A Quick and Easy Way To Properly Clean Your Toaster

Cleaning your toaster is an often-procrastinated (or even completely avoided) to-do. It just feels like one of those “last thing I wanna do today” types of tasks, and we don’t blame you. There’s nothing fun or interesting about it, BUT… it also doesn’t to be daunting or take very long. 

Let’s face it, cleaning your toaster is a “necessary evil”, not just for sanitary reasons, but because a dirty toaster is a potential fire hazard, and nobody wants that. So we’ve put together a super simple, straight-forward step-by-step guide to getting your toaster clean in no time! In fact, this guide may even redefine your relationship to cleaning your toaster, and ensure you do it more often! 

Front of the toaster

Why Clean Your Toaster?

Why should you clean your toaster? 

  • To Prevent Food Poisoning: All that crumb buildup can harbor harmful bacteria that can spread to the clean pieces of bread you put in your toaster! Regular cleaning helps you avoid the risk of making yourself sick.
  • To Prevent a Fire Hazard: Did you know that accumulating burnt crumbs can actually cause your toaster to catch fire? This chance is especially prevalent when your toaster is on it’s side, so be sure to avoid using it in any position but what it was meant for.
  • To Ensure It Functions Properly: Cleaning your toaster regularly will ensure that it functions at its best. An accumulation of food debris can cause uneven toasting or even burning, so you want to make sure your toaster gets cleaned regularly to prevent this.


Side angle toaster

How Often Should You Clean Your Toaster?

If you use your toaster almost daily, you should clean it once a week. If you use it less often, perhaps only once or twice a week, then you’ll want to clean it once every few weeks, but be sure to empty the crumbs out on a weekly basis.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Soft-bristle pastry brush
  • Damp cloth
  • Dish soap
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Microfiber cloth


Top of the toaster

The Cleaning Process:

Unplug and Prepare  First things first: unplug your toaster. Always disconnect the power source before dealing with electrical components to avoid the risk of electrocution.

Unplugging the toaster

Remove the Crumb Tray – Detach the crumb tray. (Sometimes it slides out and detaches entirely, and sometimes it swings open on a hinge, but stays attached, in which case, you will not remove it entirely from the toaster.) Dump out any crumbs into your garbage disposal or trash can. Doing this step alone regularly can significantly decrease your chance of a toaster fire accident.

Opening the toaster doors

Shake Out Any Loose Crumbs – Don’t forget to turn your toaster upside down and give it a gentle shimmy over the sink or trash can. This will help get rid of leftover crumbs stuck inside.

Empty toaster crumbs into sink

Brush the Inside – Get out your handy-dandy pastry brush and gently clean the inside of the toaster. Be sure to pay special attention to the heating elements and hard-to-reach spots. These are where food particles and crumbs tend to accumulate.

Brushing crumbs from the toaster

Clean the Crumb Tray – If you’re crumb tray detaches completely, wash it with warm soapy water in the sink. Use dishwashing liquid and a sponge or soft-bristle brush to remove any food residue or buildup of crumbs from it. Rinse and dry it well before you put it back.

Wipe Down the Exterior – To clean the outside of your toaster, wipe it down with a damp cloth and a bit of dish soap. If you have a stainless steel toaster, use a solution of warm water and white vinegar to really make it shine. (Never use any harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean your toaster.)

Wiping down the toaster

Putting vinegar on a rag

Remove Stubborn Stains with Baking Soda – For tougher stains or stubborn grease on the outside of your toaster, mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply this paste to the stains and let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it with a damp sponge. (Soft side only!).

Dry Your Toaster Thoroughly – Dry the outside of the toaster with a microfiber cloth or a lint-free cloth. Dry the crumb tray as well, and reattach it. Let the inside of your toaster dry on its own by letting it sit out overnight before you plug it back in. You want to make sure your toaster is 100% dry before plugging it in!

Drying the toaster


More Cleaning Tips:

  • Clean Your Toaster on a Regular Basis: Make cleaning your toaster a part of your weekly cleaning routine will help you to keep it free from the buildup of crumbs and burnt food particles, and you’ll spend less time cleaning it in general.
  • Use a Soft Cloth for Stainless Steel: Always use a soft cloth or sponge to clean stainless steel appliances to make sure you don’t leave scuff marks on the surface.
  • Cleaning the Control Panel: You can use a damp paper towel or a soft cloth to clean the control panel, but be mindful to avoid getting any moisture into the electrical components.
  • Prevent Fire Risk: Regularly cleaning your toaster reduces the risk of fire from food debris accumulation.

Close up of toaster

See? That’s not so tough now, is it? 

We hope this step-by-step guide not only helped you learn how to clean your toaster the right way, but that it’s shown you how easy it is! With just a few simple steps, and a little time, you may even be ready to give your toaster a good cleaning on a weekly basis! 

Do you have any tips or tricks for cleaning your pop-up toaster or other small appliances? We’d love to hear about it! Be sure to leave a comment below with your favorite tips.

Cuisinart 4 Slice Toaster Oven Giveaway! 

Want to win your own 4 slice toaster? Enter our giveaway below! 


  1. Would LOVE to WIN!!

  2. My toaster broke


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Jaden Rae
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I'm Jaden Rae, a TV chef, cookbook author, recipe developer, and the creative force behind Steamy Kitchen, a 19-year food blog focused on Asian cuisine and mindful living. Steamy Kitchen has been featured on The List, the Today Show, Oprah.com, Martha Stewart Living Radio & more.

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