How to Clean a Toaster and Toaster Oven Properly

Keeping your toaster and toaster oven clean is important for both hygiene and performance. Over time, crumbs and food debris can build up and prevent your appliance from toasting evenly. Regular cleaning also helps prevent potential fire hazards. Follow this comprehensive guide to learn how to clean a toaster and toaster oven properly and keep them working their best.

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, gather the following cleaning supplies:

  • Small vacuum or brush – To remove loose crumbs
  • Q-tips – To access small spaces
  • Toothpicks or skewers – To dislodge stuck debris
  • Mild dish soap – For washing removable parts
  • Clean cloths or paper towels
  • Small container – For soaking parts
  • Baking soda – For deodorizing and scrubbing
  • White vinegar – For descaling and disinfecting
  • Old toothbrush – For scrubbing crevices
  • Rubbing alcohol – For sanitizing

Make sure to unplug the toaster or toaster oven before cleaning. Allow it to fully cool as well.

Cleaning the Exterior

Wipe down the outer surfaces of your toaster or toaster oven with a soft damp cloth and mild detergent. Take care not to get any moisture into openings or controls.

For stubborn grease spots, try rubbing gently with baking soda. Rinse and wipe dry with a clean towel.

Vinegar is also great for cleaning and disinfecting the exteriors of appliances. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray onto the surfaces, then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Removing and Emptying the Crumb Tray

  • Locate the crumb tray at the bottom of your toaster or toaster oven. For toaster ovens, it may be in the front or slide out from under the door.
  • Carefully pull out the crumb tray. Be prepared for any crumbs that may spill out.
  • Dump out all crumbs from the tray into the garbage. Use a dry pastry brush or small vacuum attachment to remove any remaining debris.
  • Rinse the crumb tray with hot water and a small amount of dish soap. Scrub gently with an old toothbrush if needed.
  • Dry thoroughly before replacing in the toaster/oven. Make sure the tray is fully inserted back into place.
  • Wipe any crumbs or debris that may have fallen out around the slot opening as well.

Cleaning Removable Parts and Accessories

Many toaster oven models have removable wire racks, baking pans, and other accessories that should be cleaned regularly.

Remove all parts that can be taken out. Place in a bowl and soak for 15-30 minutes in warm water and a small amount of dish soap.

Use a clean cloth or soft brush to gently scrub away any burnt-on food or grease spots. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.

Rinse all parts thoroughly and dry completely before putting back into the toaster oven.

Descale Heating Elements and Interior Surfaces

Hard water can leave mineral deposits that affect heating efficiency. To remove, make a descaling solution:

  • Mix together 2 cups white vinegar and 1 cup warm water. For heavier buildup, increase the vinegar.
  • Wipe the interior of the toaster or toaster oven with a soft cloth soaked in the solution.
  • Use a toothbrush or other small brush to scrub the heating elements. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Baking soda and water paste is another effective scrub for descaling interiors. Rinse well after scrubbing.

Deep Clean Slot and Interior

For a more thorough interior cleaning, follow these steps:

Unplug and Allow to Cool

Make sure the toaster or toaster oven is completely cool and unplugged before cleaning the interior.

Remove Removable Parts

Take out all removable trays, racks or pans. Follow instructions above for cleaning these.

Vacuum Loose Crumbs

Use a small vacuum crevice attachment or small brush to remove any loose crumbs or debris inside the slots or chamber.

Q-tips For Crevices

Use cotton swabs to gently clean corners, crevices and hard to reach spots. Take care not to leave any cotton residue.

Toothpicks to Dislodge Debris

If you spot any stuck-on food or crumbs, use a toothpick or skewer to gently dislodge and remove.

Mild Detergent

Create a mild detergent solution by mixing a few drops of dish soap with warm water. Use a small brush or cloth dipped in this solution to scrub interior surfaces.

Rinse and Dry Thoroughly

Make sure to rinse away all soap with a damp cloth. Allow to fully dry before using again.

For Stubborn Buildup

For difficult grease or burnt-on food, try spraying with baking soda solution. Let sit briefly, then scrub with a soft bristle brush before rinsing. Vinegar solution also helps cut through residue.

Sanitize with Heat

For an extra level of disinfection, sanitize your toaster or toaster oven with a short heat-only cycle:

  • Make sure the interior is completely dry first.
  • Set temperature to 150°F.
  • Run for 10 minutes once heated. The elevated temperature will sanitize the chamber.
  • Unplug again and allow to cool completely before continuing cleaning or using.

Tips for Keeping Your Toaster Cleaner Longer

  • Empty the crumb tray frequently, even if not visibly full. This prevents buildup.
  • For pop-up toasters, slide out the crumb tray while still hot after toasting. This allows crumbs to fall from slots.
  • When possible, place food items directly on oven racks rather than pans. This minimizes debris left over.
  • Cover items with foil to reduce splatter on interior surfaces.
  • Hand wash removable parts after each use to prevent baked-on food deposits.
  • Every few weeks, do a vinegar rinse cycle while oven is warm. Helps prevent mineral scale buildup.
  • Change your toaster setting from light to dark to vary which heating elements get used. This prevents uneven dirt pattern.
  • After cleaning, plug back in and run empty toaster or oven cycle to ensure parts are fully dry before using again.

With proper care and regular cleaning, your toaster and toaster oven will continue providing delicious results for years to come! Let this comprehensive guide help keep things crumb and mess free.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my toaster or toaster oven?

It’s recommended to deep clean your toaster or toaster oven every 1-2 months. Quick cleanings like emptying the crumb tray can be done every few uses or weekly.

Is it safe to clean a toaster while plugged in?

No, always unplug your toaster completely before attempting any cleaning. Make sure it is fully cooled as well. This prevents electric shock risk.

What is the best way to clean toaster oven racks?

The most effective method is to soak the racks in warm water and dish soap, using a soft brush or cloth to gently scrub away any stuck-on food deposits. Rinse and dry thoroughly before replacing.

How can I get rid of the burnt smell from my toaster?

Run an empty toaster cycle at a high temperature for 10 minutes to sanitize. Baking soda solution scrubbed on the interior can help deodorize. Cleaning regularly prevents odors too.

Why does my toaster only toast one side?

If one side toasts darker, it likely has more crumbs or debris built up on that side. Carefully clean the slots and interior to restore even toasting.

Is it okay to use abrasive scouring pads to clean my toaster?

No, avoid using anything too abrasive on a toaster interior, as it could damage the sensitive heating elements. Use only soft cloths and brushes.

Can I put my toaster racks in the dishwasher?

Some toaster oven racks may be top-rack dishwasher safe, but hand washing is generally recommended to preserve their finish and prevent rusting.

What can I use if I don’t have dish soap to clean my toaster?

Baking soda or vinegar solutions work well. Wipe interior with water dampened cloth. Rinse thoroughly afterward and make sure parts are completely dry.

Why does the inside of my toaster look rusted?

Mineral scale buildup from hard water can cause discoloration. Try descaling with a vinegar solution and scrubbing with baking soda paste before rinsing.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my old toaster?

Signs your toaster should be replaced include uneven toasting, consistently burnt results, exterior damage, excessively slow toasting time, or repeated issues even after thorough cleanings.


Keeping your toaster and toaster oven clean does not need to be a daunting task. With the right supplies and techniques, you can easily remove built-up crumbs, grease, and burnt debris. Be sure to unplug, allow appliances to fully cool, and take precautions. Regular care extends the life of your toaster and keeps food tasting great. Implement a routine based on frequency of use and model recommendations. With this complete guide, you’ll be ready to keep things tidy for tastier toasting!