Sticking cutlery in a toaster? Why it is not a good idea

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Do you remember the times when your parents told you not to stick a fork or knife in a toaster? Saying that you might get electrocuted and die?

Have you ever wondered if that is true and if there is a way how to remove stuck toast from a toaster safely? If you say yes to any of these questions, you came to the right place for an answer. 

Sticking most types of cutlery into the toaster can lead either to injuring yourself or damaging the toaster itself. If you need to remove anything from a toaster, make sure you use wooden or silicone tools. They can withstand a lot of heat and do not conduct electricity.

Now let’s take a closer look at the issue at hand. 

Putting metal into a toaster

It might not sound that bad. A toaster is made out of metal, so there should not be an issue with putting sharp and conductive (can lead electricity) metal in it, right?

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Primarily because of the mentioned sharpness and conductivity of the cutlery. 

Sharp tools in a toaster

The first issue is that you can and, if you try to ‘poke out’ your toast, most likely will damage the toaster itself.

The list of the tools that should not be used in this manner can be extensive, but you can keep to a rule of thumb by checking the following:

  • Does the instrument I want to use have sharp edges? Like a steak knife?
  • Can the tool prick and stick into something? Like a fork?
  • Is the tool thin and flat? Like a knife from a cutlery set?
  • Is it made out of highly conductive material? Like silverware?

These rules are not universal, and some safe options have at least one of these features, but sticking to these should keep you safe whenever you try to use something to get the stuck toast out of the toaster. 

Of course, I am not talking about the toast only. 

You can add anything imaginable to the things that can be stuck in a toaster. Cheese is a great example. If you are not using a toaster bag, but you love your toast with extra flavor, you can be tilted to scraping it out with something hard and sharp. 

If you need to take something out from a toaster, follow the steps below: 

  1. You should always make sure that a toaster is turned off and unplugged from power. 
  2. You are using either wooden or silicone tools. My choice in this regard is either this silicone fork or this wooden fork that you can get on Amazon. An alternative would be a silicone tong, which you can also use for your barbecue. 
  3. Do not use too much strength, as you can unintentionally damage your toaster. 
  4. Also, to stay on the safe side, the toaster should be cold.

I am aware that the fork options mentioned above can prick something. Still, they are not sharp, and if you don’t push them inside the toaster with force, they are pretty safe to use to get anything out. 

Heat and electricity in a toaster

The second issue is the possibility of electrocuting or burning yourself, especially if the toaster is plugged in and heating is on. 

Before we go deeper, there is something you should see. A quick rundown on how does a toaster work:

Now you have heard that the wire inside the toaster is uninsulated, which means there is nothing that prevents the electricity from going somewhere else if it meets a conductive object.

To simplify it, the wire inside the toaster ‘pulses’ with electricity. It runs through it back and forth from a power plant to the toaster and back. 

Sticking a metal fork or knife into the powered wire will lead to the electricity running back via the road of least resistance – i.e., your body – resulting in making a toast out of you

That’s the electric dangers of a toaster. 

Now, what about the heat? It also plays a significant factor in this whole thing. 

A toaster generally heats up to 450°F (232°C), which is exceptionally high and can melt most plastics in seconds. If you think you can use your fire/heat-resistant plastic fork to get out anything from a toaster, I would advise against this idea. 

A major problem with plastics is that even if they can withstand the heat of a turned-on toaster, they can easily break. At that point, you would have another unwanted thing inside your toaster. 

Not only that but being that close to such a high heat may cause discomfort or even burn your hand. A getting burned for a toast is never a good thing, no matter how good the toast is. 

Can a fork or knife damage a toaster, and how?

As you already know from the information above, the toaster has thin wires running inside it. 

Inserting anything sharp into your toaster like a fork or knife or rummaging in it with force can damage or break its wiring. 

This can result in two things. Not toasting the toast evenly or at all. It is always a shame to get rid of your favorite toaster only because it was damaged by unprofessional handling. 

If you are looking for a nice toaster, I recommend the Cuisinart Touch to Toast Leverless toaster from Amazon. 

It is a bit expensive, at the time of writing this article, it goes for 99$, but my mom always said that I am too poor to buy cheap things. And she is right. It is better to have one home cooking tech that lasts you a decade than buy a new toaster each year. 

I hope that I have been able to give you the best answer to that old question: Should I stick a fork or knife into my toaster when I try to get something out of it?

Is there anything else that you would like to know the answer to? Did I miss something? Do you like the article?

If you would like to know more about cooking in general, check out my article here.

Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, I wish you issue-free and toast perfect cooking!

Vojta Vevera

Combining a love for cooking and using all kinds of technological gizmos helps Vojta to bring the experiences and excitement to all his articles. He is always doing his best to serve you with great information. Mixing over 15 years of cooking experience with his analytical mind and love for all technological things.

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