How To Clean A Toaster [6 Steps]

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Cleaning your toaster regularly can help reduce the risk of a house fire and keep it in good working condition for longer. Over time, your toaster will collect crumbs and food particles that should be cleaned out regularly. Not only do these crumbs prevent your toaster from working to its full capability, but it presents a fire hazard. But what is the best way to clean out your toaster? We've done the research and outlined the steps for you to follow below.

Here are the steps you should take to clean out your toaster: 

  1. Unplug your toaster
  2. Remove and empty the crumb tray.
  3. Clean the inside of the toaster
  4. Wash the crumb tray
  5. Wipe down the outside of the toaster
  6. Replace the crumb tray

It may surprise you to learn just how much cleaning your toaster regularly can extend its life. Can you put your toaster in the dishwasher? How often should you clean your toaster? How do you get stains off your toaster? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and the best methods to clean your toaster.

A woman wearing gloves cleaning toaster oven in the kitchen, How To Clean A Toaster [6 Steps]

How To Clean A Toaster

Before you get started, here are a few things you'll need:

  • trash can
  • toothbrush or detail brush
  • wash cloth
  • microfiber cloth
  • vinegar

1. Unplug Your Toaster

Before you do anything to clean your toaster, you should unplug it to eliminate the risk of electrocution. Make sure it's cool and empty. It's also a good idea to move your operation over to the sink or over a garbage can. Especially if you haven't cleaned out your toaster in a while, there will be many crumbs. You'll want to limit your clean-up as much as possible.

A man pulling the plug of an toaster

2. Remove And Empty The Crumb Tray

Most modern toasters come with a removable tray at the bottom to catch loose crumbs. There should be a raised lip at the front or on one side of your toaster. Use a finger to slide the crumb tray out and empty it in the sink or the garbage can. If your toaster doesn't have a crumb tray, you can use the old-fashioned trick to turn it upside down and gently shake the crumbs out.

A woman removing the bread crumb tray of a toaster

3. Clean The Inside Of The Toaster

Even though there is a crumb tray at the bottom of your toaster to catch loose crumbs, there are coils and wires inside for crumbs to get caught on. You can use a dry toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush to loosen baked-on crumbs. Turn your toaster upside down and gently shake it to remove any crumbs you've loosened. You can also use a can of compressed air to get into crevices and really clean out the inside of your toaster.

Click here to purchase detail brushes from Amazon.

4. Wash The Crumb Tray

Use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth to wash the crumb tray. If it's been a long time since you've washed it, it may have crumbs baked-on and require a bit of elbow grease to remove them. Using Dawn dish soap, which is built especially to handle grease and tough stains, can help clean your crumb tray with ease.

5. Wash Down The Outside Of The Toaster

Your toaster probably has a lot of fingerprints on the outside. Use a soft, damp cloth and even a bit of soap if you need to wash them gently away. Don't forget to wipe down the nobs and buttons, which can get particularly greasy over time. If your toaster has a stainless steel finish, you can use a bit of vinegar to give it a fresh polish.

Click here to purchase a pack of microfiber cloths from Amazon.

6. Replace The Crumb Tray

Once your crumb tray is dry, you can replace it in your toaster, and it will be as good as new.

Can You Put Your Toaster In The Dishwasher?

You can't put your toaster in the dishwasher. Because it's an electric device, it has wires and coils throughout its body that will be ruined if they get wet. You should clean your toaster by hand and be careful only to use water on the outside and the crumb tray when it's removed. If there is water inside the toaster when you plug it in, you run the risk of being electrocuted.

How Do You Get Stains Off Your Toaster?

If it's been a long time since you've cleaned your toaster, soap and water might not be enough to remove any stains on the outside. Thankfully, there are some other methods that aren't as gentle as soap for you to try:

Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn dish soap is known for its grease-fighting properties and is mixed with a bit of warm water; it's great for removing grease and other stains. Mix warm water and Dawn dish soap in your sink. Dip a microfiber cloth into the soapy water and wipe it over your toaster. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing out your rag and wiping the soap away. Use a dry cloth to dry your toaster to prevent any water from leaking inside and ruining the coils and wiring.

Click here to purchase Dawn Dish Soap from Amazon.

Baking Soda

If Dawn dish soap doesn't work at removing stains from your toaster, use a clean, damp toothbrush and dip it in baking soda. Use the toothbrush to scrub at the stains in a circular motion. You can even let the baking soda sit for a few minutes to help loosen up the stains. Wipe down the toaster with a damp cloth to remove any remaining baking soda and dry off the toaster.

Click here to purchase Arm & Hammer baking soda from Amazon.

Vinegar

Mix vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio and dip a soft cloth into the mixture, such as a microfiber cloth. Wipe down the toaster and let the mixture sit on the toaster for five minutes. Use a clean damp cloth and wipe away the vinegar mixture. Any stains should wipe right away with the mixture.

Click here to purchase Lucy's vinegar from Amazon.

How Do I Remove Melted Cheese From My Toaster?

You shouldn't ever put anything besides bread in a toaster, but oftentimes it comes flavored. These particles are prone to fall off, like the cheese on a bagel, and it's a bit harder to remove than the typical crumb. Because you can't use water on the inside of your toaster, it's tricky to remove melted cheese, and you might have to accept the fact that it's there to stay. But you can try to get it loose with a soft kitchen spatula or a toothbrush.

Make sure your toaster is unplugged and cooled for this process, like when cleaning it. Take a soft kitchen spatula, such as one made of silicone, and carefully slide the spatula into the slots of the toaster. Use it to try scraping the dried cheese away. You can also use a toothbrush or a soft-bristled brush to try to loosen the cheese. If worse comes to worst, the cheese will eventually burn off and fall to the bottom in ashes.

How Often Should You Clean Your Toaster?

How often you should clean your toaster depends on how often it's used. If you have a large family that uses your toaster multiple times a day, you should clean your toaster at least once a week. If you live alone and only use your toaster on occasion, you might not need to clean out your toaster as often.

You should, at the very least, empty your crumb tray once a week. This will prevent the buildup of crumbs and allow the toaster to do its job as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, removing the additional crumbs reduces the fire hazard toasters pose.

A dirty bread toaster with crumbs being stuck on the sides

Should I Clean My Toaster Before I Use It?

When you get a brand new toaster, it's always a good idea to give it a quick wash before using it for the first time. After all, you'll be putting food in it. After you remove all the packaging, here is how you should clean your new toaster:

1. Wipe down the outside

Use a rag dipped in warm, soapy water and wipe down the outside of your toaster, including the nobs and any buttons.

2. Wash the crumb tray

Using warm soapy water, wash off the crumb tray. Make sure it's completely dry before you replace it in the toaster.

3. Plug it in

New toasters often produce a burning smell the first few times they're run. To avoid this, run one or two dry cycles to burn off any factory chemicals. Then your toaster will be good to go! Don't forget to clean it on a regular basis to extend its lifetime and keep it clean.

In Summary

Toasters are an important part of the kitchen, but they need to be treated with care and cleaned often like any other appliance. This will prolong your toaster's lifetime and reduce the fire hazard toasters pose. We hope you've learned the best way to clean your toaster and will stick to a regular cleaning schedule from here on out if you haven't already.

Before you go, check out some of our other posts we think you might like:

Can a Toaster Oven Replace A Microwave?

10 Toaster Oven Accessories You Probably Need

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