Toaster ovens are a magical combination of an oven and a toaster. They are used to warm or re-heat food, and they can even cook your favorite dish. Not only that, but they also come with three functions namely broil, toast, and bake that come with two heating elements. The latter can be located on the top and the bottom.
The top heating element is turned on when broiling while the bottom part is working when you are baking. Both heating elements are on when you are toasting.
What are the Basics of Cleaning a Toaster Oven?
The buildup of food inside your toaster oven can be a fire hazard. Thus, you want to prevent this from happening in the first place. The majority of the models sold in the market nowadays can cook reduced amounts of anything, be it chocolate cookies, chicken, pizza, and the like.
Hence, the inside of the appliance may accumulate grease or food splatters over time. As a consequence, you will need to clean your toaster oven regularly to avoid the fire risks it may bring.
Without further ado, here are the things you need to consider when cleaning your toaster oven:
- Carefully unplug the appliance
You should always make sure to unplug your toaster oven when not in use, especially when you are cleaning it. Disconnect it from the power source before washing. As much as possible, do not submerge it in water.
- Remove the rack and tray
Place your toaster oven on the newspaper to catch food crumbs. Take out the rack, metal tray, and lower tray. Afterward, place them in the sink.
- Wash the tray and rack in warm, soapy water
Thoroughly wash the parts using water and dish soap. If there are stubborn stains, it would be best to submerge them overnight. After washing, let the parts dry completely. Make sure to clean the other parts of your toaster oven.
- Formulate your homemade cleaning solution
If you want to protect your gadget from any harsh chemicals, you may opt to use a homemade cleaner. You can easily make your own homemade cleaning solution by mixing warm water, dish soap, and vinegar. Apply the solution to the outer part of your appliance using a moist sponge.
Don’t let any liquid get on the heating elements as it may destroy them and may even cause a fire hazard.
- Clean the nonstick inner coating by gently rubbing it with a wet soapy cloth
You can also use a non-abrasive sponge with gentle soap. Never use a material stronger than a nylon cloth. After that, make sure to wipe it dry.
- Wash the interior with steel wool soaked in a gentle soap
Prepare 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1/2 cup of hot water. You may use a mild soap in case vinegar is not available. Mix the vinegar and hot water in a bowl. Get a soft sponge and immerse it in water. Squeeze it until water is no longer dripping from it. Use it to clean the oven’s interior. Do not touch the heating elements and coils.
- Carefully wipe its heating elements
Read the appliance manual first before attempting to clean the heating elements. Some gadgets would require you to lightly rub the heating elements using a damp cloth. Meanwhile, some models must be cleaned without touching the heating tools. Never use a soapy cleanser or water in cleaning these elements to avoid destroying them.
- Apply elbow grease if your oven is very greasy
You can easily clean the external part of your toaster oven using a soapy sponge or soft cloth to wipe down any dirt. However, if it becomes too greasy, you may need to apply an elbow grease or a degreasing agent. Wipe gently to avoid damaging your cooking machine.
Lastly, repeat the steps above if needed.
Why You Should Go Easy With the Liquids
Being extra cautious when dealing with liquids while cleaning your toaster oven prevents you from damaging its electrical components. Therefore, you must never soak your appliance in water. You must always apply the cleaning solution to a soft sponge or smooth cloth instead of applying it directly to the oven.
Aside from that, your cloth or sponge should not be dripping wet. Instead, keep it a little damp, otherwise, you may splash the liquid into the electrical pieces of your appliance.
How Frequent Should You Wash and Clean Your Toaster Oven
Ideally, you should immediately wipe your toaster oven after every use to avoid the accumulation of food leftovers. It is also highly suggested to empty the crumb tray weekly to avoid crumbs and grease from spilling all over the surface.
The longer it takes for you to wash your toaster oven, the more challenging it is to remove the dirt or residue. If you want to use your toaster oven for a long time, you may cover the crumb tray with one layer of foil. The latter can act as a protective layer against food buildup. Replace it every week to reduce the buildup of grease and dirt.
When Should You Replace a Toaster Oven
If you are religiously washing your toaster oven, then you are helping extend its life. It can make your appliance last up to eight years. However, you must also be aware of the signs when it is time to discard your old toaster oven and buy a new one.
If your appliance is taking longer to cook food, maybe it is the time to replace it. Additionally, if you can already spot signs of rusting, then make sure you take a lot of care as it may be a fire hazard.
What are the Best Natural or Homemade Toaster Oven Cleaners?
As mentioned earlier, you can make your very own toaster oven cleaner at home. There are actually several options available, some of which are as follows:
- A Mixture of Baking Soda, Salt, and Dishwashing Soap – Thoroughly stir 1/8 cup of baking soda, 1/8 cup of salt, and dishwashing soap into a bowl. Apply it to your toaster oven and let it stay for around 15-20 minutes then wipe it clean.
- A Combination of Dishwashing Soap, Hydrogen Peroxide, and Baking Soda – Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of Hydrogen Peroxide, and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap. Apply it to the appliance and wait for 20 minutes before wiping it clean.
- Water, Rubbing Alcohol, and Dishwashing Soap – Make a mixture of 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup water, and 8 drops of dishwashing soap. Put it in a sprayer and spray it on the oven. Let it stand for 15-20 minutes and wipe clean using a soft cloth.
- The Magic of Water Plus Baking Soda – Add 1.5 tablespoons of water to 3 tablespoons of baking soda then mix. Use the solution to clean your toaster oven. Let the mixture stay on your appliance for 20 minutes. After that, gently remove it using a smooth rag.
- Dish Soap, Lemon Juice, and Cornstarch – Blend 1 cup of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a container. Heat it until you arrive at a thick texture. Allow it to cool down at room temperature and mix with 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Apply the solution to your toaster oven and wait for 20 minutes before wiping it clean.
- White Vinegar, Dishwashing Soap, and White Vinegar – Combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of dish soap. Apply it to your appliance and wipe clean after twenty minutes.
- White Vinegar and Baking Soda – Carefully sprinkle baking soda all over the oven until fully covered. Then, spray a mixture of 1/4 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup white vinegar until wet and foamy. Let the combination sit for 20 minutes then remove it using a soft cloth.
- Cornstarch and White Vinegar – Combine 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Heat until a thick texture is achieved. Cool it down at room temperature. Spread over the oven and let it stay for 20 minutes. Afterward, use a clean cloth to remove it.
What are the Top Toaster Cleaners You Can Buy?
If you don’t prefer making your own cleaner at home, then you can opt for toaster cleaners that are available on the market instead. That said, here are some of the top toaster cleaners you can buy in the market:
- Easy-Off Professional Fume-Free Max – This is a best-selling oven cleaner with a lemon-scent aerosol formula. It can wipe out even the most stubborn grease and dirt.
- Krud Kutter Original Concentrated – This is a degreaser spray that works just as fine as its aerosol counterpart. It can also be used on other household appliances such as exhaust fans and grills. Besides, it is biodegradable and concentrated which makes it non-flammable. It also doesn’t emit a strong odor.
- Grab Green Power Degreaser – This is perhaps the most environment-friendly toaster oven cleaner out there. It is made from biodegradable and natural ingredients, not to mention it features a pleasant thyme aroma and does not release any harsh vapor.
As you can see, cleaning a toaster oven is fairly straightforward. Just make sure to follow the tips mentioned above or try our suggested homemade cleaning solutions for your cleaning needs.