The Slow Cooker Cleaning Tricks You Should Be Using Yourself

Slow cookers are great for making delicious meals in a relatively easy way. You can prepare your dinner when you wake up, put all your ingredients in your slow cooker, set it, and forget it. Slow cookers make wonderful beef stew, pull-apart chicken, and tasty casseroles. What's even better is you normally won't have a sink full of dishes to clean afterward. The slow cooker's removable stoneware comes out easily to be washed in the sink or dishwasher, as told by Crockpot.

However, if you're like every other busy person in the 21st century, your slow cooker is in need of some love. While the inside basket isn't too hard to rinse out and scrub, the outside of the appliance is often subject to food spills and stains that go ignored. Likewise, with the slow cooker's long cook cycle, rings begin to form around the top and base of the stoneware that build over time. Luckily, these aren't as difficult to combat as you might think. With the right tips and tricks, your old slow cooker can look as good as new in no time.

How to deep clean a slow cooker

You should give your slow cooker a deep clean at least once per month if you aren't already giving it a good scrub after each use, according to All Recipes. Before you begin your deep clean, make sure to unplug your appliance. The Kitchn suggests looking over your power cord for any damage at this point. Next, take out your stoneware insert and wipe down the exterior of the slow cooker with a washcloth dunked in warm water and a little dish soap. For stubborn stains, you can mix baking soda and water to make a tougher cleaning solution.

When the outside of your slow cooker is squeaky clean, move onto the insert. The best way to deodorize it and get rid of stuck-on stains is to cook off the grime. Fill your removable stoneware with water, three tablespoons of baking soda, and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Set your slow cooker to low and let it cook for several hours. Wash it as normal when the cook time is up. If you are still noticing residue, your appliance may need an even deeper clean. You'll need to fill it again with water, but also add one cup of white vinegar. Do not turn the slow cooker on. Instead, let the mixture sit in the insert overnight. Run it through the dishwasher in the morning and it should look and smell like new.

What not to do

In addition to cleaning your slow cooker properly, it's also important that you know what not to do. Using the wrong cleaning methods on your slow cooker can lead to irreversible damage. The first thing to remember is to always let it cool before cleaning. This will save you from hurting yourself, your slow cooker, and other appliances such as your dishwasher. Even if you are in a pinch, you should not try to cool the insert with cold water in the sink. Doing so can cause the stoneware to crack due to the sudden temperature change.

Once your slow cooker is cold, the stoneware doesn't require handwashing, but it's still a good idea to scrape out and rinse away leftover food before putting it in the dishwasher. Depending on the meal, it's likely that there will be grime stuck on the base and rim of your insert. No matter how stuck it is, you should never scrub at it with a scouring pad or abrasive cleaner, as per Crockpot. Instead, try a sponge with a non-abrasive cleaner to remove stubborn spots after soaking the pot for some time.