Much like microwaves, toaster ovens have a habit of getting dirty fast. Bagels, toast and other bread have a way of leaving crumbs in the toaster, while pizza (or pizza bagels) can leave grease and cheese inside the device.
Cleaning your toaster regularly is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it leave the appliance looking nice and shiny, it’s also a safety measure. Grease and crumbs inside your toaster are a legitimate fire hazard. To avoid a dangerous and damaging fire inside your kitchen, always keep a close eye on your toaster while in use and clean it regularly to keep it free from combustible food.
- Safety first: unplug the toaster. Before cleaning any electronic appliance, unplug it. Water and electricity don’t mix! Besides, once you’ve unplugged your toaster, you can shake it over the garbage or outside to get rid of any loose crumbs.
- Clean anything removable outside of the toaster. Most toasters have removable parts for easy cleaning. Take out any racks or pans and wash them in the sink like you would with dishes. A pan scourer may be necessary to get some hardened gunk. If the gunk is being especially stubborn, fill the sink up with hot water (as hot as you can stand) and a little bit of dish soap. Let the parts soak for 15 or 30 minutes, then try scrubbing them again.
- Wipe down the entire interior of the oven. Taking those parts out also makes it easy to reach inside the oven and wipe down all the surfaces. Use a vinegar and water solution to remove grease and any food residue from the floor, walls, and ceiling of the toaster. You’d be surprised at how much can get on the ceiling of the oven when cheese and grease pops.
- Let everything air dry and put it back together. Before putting your toaster back together, make sure everything dries nicely. Leave the door of the toaster open to maximize airflow and make sure it dries completely.
- Keep it from getting dirty in the first place. A great way to make your life easier is to use your toaster in such a way that crumbs and grease don’t get in the appliance in the first place. Consider buying a toaster tray to hold food — this will hold crumbs (unlike a grill). Cleaning a tray is much easier than cleaning the whole toaster, as well. If you don’t want to invest in a tray, folding some aluminum foil can also do the trick — though be careful not to lose any toast when you pull it out!
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