My Toaster is Smoking: What To Do? (Can It Catch Fire?)

The toaster is one of the simplest and user-friendly appliances in the kitchen. It is a wise choice for heating and crisping bread. 

You can also use the toaster to prepare other delicious meals besides bread. It can re-crisp fries and re-crisp pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches, and others. 

Making sure your toaster is always in good shape matters. You need to look for signs that indicate your toaster is faulty and needs fixing. 

Most people claim a toaster shouldn’t smoke, and others think it should. In this post, we’ll discuss all you have to know and do when the toaster is smoking. Read on!

Is a Toaster Supposed To Smoke?

No! That’s the short answer. The toaster isn’t an appliance designed to smoke when in use. 

So, if your toaster is smoking, don’t consider it normal. Something is certainly wrong with your appliance. 

However, several factors can make a toaster or other heating appliances smoke. You have to look for what’s causing your toaster to smoke and fix it. 

So, the next time you see your toaster smoking, don’t just fold your arms and do nothing. Find out what the problem is and fix it. A smoking toaster isn’t a normal thing.     

Why is My Toaster Smoking and What Can You Do About It?

Watching on as the smoke escape from your toaster isn’t the most pleasant thing anyone would like to see. But then, it happens to toasters most times.

Using a smoking toaster isn’t a pleasant move. You might even lose interest in whatever you’re cooking. 

Now, should you panic when smoke starts coming out from your toaster? Well, not yet. You may be surprised to learn that you can fix your toaster and stop it from smoking. 

The question now is, why does your toaster smoke? Let’s discuss the various reasons. 

1. Smoke caused by food debris

Whether it’s a toaster oven or pop-up toaster you have, bear in mind that both can smoke. And what could be the reason? It could be food debris left in the appliance. 

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In the case of the toaster oven, food debris could be on the wall or floor of the appliance. In some instances, it could even be on the baking rack. 

In a pop-up oven, the food debris could be in the form of large or tiny pieces of bread left after toasting. 

You’ll find smoke coming out from a toaster with food debris when the appliance becomes hot. As long as the food debris is resting on the heating element, such is bound to happen. 

What can you do to prevent food debris from causing your toaster to smoke? It is simple. Always clean up the appliance after use.

Clean-up won’t take more than a couple of minutes. So, it’s something you can do after every use. 

2. Smoke emerging from the crumb tray

The pop-up toaster experiences this issue regularly. And it’s not because the appliance is bad. It’s a failure on the user’s part to clean it up.

When you toast bread, bear in mind that there will be crumb build-up in the appliance’s crumb tray. And this is where the smoke your toaster is producing is coming from

What can you do to fix this problem? It is a simple fix. Clean the crumb tray. You can even get it done fortnightly. 

3. Smoke caused by dust build-up

Please note that the toaster oven and toaster pop-up face this problem. It’s also not something you cannot avoid. 

Most people only toast bread once in a blue moon. And they’re fond of leaving their toaster exposed.

There’s a possibility of dust build-up when you expose your toaster like this, and you don’t use it for a long period. There would likely be smoke the next time you use the appliance. 

What can you do about this? It’s also a simple fix. 

Endeavor to cover the toaster oven after use. Just allow it to cool down before doing so. 

You can also place the appliance in a box or cupboard whenever you aren’t using it. Endeavor to wipe when you bring it out to use. 

4. Smoke caused by grease build-up

This problem occurs in the toaster oven and pop-up toaster. But it is most common in the toaster oven. 

Grease or oil build-up is possible if you toast greasy or oily foods now and then. Just that smoke emanating from grease or oil build-up doesn’t last long if the build-up isn’t so much.

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So the smoke from your toaster oven will end in no time. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean up the appliance. Clean up the toaster now and then. 

You can decide to clean up the next time you plan to use the appliance if previously used to toast greasy or oily foods. 

A Handy Tip: Grease or oil build-up is not common in pop-up toasters, though it’s still a possibility. The build-up depends largely on what you toasted. If you toast pop-tart, there’s a possibility of grease build-up in your toaster. 

Can a Toaster Catch on Fire?

Most people might have only one thing on their minds when their toaster starts smoking. And that thing is a fire outbreak. 

So, here’s the question. Can a toaster catch on fire? Well, the response to this question is yes. Over 700 people worldwide lose their lives each year to fires and electrocution caused by toasters.  

However, there are several reasons a toaster might start a fire. Let’s discuss them. 

  • When one forgetfully places something flammable on top of the pop-up toaster when it’s working, the item is cloth, plastic, or nylon.
  • Food debris and crumb build-up can start a fire.
  • Grease and oil build-up can start a fire. You should avoid toasting buttered bread in the pop-up toaster, as the butter could melt and start a fire. 
  • Problem with one or more components in the appliance 
  • Extended use of the toaster 
  • Faulty electrical cord

Warning: Your modern toaster might come with several features that address the issues of fire outbreaks. But that’s not a reason not to maintain or care for the appliance, as you should. 

With proper maintenance, there’s a chance your toaster won’t catch fire. You also have to use it accordingly. Don’t turn the toaster on if you don’t plan to remain in the kitchen for a long period. 

How To Stop Your Toaster From Smoking?

You can do several things to prevent your toaster from smoking. These include both toaster oven and pop-up toaster. 

So, how can you ensure your toaster doesn’t smoke? Pay attention to these two tips. 

Tip 1: Store properly after use: How do you store your toaster? Do you leave it on the counter every single day? That’s a wrong decision. 

Store your toaster properly if you don’t want it to smoke. You can store it in a cupboard or place it back in the package. 

Please keep in mind that doing this will prevent the various parts of the toaster from wearing out. It will also keep the electrical code intact. 

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Mice are fond of chewing on things. And they can chew on the appliance’s electrical code insulator, exposing the wire that carries the electrical current.

A Handy Tip: Remember to unplug the toaster before removing it from the counter to place it in a cupboard or box. Do this to avoid damaging the electrical code. 

Tip 2: Perform regular clean-up: How often do you clean up your toaster? Is it once in a year or after every use?

The best option would be after every use. But if you can’t do this, then clean weekly. 

You may also decide to clean it monthly if you don’t use the toaster frequently. 

This clean-up routine applies to both the toaster oven and pop-up oven. But if there’s a big spill in your toaster when cooking, endeavor to clean it up before you start using it again. 

Is It Safe To Use a Toaster Right Out of The Box?

No, it’s not safe. The toaster might give off a plastic smell when turned on the first time. 

You have to allow this plastic smell to wane off, as most manufacturers even advise allowing the appliance to work with nothing in it for some time. The plastic smell should wear off in two or three uses. 

However, if the plastic smell doesn’t clear off after three uses, something is wrong with the appliance. It’s also unsafe to use such a toaster.   

Should You Clean The Toaster Before First Use?

Yes, you have to clean up your brand new toaster before use. The cleaning ensures there’s no dust build-up or pieces of plastic stuck in the toaster. 

Bear in mind that cleaning up a new toaster isn’t going to be as intense as an old one. But it’s still necessary you get it done. 

However, do not clean with a chemical that can become harmful or make the toaster unsafe to use. Use warm water and a clean cloth instead. 

Conclusion: Is a toaster oven supposed to smoke?

No! Why should a toaster smoke? The appliance isn’t designed to work that way. 

We have explained why a toaster oven might be smoking while in use. You can look at the various reasons, including fixing the problem. 

Additionally, keep in mind that toasters can start a fire. These include a toaster oven and pop-up toaster. Thus, you have to look after the appliance and take proper care when using it.

About Sylvette Brown

Sylvette is a homemaker and is passionate about cooking and other kitchen-related stuff. She also loves to do home improvement related tasks and keeps on writing about food and cookware on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her 2 little kids. :)