Shouldn't your spring-cleaning include the Crock-Pot?

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During the week, the slow cooker is our lifeline. Combining all the ingredients in the morning and letting them simmer all day means that our busy nights are (thankfully) a little less busy. But because we rely so much on our slow cookers—for everything from chili to ramen bowls to red beans and rice—they don't look quite as pristine as they used to. That's why we rely on this quick and easy, 3-ingredient slow cooker cleaning trick.

We love what our slow cookers make for us, but we have had to deal with our fair share of burned and stuck-on food. No one wants to spend hours scrubbing, so when our meal gets the better of our slow cooker, the inside well of the Crock-Pot demands a deep clean. Everyone has their own slow cooker cleaning technique—some involve vinegar, some use only water—but we have found that this 3-ingredient quick trick works every time. No scrubbing required. Try this, and your Crock-Pot will look like new in no time.

For a no-fail clean, you'll need three ingredients: water, baking soda, and dish soap. Baking soda is a magician in the kitchen, and it will work wonders for your slow cooker too. Three steps, and you're good to go: 1. Fill the well of the slow cooker with water, and add three tablespoons of baking soda and three drops of dish soap. 2. Turn your slow cooker to the lowest heat setting, and let it sit for two hours (or more, depending on the state of your slow cooker). 3. Unplug the slow cooker, empty the well of the crock, and wipe it with a dishtowel or paper towels. Voila! Your slow cooker should be as good as new. You can also adjust the amount of baking soda and dish soap depending on your slow-cooker cleaning needs.

If you only need a quick clean and the stains aren't too bad, then you may be able to use only water. In this scenario, fill your slow cooker with water and cook on low heat for a few hours.

Be sure that you never submerge the base of your slow cooker in water. The part that you plug in should always remain dry. If it needs a clean, you can wipe away any stains with a dry or slightly damp dishcloth.

If it's not already part of your weekly dinner rotation, then dust off the slow cooker and put it to work. We have some quick and easy slow cooker recipe ideas for you to try this month as well as plenty of delicious suppers for the whole family—including classic Southern comfort food.

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How do you clean your slow cooker? What are some of your favorite slow cooker recipes?