A toaster can be used to prepare a variety of breakfast dishes from such as toaster pastries, waffles and pancakes. However, with daily use of a toaster oven, can you remember the last time you cleaned out your toaster? Do you ever recall anyone you know cleaning a toaster? No? Neither do most people who have a toaster in their kitchen. The fact remains, however, that just like any other cooking appliance, your toaster needs some periodic TLC in order to remain in good working order and provide reliable performance over the course of its lifetime. It is also a potential food source and nesting/breeding area for pests like flies and roaches, and that is variety of unsanitary nastiness no one wants to keep around.
Here’s a brief guide for beginners detailing how to clean and sanitize your kitchen’s toaster to prevent malfunctions and eliminate it as a feeding ground for pests in your home.
Materials You Will Need to Clean Your Toaster
- Compressed/canned air
- A small paint brush (¼-½ wide)
- A microfiber or other kind of cleaning cloth
- Dish soap or other mild detergent
- A long handled spoon
- Some newspaper
- A trash can
Step by Step Guide to Clean Your Toaster
Begin by ensuring that your toaster has had time to cool since its last use, and check to see if it is unplugged from the wall outlet before you do anything else.
Move the trash can close to your work space and put newspaper down to make cleanup easier after you’ve finished cleaning the toaster. You can also use paper towels if you don’t have any newspaper handy.
Remove the crumb tray if your toaster has one, and dump the contents in the trash can. Wash it with water and some dish soap, then dry it off with a dish towel or put it on the dish rack to dry.
Pick the toaster up and hold it upside down over the trash can and give it a good shake. The accumulated crumbs and other debris should fall right into the trash can. Gentle tapping in addition to shaking can dislodge additional crumbs.
Take your paint brush and very carefully and gently sweep any remaining debris from the inside of the toaster. Be as gentle as possible, and avoid contact with both the heating elements and the tray mechanism. You technically aren’t supposed to insert any non-food items into a toaster, but for cleaning purposes it should not present a problem with the toaster unplugged so long as you are cautious when working around the delicate operational surfaces like the heating elements and the lifter trays.
Spray canned air inside the toaster to eliminate the most stubborn remaining crumbs.
Turn the toaster right side up, shake it, then flip it back over the trash can again just to be certain as crumb free as possible.
To disinfect and sanitize the inside, dampen a cloth in a solution of diluted bleach (1:10 bleach to water ratio), taking care to squeeze it out well so that it is damp and not wet.
Wrap the damp cloth around the handle of a long wooden spoon, then gently and carefully wipe the interior of the toaster slots. The bleach will kill any bacteria or other microorganisms that may be growing or thriving inside of your toaster. Be sure to allow the toaster to dry completely before plugging it back into power and using it.
Wipe down the exterior of your toaster with a damp cloth that has been soaked in soapy water and wrung out thoroughly. For stainless steel exteriors, you can restore shine and gloss by cleaning the toaster’s exterior with white vinegar before wiping it dry.
Wipe down the exterior with a dry cleaning cloth and allow it to dry for at least 12 hours before plugging the power back in and using the toaster again. The long drying time is especially important if you are sanitizing the inside of the toaster, as your toaster can be damaged if you do not allow it to dry fully before using it again.
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- It never hurts to check your owner’s manual to see if there are additional ways to clean your toaster safely that are recommended by the manufacturer
- After your toaster has dried completely, turn the dials up to the darkest setting and run a “cleaning cycle” with nothing in the toaster. This high heat toasting cycle will kill any germs or bacteria that may still be present after cleaning and sanitizing your toaster.
- Window cleaner and kitchen degreaser work wonders when it comes to cleaning the exterior of a toaster. Don’t hesitate to give them a try the next time you need to quickly clean up your toasters outside appearance.
All in all, following these simple steps is the best way to keep your toaster clean and sanitized. Regular cleanings every month can make a big difference in not only the longevity of your toaster, but also goes a long way towards eliminating any pest control issues you may have in the kitchen. Good luck and happy cleaning!