So you fell in love with your new toaster oven, we here at Home Addons expected that. Now you’re using it for everything from baking small batches of cookies and muffins to making homemade Texas toast to reheating yesterday’s pizza.
But 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, correctly, gives your appliance a longer life and makes you feel better about cooking with it. So let’s get started.
Check the user manual
Reading your toaster oven’s user manual is an excellent place to start. A company’s instructions should always supersede any tips from this article or any other how-to guides.
If you lose your manual, you 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 your Breville toaster oven.
The user manual or company website should suggest cleaning materials and methods for cleaning different parts of your toaster oven. Most companies—and even Consumer Report—suggest similar materials and methods for cleaning the toaster oven’s various components. These cleaning supplies and methods are discussed later in the article.
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)
- asterisk vinegar (couple tablespoons)
- asterisk warm water (1/2 – 1 cup)
Mix vinegar, liquid dish soap, and warm water to create a cleaning solution. Substitute that solution for chemical oven cleaners (which are made for full-sized ovens and not toaster ovens).
If you don’t have vinegar or don’t like the smell it, you may use liquid dish soap and warm water solution.
When cleaning, use the sponge first, and the soft-plastic scrubber can be used to scrub baked-on food residue lightly. (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. Now ovens often have non-stick surfaces inside, so I recommend using non-abrasive cleaners are. Since baking soda is an abrasive cleaner (mild as it may be), leave that cleaning agent in the cupboard for this project.
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
First, remove the trays and rack from the toaster oven. Dump away any loose crumbs, and wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in the cleaning solution. If this works sufficiently and you have clean toaster oven trays, then continue to the next step. But if food stains persist, 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, use your nylon scrubbing pad to scrub the remaining stains away lightly.
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 it. Wipe it gently, and wipe it with a damp sponge or cloth to avoid scratches.
If your toaster oven has an LCD screen, use a damp cloth to wipe it. Dry towels scratch surfaces; we don’t recommend using them 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?
I sense you wondering how to clean inside 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! Grab a stool to stand on so your arms won’t get tired of the cleaning.
To avoid getting moisture in the electrical components, never spray cleaning solution inside, or on the appliance. Instead, use a sponge dampened with the cleaning solution to wipe down the insides.
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 wipe the heating elements lightly. Do not push hard against the heating elements when cleaning them.
How to clean a toaster oven outside
You’re almost done! You’ve cleaned all removable parts—or have them soaking; see the subsection on how to clean a toaster oven tray—and carefully cleaned the inside. All you have to do now is clean 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 such 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 of 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 you did with the inside.
The door handle and the knobs deserve particular attention. You handle them a lot during food prep and cooking so that they can get grimy.
Be sure to clean them thoroughly, 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.
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 clean 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.
You have cleaned everything, all that’s left is to dry everything, reassemble the parts, plug in the appliance, and make that toaster oven messy again!
Let the removable parts air dry, or use a soft towel; microfiber cloths are great here. The toaster oven itself, should not be overly wet, leave the door open and let everything air dry. Ensure everything is dry before plugging it back in.
If you have your cleaning supplies and a game plan ready, cleaning a toaster oven can be a quick and painless process. A genuinely messy toaster oven will require more elbow grease to remove months of baked-on oil and food, that is a good reason to make cleaning a toaster oven a regular part of the after-meal cleanup.
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.