How To Clean A Toaster (Inside And Out) In 8 Easy Steps

Because a dirty toaster is the crumbiest.

What can we tell you about a toaster that you don’t already know yourself? Whether it’s a classic pop-up toaster with the two slots on the top or a state-of-the-art toaster oven with a convection setting (yes, please!), the toaster is a staple when it comes to kitchen appliances. It’s also one of the rare kitchen appliances that holds down regular countertop real estate. It’s not generally something you put away in a drawer or a cabinet when it’s not in use. Therefore, this fixture ought to be cleaned regularly (at least its exterior, anyway), so as to appear presentable and attractive. Your toaster is on constant display, and you should show it some love.

How to clean a toaster in 8 easy steps

Supplies: Trash can
Small pastry or baking brush
Dish soap (we like Dawn)
Sponge
Clean microfiber rag or towel
White vinegar (for exterior stainless steel bits)

Steps:

  1. Unplug the toaster. Also make sure the toaster is good and cooled down before attempting to clean it.
  2. Grab your trash can, or bring the toaster to the sink to work because it’s about to be a crumbly mess all over the counter.
  3. Remove the crumb tray, which should pull out of the bottom of the toaster easily. Behold: crumbs!
  • If your toaster doesn’t have a crumb tray (is it an antique?!), do it the old-fashioned way: dump it upside down over the trash or sink to shake the loose crumbs out.
  1. Wash that crumb tray. Good job getting rid of the loose crumbs, but there are likely more bits burnt onto the tray. Using a dish soap (like Dawn) , warm water and a sponge, hand wash the crumb tray, and dry it thoroughly before returning it to the toaster.
  1. Are there still rogue crumbs? If so, use your brush to dust the crumbs away from all the nooks and crannies of the toaster.
  2. Clean the outside of your toaster. Using dish soap and warm water, carefully wipe down the exterior of your toaster, including any knobs and handles (aka where the buttery fingerprints and sticky jam smears live). Avoid getting water too close to the plug or any heating or electrical elements. Wipe off any soapy residue with a damp cloth.
  3. Buff the stainless steel. If your toaster is stainless steel, add a dab of white vinegar to a clean rag, and apply it to the metal to shine it up and actually pretreat it to prevent future grease from adhering to the toaster.
  1. Don’t forget to pop that crumb tray back into place. Replace the sparkling clean crumbless crumb tray to the toaster.

How to clean the outside of a toaster

Okay, so you just want to clean the toaster’s exterior? Fine, we’ll give you a hall pass for this one. Maybe you’re having guests over, and you’re in a rush to tidy up the kitchen. If so, this should just take a second.

  • Unplug the toaster, and make sure it’s cooled off before cleaning.
  • Add a couple drops of dish soap to your wet sponge, and wring it out well.
  • Gently wipe down the outside of your toaster, including the glass door, knobs, handles and switches.
  • Rinse the toaster’s exterior with a clean, damp rag to remove any soapy residue.
  • Is your toaster stainless steel? If so, you’re in luck. Just add a dab of vinegar to a clean microfiber rag, and apply it to the toaster’s stainless steel exterior. The acidic vinegar will further dissolve any fingerprints or grease.

How to clean the inside of a toaster

Depending how often you use your toaster, you ought to regularly be dumping the crumbs out of it. It’s like cleaning out the lint trap when you do laundry.

  • Unplug the toaster, and make sure it’s cooled off before cleaning.
  • Most toasters have a removable crumb tray. This crumb tray is located in the bottle of the device. It’s usually a shallow drawer in pop-up toasters or a flat tray in the bottom of toaster ovens.
  • Remove the crumb tray from the toaster. This is going to be messy. Best to do it over the sink or near a trash can. Dump all the loose crumbs into the trash can or sink.
  • If there isn’t a crumb tray, (are you sure there isn’t a crumb tray?!) you can turn the toaster upside down and gently shake it to remove crumbs.
  • Use your brush to remove any hard-to-reach crumbs from corners of the toaster.
  • Hand wash the crumb tray with some dish soap and warm water.
  • Dry the crumb tray thoroughly before replacing it.

How often should you clean a toaster?

Well, how often do you use your toaster? If you enjoy toast daily, you ought to consider emptying that crumb tray weekly. If you only occasionally use your toaster, a once-a-month crumb tray dump will suffice. If you’ve recently made a big mess in your toaster oven, like melted cheese or grease, do yourself a favor and clean it in a timely manner post-mess. (Enjoy your sandwich or whatever first, but then seriously, you should clean it.) Burnt crumbs stuck in your toaster could actually cause a kitchen fire—or, however less dramatic, may make your future toasted food taste burnt and nasty. At the very least, burnt crumbs may cause your toaster to stink each time you use it. And that stink may penetrate your kitchen walls, window treatments and towels, making it harder to get rid of.

From toast to bagels, your toaster does a lot of good for you, providing you with quick and satisfying snacks. The least you can do is remember to clean out that crumb tray every so often. Plus, you’ll be putting yourself less at risk for an accidental kitchen fire from all the nasty, ancient food bits heating and reheating all the time. And your toast will actually taste better!

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