How to Clean a Toaster: Expert Tips You Can Use Right Now

how to clean a toaster

Toasters are among the most common kitchen appliances found in homes around the world. We use our toasters every day. However, how often do we remember to clean them?

Cleaning your toaster is actually pretty important and can go a long way in preventing accidents in your home. Unknown to many, a toaster with burnt crumbs accumulated at the bottom is a safety hazard; it can lead to accidental fires and burns.

If you came across our article, you are already a step ahead of the rest and have been wondering how to clean a toaster. In this article, we will answer all your questions on how to thoroughly clean your toaster the right way. We will also share some helpful tips to get you started.

Getting Prepared

Before you dive right in and start executing our step by step instructions, there are a couple of things you can do to get yourself completely prepared. This will help ensure the smooth execution of the cleaning process once you get started. The preparation will also prevent any delays and increase efficiency.

Safety First

We have all heard the stories about people getting electrocuted by sticking a butter knife in a toaster to get bread that has become stuck out.

While this may be summed up as being an urban legend by many, toasters can actually pose a serious safety risk or fire hazard if you tinker with them while they are turned on or plugged in. For this reason, it is extremely important that you always make sure to unplug your toaster before you begin the cleaning process. This reminder also applies to all other electrical appliances you might want to clean.

Gather Your Supplies

The following supplies are useful when it comes to cleaning your toaster. Before getting started, make sure you have all or at least most of the supplies, depending on the material your toaster is made out of.

What You Will Need:

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Clean cloth (washcloth, paper towel, or a dish towel)
  • Sponge
  • Pastry brush or paintbrush
  • Toothbrush or other cleaning brush (for hard to remove exterior stains)
  • Microfiber cloth (for a stainless steel or chrome exterior)
  • Trash can or sink
  • Oven cleaner (can be used instead of baking soda and white vinegar)
  • Vacuum cleaner with a small nozzle (optional)

How to Clean a Toaster: Step-by-Step Guide

This simple guide is separated into two sections: one for cleaning the outside and the other for cleaning the inside of your toaster. We recommend doing them both during your routine toaster cleaning.

Alternatively, you can use the exterior cleaning directions for spot-cleaning or accidental spills when they occur. These instructions are intended for use with a pop-up toaster but can easily be modified for use on a toaster oven as well.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Toaster

Step 1: Unplug the Toaster

When cleaning the inside of your toaster, always start by making sure your toaster is unplugged and completely cool. This is essential for avoiding possible burns and other safety risks while you clean.

Step 2: Remove and Empty Crumb Tray

If your toaster has a removable crumb tray located in its base, extract it from the device. Use dish soap to clean the tray in your kitchen sink. For harder to remove bread crumbs, leave the tray to soak in warm soapy water for a few minutes and then scrub again. Once clean, set the crumb tray aside to dry and move on to the next step.

Step 3: Flip and Shake

Holding your toaster over a sink or trash bin, flip it upside down so that the bread slots are facing down towards the ground. With the toaster upside down, gently shake it so that the majority of the crumbs fall out.

You may also find that using a vacuum cleaner with a narrow nozzle attachment can be used to suck out a significant amount of crumbs. This method allows you to contain any of the mess inside and prevents the need for additional cleanup on your counter or around the trash can on the kitchen floor. However, you may still want to try the flip and shake method a few times to achieve the best results.

Step 4: Brush Crumbs Out of the Interior

Using a clean pastry brush or paintbrush, remove any remaining crumbs to clean the inside of your appliance. Pay attention to areas beneath and behind the heating elements where crumbs are more likely to get stuck.

Step 5: Finish Up

Replace the crumb tray in the bottom of your toaster, and that’s all for how to clean the inside. Simple, right?

Cleaning the Outside of Your Toaster

Step 1: Mix Vinegar and Water Solution

Now it’s time to clean your toaster on the outside. Start by mixing your cleaning solution. Warm water and dish soap may work for some toaster exteriors. However, for harder to clean messes with stuck-on dust and dirt, equal parts white vinegar and baking soda or oven cleaner will make the process easier and quicker.

Step 2: Wipe Down the Exterior

Dip a sponge into your soapy water or cleaning solution and wipe down the exterior of your toaster. Make sure to leave a fair amount of the solution on the material to remove dirt and grime.

Step 3: Wait for 5 Minutes

Leave the cleaning product on the toaster for approximately 5 minutes while it soaks in and loosens baked-on messes.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2

Repeat step 2 by wiping the toaster exterior with your sponge again. If these steps remove all of the stains, you can skip ahead to step 6.

Step 5: Tackle Stubborn Stains

For any tough to remove stains, use baking soda and a toothbrush to scrub specific areas. Oven cleaners are particularly effective for tackling stubborn stains.

Step 6: Finish Up

Once all of the stains are removed, wipe your toaster down with clean water, but be sure not to soak it. Lastly, polish your toaster with a microfiber cloth or any type of clean cloth available to make your toaster shine, and you are all done!

How Often Should You Clean Your Toaster?

bread, mug, and kitchen appliances on counterHow often you need to clean your toaster depends on how often it gets used and how many people are using it in your home. Pay attention to the tray and gauge your cleaning cycle frequency on the number of crumbs in the toaster’s tray or bottom. The accumulation of crumbs will lead to a burning smell while you toast and make toasters and ovens harder to clean. Crumbs get baked onto the base.

You may want to clean your toaster weekly if you have a larger-sized family and it gets used daily. Smaller families, couples, and individuals may be able to extend the time between cleanings. You can clean your toaster every few weeks or once a month if the toaster is not being used frequently.


Knowing how to clean a toaster and how often you should clean your appliance will keep it in excellent condition for longer. And with the tips we shared, you’ll be a cleaning expert in no time.

Giving your toaster a thorough clean regularly will also help protect you and your family from accidental fires and burn injuries.

If you have any other helpful ideas on cleaning a toaster, let us know in the comments below.

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