Tips For Giving Your Toaster Oven The Ultimate Deep Clean

The road to hell is paved with good intentions or so says an old proverb, but this idiom epitomizes the struggle of anyone who has ever owned a toaster oven. Fresh out the box, gleaming stainless steel, and full of possibilities, you pledge to follow the advice from the manual which tells you to wipe down your toaster oven after each use. 

If you use your toaster oven daily, Apartment Therapy recommends a light cleaning after each use and a deeper cleaning weekly, taking care to avoid the heating elements with your cleaning solution. And maybe you do just that the first three or four times, faithfully unplugging the oven, waiting for it to cool, dumping the crumb tray, and giving it a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. But then, late one night, after popping in a few too many pizza rolls, you decide to skip the wipe down and head to bed. As we all know, it's a slick slide into the abyss from there.

What awaits you on the other side is the stuff of legend — the glossy, baked-on grease that covers the interior walls, the crusty blackened crumbs wedged into the dark corners of the crumb tray, and a glass door that is nearly opaque with the filth of a thousand meals. When you end up with a toaster oven like this (like so many people do) this is how you tackle the mess.

How to deep clean your toaster oven

When it comes to health, safety, and even good taste, clearing the debris from your crumb tray is the cornerstone of maintaining your toaster oven. Avoiding a potential fire or food poisoning and keeping your food tasty are the goals only a good deep clean can ensure. 

Once you've unplugged the cooled appliance, remove the crumb tray and racks, before plunging them into a sink with some mild dish soap and warm water to soak. Ready to give your toaster oven the smackdown with a thorough wipe-down? Consumer Reports advises whipping up your own homemade cleaning solution. The publication recommends mixing vinegar, warm water, and a little dish soap together and using some good old-fashioned elbow grease, though it cautions against metal scouring pads and abrasive cleaners as they may damage your oven's coating or finish. 

But before giving the exterior of your oven a soft polish with your vinegar mixture, you have one more battle to face — the glass door. America's Test Kitchen seems to have hacked the ultimate cleaning tool to leave your toaster oven's glass gleaming, pairing a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with warm water for an epic result that may very well rekindle your love affair with this beloved kitchen appliance.

Armed with this advice you'll no doubt claim victory over the filthy scourge that has plagued your humble oven, rejoicing in the warm glow of unending culinary possibilities once again.