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I remember hearing that a knife can be kashered (from being treif) by sticking it in the ground. But I also know you can use the traditional kashering methods - Hag'ala and Libun.

I have 2 questions (should they be separated into 2 questions here?):

1) What is the logic behind the method of sticking the knife in the ground?

2) When is each method applied?

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A knife used for grease is very hard to clean — or was so before modern sponges and cleaning agents. Sticking it in the ground in the prescribed way is (was) a means of cleaning, not kashering, it. One must then do libun or whatever if the knife was used in a way that requires kashering. (SA YD 121:7. As always, for a practical ruling, CYLOR.)

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. . . and thus the ground was expected to wipe off whatever particles were stuck to it. – WAF May 11 '11 at 19:24
And I believe some recommend using a caustic cleaner and steel wool today. – Shalom May 11 '11 at 19:24
Libun = putting a flame to the blade of the knife until it gets red hot. – AlwaysLearning May 12 '11 at 20:02

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