How to Clean a Toaster

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Dear Home-Ec 101,
I have a lovely stainless steel, 4 slice toaster, with crumb tray. I clean out the crumb tray, wipe everything down, and shake it like a martini over the trash can, but when I set it back down, it still has crumbs falling out. Repeat process many times, plus when I look down in the toaster it looks like a pepper shaker exploded on the inside. Now I am guessing I am not supposed to scrub it in the sink, but how do I clean the inside of the toaster?
Toasted in Tottingham

clean the toaster

Heather says:

Good call on not dunking the toaster in the sink. This is another one of those chores whose frequency really depends on how much toast and what kind of toast your prepare. Those of us who dig everything bagels are just begging to clean out our toasters after every use. I figure it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.

Before we even talk about cleaning the toaster, go ahead, reach over and unplug that bad boy. Got it? Ok. And if you just finished making a huge batch of toast, you probably want to wait a few minutes before getting started.

Find a clean, soft toothbrush and a rag dampened with dilute vinegar, a green scrubby, and some dish soap.

Pop the bottom tray off – over the sink, unless you really enjoy sweeping.  Set the toaster aside and shake the tray over the sink to remove as much loose crumb debris as you can.  Then use a little dish soap and your green scrubby remove the remaining nastiness. Rinse well and set aside to dry. Now take your dry toothbrush and gently sweep out any crumbs clinging to the inside of the toaster. Now, don’t get carried away, you’re not following your dentist’s orders to brush in circles. Gently flick crumbs away in the same direction as the wires run.

Be careful, if you break a wire, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to one-sided toast.

Already have a toaster that only half works? Amazon has a big selection of toasters that you can pick from.

You may want to turn the toaster upside down and brush around the edges of where the crumb tray fits, too.

Now gently shake, shake, shake your toaster over the sink until it quits raining crumbs or you get bored.

Wipe down the outside of your toaster with the damp rag and you’re good to go.

how to clean appliances
Click the picture for more tips!

If you’re still having crumb issues, make sure the tray has a secure fit. If the tray isn’t catching everything, that may be the cause of your crumbs. Another potential source is sloppy spousal or child clean up. Not everyone understands that wiping down the counters includes moving small appliances. If this is the cause, you may need to provide a remedial counter wiping session.

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3 thoughts on “How to Clean a Toaster”

  1. Back when I had a toaster (I have a toaster oven now), I would sweep the slots periodically with a cheap natural bristle paint brush (1″ width, the same one I used for basting). I won’t remove burned-on spatters, but it works well on crumbs and is unlikely to break wires.

  2. We had mystery pantry moth larvae in our kitchen earlier this year – would find just ONE climbing up the wall and freak out. Finally tracked it back that the dumb little buggers were living in the crumb tray of the toaster. Stupid place to live.

  3. @RosieWWW That is crazy, but I will definitely remember it next time someone asks me about pantry moths. Thanks for sharing. Pantry moths are evil.


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