Cleaning Guide: 4 Easy Toaster Washing Tips

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We'll admit it: That toaster mess can be daunting. Not only are there crumbs everywhere, but the device is an enigma. All that wiring and cramped space seems nearly impossible to master. Well, have no fear; is here! With a simple users guide to cleaning your toaster, you'll never have to argue over who's boss of the kitchen again.

When to Do It

Whether you're a burner or an under-cooker, a toast fan or a Pop Tarts aficionado, your toaster is victim to carbon and crumb buildup over time, so much so that it can start to smoke and even catch fire if not cleaned regularly. As a result, you should clean your toaster out at least once a month to avoid a fire hazard. And the more often you clean your toaster, the easier it is to do. It really only takes a couple minutes to do, and a tidy toaster operates more effectively, too.

How to Start

Before you start cleaning, you should unplug the toaster and ensure that it is completely cool. This is for your own safety and for the safety of your toaster, so if necessary, watch a movie while it cools off. You can also take that time to set up for your cleaning. Work over the sink, a trash can or even a newspaper-covered counter or tabletop. These locations will make crumb cleanup easier. Either way, you'll want to have a soapy water solution, a pastry brush (or a toothbrush, if you don't have one) and a dry cloth or two.

Cleaning Your Toaster

Move to your desired cleaning surface. Before shaking the toaster or turning it upside down, look for a removable tray or hatch at the bottom. Most toasters have them, and this allows for easier disposal of most of the collected crumbs and debris. Wipe this down thoroughly to remove all crumbs. If your tray is crusted solid with crumbs, then remove it completely and wash it with warm soapy water. Dry it off completely with a cloth before reassembling it to your toaster. For any remaining materials, flip the toaster over and give it a nice, soft shake. In addition, use a small pastry brush to reach more difficult corners and niches of your toaster.

To clean the exterior of your toaster, use a soft, damp cloth and some more of the warm soapy water. Again, dry completely. For stainless steel toasters or toasters with several smudges, wipe it down with a bit of white vinegar as well. Allow the vinegar to air dry for best effect. Any tough stuck-on stains can be removed with a bit of baking soda. Always use a non-scratching sponge or wiping cloth on your toaster to avoid scratching it.


For safety purposes, don't plug your toaster in or attempt to use it for several hours after cleaning. Also, never immerse a toaster in water, under any circumstances. It can damage the appliance and risk electrocution to you. In the end, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Persistence is key with your toaster. The more often you clean it, the easier it gets. For best results, wipe down the exterior of your toaster regularly, perhaps weekly or biweekly. Clean the interior no less than once monthly for optimum performance. Always empty out the crumb tray regularly, as well. With these basic tips and easy steps, you'll have the best toaster in town. Now, get cooking!

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Emelie Battaglia Emelie Battagila is a contributing writer for

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