Should you clean a toaster with a hairdryer? The viral cleaning hack explained

Getting the crumbs out of a toaster can be a nightmare – but can a hairdryer make it easier?

ProCook Gun Metal Toaster and Kettle
(Image credit: ProCook)

Any hack that makes cleaning quicker and easier and uses things we already have at home is an instant win for us – so when we saw the cleaning hack using a hairdryer to clean a toaster and get rid of crumbs, we were intrigued.

The viral TikTok cleaning tip helps remove crumbs and stuck debris so that your kitchen counters don’t get covered every time you want to eat. 

But, is this cleaning hack to save time safe? We asked professional cleaners to find out 

Should you clean a toaster with a hairdryer?

Originally posted by content creator @anna_louisa_at_home, the hack is as simple as it sounds. Simply unplug your toaster and allow it to cool down, empty out the crumb tray of most of the crumbs, and then use a hairdryer on high power to blow down into the toaster and force any remaining crumbs out of the bottom.  Then, all you need to do is wipe away the debris and clean the toaster to make it shine as normal.  


♬ These Words - Badger & Natasha Bedingfield

There are a few caveats to this method, however, that have professional cleaners a little apprehensive. 

‘I’ve actually seen the hack, and while I think it’s safe enough, I would probably save this trick for an occasional deep cleaning,’ begins Axel Avery, cleaning expert at Oakville Maids. ‘I’m just not sure it’s worth it, and it’s not like you have your hairdryer usually sitting next to the toaster. So I don't find it convenient or necessary.’  

A white hairdryer laying on a table beside a black brush

(Image credit: Alamy)

What’s more, unless your hair dryer has a cool air setting, the additional heat could damage the heating components, continues Yessica Bello, cleaning expert at Bellows Cleaning: ‘I understand the appeal of this hack as it seems to offer a quick fix, but based on my experience and knowledge, I would not recommend it.

‘The primary reason is safety. Blowing hot air could potentially push the crumbs further into the electrical components or heating elements of the toaster, which raises the risk of fire when the toaster is later used. Additionally, using a hair dryer isn't as controlled a method as one might need for such a delicate appliance, and it could end up blowing crumbs around your kitchen instead of actually removing them.’ This means that no matter what time you have saved, you still have to spend it on cleaning a kitchen.  

Soft Bristle Cleaning Brushes | $2.49 at Walmart

Soft Bristle Cleaning Brushes | $2.49 at Walmart
Perfect for cleaning any small gaps from straws to the insides of toasters, these brushes are great to have to hand in your kitchen drawer.

Instead, the experts recommend sticking to the tried-and-tested method of emptying the crumb tray and shaking the toaster out over your trash bin, sink, or even in your yard, concludes Eliana Coca, owner of E.C. House Cleaning

‘Unplug the toaster, remove the crumb tray and shake out the crumbs. For any stubborn debris, a soft brush or a can of compressed air specifically designed for electronics can be used to gently clean the interior without risking damage or pushing crumbs into the heating elements,’ she suggests. ‘This method ensures the toaster is clean and safe to use.’ 


What happens if you don’t clean your toaster? 

If you neglect to clean your toaster, the crumbs will build up around the heating elements, causing them to burn with each subsequent use and possibly lead to a fire, if not a nasty burning smell each time you use it. Shaking the toaster out and cleaning out the crumb tray is quick and easy, and prevents a lot of hazards in the future. 

How do you clean burnt bits out of a toaster?  

If stubborn burnt crumbs are stuck in your toaster, wait for it to cool completely and unplug it. With the toaster cooled and the majority of the crumbs shaken out into the trash, you can use a clean, dry bristle brush to gently clean off stuck debris from the heating elements. Never introduce water to the inside of your taster as this can pose a fire risk.  

How often should you replace a toaster?  

It is a good rule of thumb to consider replacing your toaster every five to ten years. A toaster's lifespan will vary greatly depending on the make and model, as well as how well you look after it or how often you use it. Cleaning regularly and checking it over for damage is a great way to prolong its lifespan. 

While this is a kitchen cleaning hack that doesn't work, there are plenty of other smart habits to spend less time cleaning and help clean a house fast, such as emptying out the crumb tray after every use, or wiping down kitchen counters as soon as you are finished cooking. All the little tricks soon add up to unlock more free time.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.