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How to clean a toaster from crumbs and soot: an easy method

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Improper cleaning can damage the toaster

Electric kitchen appliances make it much easier and faster to prepare your favorite dishes. However, they all have one unpleasant feature: they are not easy to clean. Putting the whole gadget in the sink and washing it thoroughly with water will not work as it will damage internal wiring and electronics. Thus, you have to resort to all sorts of tricks. Take, for example, a toaster, a mini-oven for drying bread. It quickly gets clogged with crumbs and burnt slices, which can have a bad effect on its operation and the taste of new toast. That's why you should know how to clean the inside of your toaster.

The New York Times turned to food journalist Michael Sullivan for advice on this issue. He has been testing these appliances since 2016 and has cleaned many toasters of different models during this time.

According to Sullivan, to understand that it's time to clean the appliance, you just need to look inside. If you see enough crumbs in the bread slots, it's time to clean it. In addition to spoiling the taste of the toast, they also create a fire hazard. According to the journalist, the ideal cleaning frequency is weekly.

What you need to clean your toaster

  • Baking brush with soft bristles, not silicone. It is good for gently removing crumbs that have stuck to the heating element.
  • Long brush. It can be used to remove residues from hard-to-reach corners.
  • Paper napkins or a dry towel. Use them to wipe the toaster before plugging it in.
  • Dishwashing detergent. It will help to remove dirt and grease from the head and sides of the appliance.
  • Dish sponge. You will use it to rinse the toaster parts.

How to clean the toaster correctly

The first step in cleaning any electrical appliance is to unplug it, not just with a button. You need to pull the plug out of the socket. Also, do not clean the toaster if it is still hot after use. Wait until its parts have cooled down.

Use a baking brush to sweep any crumbs off the heating elements of the toaster. Never use sharp objects such as knives or forks as you risk damaging the heating elements. Crumbs often collect along the bottom edge of the slots under the heat source. Use a brush to sweep them out of the way and into the pan.

In addition, don't try to shake out crumbs by turning the toaster upside down and tapping on the walls. According to research conducted by the Ohio State University, this can easily break the thin soldered parts and damage the appliance. As a last resort, you can gently lay it on its side to brush it off.

When all the crumbs are in the tray, remove it and shake them out into the trash. The part can now be easily cleaned under running water with dishwashing liquid. This is the only part of the toaster that can be cleaned in this way. Make sure that the pan is completely dry before reinserting it. Wipe it with a towel and let it air dry for a while to remove any remaining moisture. Only then can you replace it.

To clean the outside of the appliance, wipe it with a damp towel or paper towel. For stubborn stains, use a sponge and dishwashing detergent. However, do not allow water to get inside the slots of the toaster or near the lever, buttons, or control panel. After cleaning, wipe the appliance dry. Only then can you plug it back in.

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