Whether you love it or merely like it, toast can be an absolute lifesaver in the mornings (in the evenings, in the middle of the day, or basically at any point in time where you are rushing out the door and need a quick bite).
A good toaster can provide a very tasty meal indeed – all you have to do is top your preferred slice of bread with anything you can get your hand on. From Marmite or Nutella to peanut butter and banana slices (my firm favourite) or a full stack complete with cheese, meat and salads, the toast is simply the perfect vessel of breakfast goodness.
The one downside it comes with of course is that it’s a bit of a nightmare to clean. Crumbs have this annoying tendency to stick to everything, and you can’t ever actually reach some of the more tricky areas, but with a bit of effort, you can ensure your toaster is safe to use and perfectly clean.
Here are the steps I take to clean my own toaster.
Step 1: The safety check
One might argue that the first thing you’ll need before cleaning your toaster (or any other kitchen appliance for that matter) is a strong will.
But all jokes aside, the first thing you actually need to do is make sure your toaster is unplugged, and if you’ve used it recently, that it’s completely cool. Otherwise, you can end up with some serious injuries, damage the toaster, or even cause a fire.
Step 2: Make sure you have everything
There is nothing worse than starting a job and then realising, halfway through, you don’t have everything you need to finish it. So just make sure you grab all of this before you dive in.
For the entire toaster cleaning process, you’ll need:
- a dishwashing liquid,
- an oven cleaner (or white vinegar and baking soda),
- any kind of clean cloth,
- a sponge,
- a pastry brush (even a paintbrush will do the trick),
- a paper towel,
- a toothbrush,
- and a microfiber cloth.
Step 3: Clean the crumb tray
Carefully pull the crumb tray out of the toaster and give it a wipe above the trash can or sink.
You can then soak it in warm soapy water too, to remove all crumb residue. It’s best to leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes, so even if there are some hardcore stains, they’ll soften, and it will be easier to wash them off.
After the tray’s time in the tub, gently scrub it with a sponge until it’s completely clean.
Wash the soapy water off the tray and leave it to dry while you are tackling the rest of these steps. Before you replace it in the toaster, also make sure it is completely dry.
Step 4: Remove any residue crumbs from the toaster
The best way to do this is to flip your toaster on its head above a sink or a trash can and slowly and gently shake it. This will get all the loose crumbs out of the way.
If you have a vacuum cleaner with a narrow nozzle attachment, it can come in handy here as well. You can practically suck out the loose crumbs, and that way you know you won’t be making any extra mess.
There will be crumbs left in the toaster though, which is why you also need to do step 5. It’s okay to skip it every once in a while, but make sure you complete it at least once a month, or even once every two weeks, if you use your toaster daily.
Step 5: Clean the interior thoroughly
A small pastry brush is your best friend here (or a paintbrush, either will do). Use it to get to all of the crumbs that didn’t fall out of the toaster in the previous step. This must be done gently, because the heating coils cannot be removed, and you don’t want to damage the internal components of the toaster.
The heating elements will most likely also have some crumbs stuck to them and it may take a bit longer to get those out. Still, be patient and persistent, they will come off. Don’t use a fork, and don’t use your fingers to get anything out of the toaster. You can hurt yourself or damage the device, even when it’s not plugged in.
If your toaster has a removable bottom, this step will be a lot easier. Clean the toaster with your brush on both sides and flip it over once again above the sink.
Make sure to place a paper towel underneath the toaster while brushing the interior to avoid getting bread crumbs all over your kitchen.
Step 6: Clean the exterior
When the interior of your toaster is nice and spotless, it’s time to make it squeaky clean on the outside as well.
In most cases, using dish soap and warm water will do the trick, however, if you have to clean some stuck-on stains, you can use an oven cleaner or some vinegar and baking soda. Be gentle though, as you don’t want any scratches on your shiny toaster.
If you were to tackle a stubborn stain, one you just cannot get out, try using an oven cleaner and a toothbrush. This is usually very effective. Leave the oven cleaner on the stain for a couple of minutes and then scrub it with a toothbrush ‘till it’s clean.
While cleaning the exterior, pay attention to the controls and handles. Some toasters have removable handles, so you can detach them and wash them in the sink if you need to.
Step 7: The final touches
Once your toaster’s exterior is clean, wipe it with a sponge dipped in clean water to remove all the foam residue and use another piece of cloth to dry it.
The microfiber cloth I suggested you grab is there to polish your toaster and give it that fresh-out-of-the-store look.
Step 8: Put it all back together
Once everything is dry, you can reassemble the toaster. Attach the handles back on, push the crumb tray back in and plug in your toaster.
And, of course, enjoy a slice of warm toast to reward yourself for the hard work!
To Sum It Up
There you have it – a simple 8-step process to clean your toaster, and enjoy that perfectly peaceful morning with a perfect slice.
Do let me know what you’ll be putting on yours next!