How to Clean a Slow Cooker, Including Tough Stuck-On Stains

Keep this cold-weather kitchen staple in top shape with our expert cleaning tips.

Slow cookers are a wonderful way to create go-to comfort dishes that you and yours look forward to enjoying. From soups to stews, savory sauces, and more, the slow cooker steals the spotlight during cooler months that call for warm and welcoming meals.

If you already know the magic of your trusty slow cooker, but you're not sure how to return the love by way of a thorough cleaning, don't fret. Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning your slow cooker so it's prepped and ready for making those delicious meals.

soaking and cleaning a slow cooker in soap water
rez-art / Getty Images

How to Clean a Slow Cooker

You might be tempted to treat stuck-on stains with harsh cleaners, but all it takes to clean a slow cooker are a few simple household ingredients that you likely already have on hand.

In addition to being a gentle abrasive, baking soda has brightening properties and is a natural deodorizer, helping to eliminate odors from onions, garlic, and other food stains. Distilled white vinegar is another versatile natural cleaning ingredient. These inexpensive ingredients come together for a powerful clean that won't compromise the hardware or cooking surface of your kitchen appliance.

What You Need

  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Sponge or toothbrush
  • Dishcloth

Step 1: Unplug Appliance and Add Cleaning Solution

Unplug the slow cooker. Fill the slow cooker with warm water. Pour 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar slowly into the slow cooker. For slow cookers bigger than 3 quarts, you can increase the amount of vinegar accordingly, up to 1 cup.

Step 2: Add Baking Soda

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the slow cooker slowly, allowing any bubbles that form to subside before adding more. You can increase this amount up to 1 cup for a larger slow cooker.

Step 3: Run on Low

Place the lid on your slow cooker. Set the temperature to low and allow it to run for an hour. Turn off the slow cooker and empty out the solution, allowing the appliance to cool down before performing the next steps.

Step 4: Scrub Slow Cooker

Running the slow cooker allows the heat to work with the baking soda and vinegar to do the heavy lifting for you, so cleaning your slow cooker shouldn't require too much elbow grease. Use a sponge or toothbrush to scrub away remaining food particles.

Step 5: Wipe Clean

Rinse the slow cooker with water and use a cloth to wipe down the inside and outside.

Slow Cooker Cleaning Shortcut

Did you know that dishwasher tablets can be used to clean your slow cooker? Just drop one into your slow cooker, along with some water, and set it to run on low for an hour before rinsing and wiping clean.

Safety Tips for Cleaning a Slow-Cooker

Never immerse the base of your slow cooker in any liquid; this will damage the circuitry of the unit and can be very dangerous.

Before cleaning, allow the appliance to cool down first. Do not apply cold water to your slow cooker if it is hot.

Avoid harsh abrasives and scouring pads on your slow cooker. These will scratch the cooking surface of your machine.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles