Brilliant tricks for making an impossible-to-clean slow cooker sparkle

Slow cookers make cooking homemade meals stress-free, but unfortunately this kitchen appliance can get pretty messy over time.

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It’s happened to the best of us. You dish out your meal to find burnt residue stuck to the inside of the appliance, and while a crusty cooker will still work, it doesn’t look great and isn’t very hygienic, so it’s best to act fast.

But if you’ve been avoiding the mess and it’s now glued to your slow cooker, you can still get it clean with these tried-and-tested methods. (While most slow cookers can be cleaned by hand, check your manual before starting.)

Tackle the exterior

Start by giving the exterior a wipe over with a damp cloth. For those hard-to-clean stains that just aren’t budging, add a little bit of baking soda to some water before wiping with that.

Soak removable parts

Lids, handles and knobs can get pretty messy, so detach removable parts (only if they’re easy to) and soak in warm, soapy water. If you choose to use a specific cleaner, such as steel cleaner, be careful! Harsh chemicals could damage the exterior or cause damage to working parts.

Wipe the base

As spills can make their way underneath appliances too, wipe underneath the slow cooker casing with a damp cloth and remove any crumbs with a small brush – a toothbrush is often small enough to get in to hard-to-reach places, while a toothpick will reach the really tricky ones.

Clean stoneware insert

To clean the stoneware insert, either wash by hand with detergent or pop into the dishwasher. For a more thorough clean, soak in mild detergent for several minutes before scrubbing.

Leave sit for several hours

For hard-to-clean messes, fill the slow cooker with water, dish detergent and white vinegar, then ‘cook’ on low for several hours. Why? This will help loosen whatever food has been cooked into the slow cooker, as well as getting rid of any mineral deposits left by frequent cleaning.

Add baking soda

It’s no secret that baking soda is a fantastic cleaning agent. Stubborn stain? Add baking soda! Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the stain before scrubbing. If this isn’t working, fill the slow cooker with water and cook on high for three hours, before washing as normal.

Clean the interior

Food can spill into the main casing of the slow cooker over time, leaving behind nasty stains. The casing – the bit into which you insert the stoneware pot – contains electrical parts so never emerge it into water and only clean once cooled. Most brands suggest using a damp cloth to remove leftover residue but for a tougher stain, simply fill a bowl with ammonia, place it in the slow cooker casing with the lid shut tight and leave overnight.

Have you tried this method? How do you clean your slow cooker?