How to Clean Every Inch of Your Toaster—Inside and Out

Though it's impossible to remove every stray crumb from your toaster, the appliance benefits greatly from routine care.

Toast in toaster on kitchen countertop
Photo: Image Source / Getty Images

When it comes to making your morning bagel or giving your bread that perfect crunch, toasters get the job done; they are a must-have kitchen appliance. But despite their value, these products can be difficult to clean. While you likely toss away any burnt crumbs from its tray after a few uses, when was the last time you gave your toaster a thorough scrub? "We recommend removing crumbs and any food residue that could cause a burnt taste or a fire on a weekly basis," says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. "If you only use the oven to make toast, weekly cleaning is sufficient." Here, she explains how to clean the interior and outside of your toaster so it shines like new.

How to Clean the Inside of Your Toaster

To start, unplug your toaster from its outlet. Then, locate your crumb tray. "There should be a handle that extends from under the control panel," says Peterson. "If you've never done this before, seeing your crumb tray for the first time might be quite a shock." Once you've found and removed the crumb tray from its slot, empty its contents into a trash can. Wash it with warm water and dish detergent until it is clean. If any stubborn gunk remains, Peterson says to scrub it away using an old toothbrush.

Next, you can move on to the inside of the toaster, where the oven grates are. "Although it's impossible to deep clean the inside of the toaster, flipping it upside down over the compost bin or garbage is a highly effective way to remove crumbs from the bottom," Peterson explains. After flipping the appliance over and shaking the crumbs loose, look down into the slots for small pieces of toast that may be stuck in the heating elements. Sometimes a gentle tap or two will dislodge the pieces—but if that doesn't work, you may need to use needle nose pliers, tweezers, or a pair of scissors to grab them. Once everything is clear, place the clean, dry crumb tray back in its slot and move onto the exterior of your toaster.

How to Clean the Outside of Your Toaster

Whether your toaster's exterior is made of plastic or stainless steel, Peterson says you can easily remove fingerprints, oil smudges, and crumbs with a damp microfiber cloth. Once you wipe the surface clean, Peterson says to "buff it dry with a dry microfiber cloth and leave it unplugged until it's time to use again." If you haven't kept up with routine cleaning, you may need to also degrease the exterior if stubborn grime remains. To do so, wet a cloth in soapy water, ring it out, and then wipe down the outside of the appliance; let the soap sit for about five minutes. If stains linger, Peterson says to dip a toothbrush in baking soda and scrub them until they're gone. Then, wipe the toaster down with a damp cloth and towel it dry.

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