Find step-by-step photo directions for how to clean a toaster oven, what cleaning products the manufacturers recommend you use and our #1 maintenance tip.
When was the last time you cleaned your toaster oven?
Days, weeks, months…maybe never!
No judgments here, we’ve been guilty of letting ours go far too long without a cleaning.
For now, let’s cover the admittedly boring but still important stuff:
- How to clean a toaster oven using the manufacturer’s directions
- Why you should never use a Brillo pad
- And the best way to keep your little oven sparkling clean
Are You Cleaning A New Toaster Oven?
If this is the first time you’ve cleaned your toaster oven (brand new or new-to-you) make sure to read the manual and note any specific do’s and don’ts according to the manufacturer.
*Their recommendations should always overrule ours*
What Should You Clean Your Toaster Oven With?
The Cuisinart, Breville and Oster manuals we consulted recommend using:
- A sponge or soft cloth.
- A mild liquid soap and water solution, diluted vinegar or a non-abrasive cleanser.
All of the manuals specify to never use Brillo pads as they will scratch the toaster oven’s finish/coating. Instead, they recommend nylon or soft plastic scouring pads for scrubbing the crumb tray and baking racks. (We found them at CVS and the $.99 store)
What about oven cleaner?
It’s tempting but don’t use an oven cleaner. Those sprays are not meant for aluminum which is what the interiors of most toaster ovens are made of.
Not to mention that scary list of precautions.
Go Easy With The Liquids
- Never immerse your toaster oven in water.
- Always apply cleaning solutions to a sponge or rag (including warm water) and not directly on the toaster oven.
- Make sure your sponge is slightly damp and not dripping otherwise you can easily splash liquids into the electrical components, especially if you have a convection fan.
How To Clean A Toaster Oven
To keep your toaster oven in good condition you should try to wipe it down after every use. But a good weekly cleaning like this one is more realistic for us, how about you?
Before cleaning your toaster oven make sure it is unplugged and cooled.
Remove the baking rack and wipe any crumbs from the interior walls and door.
Some crumbs might stick in the corners. You can use a pastry brush or an out-of-service toothbrush to brush them away if you want.
Next, remove the crumb tray. Wipe any crumbs off into a trash can and set the tray aside.
To Clean The Interior
Prepare a bowl of 1/2 cup hot water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar or a little bit of mild cleaner like dish soap.
Grab a soft sponge, dip it in the water and squeeze it out well so it’s not dripping. (Make sure you use only the soft spongy side and not the rough green scrubber side)
Wipe down the inside of the toaster oven’s walls and the ceiling, taking care to avoid the heating coils/elements.
The walls should clean up easily if they’re not heavily coated with grease.
To Clean The Heating Elements
For most traditional ovens you can gently wipe the length of each element with a water-dampened cloth and allow them to dry completely before use.
Some newer countertop convection ovens warn against touching the elements with ANYTHING so make sure to consult your manual.
Either way, do not use soapy water or any cleanser on the elements or you may damage them.
To Clean The Ceiling
The ceiling is always the hardest area for us to keep/get clean. Yours is probably that way too (try not to look).
It’s because the ceiling usually doesn’t have the same nonstick coating as the interior walls and crumb tray.
To help prevent these kinds of stains on your toaster oven’s ceiling see our #1 maintenance tip later in this post.
Lastly, wipe down the inside of the glass door.
To Clean The Outside
Wipe down the exterior door and outside of your toaster oven with a sponge lightly moistened with the water and vinegar solution.
If you want to use a glass or other spray cleaner on the door or exterior of your toaster oven make sure to apply the cleaner to your towel instead of spraying it directly on the appliance.
Again, don’t use the green scouring side of the sponge it will leave tiny scratches all over your toaster oven.
The Control Panel
Don’t forget to wipe down the controls, those knobs can get pretty grimy.
If you have an LCD Screen, the manual for the Breville Smart Oven Pro (BOV845BSS) advises you use a damp cloth as “cleaning with a dry cloth or abrasive cleansers may scratch the surface.”
Getting Back To The Crumb Tray
If wiping it off doesn’t get it clean, fill your sink with hot soapy water and soak the tray for a few minutes. Use a soft sponge or nylon scouring pads to scrub it clean.
If the stains are really stubborn you can soak the tray for a few hours and then try scrubbing again.
We know you’re sick of hearing this but make sure to use the sponge side – not the rough side. As it can remove the non-stick finish on the tray making it more difficult to keep clean in the future.
Rinse and dry the tray. Repeat with the baking rack.
Replace the baking rack and crumb tray in the clean toaster oven.
TIP: Don’t cover your crumb tray with foil – it’s a fire hazard!
Lastly, make sure all of the elements are entirely dry then plug your sparkly clean toaster oven back in and treat yourself to a batch of warm and fluffy baked potatoes.
The Best Defense Is A Good Offense
Each time you cook with your toaster oven food can get on the walls, ceiling, bottom, and door.
When you roast vegetables daily like we do you’re splattering oil all over the inside. If the crumbs and grease aren’t cleaned off before your next use you can unintentionally bake that food onto the appliance making it harder to clean off.
So how do you keep your toaster oven clean? Wipe it down. A LOT.
The Problem Is
All of the toaster oven manuals we’ve read talk about wiping it down right after cooking.
But your toaster oven (and ours) is screaming hot after use and not somewhere you want to be sticking your digits.
Another Dirty Dish
To keep our toaster oven clean (and hands burn-free) our #1 maintenance tip is to think of it as just another dish to wash after dinner.
Once the toaster oven has cooled wipe down the ceiling, walls and crumb tray with a damp sponge. Oh, and don’t forget to wipe the inside of the glass door too – it’s easy for a lot of grease to build up on it.
So far we’re about 70/30 for remembering to do it ourselves.
If you sometimes forget to clean it after cooking too, you could also make a habit of wiping down the toaster oven before you preheat it for your next meal.