How To Clean the Toaster

updated Sep 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

When was the last time you actually cleaned your toaster? Even though most of us use it daily, the toaster probably isn’t in the forefront of our cleaning brains. It’s time to show this bread-crisping workhorse some love and appreciation, and it’s not hard to do; in fact, the whole process only took me about 10 minutes!

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

I know my toaster as a hardworking appliance that lives in a lonely corner of the kitchen gathering up a mess of crumbs. If I were being honest, I’d tell you I didn’t even realize how dirty my toaster had become until recently. If I was being really honest, I’d tell you that once I realized it could use a little cleaning attention, I unplugged it and turned it upside down. A large hunk of burnt toast fell out into my sink. A whole chunk of toast — that surely can’t be good. I’ve been a super-neglectful toaster owner, it’s true.

But no more! Here’s how I got my toaster looking all shiny and new again, and how you can, too.

How To Clean the Toaster

What You’ll Need

  • Toaster
  • Trash can
  • Small pastry brush
  • Warm soapy water
  • Dry dish towel
  • Damp dish towel
  • Vinegar (for stainless steel)


  1. Unplug the toaster: Make sure your toaster is unplugged and completely cooled before you begin your cleaning process. Because cleaning your toaster can be a crumby business, work over the sink, trash can, or a newspaper-covered table.
  2. Pull out the crumb tray: Pop out your crumb tray and shake off all of the loose crumbs. Most toasters have a removable tray at the bottom where the majority of the crumbs live. The removal of these trays is super helpful for the cleaning process. If your toaster doesn’t have a removable tray, you can still opt for the old-fashioned method of turning your toaster upside down and gently shaking it. (In fact, even though my toaster has those trays, I still turned it upside down for a gentle shaking and it helped to dislodge some additional crumbs.)
  3. Wash that crumb tray: If your tray is still crusted with crumbs, wash it with warm soapy water until clean. Make sure to dry it well before reassembling.
  4. Brush off remaining crumbs: Use a small pastry or basting brush to get into the hard-to-reach corners. It works.
  5. Wipe the outside: Wipe the exterior with a soft, damp cloth and gentle soap if necessary. Don’t forget the knobs. (I noticed mine needed a little extra attention.)
  6. Polish up the exterior: If your toaster is stainless steel, use a clean cloth and a bit of vinegar to shine it up. (I did this on the top and the sides of my toaster and it made a big difference.)
  7. Replace the crumb tray: Pop your thoroughly dried crumb trays back into place, and you’re finished!