How to Clean and Sanitize a Toaster


Sara asked: How do I clean a pop-up toaster after a lizard went into it?

Pop up toasters should be cleaned on a regular basis. Some are easier to work with than others, but if you follow these steps your toast will be as good as new in no time.

You Will Need:

  • Canned air
  • Small paint brush (approximately ¼” – ½” wide at the bristles)
  • Cloth
  • Water
  • Bleach
  • Mild detergent
  • Long handled spoon
  • Newspaper
  • Trash can

Steps to Clean the Toaster:

  1. Before you begin, make sure the toaster is completely cool and unplugged.
  2. Prepare your workspace by placing a trash can nearby (the loose crumbs can fly everywhere). It may also be helpful to cover your workspace with newspaper or paper towels. This will make for easy clean –up after you are finished.
  3. If the toaster has a crumb tray, remove that first. Carefully pull it out and dispose of all of the crumbs. Wash it with water and a mild detergent. Dry with a soft cloth.
  4. If there is no removable crumb tray, turn the toaster upside down and shake it to remove loose crumbs or debris.
  5. If there are crumbs or other bits of debris left inside, use a paint brush to VERY carefully sweep them loose. Use extreme caution and be gentle, as you are not supposed to insert non-food items in most toasters. Avoid coming into contact with heating elements.
  6. Take care of any stubborn crumbs by aiming canned air into the toaster. This should dislodge them so they can be removed.
  7. Turn the toaster upside down and shake it one more time, then flip it back upright and replace the crumb tray if you removed one.
  8. If you want to disinfect the inside, moisten a soft cloth with a water and bleach mixture (1 part bleach to 10 parts water). Squeeze it out well. You want the cloth to be moist, but not wet. Make sure that NO standing water is left inside the unit.
  9. Wrap the cloth around the long end of a wooden spoon or other long handle.
  10. Carefully wipe the interior of the toaster slots.
  11. Allow the interior to dry completely before using again.
  12. Wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth. Dry it or allow it to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If possible, consult your owner’s manual for tips to clean your specific toaster make and model.
  • For the added benefit of a heat “clean” cycle, turn the dials up to the darkest setting and run the toaster empty. Heat should kill any germs which remain.
  • If the exterior of your toaster is metal, it can be washed with soap and water and buffed with a dry cloth, or it can be cleaned with window cleaner.

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