Foil has many uses in the kitchen, from covering dishes, keeping them clean, to covering broiler pans, and crumb trays during baking. Even with its vast use, there is still a debate on if you can use foil in a toaster.
So, can you put foil in an Oven toaster? Although it is not recommendable to do so, yes, you can use foil in your toaster. However, there are some safety precautions to take when doing so. Should you ignore the safety measures, you may end up with hazards such as fire emergencies in your lovely kitchen. Therefore, if you are looking to understand how to use foil in a toaster and the safety measures to take, this article is for you.
Keep reading to find out more about, the dangers of using foil in a kitchen, the safety measures to take, alternatives of a foil and other related questions.
The danger of Using Foil in a Toaster
Before we jump into the procedure of using foil in a toaster, it is important to understand the dangers involved. For starters, it will help us know the safety precaution to take when using the foil.
To start, most foils are made of aluminum, which usually is an alloy of different metals. In the process of manufacturing the foil, the metal is treated with different chemicals and substances that make it risky when used in a toaster. The following are some of the dangers of using foil.
- Foil is Flammable
As mentioned above, a foil is mostly made out of aluminum. Aluminum is flammable when exposed to direct heat. That only means that if you expose your foil to a source of heat like a toaster, you risk causing a fire.
- Foil Can Produce Sparks
Since foil is metal, it can produce sparks when it is exposed to another heated element. The problem with the sparks is that they can damage the inside parts of a toaster. You and I don’t want that for our toaster, right?
- Foil is a Good Conductor of Heat
Aluminum, which is what most foils are made of, is a good conductor of heat. In the hierarchy of metals, aluminum is ranked the third best in conducting heat. This explains why, many cookware are made of aluminum, from pans, pots and baking sheets.
While else this is an advantage to cooking, it also has its downside, especially for foils. When using a foil in a toaster, there is a chance that the foil, due to its good conducting properties, will increase the internal temperatures of the toaster.
Increased temperatures of a toaster mean that whatever you are toasting will end up either burnt or charred. Even worse, is that the raised temperatures may be too high for the toaster to withstand. The temperatures may end up overheating the toaster and shortening its life.
- Foil Melts
Now that you know foil is flammable, it is almost obvious that it can melt. Although it requires extremely high temperatures for foil to melt, it is still a possibility, especially when used in a toaster.
When foil melts, it may end up on the walls of your toaster, therefore, making it very difficult to clean. Melted foil on your toaster also disrupts the interior from heating up well, eventually rendering it dysfunctional.
Other than the walls of the toaster, molten foil can end up on the heating element of the toaster. Just like the walls, this means that the toaster will stop functioning properly.
You might be wondering what about removing the molten foil. The thing is, it is very difficult to clean molten foil since it will have to be hot for you to get rid of it. When the foil cools down and solidifies, it becomes twice difficult to clean it.
The only safe option is to avoid melting your foil.
Safety Precautions to Observe When Using Foil in a Toaster
In as much as we have highlighted the dangers of using foil in your toaster, avoiding foil can be quite a task. Do not freak, the good news is there are safe ways to use foil in your toaster.
The following are precautions you should take to avoid the above-highlighted dangers
- Read the Manual
Before you can even consider using foil in your toaster, read the manual of your toaster.
Depending on the model of your toaster, the manual could guide you on if you should use foil or not. If the manual does not have any related information, you may seek clarification from the manufacturer.
Note that while some toasters may not be damaged by foil, others may not last another day. Moreover, if your manufacturer has warned against using foil, and you damage your toaster using foil, your warranty may be considered null.
- The Foil Shouldn’t Touch the Heating Element
Depending on how you use your foil, whether to wrap your food or wrap the cookware, make sure it does not touch the heating element of the toaster
- Do Not Touch the Sides.
Other than the heating element, make sure the foil does not touch the sides of the toaster.
- Wrap the Foil Tightly Around the Cooking Equipment
One of the ways to ensure the foil does not touch the heating element or the side of the toaster is by wrapping it tightly around the cooking equipment. Therefore, whether you are lining the crumb tray, baking pan or whichever cookware, make sure the foil holds on it tightly.
- Do not Wrap the Foil Tightly on Food
Even as we try to avoid the foil from touching the toaster, you must understand that you should not wrap foil tightly on food.
For starters, the food tends to be insulated from the heat, which means that it may end up not cooking properly. On the other hand, tightly wrapping your food with foil may mean a longer cooking period.
- Do not Cover the Drip Tray When Broiling Meat
If you are using your toaster oven to broil your meat, do not wrap the drip tray with aluminum foil. The drip tray in a toaster is used to collect fat and grease that may drip from the meat. Therefore, if the tray is covered with foil, it can conduct enough heat, get hot, and cause a fire due to the piled up grease.
- Do not let Food and Grease Build up on The Foil
As mentioned above, one of the advantages of using foil in your toaster is that it makes it easy to clean the toaster. This means that a lot of grease, food remains, and crumbs collect on the foil.
Do not allow these greases and crumbs to build up in the foil since it could start a fire when exposed to direct heat. Other than that, the grease could stick to your next meal.
Make an effort to replace your foil, especially if you like to line your baking trays with foil.
- Use Cooking Spray or Olive Oil
Other than replacing your foil to prevent grease from sticking, you can wipe the foil with olive oil or spray it with cooking spray.
- Do not Line your Crumb Tray with Foil
This is one of the most common don’ts for operating a toaster. Lining your crumb tray with foil causes overheating which may damage the toaster. This precaution applies to ovens as well. As such, even if your toaster does not have this instruction, it is one of the universal condition and we recommend you adhere to it. You had better be safe than sorry.
- Use Good Quality Foil
It is less about using foil for your toaster and more about what type or quality of foil you are using
The best type of foil to use is heavy-duty aluminum foil. This type of aluminum will not heat up faster meaning that chance of it melting is reduced. Other than that, you may be able to keep the temperatures of your toaster at good levels when using a heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Alternatives to Using Foil in a Toaster
Now that we have highlighted the safety issues that come with using foil in your toaster, some of you might want to avoid foils completely. If that is the case, we are glad to let you know there are alternatives for using foil in your toaster. They include:
- Parchment Paper
This is a heavy paper sold in a roll like foil. Parchment paper is resistant to grease and moisture. As such, it is used for lining baking trays and cookie sheets. Therefore, instead of using foil, you may replace it with this paper.
However, just like the foil, parchment paper should not be allowed to touch the heating element of the toaster. Moreover, this paper has a maximum cooking temperature, which is usually indicated in the box. Be on the lookout for making sure the temperatures in the toaster do not exceed the indicated one.
- Covered Roasting Pans
If your toaster is large enough to host a covered roasting pan, you can use it instead of covering your food with foil. A covered roasting pan, just like foil makes sure the food remains moist among other functions of wrapping your food with foil
The truth is using foil for your toaster comes with its safety risks. Does that mean you should toss away foil completely? No, especially if you can adhere to the safety precautions, there is no need to worry. However, if you are of the idea of avoiding foil completely, we have listed two other alternatives you can use. Just make sure your food remains moist and tender and cleaning your toaster is easy.
Does using aluminum foil cause any health dangers?
This is one of the most asked questions. This matter is still up for discussion. According to scientists, aluminum has been found to pose risks to human health.
For instance, patients that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease have been detected to have traces of aluminum tissues in their brain.
Other than that, studies have shown that a high intake of aluminum may be harmful to patients battling bone diseases or renal impairment. Aluminum has also been found to reduce the growth rate of human brain cells.
Now, while aluminum may be causing all the above health conditions, aluminum from foil only cannot cause that damage. However, remember that aluminum is foundis so many other things that we interact with, in our daily activities. They include other cookware, cosmetics like shampoo and lip balm and even over counter medicines.
This means that once all these traces of aluminum build-up, that is when your health may be of concern. Therefore, if there is the slightest opportunity to reduce your intake of aluminum, even if it means avoiding using foil, then you should take it.
Can I use a toaster oven liner for my crumb tray?
Yes,you could use a toaster oven liner to line your crumb tray. Remember we warned against using foil to line your crumb tray. Well, we have a solution; a toaster oven liner is built to withstand high temperatures of a toaster. This means that it may not catch fire. However, there is a condition to using it; make sure you do not place it close to a direct source of heat.