Keep your toaster oven working like new

Show your love for your toaster oven by giving it a little TLC. A little cleaning and upkeep will have it toasting, melting and heating your food up for years to come.

Keep your toaster oven working like new

Get the gunk out of your toaster oven

Toaster ovens typically need more thorough cleaning than toasters, since many people do more than just toast bread in their toaster ovens. They make drippy cheese toast, heat-oozing fruit pies and even broil small grease-spattering hens. All that gunk can make your oven burn out prematurely, and more seriously, it could cause a fire. Here's how to keep your toaster oven looking and working like new:

  • Clean the toaster oven soon after a messy cooking session. Let the oven cool, and unplug it. Then remove any cooking trays or racks, and wash them in hot, soapy water. Wipe the inside of the oven with a damp cloth. If you're lucky, your oven has a nonstick interior surface, and baked-on food will come right off. Carefully lift the heating element (if possible) and clean under it.
  • Every week or two, depending on how often you use the oven, empty the crumb tray, which in most toaster ovens is removable; then wash it. Most trays are thin aluminum and may not be dishwasher safe. Check your owner's manual. If you are unsure, hand-wash the tray in warm, soapy water. Some ovens also have a trapdoor on the bottom to let you remove crumbs that fall past the tray. Be sure to unplug the unit before opening this door.

Removing burned-on deposits

  • To remove stuck-on food in your toaster oven, try a moist plastic or nylon scrubber.
  • Never use anything abrasive, such as steel wool. You'll scratch the smooth surface, which will make the food stick worse next time.
  • If the plastic scrubber fails, put a small bowl of full-strength ammonia inside the unplugged oven with the door closed. Leave it overnight and then remove the ammonia.
  • The fumes will loosen the food. Wipe the inside again and let the oven air out before using.

Buff the outside of your toaster oven

  • To keep the outside of your toaster oven clean, just wipe it regularly with a damp cloth.
  • Add a splash of vinegar or a squirt of dishwashing liquid to the wash water for added cleaning power.
  • The control buttons may pull off to make cleaning the control panel easier.
  • Check your owner's manual.

Restore the view through a toaster-oven door

  • If the inside of the glass door on your toaster oven is caked with stubborn, burned-on cooking residue that obscures your view of the food, here's how to get it off: First, spray the glass with oven cleaner and let it sit for at least half an hour.
  • Wipe off the oven cleaner with paper towels, and then clean to a sparkle with glass cleaner.
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