How To Clean a Toaster Oven

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Cleaning the crumbs and grease from a toaster oven can be frustrating. It’s a good idea to clean your toaster oven regularly, but it can be challenging. You'll definitely want to avoid the biggest toaster oven mistakes if you've just newly purchased one for the first time. 

In this article, you will learn about the various methods for cleaning a toaster oven, the benefits and drawbacks of each method, and which one is the is preferred — let's get right into it. 

The Right Way to Clean a Toaster Oven

In the following points, you will be able to find out more about cleaning a toaster oven. 

Step 1: Unplug It and Let It Cool

First, always make sure the power is turned off to your appliance. Do not confuse a toaster oven with a regular oven – they are different, and need to be treated differently.

how to clean your toaster oven
Image credit: https://www.today.com/home/clever-cleaning-hacks-your-kitchen-t36496

A regular oven should never be cleaned when it’s on and hot. With a regular oven, you need to allow time for the coils and burners to cool down before cleaning them or allowing anyone into the oven. You can leave it unplugged overnight or longer if necessary.

Step 2: Remove and Clean Elements

After you have turned off your toaster oven, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down, then remove the rack that goes across the bottom of the oven (or remove a crumb tray if there is one) and put that in the sink. It’s easier to clean once something isn’t getting in your way as you scrub away at your toaster oven. 

Next, take a dry paper towel or rag and gently wipe off any extra grease from inside the machine. You can also use an old toothbrush on small gaps, but don’t use harsh cleaners: they could eat away at the plastic or chrome, ending up costing you more money in the long run.

After you are done with this step, put your toaster oven back together and plug it in again. Let it cool down before proceeding to the next step (if you hadn’t already waited 10 minutes). Your oven should be ready for use about 30 minutes after turning it on – make sure that all of the little bits are cooled off.

Step 3: Use a Homemade Cleaner

Looking for a homemade cleaner? White vinegar works well here as an all-purpose cleaner: spray some into your toaster oven and wipe down with a rag or paper towel. Be careful not to get any on electrical parts like fan blades or heating elements, or on the door handle. You don’t want to be shocked.

Another good homemade cleaner is baking soda and hot water. Mix a small amount of each, less than half a cup of each together in your sink with some warm water, then use an old rag to scrub away at spills and grimy parts inside your toaster oven. 

Step 4: Apply Elbow Grease 

Now for the hard part: Use an old toothbrush or cloth to scrub around nooks and crannies until they are clean. A crumb tray is often a great place for this kind of cleaning, as well as the edges of your toaster oven where food can hide after it has been cooked. It’s hard to get inside the machine, and you need to make sure it is clean well.

Step 5: Repeat If Necessary

If your appliance still looks grimy, then repeat these steps. That should do the trick.

One thing to keep in mind is that oven cleaner is not recommended for toaster ovens; they could damage the coating on your toaster oven, and that will make it difficult to clean in the future.

Ideas for Making Your Toaster Oven Cleaning Easier 

There are certainly some other options when it comes time to clean a dirty toaster oven. You can use soap and water instead of baking soda or vinegar; however, be careful not to over-soap because many soaps leave streaks behind that will show through the stainless steel finish of your appliance. Be sure that all harsh chemicals are completely rinsed off before wiping with a washcloth or paper towel. 

Some people have chosen to line their toaster ovens with aluminum foil, which can make the cleaning process easier in some ways, but it also makes it harder for your appliance to heat properly.

Special Cleaning Tips For Stainless Steel Toaster Ovens 

If you have ever cleaned stainless steel in your kitchen, you might know that it requires some thought. The same logic applies when you have a stainless steel toaster oven and are worried about cleaning it.

It’s not hard at all if you use the right tools. A mild dishwashing liquid and warm water will do the trick without damaging the finish of your chrome-colored appliance.

If anything sticks then try using a sponge or plastic scouring pad instead of metal spoons and forks that could scratch up your appliance. A dry cloth is the best way to wipe off your toaster oven once it is clean.

How often should you clean your toaster oven?

It's generally a good idea to clean your appliance with baking soda now and then. Cleaning it often will help prevent it from smelling bad in the first place. If you're a newbie to the toaster oven game you might want to consider reading up on how to use a toaster oven

cleaning your toaster oven with Natural Products
Image Credit: juliacaban.com

If anything sticks then try using a sponge or plastic scouring pad instead of metal spoons and forks that could scratch up your appliance. A dry cloth is the best way to wipe off your toaster oven once it is clean. 

How do you get baked-on grease out of a toaster oven?

Leave the toaster oven unplugged and allow the grease to cool. Fill a sink or bowl with water and white dish soap, then scrub the greasy area vigorously with a sponge using short back-and-forth motions. 

Rinse thoroughly and dry with paper towels or cloths, periodically reapplying the soapy water and continuing to scrub until the grease is removed. If any burns are on the aluminum, soak it with a little vinegar for a few minutes before scrubbing off. 

What is a self-cleaning toaster oven?

A self-cleaning toaster oven, or “steam cleaning” toaster oven includes a feature for steam to automatically flow into the cavity of the unit and boil up any burnt cooking remnants.

Steam laundering cleans and sanitizes your toaster oven without messy scrubbing. This is done because it provides something like 18,000 BTUs in a 5-minute tapping with only one water line that activates when needed.

What are some tips for cleaning my crumb tray?

Smoothing out collected crumbs so they’ll tumble down more easily is key in making sure they stay down there, too. To do this, just run warm water over the backside of the bottom where most of those crumbs stay. Then use a paper towel to get them all out, and you’re golden.

How do you clean the bottom tray of a toaster oven?

A traditional oven is cleaned with soap and water, but the coils in a toaster oven are much more sensitive and need special care. 

You can use some white vinegar or baking soda mixed with water for this task. Some people put these cleaners on their sponge for easier application without spilling them all over the countertop or back of the appliance when they tip it forward (you may want to wear rubber gloves). Others prefer using one of those old-fashioned scrubbing brushes that have wire bristles on both sides. 

The bottom tray needs to be maintained as well, so make sure you wipe it down every time you clean your entire appliance (if crumbs won’t fall through, then vacuum it).

Final thoughts on how to clean a toaster oven

Regular maintenance of your toaster oven keeps food from getting stuck in hard-to-reach places and lowers the risk of fire by making sure there aren’t pieces of loose metal hanging around which can spark up during use. 

By following the above tips, you’ll have a shiny, clean toaster oven for many years of tasty baking.

Finally, if you are looking to buy a high quality toaster oven, feel free to check out our top 5 best toaster ovens under $100.

Dino Paccino

Dino Paccino

Dino is a lifelong writer and home improvement specialist. He enjoys bringing cutting-edge information on home renovation and remodeling to Kitchen Infinity.

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