Today we’re talking about how to clean a Crock Pot. These much-loved kitchen workhorses can get pretty grimy without us even noticing it, as you’ll see mine did. Here’s how to properly clean yours to make it as good as new again!
First of all, I feel like I have to put something out there, just acknowledge the elephant in the room with this post. Yes, this post is about Crock Pots. Regular Crock Pots. Of the non-instant variety. 🙂 I have to admit that I have yet to try the new and super-popular Instant Pots and I kind of see myself as something of a Crock Pot purist at this point. So this post will be about how to clean a Crock Pot, because I still love mine and I still think it deserves to be as sparkly clean as possible.
Some day, I might finally try these new-fangled Instant Pots that everyone is raving about, and I’ll probably rave away as well, but I have to admit that I kind of feel that the instant pot takes away from all of the things that I love about my good ol’ fashioned Crock Pot.
Crock Pots are Great
I love that my Crock Pot takes all day to cook something and I love that it makes my house smell amazing while it’s doing so. I also love that while all this is going on, I never fail to feel like homemaker of the year. What I don’t love, is when my Crock Pot inevitably gets a little grimy without my noticing and promptly takes that feeling away though! Actually it’s pretty easy for us to get wrapped up in how easy and fun Crock Pots are to use and for us not to notice the crusty messes slowly building up after each use. It happens!
Here’s how my Crock Pot actually looked at one point. I can’t believe I’m even showing you this. So embarrassing! I thought it had just a few little spills and splatters here and there, but when I went to take photos and really took a good look at it, here’s what I saw.
Does this ever happen to yours? If you still love your good ol’ Crock Pot and want it to live a long and sparkly life, here’s how to clean a Crock Pot, or how to return it to its previous clean state if you find yourself not noticing the crustiness building up here and there.
How to Clean a Crock Pot
Clean the Insert
The first part that you want to clean is the insert of your crock pot. That’s the part that you actually put the food in. This can of course be put in the dishwasher really easily, but some staining can still build up over time (like with coffee and tea mugs) so it’s a good idea to give it a good scrubbing by hand every once in awhile. Again, how did I not notice those stains were so dark? In my mind there was just a very small amount of staining that had built up. Apparently I’m officially delusional. 🙂
To scrub the inside of my crock pot, I like to make a paste of baking soda, dish soap and water, which does a really good job of removing anything that may be sticking to the inside of the ceramic insert.
Once that’s all taken care of, it’s time to move on to cleaning the housing or outer part of the Crock Pot, where the heating element is.
How to Clean the Housing of your Crock Pot
First of all, make sure your slow cooker is unplugged before you begin cleaning.
Next, wipe down the exterior really well. Use a toothbrush (that you keep just for cleaning, obviously) to get around the knobs if there are any crusty spills around them.
When you get to cleaning the inside of the crock pot where the heating element is, you definitely want to try to use as little liquid as possible. Your best bet is to use a slightly-dampened scouring pad (I like the blue “no-scratch” ones for this) and just gently remove any spills that may have fallen inside the crock pot and baked themselves in. Follow up with a soft microfibre cloth dipped in a solution of warm water and vinegar and you’re all set!
Clean the Lid of Your Crock Pot
Although you can put the lid of your crock pot in the dishwasher as well, it’s a good idea to give it a closer look every once in awhile. Do you see that handle there? Gross things happen around that handle, my friends. Gross, horrible things. Especially if you like to just throw your Crock Pot lid in the dishwasher.
Once every few uses, take a screwdriver and remove the handle from the lid, then wash the lid and the handle separately in warm soapy water and allow them to fully dry before you re-assemble.
You’ll see the little screw once you flip the lid over. If you don’t have a screwdriver handy, a butter knife will usually work just fine. As you can see, my lid is actually pretty clean except for a tiny speck of something that looks like a piece of broccoli. I’ve been traumatized by a dirty crock pot lid in the past, so this is one thing I always stay on top of.
And that’s what it takes to clean a Crock Pot!
When was the last time you gave your slow cooker a really good cleaning? Do you have any tips for how to clean a Crock Pot that we should know about?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.