How to Clean a Toaster Oven – Step by Step

So you fell in love with your new toaster oven and have been using it for everything from baking small batches of cookies and muffins to making homemade Texas toast to reheating yesterday’s pizza. But now look at that mess: splattered cheese and batter on the sides, grease on the glass window and ceiling, bread crumbs in the bottom. Just how do you clean that toaster oven? This article provides detailed tips on how to clean a toaster oven—everything from the heating elements to that removable rack. You can learn it all here. Cleaning a toaster oven properly will enable you to give your appliance a longer life and make you feel better about cooking with it in the future. So let’s get started.

Reading your toaster oven’s user manual is a good place to start. A company’s instructions should always supersede any tips from this article or any other how-to articles. If you have lost your manual, you probably can look for tips and instructions on the company’s website. For instance, you can visit popular brand Breville’s website for detailed instructions on how to clean a Breville toaster oven, if you have one of their popular ovens.

Clean a Toaster Oven

The user manual or company website should suggest types of cleaning materials and methods for cleaning different parts of your toaster oven. Most companies—and even Consumer Report—suggest similar materials and similar methods for cleaning the toaster oven’s various parts. These cleaning supplies and methods are discussed in the remainder of the article.

Cleaning Supplies

The next step is gathering needed supplies. For the entirety of the cleaning process, you will need:

  • ​a soft sponge or cloth
  • ​a nylon scrubbing pad (for any baked-on residue that won’t come off the tray or rack)
  • ​a mild, non-abrasive* liquid dish soap (few drops)
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    ​vinegar (couple tablespoons)
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    ​warm water (1/2 – 1 cup)

​Mix the vinegar, liquid dish soap, and warm water to create a cleaning solution that is best used in substitution of chemical oven cleaners (which are made for full-sized ovens and not toaster ovens). Whether you don’t have vinegar or simply don’t like the smell of even a diluted amount of vinegar within a solution, you may use only liquid dish soap and warm water.

When cleaning, the sponge will be used first, and the soft-plastic scrubber can be used to lightly scrub hard, baked-on food residue. (Never use a steel wool scrubber or scouring pad when cleaning your toaster oven.)

Note: If you are wondering how to clean a toaster oven with baking soda so that you can use a natural cleaner and avoid chemicals, you might want to rethink that idea. Most companies want new models to be easy to clean toaster ovens, so ovens often have non-stick surfaces inside and non-abrasive cleaners are recommended. Since baking soda is an abrasive cleaner (no matter how mild an abrasive it may be), leave that cleaning agent in the cupboard.

The Cleaning Process: Part-by-part steps

Now that your cleaning supplies are at hand, unplug the toaster oven and make sure it is completely cooled before cleaning. That just-electrocuted hairstyle isn’t flattering; and you won’t be driving well with two bandaged hands. Let’s avoid those.

How to clean toaster oven trays and racks

toaster oven

Firstly, take the trays and rack out of the toaster oven. Dump away any loose crumbs and then wipe the trays and rack with a damp sponge that has been dipped in your cleaning solution. If this works sufficiently and you have clean toaster oven trays, then continue to the next part to learn how to clean the inside of a toaster oven. If food stains persists, then please continue with the following paragraph:

For remaining food stains, fill your sink with hot, soapy water and soak the trays and rack. After cleaning the rest of the toaster oven, try wiping the trays and rack again. If they still are not clean, then use your nylon scrubbing pad to lightly scrub away the food stains that remain.

How to clean toaster oven glass

Your toaster oven probably has a panel of glass on the front door. While you do not need to use any special cleaning products for the glass, you should be careful and not press hard on the glass. Wipe it gently, and wipe it with a damp sponge or cloth to avoid scratching it.

If your toaster oven has a LCD screen, use a damp cloth to wipe it. Dry cloths may more easily scratch surfaces and are not recommended for use on control panel screens.

How to clean a toaster oven inside

With all the trays and the rack removed, cleaning a toaster oven inside should be a straightforward job. You can turn your toaster oven upside down and even stand it on any flat sides to help better reach all the corners—unless it is mounted. Is yours mounted? Well, if you’re wondering how to clean inside of a toaster oven that’s mounted to a wall or under a cabinet, don’t worry. You probably don’t want to unmount it every time you clean it—save that for spring cleaning!—so just get a stool to stand on so your arms won’t get tired from the cleaning.

To avoid getting moisture in the electrical components of the toaster oven, you never want to spray your cleaning solution inside of or on the appliance. Use a sponge dampened with the cleaning solution to wipe the insides of the toaster oven. For newer non-stick toaster ovens, wiping with a sponge should remove all food and grease residue. Even if this requires dampening the sponge again and making another pass—or another—it is best not to use your nylon scrubbing pad on the non-stick surfaces.

How to clean toaster oven heating elements

Use a clean sponge or cloth, dipped in warm water without any cleaning solution. Squeeze excess water out of the sponge and use the damp sponge to lightly wipe the heating elements. Do not push hard against the heating elements when wiping them.

How to clean a toaster oven outside

You’re almost done! You’ve cleaned all the removable parts—or have them soaking; see the subsection on how to clean a toaster oven tray—and carefully cleaned the inside. All that is left is the outside. While you don’t have to be as gentle with the outside of your toaster oven, why “rough up” the outside after taking so much care with the rest of your toaster oven?

So continue to use your damp sponge to wipe the outside of the oven. Take care not to drip any water or cleaning solution when wiping around any openings such as vents. (But your sponge shouldn’t be dripping wet anyway, right?) Take care on the glass surfaces, too. As aforementioned, use a sponge or cloth dampened with warm water only for any display screen, and when cleaning the oven’s door glass on the outside use the same care as you did with the inside.

The door handle and the knobs deserve special attention. Both of these get touched a lot during food prep and cooking, so they can get grimy. Be sure to clean them well, but don’t be too rough with the knobs or handle: too much twisting or pushing can damage the metal rod attached to the knobs and you may end up with crooked knobs that are difficult to turn, and too much pressure on the handle may damage any number of moving parts on the front door. Those doors are made to be pulled open gently in one direction.

There is one final part of the toaster oven to clean: the feet. If your toaster oven sits on the counter, any countertop spills can make those feet grimy even when your toaster oven is not in use. So don’t wipe the bottom panel and ignore the feet. Take a moment to wipe around the feet of your toaster oven as well. If there is any rubber padding on the bottom, wipe gently to avoid ripping off the rubber.

Conclusion

Now that everything is clean, all that’s left is to dry everything, reassemble the parts, plug in the appliance, and make that toaster oven messy again! The removable parts can air dry or be towel dried with a soft towel. The toaster oven itself should not be overly wet, so you probably can leave the door open and let everything air dry inside and out. Be sure everything is dry before plugging in the toaster oven.

If you have your cleaning supplies and a game plan ready, cleaning a toaster oven can be a quick and painless process. A truly messy toaster oven will require more elbow grease to remove months of baked on grease and food, but that is a good reason to make cleaning a toaster oven a regular part of after-meal clean up. If cleaning after every use is not feasible for your schedule, you can take care to minimize spills and splatter during use and set a schedule to clean once a week or after every other use.​

Jessica Reimer
 

Jessica is a self-proclaimed DIY master, and is in love with everything in her home. Mother to two growing boys, and a new found lover of blogging, Jessica wants to find anything that will make her life easier!

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