Toaster ovens are reliable, convenient, and efficient. Yet, these simple gadgets have been known to catch fire on some occasions for one reason or the other. In these situations, it is best to be prepared on the steps to follow and if it is salvageable, one can ask the question how to clean a toaster oven after a fire?
To effectively clean a toaster oven after it catches fire, you should first consider the extent of the fire. If your toaster oven is burned beyond repair i.e. dismantled parts, exposed wires, etc. Its bests to dispose of it.
But in situations where you were able to curb the fire before it caused irreparable damage to your toaster oven; it’s best to bring out the removable parts of the toaster oven for cleaning- scrape away chunks and globs of food particles – and wipe out the interior with oven cleaner.
How to Clean a Toaster Oven after a Fire
- Soapy water
- Baking Soda
- Oven Cleaner (Commercial or Homemade)
The Procedure for Cleaning the Interior
- Ensure that the toaster oven is cool enough inside and outside then bring out the rack, baking pan, and crumb tray.
- Prepare a mixture of baking soda and water in a ratio of 2:1 tablespoons.
- Sweep out dislodged crumbs, debris, and/or charred food particles.
- Coat the interior of the toaster oven with this mixture and allow it to sit for about 20 minutes.
- Wipe out the interior with a sponge. If necessary scrub gently until food particles are dislodged.
- Using a dishcloth, apply an oven cleaner to the interior to get rid of the burned smell and to give it a shine.
The Procedure for Cleaning the Exterior
- Without using an abrasive material, scrape away debris from the pans and tray as much as possible.
- Fill your kitchen sink or bowl with hot water, add baking soda, allow the bubbles to subside.
- Allow baking pan, crumb tray, and rack to soak for an hour ensuring that it soaks all through.
- At this stage, any burned area can be easily scrubbed gently using a sponge or using a dishwasher.
Also Read: How to Make Your Oven Smell Better?
Probable Causes of Toaster Oven Fire
Now that you know how to clean a toaster oven after a fire, it is worth reviewing what really went wrong so that you can avoid such incidents from happening in the future.
1. Food Particles and Other Incendiaries
Cooking with toaster ovens can be fun especially when baking sweet treats that can leave crumbs behind after cooking. Some of these crumbs, when left uncleaned after repeated cooking could prove flammable if it comes in contact with the toaster oven heating element.
Some other causes of toaster oven fires can be as a result of combustible substances that are used for cooking.
Aluminum foil for example; Aluminum foil is widely used especially when baking. Bits of this substance when in contact with the exposed heating element could erupt in a fire.
2. Cooking Without Supervision
Toaster ovens compared to regular ovens can be quite fast. It’s very easy to forget food while cooking with a toaster oven. This lack of proper supervision has led to the cause of many toaster oven fires.
If cooking is set to a temperature that is too hot, this can also lead to a fire.
Also Read: Best 2 in 1 Toaster Ovens
3. Water Damage
Like any other electrical gadget, a toaster oven can catch fire if wrongfully subjected to water or any form of liquid.
This could happen when cleaning, boiling, or when placed in a position where splashes of water can get into its electrical setup. It could result in electrical shocks which may later end up leading to a fire.
4. Short Circuit / Power Surge
A damaged electrical component, an exposed wire or a simply a power surge in the electrical grid caused by the utility or even lightening storm, can cause a fire hazard.
If this was the cause of the fire, then you haven’t given electrical circuit protection enough thought in your home design.
You need to have the proper range of circuit breaks, a proper fuse amperage as well as earth fault protection in order to avoid incidents whereby a short circuit can cause a fire.
Fuses and circuit breakers must be chosen so that as soon as the electrical current rises beyond specified needs, such as during short circuit or power surges, they would blow or trip.
Also Read: How Many Amps Does a Toaster Oven Use?
Precautions to Prevent Toaster Oven Fire
Let us read about how to avoid such accidents from happening again.
1. Read the Instruction Manual
After installing a new toaster oven, the next thing to do is to read the instruction manual. This rule applies not only to first-time users but repeated users as well.
One of the first things that you should read about is the amperage rating and whether the toaster oven requires a dedicated circuit or not.
The instruction manual serves as a guide on what to do when face with problems concerning the toaster oven. It also gives information about the maintenance and proper cleaning of the toaster oven.
It also contains information on the average temperature needed for different types of cooking to avoid burning your food or ultimately causing a fire.
2. Place Toaster Oven Strategically
The position of your toaster oven is very important because it can cause or help prevent fire.
The first most consideration should be given to proper ventilation. Make sure, you do not place the toaster oven in a closed space when its operating.
Toaster ovens should be given ample room to breath from all sides.
It is also important to avoid positioning your toaster oven in a place where it is too high to reach or too low. This is so that you can easily monitor and keep an eye on it.
When placing the toaster oven on the countertop, there are some factors to be considered: keep away from the kitchen sink.
Avoid placing your toaster oven closer to the kitchen sink or any rushing water source as this could cause splashes of water to enter into its electrical setup.
Also do not position toaster oven near any form of combustible materials as this could serve as fuel even if it doesn’t cause the fire.
3. Clean and Maintain Regularly
One of the main causes of toaster oven fires is ignition caused by crumbs or debris. It is essential to clean your toaster oven regularly. Preferably, after every cooking. It’s easier to clean. And it reduces the accumulation of debris.
Before cleaning your toaster oven, ensure that it is unplugged. Do not plug back the toaster oven until it is dry. Also, ensure that the heating element is free of fiber or clothing material after cleaning.
If faced with issues like electric shocks, fraying wires, and electrical overload, take toaster oven for repairs and proper maintenance.
Also Read: How to Clean Toaster Oven Heating Element
This article discussed in detail how to clean a toaster oven after a fire. It also defined some of the causes of common toaster oven fires.
It is imperative to know that a toaster oven that has caught fire, clean or not, should be taken to a professional for repairs before use as it may lead to further fire or worse – electrocution.
Also, where there is a toaster oven, there should be a fire extinguisher to help curb the fire as much as possible.
And lastly, toaster ovens don’t catch fire on their own so, it is crucial to engage in regular cleaning and caution.