When was the last time you cleaned your toaster?

by Julie Finch-Scally

Several years ago I had a customer who made, as part of the cleaning regime of her property, the cleaner to always empty out the tray at the bottom of the toaster to remove all the crumbs, and wipe down the outside. Every time I clean out my toaster I think of this customer.

Some cleaners automatically clean out the toaster crumbs, most don’t. Not something they think necessary. Of course too many crumbs at the bottom can cause a fire, but that very rarely happens so cleaning toasters is not high on the cleaning agenda.

But the outside of a toaster, I have noticed, most cleaners will wipe over. That is possibly because the finger prints on the high gloss metal are noticeable and therefore if not given a wipe over regularly stand out when the rest of the kitchen has been cleaned.

If you have toast on a daily basis, then the tray should be emptied once a week, otherwise at least every two weeks. For those people who only have toast on a weekend, the crumb tray needs to be emptied once a month. And for those who didn’t realise there was a tray at the bottom, you will find it at the bottom long side usually to the left of the plunger arm. The tray easily slides out so not only can the crumbs be removed but also so it can be wiped over with a damp cloth. Make sure you dry the tray before replacing it back in position.

If you look down into the workings of the machine you will notice larger crumbs on the bottom. These need to be shaken out. Turn off the power and then you can safely turn the toaster up side down and give it a shake. Best to do it over the sink so the crumbs can be washed away.

As to wiping over the outside, I find it best to spray some glass cleanser on a micro-fibre cloth and rub all over the outside, including the metal at the top and the slide plunger until all the finger marks and any dirty areas are removed. Do not do this while the toaster is attached to the electricity.

Once the toaster is clean, the power should be turned on again: though many people prefer to only turn on the power as they are about to make toast. I also find it helpful to place the toaster in a plastic tray that is just a fraction larger than the machine itself. The tray helps to catch the crumbs that fall off some slices of bread as you place them in the machine. Of course a tray needs to be cleaned as often as the toaster, but you can wash the tray in hot soapy water.

Toasters are fantastic implements and makes toasting bread so much easier, but like everything else in a kitchen they do need regular cleaning.


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