How to Clean a Toaster

Last update: 1 year ago

A white toaster with lightly toasted bread on pink backgroud
Savchades /

Cleaning the toaster in your kitchen may not be the most critical thing on your to-do list. But it’s very easy, doesn’t take too long and is important to prevent germs from building up inside the appliance.

No, it doesn’t involve simply turning your toaster upside down and shaking it over the sink. That’s not a real clean. When done the correct way, cleaning your toaster should only take (at the most) nine minutes. Once you’ve done it enough times, you can bring that number down even further.

Below, we’ll outline what you need to know to ensure your beloved toasting device gets the cleaning it deserves! We’ll also show you how to do it in a way that you don’t burn or electrocute yourself.

Why you should clean your toaster?

Toasters can become quite dirty. They accumulate a huge amount of dust, grime, morsels of bread, and even insects. Unlike other appliances you may use at home, toasters don’t have doors to keep these nasty pollutants at bay.

Using a dirty toaster doesn’t just make your food taste unpleasant: it might also give you food poisoning if the debris has evolved to the point where it’s contaminating an otherwise healthy piece of bread.

At the very worst, a failure to clean your toaster can lead to debris building up over time — a combination of dust, food and ick. If this debris then dries out, the toaster itself can become a fire hazard. The next time you make toast, you may start to notice a smell like something is burning, and your appliance could even catch on fire.

This is a scenario you’ll want to avoid as much as possible. So continue reading to learn how to clean your toaster in just nine minutes (or less).

How to clean a toaster inside and out

Before delving into your new toaster cleaning project, make sure you have:

What you will need:

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Vinegar
  • Sponges
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Pastry brush (small)
  • Toothbrush
  • Steel wool

Unplug your toaster

The first step when cleaning any electrical appliance is to make sure it’s disconnected from all sources of electricity. Ensure that you unplug your toaster from the wall, and that it has cooled down completely before you start cleaning. That way, you can minimise your risk of becoming electrocuted and creating a fire hazard.

Find a way to catch your crumbs

Cleaning your toaster can get a little messy, and you don’t want crumbs spilling all over your floor or kitchen bench. Your solution is to create a ‘crumb catcher’, which could be the sink or the bin. Having a way to catch your crumbs as they fall will minimise the need to clean up when you’re finished.

Remove (and clean) the crumb tray

The first step to learning how to clean inside a toaster is to remove the crumb tray. This tray is at the bottom of many conventional toasters, and should be easy to remove. It’s designed to catch leftover crumbs that fall off the bread.

If your toaster includes this feature, remove the tray and shake off the excess debris. Then simply run the tray underneath warm water and wash it with soap until it’s sparkling clean. You can use a toothbrush to thoroughly scrub it if you notice that it’s particularly dirty.

Once complete, place the tray on the side as you continue through the below steps.

Turn upside down and shake

If you need to clean a toaster with no crumb tray, do it the way everyone knows how. Turn the machine upside down and shake out as much debris as possible. Make sure you do this over your sink or a trash can, rather than on the floor or on the bench. You can still use this ‘shake’ method even if your toaster has a removable tray at the bottom.

Brush the stubborn crumbs

Shaking your toaster upside down is not the best way to clean your toaster. It’s very likely that crumbs and debris will be left behind — caked onto the inner machinery. To really get into the nitty-gritty of your appliance, use a pastry brush to scrub into the slots and give the machine a thorough sweep. The tough bristles on the brush should be sturdy enough to get rid of the excess dirt and crumbs without damaging or scratching the apparatus.

Clean the outside of the toaster

Don’t ignore the outside of the appliance. Wipe every component on the outside, including every lever, button, casing and knob. Use a slightly wet cloth and soap to give the device a thorough external clean. If the toaster is particularly greasy, you can also use steel wool to give it that extra scrub and polish.

If you’re wondering how to clean a stainless steel toaster, using vinegar is the best option. You can combine vinegar with water and a tiny drop of soap, spray it onto a cloth and wipe your device that way.

If there’s any more vinegar left in your bottle, you may as well use it to clean other stainless steel appliances throughout the house. This could include cleaning your kettle, utensils, stove, oven or other appliances you may have.

Re-insert crumb tray

By the time this is all complete, your crumb tray should be dry. Put it back into the toaster, then give your benches a spray and wipe to make sure all your surfaces are crystal clear.

Use, eat, repeat

Now that your toaster is sparkling clean, you can eat your next piece of toast knowing you’ve reduced the risk of harmful germs building up in your appliance and a fire starting in your kitchen. Just make sure that after you’ve used it, you clean the toaster again and don’t forget about what you’ve just achieved.

We would avoid putting your toaster into the dishwasher. It’s an electrical appliance, and its heating components may be damaged by water.

How often you should clean your toaster

If you use your toaster often, you’ll want to regularly clean your toaster at least once a week. But if you don’t use it that frequently, at least once a month should be sufficient.

Set up your toaster-cleaning routine today

Just like the importance of cleaning a dishwasher, oven, range hood, refrigerator, cupboards, kettle and benches, cleaning a toaster is just as crucial for a safe and functioning kitchen.

Now that you’ve read this article, grab your calendar right now and set up a weekly or monthly cleaning routine to clean your toaster. Place a sticker on each day you plan to take a mere nine minutes to clean one of the most common yet overlooked kitchen appliances. It’s simple, yet will go a long way to helping you comfortably and safely eat your toast.


The main takeaways to consider when it comes to how to clean a toaster include:

  • Clean your toaster on a regular basis — and don’t forget about it.
  • You can use dishwashing liquid to clean your toaster.
  • Remove your toaster’s crumb tray (if it has one) and shake your toaster to get all debris out.
  • You can use vinegar if you’re cleaning a stainless steel toaster.
  • Use a pastry brush to clean the stubborn crumbs remaining inside the toaster after shaking.
  • Avoid placing your toaster in the dishwasher.
  • Always unplug your toaster before cleaning.
  • If you don’t have the time, yet need a thorough cleaning of more than just your toaster – get a cleaning team to cover the entire place on your behalf.

Do you need a helping hand?

Hire a professional cleaning team!

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