How to properly clean a toaster? 5 useful tips

Learn how to clean the toaster, an appliance that requires frequent maintenance to extend its useful life and not risk your health.

Last update: October 17, 2021

One of the devices that works the most in the kitchen is the toaster. Every slice that heats up the appliance releases crumbs that, in the long run, hinder its operation. In this text you will learn how to clean a toaster.

If the appliance does not work properly, it will burn your breads and you will run the risk of consuming harmful substances such as acrylamide. The Argentine Council on Food Safety and Nutrition explains that said organic compound represents a potential problem for people of all ages.

In addition, toasters require periodic maintenance to reduce the amount of airborne pollutants. According to research from the University of Colorado, making toasts is one of the activities that affects the quality of the air indoors.

5 tips for cleaning your toaster

Efficient cleaning of a toaster involves the inside and the outside. If every time you use the machine you dedicate a few minutes to superficial cleaning, sanitizing it thoroughly will not take much longer. Before starting, check the manufacturer’s instruction manual.


  • Soap.
  • Coarse salt.
  • Warm water.
  • White vinegar.
  • News paper.
  • A dry cloth and a damp one.
  • Toothbrush or pastry brush.

1. Unplug and cool

Unplug the toaster to prevent domestic accidents. If you just used the appliance, wait for it to cool down. Put it on the newspaper or on top of the sink, so as not to spread the crumbs it contains.

Toasted bread may contain acrylamide if the process was carried out in a dirty appliance.

2. Empty the tray

A conventional toaster has 2-slice slots and a removable plate that collects the waste. Take out the latter and shake off the chips. With warm soapy water, moisten a cloth or sponge, wash the tray and wait for it to dry.

If necessary, support yourself with a spatula to remove debris. In case the toaster does not come with a crumb tray, just shake it upside down.

3. Sweep up the debris

The pastry brush or toothbrush is for remove from the corners the crumbs refused to come off. The tool has to be fine enough to go through the upper grooves and sweep the inside of the toaster. Dip the bristles in white vinegar or add coarse salt to remove the charred bits.

4. Grill on the outside

Cleaning a toaster from the outside is the easiest thing to do. You dampen the microfiber cloth in soapy water and rub the case, levers and knobs.

On stainless steel machines, a touch of vinegar adds shine. When the exterior shows difficult stains, use baking soda to fade them.

5. Insert the tray

Once the crumb tray is dry, return it to its place. Before turning the toaster back on, make sure it’s not damp.

Recommendations for use

Good use of the toaster prolongs its functionality. Although the manufacturer specifies how to work with the appliance, it is worth paying attention to the following recommendations:

  • Adjust the browning level: buttons or knobs are generally graduated between 1 and 5. If your toaster is new, start at the middle level. Test each level until you define how toasty you prefer your breads.
  • Don’t saturate the slots: inserting more slices than the slits allow will clog the appliance.
  • Wait the necessary time: Expect the slices to toast, but don’t neglect the burning smell. 2 minutes is usually enough. Hearing the sound and lifting the lever, the bread is ready.
  • Consume the necessary energy: If you fancy 2 loaves and your toaster can handle both pieces, add them in one batch. Less use, less energy waste. If you want to know how much electricity your toaster uses, consult an online calculator to determine that.
  • Respect the manual: Although there are traditional, horizontal, tinplate, and oven-type roasters, the goal is the same. However, it is essential to read the instructions required by each brand.
  • No dishwasher: it is dangerous to get the toaster completely wet.
Proper use of the appliance reduces the accumulation of crumbs.

How often do you have to clean a toaster?

If the crusty bread is not missing in your breakfast, try to clean the toaster at least once a week. If it is an appliance for sporadic use, clean it every month.

What you should not delay is to shake the crumbs from the tray and wipe the outside, so that the utensil is presentable, does not affect the kitchen and toast correctly. For your health, it is essential to take care of the cleanliness of the bread warmer.

In addition to acrylamide, heterocyclic amines could form inside a dirty roaster, an advanced glycation reduction occurs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons appear. These substances stick to charred food and are associated with harmful effects on the body.

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