How to Clean a Toaster (Because When Was the Last Time You Even Thought About It?)

Toasters are the unsung heroes of kitchen appliances. After all, even your standard bagel and cream cheese is just not the same when the bagel isn’t toasted. And we all know that a simple flavor combo can elevate the humblest piece of toast.

But as much as we use our toasters, we just don’t clean them enough. Maybe it’s because we don’t see the crumbs accumulating inside or maybe it’s because they don’t take up a lot of space in our homes. Either way, learning how to clean a toaster is the surest way to give this small but mighty appliance the TLC it deserves. And for those who like broiling, baking and grilling in toaster ovens, find out how you can give that nifty appliance a good scrub down as well.

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How To Clean A Toaster

Depending on how often you use your toaster, the pros at Clean My Space recommend you clean it every few weeks and give it a deep scrub once a month. If you use it daily, however, consider cleaning it out once every week. Accumulation of crumbs at the bottom and on the toaster’s coils can give your food a burnt taste, make your appliance smelly and may even cause fires.

What you need

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Cream of tartar
  • Small toothbrush or pastry brush
  • Soft sponge
  • Microfiber cloth

Step 1: Before you begin the process, make sure your toaster is unplugged and cooled down.

Step 2: Carefully remove the crumb tray from beneath the toaster and dump out all crumbs in the garbage can or into the sink. Dampen the microfiber cloth and wipe the tray clean. If there are breadcrumbs still stuck on there, soak the tray in warm and soapy water until the food bits loosen. Wash the tray with a soft sponge and let it air dry.

Step 3: Shake the toaster out to get any crumbs that may be clinging to the appliance’s coils.

Step 4: Because the toaster’s coils are not detachable, you’ll need to break out a small toothbrush or pastry brush to scrub out any burnt bits that won’t come out. Dampen your toothbrush as you go and make sure to start from the bottom and work your way down. Note: Place a piece of paper towel under the toaster so you don’t get crumbs all over your kitchen counter.

Step 5: If your particular toaster has a stainless steel exterior, you can make a cream of tartar paste to scrub off any grease stains that may have popped on there. Otherwise, use a damp soft sponge to clean the exterior.

Step 6: Wipe down using a microfiber cloth.

How To Clean A Toaster Oven

While toasters are limited in their capabilities, toaster ovens can do so much more—from toasting your bread to making small batches of cookies and even roasting asparagus. And good news: Cleaning your toaster oven doesn’t have to be some big ordeal.

What you need

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft sponge

Step 1: Again, make sure the appliance is unplugged and cooled down before you start cleaning.

Step 2: Remove the rack and wash it using dishwashing soap and a soft sponge. According to Sears, “Many new toaster oven racks have a non-stick coating, so you don't want to use an abrasive brush or harsh cleaner that could damage the coating.” Keep it simple with good ole soap and water.

Step 3: Detach the crumb tray and dump out all crumbs and leftover food bits. Wash the tray with a soft sponge, soap and water. And allow to air dry.

Step 4: Use your microfiber cloth to wipe the interior of your toaster oven. Make sure you’re careful wiping around the heating elements. If your toaster oven has exposed heating elements, Sears advises you stay clear of them.

Step 5: Make a mixture with ½ cup of distilled vinegar and ½ cup of water and wipe down the exterior. If you have some particularly stubborn grease stains on your toaster oven, treat them with a mixture of baking soda, dishwashing soap and water.

Step 6: Wipe down the exterior and allow to air dry. Voila.

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Resident Hufflepuff, Beyonce historian, self-proclaimed tea sommelier

Steph is a native of Zimbabwe who is both enamored and genuinely baffled by the concept of silent letters. From 2020 to 2022, she served as Associate Editor at PureWow covering...