No matter who you are, you’ve probably enjoyed a piece of toast. Even if you’re not a toast person, it’s likely you’ve toasted a bagel or a waffle. If you’ve had a good piece of toasted bread, chances are it was made in a toaster. In fact, pop tarts are advertised coming out of toaster ovens.
If you’re a regular toaster, you know everything’s good until it's time to clean it. How many times have you cringed at the thought of past burns? Even taking your waffle or bagel slice out of the toaster oven before it pops is a potential burn risk.
How To Clean Your Toaster Oven Effectively
So, the question is, how can you safely clean your toaster? Honestly, you should start with reading the manual. If you don’t have your toaster oven instruction manual, research your model’s cleaning instructions. Otherwise, you’ll damage your machine.
Also, be sure to take it step by step. While multitasking works well with cleaning other things, toaster ovens’ individual pieces need your undivided attention. No matter which part you clean first, make sure you unplug your toaster oven and allow it to cool.
Toaster Oven Cleaning Materials
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, avoid oven cleaners. These aren't great for cleaning aluminum. Instead, use mild cleaners like dish soap, warm water, and maybe a bit of vinegar. Since you can't get a clean toaster submerged in water like a dish, take a damp sponge and lightly wipe everything. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining your toaster oven and even electrocuting yourself. You also don't want to wet the heating elements.
The Crumb Tray
Getting back to the "how to clean a toaster" tutorial, one of the most important cleaning steps is the crumb tray. The crumb tray is what catches falling crumbs and debris as you toast. Once removed, you clean a toaster oven crumb tray the way you clean any other dish. If it's hard to remove tray debris, soak it and wash it again. Also, make sure you don't add foil to your tray because it's a fire hazard.
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Cleaning The Interior
As your tray dries, it's a good idea to clean the rest of the interior. Now, most manuals tell you to clean the interior immediately after use. If you don't, wipe with a vinegar, warm water, and dish soap solution. If you have a toaster with slots, take a dry toothbrush and brush the crumbs loose. Finally, turn your toaster upside-down so majority of the crumbs can fall out.
If you have a conventional toaster oven that you roast vegetables or meat, it's likely you have splatters that you're baking onto the inside. To ensure a clean toaster oven, wipe it often to avoid built-in stains. If you're worried about burning yourself, clean it before preheating.
Cleaning The Exterior
Don't underestimate the importance of cleaning the exterior of your toaster oven. Although there's no cooking, residue from food, leftover grease, and other buildup linger on the outside, creating a dirty appearance. Therefore, make sure to clean both the knobs and the outside of your toaster oven regularly.
When it comes to cleaning the outside of your toaster oven, you have a few options. For a standard toaster oven, you can clean with a rag sprayed with diluted vinegar solution or glass cleaner. If you have an LED screen, look up specific cleaning instructions to avoid damage.
Basically, the key to a clean toaster oven is consistent cleaning. By making the cleaning a part of your toasting routine, you keep your toaster oven clean and increase its productivity. Remember to always unplug you toaster and let it cool before cleaning. As long as you follow the proper maintenance techniques for your specific appliance, you'll be knee-deep in perfectly toasted food.