Knowing how to clean a crock pot is paramount to how long it would last and how well it would serve you. A crock pot is a type of slow cooker but not all slow cookers are crock pots . Oftentimes however, people refer to both interchangeably. However, it is necessary to know the difference so that you can know what applies to your cookware and what does not.
Crock pot is the name of a brand of slow cookers that were introduced into the market in the 70’s. It has a stoneware that is surrounded by a heating element. But in the case of slow cookers, they are made of stainless steel and sit on a heating element. And there are many brands of slow cookers.
We must state clearly here that manufacturers of cookware have taken giant strides in innovation. What this has brought about is a deluge of pots with different configurations.
That said however, we would be using the terms inter-changeably because the tips we would be sharing applies to both types of cookware . But the most important thing is to know whether your cookware is a crock pot or a slow cooker.
Now on to the cleaning of crock pots.
Simple Daily Cleaning
It is important that every cookware and kitchen appliance be cleaned and maintained accordingly. And since the cookware we are talking about is not as cheap as regular pots and pans, it goes without saying that no one would be disposed to replacing it often.
That is the reason why it is pertinent to clean your slow cooker aka crock pot immediately after use. Yep! we said it. Even on those days when you are so tired you could fall asleep on your feet. Try; your slow cooker would thank you for it.
Here are the simple steps for daily cleaning of your pot:-
- Ensure that your crock pot is unplugged from electricity and completely cooled before cleaning it.
- Always rinse off the stoneware pot and glass lid immediately you finish cooking. This would prevent any food particle from hardening onto the parts.
- These removable parts (glass cover and inner stoneware pot) can then be washed in the dishwasher with hot soapy water.
- If you have stuck on food after cooking, soak the pot in hot water overnight before washing. On the other hand, you can also fill the pot with some water and a little salt and then set to simmer on low heat for a minimum of an hour. Most crock pots would have cleaned out by this time. So all you’ll need to do is use dishwashing soap and sponge to scrub and then rinse out with clean water.
- Do not forget to reach into the corners of the stoneware pot and lid to ensure that there’s no debris hiding anywhere.
Heavy Duty Cleaning
Sometimes you get real stubborn stains and caked on grease and grime and you need to do some deep cleaning. You can use several cleaning products to remove those kind of stains.
There are several such products both off and online but ensure that you get the right one for your crock pot . Each product comes with instructions on how to clean it and the type of product recommended; so follow the instructions.
That said, many people are wary of using chemical products to clean their kitchen appliances that come in direct contact with food. If you fall into this category, there are things you have right in your pantry that would come in handy.
These include vinegar, baking soda, lemon and salt. We would share with you how to use vinegar and baking soda in this segment.
Steps To Cleaning A Crock Pot With Vinegar and Baking Soda
- Then pour in an equal amount of baking soda (slowly so that it doesn’t fizzle all over). You might want to do this step in a sink in case the fizzles bubble over.
- Cover the pot and set it to boil on low heat for one hour.
- After that, uncover the pot and scrub with a nonabrasive sponge.
- Allow the pot to cool completely than wash with warm soapy water.
- Leave the pot to air dry. However, if you have hard water in your area, you might have to towel dry the pot so that the hard water doesn’t leave more mineral deposit on the pot.
Steps to Removing Film Caused By Mineral Buildup On the Inner Stoneware Pot
- If it is a slight film on the stoneware, wet a sponge/wash cloth with water and pour about one spoon of vinegar on it, then wipe down the pot.
- But for more stubborn film, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray directly on the inside of the pot. Leave it to sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe off with a clean damp wash cloth.
- Rinse out with fresh water and allow to air dry. Remember that if you have hard water in your area, you need to towel dry the crock pot.
The accompanying video is a demonstration of how to use a cleaning foam or oven cleaner to clean your crock pot
- Do not use harsh sponge or scouring pads or any strong cleaner on the inner stoneware pot or the glass cover. Use rubber or silicone spatula to remove stuck on food.
- Do not use cold water to wash the stoneware whilst it’s still hot. This is because the extreme difference in temperature would cause the stoneware to crack. That is also why you are advised not to place the stoneware insert of your slow cooker in the fridge or freezer.
- Never dip the base with the heating element in water; of course we all know that electricity and water do not mix. Carefully wipe down with damp wash cloth.
- Do not leave water sitting in your crock pot for any extended period.
- Always check the cover and rim of your crock pot immediately after use because those are the areas that are prone to hiding food remnants. It is best to wash off any food remnant immediately because it would be difficult when it hardens.
- Do not ever preheat your crock pot . Put it on only when all the ingredients are in the pot.
- Ensure that you do not over fill or under fill your crock pot . What this means is that your pot should be at least halfway filled. Most pots would indicate the maximum that it can be filled to. You would do well to follow those instructions. This would prevent the frequent occurrence of burnt food.
These tips and steps that we have proffered in this article are the basics for keeping your slow cooker clean and in good shape.
The better care you take of your crock pot , the better it would serve you. And thankfully, the ingredients needed are not expensive. You only need to create time to use them.
Finally, if you don’t want to be saddled with the hassle of heavy duty washing, you can use crock pot liners.
When you use crock pot liners, all you have to do line your pot before using it to cook. Then remove the liner after cooking and throw it away. And finally, wash out the pot with minimal stress.
Truth be told , this is the best and fail safe method of keeping your slow cooker clean but sadly not the cheapest! So unless you are ready to add the cost of slow cooker liners to your house keeping expenses, you best have these tip and tricks up your sleeves.