We all have our meals or snack of choice that we will gravitate toward when we are eating alone, or if we need to have a snack between our meals. My last-born daughter, for example, is one of the biggest cereal fans. Any hour during the day or night is the perfect time to have a bowl of cereal, in her opinion.
As for everyone else in my family, however, toasties have always been the go-to snacks and meals. They are easy and quick to prepare and can hold our stomachs until our next large meals.
This also means that our toaster will be used a couple of times every day, so it was no surprise to me when I stood at my kitchen counter several days ago and had a moment of realization that my best four-slice toaster was getting sort of gross.
There were bread crumbs everywhere on the counter and the toaster’s outer surface was covered by a significant layer of greasy splatters from the stovetop I had placed nearby. It was a disturbing scenery, to say the least.
And since my toaster is an essential appliance to my family, I decided that it was high time to award it a good dose of tender loving care. I decided to clear my schedule that afternoon and awarded it the long outstanding cleaning it deserves.
Right now, it is sitting on my kitchen countertop looking as good as a new one. And once again, I can expect anyone who walks inside my kitchen to have something positive to say about the appliance.
With that in mind, I have decided to share my entire cleaning process with you today so you can take a few minutes this week and give your toaster the love that it has earned.
Things you will need to clean your toaster
- Cleaning cloth or sponge
- An all-purpose cleaner detergent
- A small painting brush or spatula (an unused toothbrush you won’t need can work as well.)
- Stainless steel cleaner
Once you have all these, it’s time to get to work.
Steps of cleaning a toaster
Step 1: Unplug the toaster
Safety first! To avoid any accidents while cleaning your toaster, ensure it is unplugged. In addition to that, if you are just from using it, then let it rest for a while. This is regardless of being a modern toaster and the exterior surface remains cool to the touch during usage. The heating elements are still hot and need the time to cool off.
Step 2: Slide out the removable crumb tray
For those not accustomed to toasters, the crumb tray is the part of the tool that responsible for collecting all dirt and debris that fall off your toasted slices. And if you’re using an easy to clean toaster, then it must came with a tray.
Slide it out and remove its contents. But make sure you do it over a trash can or sink because things can get messy if it’s been long since you last cleaned the appliance. Once you dump the crumbs, set aside the tray for a while.
Step 3: Give the toaster a good shake
As expected, the crumb tray won’t come out with all the crumbs and some of them will be left stuck inside. Giving the toaster a shake should dislodge them without a hassle. Consequently, turn the toaster upside down and shake carefully again.
This will remove any large pieces that did not fall through the bottom area.
Step 4: Pick up the painting brush or spatula
If any dirt is stuck in hard to reach places, use your painting brush or spatula to scrub them off. If you don’t have these tools in your household, I urge you to invest in them because they come in handy when it comes to cleaning a wide array of kitchen appliances.
Step 5: Clean the crumb tray
Most toast lovers think that the best way to clean a crumb tray is to toss it in the dishwasher. While this is allowed in most cases, you can rest assured that your dishwasher won’t really duplicate the cleaning results you would acquire from a manual washing, especially if you’re dealing with a greasy tray.
While cleaning a greasy tray, the goal is to get rid of most of the grease as possible before using the sponge. Use a paper towel to wipe the grease off from the surface and ensure you focus on the big clumps of fat that might have gathered in the corners.
Consequently, soak the crumb tray in hot water mixed with a small amount of dishwashing liquid for approximately an hour. This allows the dish soap to get rid of all the remaining grease.
Now, by using a damp sponge or cleaning cloth, clean the crumb tray and give it a quick rinse in warm running water for one last all-over clean. Do not forget to let it dry completely before reinserting it in the toaster.
Step 6: Clean the exterior surface of the toaster
Use an all-purpose cleaner applied on a sponge or damp cloth to thoroughly clean the exterior surfaces. Ensure you pay close attention to the lever, knobs, and all crevices found on top of the slots. These are the places where crumbs and grease accumulate.
Wipe the surfaces again using a damp cloth or sponge and let it dry.
If the toaster is extremely greasy just like mine was, then it may take a while to scrub it until it is perfectly cleaned. But you can rest assured that the end result will be worth it.
Step 7: Polish any stainless steel
Remember the stainless-steel cleaner I asked you to have at the beginning of the post, this is the point when it comes in handy. It will make your regular toaster sparkle again. But if your toaster is new, this step won’t be necessary.
Step 8: Admire your toaster
When everything is clean, and all the surfaces of your appliance are dry, put the removable crumb tray back in place, plug the toaster in, take a step back, and admire your good work. Feel free to take a couple of seconds and give your toaster surfaces a nice shine using a dry microfiber cloth and a little bit of white vinegar.
There you have it: a step by step guide on how to clean a toaster.
But can you clean a toaster oven?
Well, the good news is that the steps for cleaning the two appliances are quite similar. The main differences are how you clean the glass door and heating elements in a toaster oven.
Remember that it’s impossible to reach your regular toaster’s heating elements, but since those in a toaster oven are easy to reach, you will need to clean them as well. So, let us take a look at how you clean a toaster oven.
How to clean the glass door
While cleaning my toaster oven, I have never needed to acquire a cleaning product to get rid of the grease that has accumulated on the glass door of my oven. Instead, I usually created my own cleaning solution for the task using the good old baking soda.
Yes, you read that right. A simple mixture of water and baking soda should be more than enough to clean a greasy toaster oven glass door.
Start by mixing one cup of water with one tablespoon of baking soda then stir well. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes and in the meantime, use paper towels to get rid of most of the grease on the glass door’s surfaces.
After wiping off all the crumbs, use the mixture to cover the oven door with paste then let it sit for approximately 20 minutes.
Lastly, scrub the glass door using the non-abrasive scrubber you had while cleaning your regular toaster and wipe off any residual dirt using a clean paper towel.
If necessary, feel free to repeat the two steps until the door is sufficiently clean.
How to clean the heating elements
Cleaning a toaster oven’s heating elements requires extra caution because one mistake can result in extremely serious burn injuries. Double-check to ensure that the appliance has been uninstalled and the heating elements have cooled off.
Consequently, get an item of damp clothing or sponge and use it to gently wipe the length of both heating elements. Note that you are not supposed to use soap or any other form of cleaner on your toaster oven’s heating elements because these can easily damage them. And if you are cleaning a gas oven, ensure you do not apply the paste where the gas comes through.
Let the heating elements dry before using the toaster oven again.
While you’re cleaning the heating elements, take this opportunity to clean the toaster oven’s interior surfaces, including the ceiling. For me, the ceiling surface is usually the toughest to clean due to its hard-to-reach position on the topside. Couple that with the fact that there isn’t any non-stick coating in the ceiling of toaster ovens.
While cleaning the ceiling, feel free to use the baking soda solution we mentioned earlier. Apply the mixture on a soft, damp piece of cloth and wipe down all the spattered food inside your toaster oven.
Once again, remember to let the interior walls of the toaster oven dry completely before plugging in the appliance and using it again.
How often should you clean a toaster?
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I let my toaster sit on my kitchen counter without cleaning it until the day the sight was unable to bear anymore. But after doing more research, I realized that this was extremely wrong.
Not only can it start making my kitchen smell weird and my toasties taste funny, but it also encourages harmful bacteria and germs to build up in my kitchen area. So, I decided to come up with a healthy cleaning program and share it with you.
Ideally, you should wipe down your toaster’s surface after each use to prevent dirt buildup. Further, ensure you take out and clean the removable crumb tray at least once a week to prevent debris and crumbs from caking on the surfaces.
From my experience, I can assure you that the longer you wait to clean your toaster, the more difficult it will be to get rid of all the residue.
To take the cleaning efforts a step further, some people decide to cover their toaster’s removable crumb trays using a single layer of foil. This implies that all they need to do is replace the protective foil layer every week.
A clean toaster is known to last longer and deliver more delicious toasties, so ensure you plan on checking and thoroughly cleaning it regularly. And as you have seen, the cleaning process isn’t that hard or time consuming at all. All you need is a few supplies and you’re good to go.
That said, if you would like to learn more about toasters and toaster ovens, then here are several posts I think you would love to check out: How toasters work, toaster oven vs regular toaster, easy to clean toasters, and the history of toasters.