How Do You Clean a Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is a great appliance for a small kitchen or someone who lives in an apartment. Not only can you make your breakfast toast in the morning, but you can bake, and in some newer models broil, almost anything you wish if it fits inside the appliance.

As with any appliance, it will need occasional cleaning, which will be easy to do after you read these instructions on how do you clean a toaster oven.

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Photo by Ratatouille_8of9 Licensed Under CC BY 2.0

1. Gather Cleaning Supplies

Before you get started on your toaster oven cleaning project, you should gather your supplies, so they are within reach when you need them. Cleaning chemicals won't be necessary for cleaning a toaster oven and, in some cases, can be harmful to your appliance. Gather these supplies:

  • A bottle of mild dish detergent
  • One non-abrasive scratch pad
  • One sponge
  • One dishcloth
  • A roll of paper towels

Get some dishwater ready in the kitchen sink by filling it 1/3 of the way with warm water and two or three squirts of dish detergent.

2. Break Down the Appliance

Before taking on the task of cleaning the toaster oven, you need to unplug it. As with any electric appliance, you could accidentally shock yourself while cleaning or working on it, so as a precaution, carefully remove the plug from the electrical outlet.

Also, to properly clean the inside toaster oven, remove the oven rack and place it into the sink with water in it.

3. Remove the Crumb Tray

It isn’t necessary to have a separate toaster If you own a toaster oven as they are the perfect appliance for toasting bread slices, bagels, croissants or even toaster pastries. Since everything fits inside of it on the rack, there is no need to worry about thick bread slices or bagels getting stuck either.

Bread crumbs often drop off the food during the toasting process, so you will need to remove them when you clean the appliance. It isn't difficult to remove the crumbs, and there is no need to pick up the toaster oven to dump them out.

Smaller toaster ovens have a crumb catch tray on the bottom which snaps in place, but larger models have a slide out tray beneath the door of the device. Either release the clasp or slide out the tray to clean off the crumb.

Keep the tray level as you remove it to avoid doubling your work by accidentally spilling crumbs on the bottom of the toaster oven. Once it is out, dump the crumbs into the garbage and set the tray in the sink along with the oven rack.

For crumbs which have spilled on the bottom, use a damp paper towel to wipe them up as the crumbs will stick it as you gather them together.

If there is spillage from the food you've baked using the oven setting, like cheese or toppings from a pizza or grease from baked chicken, you can dampen the non-abrasive scratch pad and gently scrub the stains off to remove them.

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4. Clean the Inside

Many toaster ovens are large enough to bake pizzas, casseroles, or roast chickens. As a result, sauce or grease splatters can bake onto the sides, top and bottom of the appliance.

Most toaster ovens have non-stick coatings on the inside, but there are other models with bare aluminum sides because some people do not want their food exposed to PFCs or perfluorinated chemicals.

Perfluorinated chemicals are also present in the production of non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, popcorn bags, and stain-resistant carpets since they help prevent oil, grease, water, and stains from sticking to the metal sides.

However, the non-stick coating doesn’t completely prevent food from sticking to the sides or top, so you need to wipe out the toaster oven after using it to keep it clean.

Using oven cleaners or other cleaning chemicals are not necessary for cleaning a toaster oven. In fact, oven cleaners cannot be used on aluminum, which is the main metal used in the production of toaster ovens.

Most food stains will easily come off while wiping down the insides of the appliance with a sponge or cloth. However, if you do need something stronger to remove baked on food stains, you will need these additional supplies:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • A small bowl

Mix some baking soda with a small amount of water in the bowl until it forms a paste, adding more water as necessary if it is too dry. Spread the paste on the stains and use the scratch pad to remove them.

Don’t use steel wool pads as they can easily scratch through the coating inside of the toaster oven.

Also, don’t spray ammonia inside of the appliance as the odor can bounce back from the enclosed area and be overwhelming. It can make some people light-headed if the ammonia isn’t diluted.

These instructions describe how do you clean a toaster oven to remove most food stains. Wet the dishcloth or a sponge in the warm dish water and use some elbow grease to make the walls, top, bottom and the outside edges of it spotless.

After washing it, rinse the cloth or sponge thoroughly to get out the detergent and wipe everything again with clean water. Doing this will help remove any suds or soap residue that is present.

5. Cleaning the Glass Door

You can use the same solution of warm water and detergent to clean the glass insert of the toaster oven’s door. Again, if there is baked on food particles, use a scratch pad to remove them.

Rinse the glass off to remove detergent residue and use a clean, dry dishcloth to remove the dampness. If you don’t, it can leave streaks or look cloudy after the glass dries.

6. Clean the Heating Elements

Food splatters may drip onto the heating element and stick on it, so you should also clean it.

The heating elements vary between toaster oven models. Some models have small tubes located along the bottom and top of the inside, while others have a flat tray-like element which you can unplug and remove to clean it.

Wipe them off with a damp cloth or sponge, then rinse it off and remove any lingering soap residue. Use a paper towel to dry the heating elements and replace the elements you unplugged and removed the toaster oven.

Be careful when cleaning the heating elements to avoid scratching or damaging them.

7. Wash the Inserts

Now that you’ve made the inside of your toaster oven sparkle, you need to finish cleaning it by washing the rack and crumb tray. As you do, leave the door open so the inside can air dry.

Using the sponge or dishcloth, wash the rack and crumb tray in the sink of warm water and detergent and then rinse them off before setting them aside to air dry.

If the inside of the toaster oven is dry, close the door and wipe down the outside of it with a damp cloth or sponge. Unless there are spills on it, the outside shouldn’t be too dirty, so you can wipe it down and leave it to dry.

To prevent streaks when cleaning glass, you can spray it with a solution of vinegar, detergent, and water. In an empty spray bottle, mix:

  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of dish detergent
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water

Shake the spray bottle to blend everything together. After lightly spraying the glass door, wipe it off with a paper towel.

8. Cleaning the Knobs

If you want to know how do you clean a toaster oven until it looks good as new, don’t forget to clean around the knobs or buttons. The knobs probably won't be removable, but you can still clean them to remove dust, and any debris stuck in the crevice around them.

Use a tooth pick and gently insert it into the crevice around each knob and run it around them carefully to remove any debris there may be. Wipe down the tooth pick as necessary with a damp cloth or sponge until you’ve cleaned each knob.

9. Clean Where it Sits

Before reassembling your toaster oven, remove it from its usual resting place to clean beneath it. There may be bread crumbs or food particles that fell beneath it until taking food out of the toaster oven.

Take the time to thoroughly wipe down the area with a damp cloth or sponge to remove any debris. Use a paper cloth to dry off the area before finishing replacing the appliance.

10. Replace the Inserts

When the rack and crumb tray is dry, put them back into the toaster oven to complete your task. Then, after everything is in place, you can plug it back in so it is ready to make toast for breakfast.

11. Keeping Your Toaster Oven Clean

After finding the answer for “how do you clean a toaster oven?” you can keep it clean by wiping it down after each use to remove food splatters before they bake on. Also, remove the crumb tray every so often to rinse it off and wipe it down with a paper towel to dry it before replacing it.

If you are tempted to put aluminum foil on the bottom of a toaster oven to catch food spills, you should be very careful and read the owner’s manual. Some manufacturers instruct users not to use it, while others will give instructions about using aluminum foil in their appliances.

Aluminum foil can overheat in a toaster oven and catch fire, especially if it touches the sides or the heating elements in it. So, it is up to you whether to use it, but we caution against it because of the fire danger.

Keeping the toaster oven clean can help to prevent food particles from catching on fire if they drop onto the heating element. It will also prevent it from acquiring baked on food or grease splatters that will not come off no matter what you use on them.

So, now that you have an answer for “how do you clean a toaster oven,” you can easily keep it looking fantastic no matter what you toast, bake or broil inside of it.

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