Kashrus by R. B. Forst, pp. 253-257.)

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