The Proper Way to Clean a Slow Cooker

The good news: Cleaning a crockpot is just as easy as using one!

We're fast approaching the days when life becomes a blur. It happens every single year—school is back in session, work is busier than ever, and we're barreling toward holiday season. As the days get shorter and our to-do lists get longer, we could all use a little help when it comes to cooking up weeknight-winning, family-friendly dinners. In fact, it's best we just consider this the season of the slow cooker.

The beauty of the slow cooker is that it allows you to toss a bunch of delicious ingredients inside the appliance in the morning, and then, thanks to a magical combination of moisture and heat, a delicious meal awaits you at the end of the day. We're talking hardy slow-cooker stews and soups, beer-braised pot roasts, and even slow-cooker desserts!

To keep your slow cooker, well, cooking, you're going to need to keep it clean. The good news is that cleaning it is almost as easy as using it. Really. All you need are some common household supplies, a power source, and a little patience.

Wall of Slow Cookers
Hector Sanchez; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

How To Deep Clean

On those days when some of the slow-cooked sausage and squash lasagna remains behind on the sides of your pot, you're going to need a stronger cleaning concoction.

Step 1: Unplug your slow cooker and remove the cover.
Step 2: Fill it with water and then add ½ cup of baking soda, followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. (Don't be alarmed by the bubbles. They're a good thing!)
Step 3: Plug in the slow cooker, replace the top, set it on low, and leave it alone for an hour or two.
Step 4: After the self-cleaning session, allow the pot to cool, and then rinse the insert with warm water, scrubbing away any remaining food scraps.
Step 5: Allow it to dry, and then you're ready to put it to work another day.

Warning: Always take care to avoid getting the plug and cord wet. You can wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth if they become soiled.

If you're not seeing a lot of built-up debris or your slow cooker has just been sitting on the shelf collecting dust, it might not need a deep clean. Here's how to get it looking like new:

Step 1: Unplug your slow cooker and remove the cover.
Step 2: Fill it with water and then add three to five drops of dishwashing soap.
Step 3: Replace the top, plug it in, set it on low, and let it percolate for about an hour.

When an hour or so has passed, unplug the machine, dump the water, let it cool, and give the inside a good swipe dry.

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