by Lindsay Wilcox
You probably use toasters quite frequently for quick breakfasts and even for lunch and dinner, but you may have a few questions about cleaning these appliances and keeping yourself safe while using a toaster. This guide provides you with a few tips on extending the life of your toasters and using them properly.
Cut bread precisely. If you're slicing a loaf of bread to toast for breakfast, be sure to cut thin slices that will fit in your 2-slice toaster. Jamming thick wedges of bread into your toaster can cause it to burn your toast or cook it unevenly; large bread pieces can also become stuck in your toaster and make it difficult to clean.
Choose the right toaster. Do you need a 2-slice toaster, 4-slice toaster or a 6-slice toaster? For a couple or a small family, a 2-slice or 4-slice toaster is usually sufficient. If you have a large family or frequently invite relatives and friends to stay at your house, you'll want the convenience of a 6-slice toaster.
Use your toaster's settings for different foods. Pay attention to labels on your favorite foods when using your toaster, especially a bagel toaster. You can burn pastries, waffles and bread in even the best toaster if you don't adjust the settings for certain snacks.
Clean out the crumb tray frequently. To keep your toaster working properly, you'll want to remove all the extra crumbs lodged in it. To do this, first unplug the toaster and make sure it is cool to the touch; you don't want to burn yourself while cleaning a toaster. Next, pull the crumb tray out of your toaster, dump it in the sink and wipe it clean. Shaking your toaster gently upside-down over the sink will also help to dislodge large crumbs.
Wipe your toaster down periodically. Your toaster can become dusty and sticky after time, especially a stainless steel toaster, so take a few minutes to clean its surface and the area beneath it and around it. Use a bit of ammonia-free glass cleaner to clean the exterior of a stainless steel toaster or chrome toaster and buff it with a dry cloth. Never use water or cleaner inside your toaster; this will ruin it.
Take safety precautions with your toaster. Always store your toaster away from the sink or any liquids that could spill on your toaster. Never stick anything into a toaster, even a wide bagel toaster, while it is plugged in; always unplug your toaster before cleaning it. If you still can't remove toast that is stuck in your toaster, use a plastic utensil to gently pry it loose. Be careful not to scratch the exterior of a chrome toaster as you dislodge crumbs.
Wait before removing toast. Avoid getting burned by hot toast or the coils of even the best toaster by waiting for your food to cool or using plastic tongs to set your toast on a plate. Pastries filled with jam can be especially hot when heated in a toaster.