How to Clean a Slow Cooker
We love slow cookers in the holiday season for make-ahead side dishes. We love slow cookers on our busiest days when we don't have time to pull together an entire meal. We love slow cookers in the summer months because they don't heat up our entire kitchen like ovens do. Overall, slow cookers are a home cook's bread and butter.
Slow cookers, also known as Crock pots®, are popular kitchen appliances because you can simply place all of the ingredients in the pot at one time and leave them to cook low and slow for hours. This leaves you with more time to get other tasks done, as well as less cookware to wash.
These popular kitchen appliances usually come in three parts: the cooker itself, the liner that goes inside and the lid. Even though the food sits in the liner and the liner then goes into the cooker, burnt on mess can still accumulate along the inside of the cooker, which requires hand washing. On top of that, those long cook times sometimes leave you with the dreaded ring of crusty, baked-on food on your slow cooker liner.
To remove those tough stains, it is sometimes recommended to leave a small bowl of ammonia or oven cleaner in your covered cooker overnight. This technique is completely reliant on toxic ammonia fumes, which can cause anything from coughing to lung damage if exposed to them.
Some oven and barbecue cleaners can be used to clean the inside of your slow cooker, but may not be safe for certain parts and surfaces. Other frequently recommended natural cleaners like white vinegar and lemon juice lack the surfactants needed to help penetrate, loosen, and trap soils, meaning you're pushing dirt and grime around instead of actually cleaning it. Lastly, steer clear of using scouring pads or abrasive cleaners, as they could scratch the liner or other parts.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner won't harm you or your favorite kitchen appliance when it comes time for a deep cleaning. The formula powers out grime, cuts through grease and oil, and removes difficult stains without bleach.
DirectionsBe sure to check your slow cooker's manual for any precautions before you begin cleaning.
- Disconnect your slow cooker. Be sure to unplug your unit and allow it to cool completely before any cleaning.
- Mix your Simple Green solution. Add 1 ounce of Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner to 1 cup of water in an empty spray bottle. You'll want to use this diluted version for the cooker's exterior and full strength for the interior.
- Wipe down the exterior. Spray your diluted Simple Green onto a clean, damp cloth and wipe down the outside of the cooker. Follow up with a plain damp cloth.
- Clean the slow cooker interior. The slow cooker's heating element is usually housed in an aluminum casing. Never submerge this portion in water and always make sure it's completely cool before you clean it. After you've taken out the liner, spray full strength Simple Green onto your same damp cloth and scrub down the entire inside of the cooker. Use a soft sponge or scrub brush to get rid of any stubborn, stuck on food. Again, finish by wiping with a clean damp cloth.
- Wash insert and lid. Throw your slow cooker insert and lid in the dishwasher as usual.
- Allow all parts to air dry. Dry completely before reassembling and storing away.