How to Clean a Toaster Oven: A Step-by-Step Guide

updated Aug 24, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Toaster ovens have so many benefits: They offer us the option to not start up our regular-sized ovens for small jobs —and they eliminate the need for another small but single-use appliance, the toaster. But toaster ovens are subject to the same kinds of crumbs and grease splatters that a full-sized oven is. Cleaning a toaster oven isn’t only a matter of cleanliness, but of safety.

Though the risks are low with proper safety precautions (easy safeguards like keeping at least two inches of clear space all around the toaster oven and keeping the unit on a surface that can withstand heat), making sure your toaster oven is clean is important. Crumbs and grease can get caught near the heating element and potentially cause a fire.

Jump to:

Quick Overview

Toaster Oven Cleaning at a Glance

  • Do a deep clean on your toaster oven weekly if you use it every day.
  • Remove the trays from the toaster oven to soak while you remove the crumbs, wipe down the interior, eliminate baked-on grease spots, and clean the exterior.
  • Don’t any harsh cleaners on the heating element as it can cause damage.
Credit: Joe Lingeman

How often should you clean your toaster oven?

Plan on doing a deep cleaning weekly if you’re a daily user (or clean your toaster oven less often if it gets less use). Tying the task to your kitchen maintenance chores will ensure you don’t forget to do it.

In addition, make sure you check your toaster oven after each time you use it to make sure no food has dropped onto or near the heating element. Wait until the heating element is completely cool before attempting to remove anything, and never use metal utensils inside your unit.

This visual inspection after every use (and taking action on these light cleanings as soon as it’s safe to do so) will help make sure food doesn’t come into contact with the heating element and catch fire. This simple habit also keeps grease from baking onto the interior of your toaster oven, which makes deep-cleaning it a more arduous task than it has to be.

How to Deep Clean a Toaster Oven, Step by Step with Photos

Even if you’re good about emptying crumbs from your toaster oven and wiping up new splatters, your unit needs regular, thorough cleaning.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Unplug your toaster oven and make sure it’s cool before you begin cleaning.

You’ll want to place your toaster oven unit in a place where cleaning is convenient, such as near the sink or garbage can, and at a comfortable height, like on the countertop. Keep in mind that you should never immerse your unit in water and never spray cleaning solution directly into your unit.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Remove all trays and racks and set them to soak in soapy water.

Fill your sink with warm water and a few squirts of dish soap, then place the oven’s removable trays and racks inside. If your sink isn’t large enough, try using a plastic storage bin or the bathtub instead.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Remove crumbs from all the surfaces of your toaster oven.

Wipe all the crumbs out of your toaster oven with a dry rag. Then use a pastry brush or small cleaning brush to loosen and dislodge any crumbs that are stuck in corners or seams.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

4. Use a damp, soapy rag to wipe down the non-stick interior of your toaster oven.

Don’t use any kind of abrasive scrubber, as this will damage the non-stick coating if your unit has it. Try not to get the heating elements wet.

You may be able to use a stronger scrubbing pad to scour metallic portions of your toaster oven that aren’t covered in a nonstick coating. Refer to your unit’s manual (which can be found online) if you’re not sure what’s nonstick and what’s not.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Remove trays and racks from their soaking solution and scrub any remaining grime.

The soaking should make any stuck-on dirt or grime easily to dislodge with your detail brush. If they are particularly dirty, try soaking them overnight and repeating the scrubbing process the next day.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. Place the trays and racks back into the toaster oven.

Dry each one thoroughly with a clean, dry rag before putting them back in your unit.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Clean the outside of your unit.

Use a rag dampened with all-purpose cleaner or a warm water and dish soap solution. Then buff dry with a dry rag.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How do you get baked-on grease out of a toaster oven?

Cleaning baked-on grease from a toaster oven is the same method you’d use for cleaning your main kitchen oven:

  • Make a baking soda and water paste.
  • Spread it on the problem area, and leave overnight.
  • Wipe off with a rag and, if any problem areas remain, spray them with a vinegar-water solution. The fizzing reaction will help loosen up the grease that’s left.

Maintenance is key, but everyone has neglected their toaster ovens at one point or another and is faced with a mess of stubborn, caked-on grease. Just know it’s not a hopeless situation.

How to Clean Toaster Oven Glass

The thing that makes toaster oven glass such a disaster is an accumulation of grease. To remove the grease:

  • Make a baking soda and water paste, with the addition of a possible spritzing of vinegar.
  • Let time do its work on your grease buildup, and make sure to leave the paste sitting for at least a few hours (or overnight if you can).
  • A Magic Eraser can help address any lingering trouble spots as well.

How to Clean Toaster Oven Heating Elements

Extra caution should be taken when cleaning the toaster oven heating elements.

  • Check again to make sure the unit is unplugged and that everything is completely cool.
  • Don’t use any kind of cleaner on the elements, and don’t scrub them too hard. Use a damp rag and gently wipe them.
  • If there’s any baked-on food, use a soft brush and a baking soda paste.
  • Make sure to rinse it completely off and then dry it thoroughly.

What is a self-cleaning toaster oven?

A self-cleaning toaster oven must sound appealing right about now — and there is such a thing, but it’s not as exciting as it sounds at first. A self-cleaning toaster oven is one that has a nonstick coating on the inside, which definitely makes it easier to clean. However, your unit will still need to be emptied of crumbs and wiped down regularly.