What are the halakhoth regarding unglazed terra cotta flower pots? Does it absorb? Can it be kashered, and if so, how?

Sephardic rulings preferred, but will take any sources.


terracotta is the same as any unglazed earthenware vessel. It absorbs the non-kosher material but cannot ever have it removed.

Kashering dishes

/Leviticus 6:21 says, “And the earthenware vessel in which it was cooked shall be bro­ken; and if it was cooked in a brazen vessel, it shall be scoured, and rinsed in water.” This verse is the basis for certain rules of kashering dishes, and what may or may not be

Unglazed earthenware cannot be kashered at all, as the porous ceramic permanently absorbs juices and flavors from foods.

CRC states explicitly that earthenware pots (while they do absorb), cannot be kashered.

The following items may not be kashered:

China, pottery, earthenware, cement/concrete and enameled pots may not be kashered.

This is because these materials do not allow what they have been absorbed to be re-emitted and "canceled out" by the boiling water or fire that is used to kasher other mterials.


Keli Heress. do not be Kasherized with Hageala, as we will demonstrate.

  • The Shulhan Aruch Orah Chayim Siman 451 Sayf 1 says this. Terra Cotta is precisely Heress.

If glazed is Keli Zechuchit is a next question and what is the statue of Zechuchit too. When a terra cotta pot is utilized with boiling aliments, there is no way whith Hageala.

  • Theoretically, it is possible to heat up to high temperature to burn organic absorbed material. But the Rabbis fear that he not properly do it because it is afraid of the damage the pot.

The source is in diverse Gemoros.
- Pessachim 30B "וכי תימא ה''נ ליעבד ליה הסקה מבפנים חייס עליה משום דפקעה"

(In realty I have a feeling that bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) is able to make the job. But I don't know if an authority spoke about this.)

  • An important talmudical source is in the Gemara Zevahim 96B. It is
    possible (in a situation that we will make this correctly without doubt) to enter the pot a second time in oven baked clay.

  • In Leviticus 6, 21, the Torah addresses the future of utensils on the inside of witch we put the Kodashim when they were hot foods. There is a difference between terra cotta and copper.

What is the topic of this verse, not Kashrut!?

The talmud ask in substance if the difference is caused by the fact that in one absorption is reversible and not in the other (Eino Yotse Mide Dofio Leolam). The reintroduction in the oven is as a creation of a new pot (may be following tosfot if the pot was impure before the second baking, it will become pure as a new pot.). The intresting here is that the Torah here seems to treat a subject not bounded to Kasherut. It is very interesting to read the Tosfot in Zevahim.

  • If you ask: the absorbed can not be extirpated, so, he cannot contamine the further Kosher food? The response may be that for Kashering we talk about almost total cleaning. But for prohibition we talk about letting a taste.

I remember an other subject: the clay chamber pot. But it is a little digression

  • 1
    is there a source for this, or something to which the phrase "as we will demonstrate" refers? – rosends Feb 15 '16 at 19:57
  • 1
    one minute ;)!! – kouty Feb 15 '16 at 20:21
  • 1
    What does bleach have to do with anything? – Shmuel Brin Feb 15 '16 at 20:56
  • @ShmuelBrin. This is a strong destructor of organic matter and penetrated very deeply into the rough or came lodge food particles. – kouty Feb 15 '16 at 21:03

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