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How (and When) to Clean Your Toaster

A toaster on the countertop with toast, insdie, and freshly jamed toast with a cup of coffee.

Time to give those crumbs an eviction notice because it’s toaster-cleaning day! We’ll give you the rundown on how to clean this handy appliance from top to bottom, and make it shine again.

If you don’t give it a good wipe down every now and then, your toaster will gather loads of crumbs and other icky things. Luckily, cleaning it is pretty simple, and we’ll show you how.

When (and Why) You Should Clean Your Toaster

A dirty toaster with two pieces of toast inside.
Zapylaiev Kostiantyn/Shutterstock.com

Aside from the obvious reason (cleanliness), toasters need to be cleaned because they accumulate a lot of crumbs at the bottom. These build up over time and can become a fire hazard.

According to Consumer Affairs, a number of people have reported that their toasters have caused a fire. Regular cleaning is recommended to ensure that a buildup doesn’t pile too high and become dangerous.

Don’t forget about all the cooking you do near the toaster, as well. From globs of butter to occasional oil splatters, your toaster has likely gotten a dose of all sorts of yuck. This leads us to our next point: how often you should clean the toaster.

This question doesn’t exactly have a one-size-fits-all answer because your toaster-cleaning routine will significantly depend on how often you use it.

If your family uses it daily, then a weekly or bi-weekly wipe down and crumb removal will be in your best interest. However, if your toaster collects more dust than crumbs, you won’t have to clean it nearly as often.

However, if you’ve never cleaned your toaster, it’s time to gather those cleaning supplies.

What You’ll Need

Three images of products reccomended in the article including The Crown Choice grout detail brushes, Microfiber Wholesale microfiber towels and a Scotchbrite sponge.
The Crown Choice/Microfiber Wholesale/ Scotchbrite

Cleaning your toaster can be done in under 10 minutes if you already have the right supplies. Everything on our list is a common household item, so you probably already have most of them. If not, though, we’ve included a few links to the products we recommend.

Here’s what you’ll need to give that toaster a good cleaning:

A detail brush: This pack of three will significantly help you get those stubborn crumbs out of the inside of your toaster. The flexible, yet strong, bristles will allow you to get into those nooks and crannies and remove any extra gunk with ease. A pastry or brand-new paintbrush with firm bristles will get the job done, too.

Detail Cleaning Brushes

Perfect for removing stubborn toast crumbs.

A dish sponge: Perfect for scrubbing away any stubborn stains or buildup. If your toaster is relatively clean and stain-free,  you might be able to get away with using a microfiber cloth or dish towel, instead.

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Sponges

A six-pack of sponges that'll scrub away all that grime.

A microfiber towel: This 12-pack will come in handy for wiping away fingerprints and smudges on most kitchen appliances, including your toaster. You’ll also have plenty when it’s time to clean the entire kitchen.

Microfiber Towel 12-Pack

Perfect for cleaning just about everything in the house.

Dish soap: Dawn platinum is the only dish soap we buy due to its mighty grease-cleaning power and fresh scent. It’s just what you need to create a solution for your toaster cleaning adventures.

Dawn Platinum Dish Soap

Powerful grease-fighter and fresh scent.

Vinegar: Did you know vinegar is an all-natural way to brighten up all your stainless-steel appliances? You just dilute it with some water, and the two can work magic together. Plus, you can’t beat the price, and it won’t fill your home with harmful chemical odors. It’s a win-win!

Heinz All Natural Distilled Vinegar

A necessity for making an all-natural cleaning solution.

Now that you’ve rounded up all your supplies, it’s time to clean that toaster.

How to Clean Your Toaster

A toaster and some cleaning supplies next it to it before a proper wipe down and crumb removal.
Emilee Unterkoefler / LifeSavvy

Cleaning your toaster should only take a few minutes if you do it regularly. If it’s been a long time since you gave it a good scrub, you’re looking at about 10-20 minutes to get it spic and span.

Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your toaster before attempting any cleaning. Inserting anything (aside from actual food) into it can cause an electrical shock or, possibly, a fire. Also, make sure your toaster has had time to cool down before you clean it.
  2. Gather your supplies while your toaster is cooling. Fill a large bowl halfway with hot water and a few drops of dish soap, and then mix to create a cleaning solution.
  3. If your toaster has a removable crumb-catching tray, brush the crumbs off it, place it in the cleaning solution, and then let it soak for a few minutes. After at least three minutes, use your sponge to scrub away any stubborn crumbs.
  4. Over the sink or a large trash can, turn the toaster upside down. Gently pat the bottom of the toaster to loosen any stuck crumbs until they come out.
  5. Use a detail brush or microfiber towel to remove any stubborn crumbs inside or around the toaster’s opening.
  6. If necessary, make a new cleaning solution of soap and water to scrub the exterior of your toaster with a dish sponge. Wipe away any fingerprints, smears, stuck-on food, or anything else that’s caked on the appliance.
  7. Dry the crumb tray, and then add slide it back onto the bottom of your toaster.
  8. Give your toaster a final wipe down with a dry microfiber towel. If it’s stainless steel, you can combine equal parts water and vinegar to give it a streak-free shine.
  9. When it’s completely dry, return it to its regular spot, and plug it back in.

Don’t forget to take a second to admire your work. Your toaster should now look bright, shiny, and brand-new again!

Now that your toaster’s clean, why stop there? Let’s move on to a major appliance, like that fridge or oven.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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