Keeping your slow cooker clean is essential, here's how to do it properly.

By Maryn Liles
September 16, 2020
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Slow cookers are famously known as being one of the most useful kitchen gadgets of all-time. They’re a godsend for busy home cooks who don’t have a ton of time for meal prep, since you simply toss in all of your ingredients, turn on the heat, and let this handy kitchen appliance do its job.

But with long cook times, slow cookers often windup with stubborn burn stains or hard-to-clean crusted-on food rings on both the stoneware liner and the appliance itself. And since you can’t exactly dunk your electrical gadget in a bucket of water or pop it in the dishwasher, often times these issues get ignored.

However, there are some easy tricks for how to clean your slow cooker thoroughly and safely. Follow this helpful guide for all the best slow cooker cleaning advice:

How often should you clean your slow cooker?

You should always clean your slow cooker's interior after using it, but you'll probably also want to spiff up the base after a long cook time. In fact, the sooner you clean it after cooking with it, the better, since food spills and residue gets even tougher to clean the longer it’s allowed to sit.

And if you can’t commit to cleaning your slow cooker base after each and every use, try to give it a deep clean at least once a month as a rule of thumb.

Is it ever safe for the slow cooker base to sit in water or go in the dishwasher?

No. It is never safe to put the base of your slow cooker in water. Since the base has an electrical component, be careful to avoid letting it come into contact with water—especially when plugged in, as it could electrocute you. Even when unplugged, water can damage the internal electrical components and cause your slow cooker to stop working.

What is the best way to clean a slow cooker’s stoneware liner?

You can easily take the stoneware liner of your slow cooker and wash it in your dishwasher or clean it in the sink by hand using hot, sudsy, water. To remove hard, caked-on food crust, fill the liner with hot, soapy water and let it sit overnight. You can also add a dishwasher tablet to the water for extra cleaning power.

What's the best way to clean the inside of a slow cooker appliance?

There are two ways to safely clean your slow cooker's base:

Buy a cleaning product like Bar Keeper’s Friend or use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove any burn stains from the metal interior of your slow cooker appliance.

Or fill a spray bottle with vinegar then lightly spray it on the burn stains. While it’s still wet, sprinkle baking soda on the vinegar and watch it bubble up and dissolve the stuck-on food or stains. Repeat if necessary.

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