How To Clean Stainless Steel Appliances With Cream of Tartar (or Lemon Juice)

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Playing How to Clean Your Toaster
How to Clean Your Toaster

You probably know about the crumb tray underneath your toaster, which should be emptied out regularly to prevent a fire hazard. But what you might not think about as much is the surface of your toaster, which is likely covered in fingerprints, dust and food residue. So, how should you clean the outside of your toaster and leave the surface streak-free? We have the answer. (Hint: The below steps also work when cleaning other stainless steel appliances, such as a stainless fridge, stainless oven, stainless sink or stainless microwave.)

Step 1: Start by unplugging the appliance, of course. Safety first!

Step 2: Then, fill a small bowl with water and sprinkle in some cream of tartar. Dab a rag into the cream of tartar and water mixture and use it to wipe down the surface of your toaster.

Cream of tartar is essentially a powdery form of tartaric acid. It's an acid like lemon or vinegar, but its more abrasive texture helps add shine when cleaning anything stainless, according to chef Geoffrey Zakarian. You can also use lemon juice or vinegar to clean stainless steel appliances, but the advantage of cream of tartar over these liquids is that the coarse powder also works to remove stubborn grime.

For certain materials and stains, you can mix lemon juice and cream of tartar OR vinegar and cream of tartar. Here are some examples:

  • To make a stainless steel sink shine, mix 1 cup of distilled white vinegar with ¼ cup cream of tartar in a glass or plastic container (not metal). Scrub the sink with the mixture and rinse with warm water.
  • To make faded copper shine like new, use a damp rag to apply a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar. Rinse with warm water and buff with a dry, soft cloth.
  • A paste of lemon juice and tartar can also be used to remove stubborn carpet stains.
  • Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and cream of tartar to use as a non-abrasive cleaner for most surfaces in your home.

Don't have any cream of tartar on hand? Organizing pro Peter Walsh has another helpful tip for cleaning your stainless appliances. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle some salt on top.

"Now the salt is slightly abrasive, but won't scratch the toaster," Peter says. Rub the lemon on the outside of your toaster to buff it, then wipe the whole thing down with a paper towel. The final step is to sprinkle some vinegar on a dish towel, then use that to polish for an intense shine. 

Watch Peter demonstrate in the video below.

Get Your Toaster Sparkling

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