Toasters are kind of like smartphones: You probably think little about cleaning them, but they need some maintenance now and then. And just as we do with our phones, it’s best to take care of your trusted kitchen appliance before something goes wrong.
If your toaster is starting to look more like a science experiment than a kitchen appliance, it might be time for a good cleaning. The good news is that cleaning a toaster is relatively easy and only takes a few minutes.
Gather your supplies
Here’s what you need to clean your slot toaster:
- Clean dish towels
- Soft pastry brush
- Rubbish bin
- Paper towels
- White vinegar
- Mild dish soap
- Clean water
How to clean your toaster
Step 1: Unplug your toaster and set up your cleaning space
Before getting started, you need to wait for your toaster to cool if you’ve just used it. Unplug the toaster from the socket and place it on a benchtop next to the rubbish bin or sink.
Next, lay out your cleaning supplies within reach of the toaster, and prepare your cleaning solutions — 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts water, and another mixture of warm water and mild dish soap.
Step 2: Take out and clean the crumb tray
Most toasters have a removable crumb tray at the bottom. If your toaster has one, take the crumb tray out and dispose of any leftovers in the rubbish bin. If it has stubborn or burnt-on stains, soak it in the white vinegar solution for 5 to 10 minutes. Then wash it thoroughly in the sink. Be sure to dry it afterwards.
Step 3: Clean the interior of the toaster
Tip your toaster upside down to shake out any loose crumbs. Then dip the soft brush into the white vinegar solution and use it to scrub any stuck-on food from the interior of the toaster. Be careful with brushing the heating elements inside the toaster, because you might damage them if you scrub too hard.
If your hand fits inside the toaster, wipe down the inside with a clean damp cloth and give it a final once-over with another soft cloth. This last step ensures your toaster is clean and free of vinegar residue.
Step 4: Clean the exterior of the toaster
Dust off the outside of the toaster with a dry paper towel. Be careful not to miss any crumbs that may have collected in the crevices. Then dampen a soft cloth with the white vinegar solution and wipe the exterior again, focusing on the areas with more grime. Once the outside is clean, wipe it dry with a clean dish towel.
Bonus step: How to clean baked-on grease off a toaster
If your toaster is starting to look like it’s been through a war, there’s no need to panic. You can get that baked-on grease off in no time.
Mix baking soda and water to form a paste. Then apply the paste on the affected areas and let it sit overnight. Wipe it off with a clean, soft cloth until the grease comes off. If there are still stubborn grease stains, put the white vinegar solution you used earlier in a spray bottle (or on a clean cloth) and spritz it on the spots. It will fizzle a little and that should loosen up the remaining grease.
We also have an article about how to clean stainless steel properly.
Toaster cleaning FAQs
Are you supposed to clean a toaster?
Yes! The toaster is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen, making it one of the dirtiest. You don’t need to deep clean the toaster after each use. But it’s good to take the crumb tray out and shake out any food debris inside the toaster every day.
How do you clean a grimy toaster?
Dampen a soft brush with white vinegar and scrub the interior. If the grime won’t come off, make a paste from baking soda and water and apply it to the stubborn spots. Leave the paste for about 15 minutes before scrubbing it off with the brush again.
Can you submerge a toaster in water to clean it?
No! Despite all the memes you might have seen—don’t do this! You might electrocute yourself and destroy your toaster. Step one of cleaning any appliance is to unplug it.
Crumbs and baked-on food are toast!
You only need a few things to clean a toaster — the most important ones are time and patience. If you’re running low on both, that’s ok! Don’t hesitate to reach out to cleaning professionals to help maintain your home.