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How to clean a toaster

It’s one of the most used and least appreciated appliances in your kitchen. When you’re in a rush or don’t have the energy for complex recipes, popping some bread in the toaster is an easy way to make a quick snack.

The humble slice of toast has to be one of the most versatile foodstuffs in the world. You probably have half a dozen potential toast toppings in your fridge or larder. In the time it takes to swipe a knife you can turn your toast into something sweet or savoury, healthy or sinfully delicious.

But how often do you clean your toaster? Cleaning out a toaster doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. Read on to find out how to clean a toaster inside and out.

This article is for you if:

  • You’re tired of finding dried breadcrumbs all over the worktop.
  • Using the toaster produces a smell of stale things burning rather than fresh bread browning.
  • If you don’t know how to clean out a toaster when something gets stuck inside it.

Tools and materials

Just getting rid of crumbs doesn’t require anything more complex than your hands, and the only materials required are a rubbish bag. Then you’re planning to go a little further than that you’ll find it useful to have the following items:

  • A rubbish bin or bag;
  • A small brush – a pastry brush for loose crumbs, a bottlebrush or a used toothbrush if something’s stuck;
  • Warm water, washing-up liquid;
  • A soft cloth;
  • White wine vinegar and/or kitchen cleaner;
  • Baking soda.

Clean the inside of your toaster

It’s pretty obvious, but in the interests of safety, we’ll just mention it. Before starting to clean a toaster you need to unplug it and leave it to cool!

Get rid of loose crumbs

  1. If you have a crumb tray, keep the toaster in the upright position and gently shake it.
  2. Holding the appliance over the bin or rubbish bag slide the crumb tray out. Wash the toaster tray in warm water with a little washing-up liquid and set it aside to dry.
  3. Use a sponge or cloth rather than an aluminium scrubber as you don’t want the scratch the tray. If you do the scratches will trap crumbs in the future.
  4. Most of the crumbs will have fallen neatly in the bin but toasters have all sorts of nooks and crannies where debris gets caught so give it another gentle shake to free them. Turn the toaster upside down and shake again.

Clean the outside of your toaster

Toasters with a plastic exterior can be cleaned using a cloth dampened with diluted general-purpose kitchen cleaner. If your toaster has a chrome or steel finish, white wine vinegar works better as it brings back the shine and won’t leave smears.

If any marks don’t lift with diluted cleaner apply a little unconcentrated cleaner, leave for a few minutes then remove with a clean damp cloth. The watchword here is damp. When cleaning any electrical appliance always use the minimum amount of liquid that will do the job.

How to remove toasted cheese from a toaster

Standard pop-up toasters aren’t really designed for toated sandwiches and you should definitely never use them for cheese on toast! If however, you’ve managed to get melted cheese or any other melted food stuck to the inside of the toaster:

  1. Unplug it and let it cool.
  2. Once the stuck food has solidified, use a soft kitchen spatula to remove the majority of the debris, then a soft toothbrush to get rid of the rest.
  3. Again, you can use white wine vinegar on the brush if you need some extra cleaning power.
  4. Make sure the toaster is fully dry before using it again.

How to remove stains from a toaster

The steps described above will generally be enough to remove most marks from the outside of toasters but if you have stubborn stains try the following:

  • White wine vinegar and water – A 1 to 1 mix of these two ingredients left for a few minutes on the stain may be sufficient to lift it.
  • Baking soda paste – Add just enough water to the soda to make it stick together. Apply to the stain and leave it for a few minutes. Wipe off with vinegar. If the stain is really stubborn, use a soft brush to gently scrub. The soda is abrasive enough to lift stains but won’t cause scratches.

How often should you clean your toaster?

Apart from the fact that a dirty toaster is unhygienic and won’t produce great tasting toast, it’s important to remove crumbs regularly as they’re a fire risk. How often you need to clean the toaster depends on how often much you use it and what for.

If all you do is toast bread, a weekly removal of crumbs and a few minutes of deeper cleaning once a month should be sufficient. If you put sweet or crumbly bakery products in the toaster you’ll need to clean it more often.

If you smell burning when you use the toaster it’s overdue for a cleanout!

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Extends the life of your appliances and keeps it looking new