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Tips, tricks and essentials for restaurant and foodservice equipment in one place.

How to Clean the Inside of a Toaster

Woman cleaning toaster - How to clean the inside of a toaster

Have you been side-eyeing your toaster lately, thinking it’s been looking a little worse for wear? Maybe there’s an anthill of crumbs sitting at the bottom of your toaster, or maybe your morning English muffin is starting to taste a little burnt in places. These are all signs that it’s time to learn a few toaster-cleaning hacks. 

But you’re probably still wondering just how to clean the inside of a toaster when there’s definitely no way you can fit your hand into any of the tiny slots. Don’t worry about that. We have a few tricks up our sleeves to get that whiff of burning toast out of your nostrils as soon as tomorrow morning.

Supplies You’ll Need

Should You Clean the Inside of a Toaster?

Yes, you should clean the inside of your toaster at least once a week for one of these three reasons:

  • Sour toast and a smelly toaster – A buildup of breadcrumbs at the bottom of your toaster can create the perfect environment for bacteria and other harmful food-borne pathogens to breed out of control. This can affect the taste of your toast and make your toaster start stinking up the kitchen.
  • Potential fire hazard – Everyone knows that oil is highly flammable, but did you know it can drip out of your morning breakfast during toasting? Bread crumbs and oil inside your toaster can actually catch fire when the elements heat up.
  • Reduced efficiency – They can also affect how the heating elements within your toaster. So instead of evenly toasted bread every time, the excess crumbs might be interfering with heat distribution, causing it to take longer with patchier results and a noticeable increase in utility bills.
  • Higher indoor air pollutants – If your toaster is burning through its bread crumbs, the results could be more unpleasant than the smell. A recent study found that toasters release air pollutants into the kitchen and home, which could have prolonged health effects on your family, coworkers, and employees, such as lung disease and cancer.

How to Clean the Inside of Your Toaster

To avoid a house fire, foul-tasting breakfasts, a smelly appliance, higher utility bills, and poor indoor air quality, it’s essential to take the time every week to clean out the crumb tray. This is how to clean the inside of your toaster:

  • Step 1. Unplug your toaster – As always, when working with electrical equipment, unplugging and letting the toaster cool down before sticking highly conductive and sensitive fingers in it is a must.
  • Step 2. Clean the inside of the toaster – With a pastry or baster brush, gently scrub the inside of the toaster to loosen crumbs and get out any gunk. If your toaster has smaller crevices you need to access, you can try using an unused paint, makeup or a toothbrush.
  • Step 3. Remove and clean the crumb tray – There should be a lip or indent on the bottom of your toaster that you can slide out. Wash the crumb tray with warm water and soap using a sponge or microfiber cloth. Wait until it is thoroughly dry before returning it to its compartment. If the toaster does not have a crumb tray, don’t panic. We’ll address what to do in the next step.
  • Step 4. Turn the toaster upside down – Crumb tray or not, you can turn your toaster head over heels and lightly tap the bottom to dislodge any of those crumbs still stubbornly clinging to life.
    • Note: Be careful not to forcefully shake or violently tap your toaster. Manhandling your toaster can damage the delicate soldering that holds the heating elements in place.
  • Step 5. Wipe down the outside – To put on the finishing touches, use a clean microfiber cloth or sponge and some dish soap to wipe down the exterior. If you have a stainless steel toaster, it’s important that you only use a stainless steel cleaner, as other chemicals can cause the metal to pit.

How to Clean a Toaster with Cheese in It

Everyone knows the horror of trying to hand wash dishes with dried-up cheese glued on there, let alone hard-to-reach areas, such as the inside of a toaster.

If you find you can’t remove the stuck-on cheese with a regular brush, you can try dunking it into a small amount of white vinegar to spot-clean the cheese. However, it’s critical not to use too much vinegar or get the interior too wet because this could damage the internal components. From there, wait until your toaster is good and dry before using it again.

Please contact a local authorized service agent who can help with these specific units and all your commercial kitchen equipment needs.