This viral TikTok just showed us how *not* to clean a toaster – experts warn why you should 'never' do this

'You see all sorts of supposed shortcuts online, but not everything works great in real life'

Kitchen with patterned backsplash, wooden worktop with green and white painted cabinetry, white toaster and accessories displayed on top
(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)

TikTok has quickly become a rabbit hole for all sorts of wonderful things, brimming with trends and hacks galore. However, a certain viral video of a woman washing her toaster in the sink has got to be one of the most entertaining but equally terrifying things we've spotted on the video-sharing platform.

Yes, you read that right. A woman has gone viral for washing her toaster in the sink – with soap and water. Believe us when we say our mouths were agape upon coming across it. Do we need to remind ourselves that a toaster is an electric appliance?!

Look, we know that even the best toasters need a good cleaning now and then to keep them working their best. Admittedly, knowing how to clean a toaster can be a finicky, fiddly task, but resorting to dousing it in water is far from the correct way to go about it!

And as you can imagine, the experts had a lot to say about it, too.

White painted kitchen with marble worktops, kitchen decorated with accessories and appliances with gold accents

(Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fiszer)

Toaster cleaning warning

The viral TikTok video posted last month has since racked up over 31.8 million views, sparking both entertaining discussions and words of warning from millions of people around the globe. In the video, the woman can be seen scrubbing away at the toaster with soap and then rinsing the appliance with running water. Yes, really...


♬ original sound - Lara

Some of the most popular comments say, 'That feels illegal,' while others joked saying, 'I just flip mine upside and slap it a few times.' (Okay, relatable... but also advised against).

While a majority of the responses are light-hearted and joking, worryingly enough there's also a handful of other comments saying, 'Yep my Mom taught me to clean a toaster like this,' while another even writes, 'I just learned how to clean a toaster.'

Okay, PAUSE! This is not how you clean a toaster.

Microwave and toaster on wooden kitchen worktop with wooden shelving and crockery displayed in background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme)

'NEVER submerge the toaster in water,' begins Olivia Young, product development scientist at Astonish. 'Combining electrical appliances and water should be avoided as a general rule. The same applies to your toaster where in this case, it would be hard to know when the appliance was properly dry, meaning it could be a serious hazard if turned on too soon.'

'Toasters are not designed to be submerged in water when cleaning,' continues Thea Whyte, small appliance expert at 'Doing so could cause electrical shock, appliance damage, and fire hazards.'

Olivia adds, 'Water inside the toaster can also damage its components, leading to an expensive replacement.'

This is because the heating coils and wires in a toaster simply aren't built to handle moisture, much like many electric appliances. If you would never submerge any of your other appliances like your best air fryer or best kettle, then a toaster is certainly not exempt either.

White painted kitchen and white cabinets with blue toaster and vases displayed on white worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fiszer)

Aside from the obvious safety concerns, Sam Thomason, DIY expert and founder of children's craft site, Simple Everyday Mom adds, 'It also highlights a broader issue: our responsibility as role models, particularly for children and young people. Kids today see so much online through social media.'

'This can teach them stuff and get their creativity going. But it also means they often see dangerous things or things they shouldn't copy. Videos like the toaster one not only show a terrible way to do something.'

Instead, if you want to clean your toaster properly, rest assured that no water has to be involved by any means.

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(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to properly clean a toaster

Before anything, make sure you unplug your toaster.

1. Tip and shake

'When it comes to cleaning your toaster, you might be tempted to shake it upside down over the bin quite vigorously to remove crumbs, but this could lead to damaging it,' warns Olivia.

'Instead, you need to be delicate. Just a tip over and a gentle shake will do the job.'

2. Empty the crumb tray

'Then, tug on the crumb tray. This is at the base of the toaster and should be easy to pull out,' continues Thea. 'Once separate from the toaster you can empty this into the bin every couple of weeks to avoid a build-up developing in the base.'

'Give the tray a good clean with a dry cloth and use a cocktail stick to get into the corners and remove any burnt bits from your toaster. Alternatively, you can use a toothbrush but avoid using scouring pads as these can damage the non-stick coating.'

Alternatively, if your toaster does not have a removable tray, Olivia suggests 'using a small brush to dislodge and remove any pesky crumbs.'

Kitchen with patterned backsplash, wooden worktop with green and white painted cabinetry, white toaster and accessories displayed on top

(Image credit: Future PLC/Katie Jane Watson)

3. Wipe down with a damp cloth

'To clean the outside of your toaster, use a damp cloth or soft sponge with some all-purpose cleaner to remove the grease and grime, while making sure to not scratch the metallic surface,' advises Olivia. Whatever you do, please do not submerge your toaster in water. Even if it is unplugged.

And voila, that's it. You've got yourself a clean toaster, with no soap or excess bouts of water involved.

Sam concludes, 'You see all sorts of supposed shortcuts online, but not everything works great in real life. It's good to think about safety first before trying something new or checking with someone with experience.'

So, if you ask us, we will be keeping our toasters above sea, thank you very much. And we strongly urge you to do the same.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.