While most users never have any serious problems with toaster ovens, it is important to keep in mind that toaster ovens are electrical appliances and that they are in fact small ovens, which can get quite hot at times.
If proper safety measures are not taken, certain problems can arise (like fire or electrocution).
Therefore, we feel it is important to touch on some basic safety measures that you can take while using a toaster oven to protect yourself, others, and your home.
Read the Instruction Manual
Common sense tells us to do this, but many of us don’t want to be bothered and feel that we are smart enough to figure things out on our own. While this is true – most toaster ovens are pretty straight forward and easy to figure out – instruction manuals can provide a wealth of information and are usually very helpful in learning how to use the toaster oven properly and safely.
We ALWAYS recommend reading the manual before using any new toaster oven. This will not only ensure that you are taking proper precautions, but also ensure you get the most out of your toaster oven.
Leave Some Space Around the Toaster Oven
Most toaster ovens get hot, especially lower-end models with less insulation, so it is important that you keep a minimum distance of around 4″ to 8″ of space on all sides of your toaster oven (check your toaster oven manual for more information). This will allow for adequate air circulation and also help prevent any possible wall discoloration.
Prevent fires by not operating or placing the toaster oven near drapes, curtains, walls, and other flammable materials. This also includes operating the toaster oven on a stable and heat resistant surface – NOT a cloth-covered surface. Additionally, ensure food particles, flour, water, etc. are clear from the toaster oven area.
Plug & Cord Safety
To protect yourself from electric shock, do not immerse the toaster oven, power cord or plug, in any kind of liquid. Also, it is advisable to buy a toaster oven that comes with a 3 prong plug that has a grounding wire. In the event of an electrical short circuit, grounding will reduce the risk of electrical shock.
When the oven is not in use, it is recommended to unplug or disconnect it from the wall outlet. You should also make sure the cord doesn’t rest on any hot surfaces or hangs over any edges or counters.
Lastly, continuously inspect the cord and plug for damage. If you notice any damage, stop usage and call the customer service number of the manufacturer for assistance.
Handle With Care
Like conventional ovens, toaster ovens get hot. Therefore, caution must be taken when placing/removing food or handling the oven. The exterior will get hot during and after operation so be careful not to touch it and be sure not to store any items on the top of the toaster oven – especially flammable materials.
For a better insulated toaster oven that does not produce a lot of external heat, we recommend the Breville Smart Oven (Click here to read review).
To prevent burns, it is advised to use protective hot pads or oven mitts and use the appropriate handles and knobs when inserting or removing food.
Be careful what items go into the toaster oven. Do not place flammable materials like cardboard, paper, plastic, etc. in the oven. If using ceramic or glass pans or dishes, make sure they are oven safe to avoid cracking. Caution should also be taken when using any kind of lid in the oven as pressure may build and cause the food or ingredients to expel or the dish to crack. Also, avoid inserting metal utensils such as knives into the oven as this may cause damage to the oven (like the heating elements) and can increase the risk of shock.
In terms of safety, the main thing when cleaning is to be sure that the oven is first turned off, unplugged, and has cooled down.
It is also recommended to NOT use metal scouring pads for scrubbing your toaster oven. The little pieces of metal can break off and come into contact with the electrical components, which can cause electric shock.
Lastly, you should clean your toaster oven regularly, including the crumb tray, to remove food particles and grease build up, which can be prone to igniting a fire.
For more information on cleaning your toaster oven, click here.
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