Is Your Toaster Smoking? Here’s Why & How to Fix It!

Smoking Toaster

Seasoned toaster owners got to ask themselves “why is my toaster smoking” at least once throughout their toasting careers. Whether brand new or used it’s not uncommon for toasters to have smoke coming out of them. While this can be alarming, typically it’s not a serious problem and can be easily fixed.

Your toaster may be smoking for a variety of reasons. If it’s a new toaster, it’s not unusual for it to emit some smoke during its initial uses. Another common cause is the accumulation of crumbs and food debris inside the appliance. Other factors that could lead to a smoking toaster include excessively high heat settings, the presence of foreign objects such as plastic wrappers inside the toaster, or a malfunction.

It’s best that you unplug your toaster immediately and read through this article to find out the reason behind the smoke and how to handle it.

Troubleshooting a Smoking Toaster

If you’ve noticed smoke coming out of your toaster, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible to prevent any potential hazards. Here are some common reasons why a toaster may be smoking and how to troubleshoot them:

Food Debris in the Toaster

The most likely reason your toaster’s smoking is because of food debris inside. It’s pretty common for crumbs or bits of food to fall off while you’re toasting.

If food debris is making your toaster smoke, first unplug it. Let it cool down until it’s safe to touch.

Next, take out any food from the toaster. If it’s stuck, don’t use a fork or anything metal to remove it. Empty the crumb tray and give it a quick wipe with a warm, soapy cloth. Remember not to dunk any part of the toaster in water.

Flip the toaster upside down and give it a gentle shake to dislodge any stubborn bits of food. If shaking doesn’t do the trick, use a wooden utensil to carefully remove the remaining debris.

Temperature Set Too High

Sometimes your toaster can start to smoke simply because the temperature is set too high. When the temperature is cranked up, it can cause the bread to burn and produce smoke, especially after prolonged use.

To prevent this, start by adjusting your toaster settings to a lower level. It’s always a good idea to test a few different settings to find the sweet spot for your preferred level of toastiness. Keep in mind that different types of bread may require varying heat levels, so be prepared to make adjustments as needed.

Toaster Was in Storage

If your toaster has been in storage for a while, it might have accumulated dust and debris on the heating elements or inside the appliance. When you use the toaster after a period of disuse, the dust can heat up and start to smoke.

Before using a toaster that’s been in storage, give it a thorough cleaning. Once your toaster is clean and free of dust, plug it in and run it empty for a cycle or two. This will help burn off any remaining dust particles and ensure that your toaster is ready for use without any smoky surprises.

Foreign Objects in the Toaster

Another potential reason for a smoking toaster is melting plastic or other materials inside the appliance. This can occur if a plastic bag or wrapper is accidentally left on the bread or if a foreign object falls into the toaster slots. If you do have plastic inside your toaster, consider replacing the toaster. It’s impossible to thoroughly clean the melted plastic off.

For toaster recommendations, we suggest you take a look at the toasters made in the USA that we tested.

Toaster Malfunction

Faulty wiring or electrical components can cause your toaster to smoke. In this scenario, it’s crucial to unplug your toaster immediately and avoid using it. Keep in mind that toasters typically have a lifespan of 5-8 years. If your toaster is smoking and has surpassed this timeframe, or you suspect that there is a safety concern with your toaster, it’s time to replace it. 

The cost of purchasing a new toaster is well worth the peace of mind you will have knowing that it is safe to use. Especially if you opt-in for one of the budget-friendly toasters we reviewed recently. Just make sure to dispose of your old toaster the right way.

Why is My New Toaster Smoking?

Couple inspecting a new toaster.

When you use your new toaster for the first time, there might be smoke coming from it as residual oils or manufacturing substances burn off. This is typically no cause for alarm. You can simply cycle your toaster through two or three uses without putting any food in it. Just push the lever down so the toaster heats up.

Once you have done this two or three times, you can then safely use your new toaster. All smoke and odor should be gone by this point. If your new toaster is still smoking it may have a safety issue and need to be replaced.

Don’t forget to check that you have removed all packaging materials from the toaster. Look inside and underneath to ensure you haven’t left any pieces of plastic, paper, or cardboard behind.

Prevent Toaster From Smoking in the Future

To keep your toaster from smoking in the future and ensure a pleasant toasting experience, follow these practical tips:

  1. Clean your toaster regularly: Make it a habit to empty the crumb tray and gently shake the toaster to dislodge any lingering debris. A clean toaster is less likely to smoke and will help prevent potential fires.
  2. Use appropriate heat settings: Avoid setting your toaster to excessively high temperatures, which can cause bread to burn and produce smoke. Experiment with different settings to find the optimal level for your preferred toastiness.
  3. Inspect your toaster: Periodically check your toaster for signs of damage, wear, or faulty wiring. Addressing these issues promptly can help prevent smoking and other hazards.
  4. Be mindful of foreign objects: Always double-check for plastic bags, wrappers, or other non-food objects before using your toaster. These items can melt or ignite, causing smoke or even a fire.
  5. Store your toaster properly: If you need to store your toaster for an extended period, clean it thoroughly before putting it away. This will help prevent dust and debris from accumulating and causing smoke when you use the toaster again.
  6. Maintain proper toaster placement: Keep your toaster in a well-ventilated area and away from flammable materials. Proper placement can help prevent overheating and reduce the risk of smoke or fire.
  7. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines: Always refer to your toaster’s user manual for specific instructions on proper use and maintenance. Adhering to these recommendations can help prevent smoking and other issues while prolonging the life of your toaster.

By taking these preventative measures, you can enjoy a smoke-free toasting experience and savor your perfectly toasted bread without any unwanted surprises.

FAQs About Toaster Smoking

Is it OK for a Toaster to Smoke?

While it’s not ideal for a toaster to smoke, it’s not uncommon, especially in certain situations. If you notice your toaster smoking, unplug it, let it cool down, and investigate the cause. Clean your toaster, remove any debris or foreign objects, and check for any signs of damage or malfunction. Addressing the issue promptly can help prevent future smoking incidents and potential fire hazards.

Can a Toaster Catch Fire?

Yes, a toaster can catch fire if not used and maintained properly. Several factors can contribute to a toaster fire, including built-up crumbs and debris, faulty wiring or electrical components, excessively high heat settings, or foreign objects inside the toaster.

Stay Safe, Toasty, and Smoke-Free

A toaster is a handy appliance for your kitchen and with a few steps can be used safely and easily. Always inspect your toaster before using, clean the crumb tray regularly, and ensure it is turned off and unplugged when not in use.

Larry Flynn

Hi everyone! My name is Larry Flynn and I've been working in the kitchen appliance industry for decades. From manufacturing to retail and everything in between. My latest hobby is running this website, where I share all the knowledge I gathered throughout the years in the industry. I also run a small toaster repair shop in downtown NY, and collect vintage toasters.

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