3 Ways You Can Clean the Tough Stains in Your Slow Cooker

Cleaning Advice from The Kitchn

When you use your slow cooker as much as we do in the wintertime, eventually you make a meal that leaves behind some serious burnt or stuck-on food that you can't easily wash away. When that happens, it's time to give that ceramic insert a deep clean — which is easy to do! You just need to keep a few things in mind.

1. Fill it with water and "cook" it for a few hours.

The easiest way to loosen burnt food and return your slow cooker crock to its smooth, clean finish? Fill the crock with water and "cook" it for a couple hours! As we wrote about here, a low-heat soak for a few hours is the easiest, hands-off way to deep-clean your slow-cooker insert.

Read More: Clean the Slow Cooker by Keeping It Turned On

2. Add baking soda if it's really bad.

If your slow-cooker insert has a persistent ring of crud along the inside, you can up the cleaning ante with a little baking soda. (We know it's a magic cleaner in the kitchen.) Just fill the insert with water up to the top, add a few tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap, and then turn the setting to LOW. After a few hours, dump out the water and wipe down the insert with a little more baking soda and a non-scratch pad. Any residual stains or stuck-on food should wipe right off!

This method is similar to the way we recommend cleaning burnt stains off enameled cookware — you're just using the slow cooker's heat setting instead of cooking it on the stove!

Read More: How To Clean Burnt Stains Off Enameled Cookware

3. Get rid of that white film with vinegar.

Black slow-cooker inserts often develop a white film from mineral deposits. The film won't affect the cooking, but if it bothers you, you can get rid of it with vinegar. (Another kitchen-cleaning wonder.) Fill the insert with water, add 1 cup white vinegar, and then let it soak for a few hours or overnight. Wash and dry as usual. The white film (if not gone completely) should be a lot less noticeable.

What are your tips and tricks for cleaning your slow cooker?

(Image credits: Emma Christensen; Faith Durand)