What to do if your toaster is toast

October 15, 2014

The toaster isn’t working. Before you try to make toast in the microwave, here are a few quick troubleshooting tips to help you save your broken toaster.

What to do if your toaster is toast

1. First, check the crumb tray

Be honest. When was the last time you cleaned out the crumb tray? Did you even know there is a crumb tray?If your toast is simply not toasting, it’s possible that there are excess crumbs gathered around the thermal shut-off sensor. Here's what to do:

  • Pull out the crumb tray (usually found at the back or bottom) and clean it. While it’s out, gently shake the toaster till the majority of the excess crumbs fall out. You can even hold it upside down over the sink. If you’re feeling bold, take off the toaster’s outer shell and wipe down any residue with a slightly damp cloth.
  • Do NOT put the toaster in the dishwasher or submerge it in water. Let’s also assume that if you’re still reading this, you unplugged the toaster before doing any repairs.
  • When the toaster parts are dry, put it back together and try again. If it worked, yay! Toast!

2.  If the toaster won't stop buzzing

If the toaster buzzes when you depress the lever, it’s probably because the unit is still hot from a recent toasting.

  • Either give it a minute to cool down, or adjust the control to a darker setting so it expects to get hotter.
  • If that worked, yay! Toast!

3. If the toast won’t go down

If the lever on your toaster won’t stay down when you depress it, it’s possible that there are crumbs in the area. If a good shake doesn’t dislodge them, try using compressed air (like the kind you clean your computer keyboard with) and a toothpick.

If that still doesn’t work, try popping off the lever and removing the front panel of the toaster. Check for any blockages and test the lever to see if it goes up and down. If it’s sticky, try adding a little lubricant.

4. If the toast burns

If every piece of toast ends up a burning mess that sets off your smoke alarm, you may have a problem with the internal thermostat.

  • First, remove the knobs and front cover of the toaster. If you still have the manual, there should be directions on how to do this.
  • Next, look for the screw that is affiliated with the light-to-dark toaster setting. Turn it slightly to the lighter setting. It may not need a lot of movement, just enough to change your results from “burning” to “edible.”

If you’ve tried all these quick fix tips and your toaster still doesn’t work, it might be time to get a new one.

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