After crisping up bread, bagels and English muffins for weeks on end, your toaster deserves a thorough cleaning. Even if you empty the crumb tray regularly, there’s likely still a collection of morsels hiding within the toaster, getting more burnt and crispy after each use. It may even be attracting rodents.
It doesn’t take long to give your toaster a comprehensive cleanse now and again, and a deep clean will banish any burnt-toast smell and keep your appliance working its best. However, getting rid of crumbs can be a messy process, so we recommend cleaning your toaster over a trash can or the sink to avoid making a mess of your kitchen.
Step 1: Unplug the toaster
Make sure the appliance is unplugged and completely cool before you begin.
Step 2: Empty and wash the crumb tray
Pull out the crumb tray, and empty its contents into the trash can or sink. If your toaster doesn’t have a removable crumb tray, you can also just turn the toaster upside down and shake the large debris out. Wash the crumb tray with soap and warm water to remove any lingering pieces of food, then set it aside to dry.
Step 3: Brush out the inner corners
With whatever small brush you have handy, wipe the inner corners of the toaster where crumbs have likely gathered, being carefully not to dent the heating elements. (If you’re so inclined, you can get a special toaster-cleaning brush, but you don’t really need one.) Shake the loosened particles out over the trash or sink.
Step 4: Clean the exterior
Use a damp dish towel and soap to clean the outside of your toaster, including knobs and controls. If it has a stainless steel exterior, you can also put a splash of vinegar on a dry dish towel and wipe down the metal areas to make them truly shine.
Step 5: Prepare for use
Make sure all components of the toaster are completely dry, then replace the crumb tray and plug the appliance back in.
How often should you clean your toaster?
It’s easy to forget about your toaster when you’re scrubbing down the kitchen. Take a second to dump out the crumb tray or shake your toaster over the trash can after every few uses. This will help prevent crumb buildup between deep-cleaning sessions. If you don’t empty the crumb tray regularly, the bits of bread can become caked on—ultimately creating more work for you down the line.
You should try to make it a habit to deep clean this little appliance when you notice it’s sporting a crummy interior or a food-splattered exterior—at least once a month if you use it every day.
When to replace your toaster
Regularly giving your toaster a good clean can help extend its life. However, you’ll likely need to replace your toaster every six to eight years, depending on how frequently you use it. If you’re in the market for a new toaster, you can compare some of today’s top products with our guide to the best toasters. Once you upgrade to a shiny new appliance, bring your old toaster to a small electronics recycling center for eco-friendly disposal.
The best part of cleaning your toaster? Making yourself a celebratory snack when you’re done! After a good clean, your toaster is ready to crisp up that bagel, avocado toast or sandwich you’ve been thinking about.
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