Toast is a food staple for all of us, whether it’s your carb of choice for breakfast, or a sandwich for lunch, or an easy-sneaky midnight snack. The toaster is indispensable in the kitchen… which also means it gets plenty of use, and therefore plenty of debris. Breadcrumbs, bacon grease, melted cheese — your toaster gets dirtier than you think. And you probably don’t think about cleaning it much, either.
But that hardworking little appliance needs its TLC, especially if you want to keep making crisp bread safely. Whether it’s a toaster oven or the pop-up kind, it needs cleaning at least once a week (or immediately after use, depending on what you put in!). If you’re not sure where to start, or you find yourself in need of a walkthrough, here’s our list of steps and tips for how to keep your toaster clean.
Why And When To Clean Your Toaster
First off — why clean the toaster? Safety, for one. Crumbs left inside can be hazardous, especially if they get burnt. It’s the same with oil or grease that leaks out onto the tray and other components. Leftover food could also attract unwelcome animal guests, which track germs and bacteria inside.
Proper appliance maintenance also goes a long way to your appliance’s longevity. Keeping your toaster clean, and therefore functional, means it’ll serve you a longer time. And that way your little gadget friend can keep turning out perfect crunchy cheese sandwiches to your heart’s content.
If you have the pop-out variety, or use the toaster oven for just bread, a quick clean once a week should suffice. But if you use the toaster oven to heat up larger or messier food — particularly if there’s plenty of oil, sauce, or butter involved — you may have to clean it immediately after use.
How To Clean The Toaster
1. Gather your supplies
You’ll need the toaster (that was a given); a rubbish bag or can; small brush (like for pastries); a dish of warm, soapy water; a dish towel; and some vinegar, lemon, salt, and hot water. Work over the sink, or some old newspapers. Also, make sure the toaster is unplugged and completely cooled.
2. Take out the tray
If your toaster has a removable crumb tray, remove it for cleaning. Take the toaster and carefully turn it over, shaking out any loose crumbs caught inside. If there are any stubborn ones, use the pastry brush to get the hard-to-reach corners and crevices. Then as we do with all obstinate gadgets, give it a good hard tap to dislodge anything left.
(Don’t forget to wash and dry the tray, too! If anything’s stuck, let it soak in hot water for a few minutes before scrubbing.)
3. Clean the interior
If your toaster oven’s rack is removable, take it out for this step. Mix half a cup of white vinegar with two cups of warm-to-hot water. You can spray the interior of the toaster and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing at it, or simply dip your sponge into the mixture and start working. Rinse the sponge frequently in between surfaces (and make sure you’re thorough!). If food is burned-on, you can make a paste of baking soda and water, then use a plastic scrubber to rub the paste on and scrape off the debris.
Note: do not use commercial oven cleaners or metal cleaning implements on your toaster. Don’t clean the heating elements either. You run the risk of damaging the interior or the mechanisms.
4. Make that window shine
Many toaster ovens have glass windows so you can sit and watch your cheese melt into the bread. To cut through any grease splatters or dirt, spray or wipe on distilled white vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. Then wipe it away with a soft cloth to give you an unhampered view of your food.
5. Clean the exterior
Just like the inside, you can use the same cleaning solution for the exterior. Wipe down the exterior to clean up any stains or dirt sustained from food prep. If you want some extra oomph, take half a lemon and sprinkle salt on the open side, then scrub it over the exterior. Wipe the residue off, then go back to the soft cloth dipped in vinegar and water for a good polish. Get into all the nooks and crannies — even around the dials and handles, and underneath.
6. Dry and reassemble
Make sure everything is thoroughly dry, with no residue left behind! (Vinegar does not go with toast.) When that’s done, reassemble your toaster by replacing the rack and tray. Then just to make sure everything’s in working order (wink, wink), plug it in and pop in some bread for a post-cleaning snack.
No Time To Give Your Toaster Some TLC?
When you’re short on time, and can’t fit tasks like cleaning and maintaining your appliances into your schedule, no need to fret. That’s what our house cleaners in Melbourne are here for. Choose from our variety of extras on offer to add on to your service. There’s nothing wrong with relying on professional cleaners to help around the house!