Are you obsessed with your slow cooker? With the efficient way this appliance cooks your meals with a tasty finish and helps save energy and time, it is no wonder that many owners of slow cookers feel strongly attached to them.
This appliance is simply astonishing! However, regardless of how much easier a slow cooker has made your life, there’s one problem that many people have to face at some future time i.e. cleaning and maintenance of the slow cooker.
Generally, the need to clean arises because of overheating the dishes. It builds a sticky mass at the cooker’s bottom part or builds up sticky marking forms of food residue around the interior wall.
These build-ups are not easy to remove since often, the buildup has happened over time. They not only result to an ugly look but might affect the functioning of the slow cooker as well.
Are you experiencing this clean-up issue together with many other slow cooker fans? Then put your worries aside!
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Here are a few simple methods for cleaning the slow cooker and making it appear brand new.
Daily slow cooker clean up methods
This daily clean up is an important aspect of the process to clean up your slow cooker, particularly if you depend on it greatly to make food, but also if you want to reduce any major clean-up issues right from the start. Doing that greatly minimizes how much work you need to do in the long term.
One important way to do this is to reduce the probability of things getting stuck. You can attain this in the same way as you would with a standard cooking pan.
So, for instance, use cooking spray for spraying the bowl before you add the ingredients. Similarly, you can use a cooking bag or baking paper within the slow cooker if it will suit the recipe you are making.
Additionally, you will find specialized slow cooker liners in the market, which can greatly help in minimizing slow cooking sticky messes. These may not be cost-effective if you cook large meals this way; however, they are worth considering.
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You shouldn’t overcook food to start with. Most people will end up using their slow cooker for many hours to cook food, which makes it hard to get rid of the effects of doing so.
Ideally, you should adhere to the times indicated in the recipe and ensure your slow cooker is either in keep-warm mode or off once you are done cooking.
You should also ensure that you have adequate liquid inside. Slow cookers do not require a huge amount of liquid, and the precise amount varies based on the appliance and what you are cooking. Also, a malfunctioning slow cooker that leads to liquid loss may cause your food to burn.
However, if you do not have enough liquid, the food gets burnt. If you are making bread or a cake, make sure that you grease the crock before you cook.
Break in your new slow cooker
You can also prevent long-term problems by breaking in the new slow cooker properly to start with. It is important to do this, and you will be able to start with the appliance in its present condition without any major issues.
Similarly, it would be best if you didn’t worry about seasoning your cooker similar to a cast iron pan or the same equipment.
Nonetheless, you want to ensure that the inside pot gets cleaned properly before using it and dry the entire thing well.
Another thing to take into consideration is beginning simple. Even if you have used this appliance before, learning how each part works may take a little time.
Start out with the simple meals that you are confident about preparing and slowly graduate to more complex meals as you get to understand your slow cooker better.
Cleaning up inside the casing
The inside of the crock is the most obvious part to clean up using the slow cooker; however, you should sometimes deal with around and under the bowl.
For instance, there may be spillage when removing the bowl out of your appliance. Also, you might even find that something accidentally becomes cooked on the casing’s inner area.
Due to the risk of food spillage inside the casing, this is a must-clean area. But this area of your slow cooker is much difficult to clean up and you should exercise care when cleaning it.
In most cases, simply using a wet cloth to wipe a spill and probably some detergent might be enough, particularly if the spill is a somewhat fresh one.
On the other hand, you can use something a little tougher for more difficult stains, such as a cleaning paste or baking soda and vinegar mixture. Another technique that will work well is to spray vinegar directly onto the problem area.
But it would help if you were careful and gentle with what you are using and how much effort you are putting into the cleaning. Particularly, you can damage the inside casing by scrubbing a lot, so you should be gentle.
Since this is a sensitive part, it is important to exercise caution. So, if you are worried that something might damage the area inside the cooker’s casing, stay away from it.
Cleaning the electrical parts of a slow cooker
The slow cooker’s electrical cables need to be sealed to prevent touching unintentionally while you clean up. However, that does not get rid of the significance of being cautious.
A basic but most crucial step, you should be sure the appliance itself isn’t plugged in when you’re cleaning it up.
It is important that you consult the manufacturer if you notice any exposed heating elements of wiring. Or else, you may risk damaging the appliance or hurting yourself while you try to clean it up.
Don’t submerge your slow cooker’s base in water. This is the part where the entire cooker’s electronics are, and water won’t mix properly with them.
Cleaning up the cooking bowl’s interior
You can easily wash many slow cooker bowls in the dishwasher or by hand in the kitchen sink. Make sure you look at the manual for what’s safe for the slow cooker since not all models are safe to wash in the dishwasher.
But if your dish has a baked on ring that is difficult to get rid of, the simplest way is to leave it on and set it on cook with water after removing the food. You can add water to the baked on ring’s level and leave it for a few hours. This will clean away much simpler then.
When it comes to ceramic slow cookers, the lid and stoneware won’t resist abrupt changes in temperature. When it’s hot, don’t fill with cold water.
Because of the ceramic bowl’s porous nature, never stand it in water for a long time. The reason is, some bases will absorb this water. You can fill the bowl with water and sit but not stand in water.
How you can deep clean your slow cookers
For hard-to-remove messes, allow the appliance to get the job done. While a slow cooker doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, a simple way of cleaning up the cooker’s burnt-on dishes is by filling it with water and adding baking soda and white vinegar.
After that, set it to low and allow it to cook. All the burnt and baked-on food will loosen, so you easily be able to wipe it away. Use the following steps when deep cleaning your slow cooker.
- Step one: Make sure that the water you pour into the appliance will cover the leftover food.
- Step two: Add ½ cup of distilled white vinegar for three qt slow cookers and one cup of distilled white vinegar for six qt cookers.
- Step three: Gradually add small portions of baking soda. It would be best if you waited for the bubbles to subside before you add more.
- Step four: Set the appliance to the low setting, cover, and then allow it to sit for 60 minutes. After that, remove the lid and use a soft scrub brush to scrub the interior.
- Step five: Allow the slow cooker to cool for 60 minutes and empty things inside into your kitchen sink. Allow it to cool before you handle it. Use soapy, hot water to clean one final time and dry.
More advanced cleanup methods
If you clean up the slow cooker frequently immediately after using it and do not overcook meals, then you will prevent most of the problems that afflict these appliances.
Nonetheless, you might still encounter cases where basic clean up methods are not adequate. Luckily, you can also find ways to avoid this.
Removing stubborn stains
Just like many kitchen appliances and tools, slow cookers often develop stubborn stains over time. This is particularly true if you are preparing food with a low liquid volume, since this will mean you are probably leaving burnt or dried residue behind.
No matter how they reach there, it can be hard to remove some baked on residue and stains. People usually find that an ideal way of resolving this is allowing the appliance to do the biggest work.
You’ll find different ways of doing this; however, the basic idea is filling the appliance with water above the point where the stain is. After that, place the lid on and turn the appliance on to low for a couple of hours.
You can use water; however, you have the choice to add in a cleaning solution. You can use a bit of dish soap and baking soda. Another popular choice is to use vinegar and baking soda.
Another great method you can use is filling a small bowl containing ammonia and leave it sitting in the appliance with the lid on an entire night.
Take note that when using ammonia to clean your slow cooker, you don’t have to leave your cooker on during this time, since the ammonia can fume on its own.
Additionally, you can spray on oven cleaning agent instead; however, that is not the best idea if the appliance is made of aluminum.
This procedure is especially important to remove stains since often scrubbing alone will not do the job. However, both the oven cleaning agent and ammonia are quite unpleasant, so you should consider it as a last-ditch effort.
Handwashing vs the dishwasher for a slow cooker
In many cases, you can easily remove your slow cooker’s pot and its dishwasher safe. But make sure you look at the manufacturer’s instructions before you do so since this is not true for every single model in the market.
Even though you can safely place the bowl in your dishwasher, there are some questions about whether it is safe to do so. Particularly, some individuals feel that great results come with hand cleaning. Other people do not want to risk placing the slow cooker bowl in the dishwasher to avoid damaging it.
A ceramic bowl does look durable; however, they are quite sensitive to temperature changes. It is one reason why some models are safe to use in the dishwasher, while others are not.
With the potential movement of utensils, cups, and bowls in the dishwasher, there’s the likelihood of the crock becoming knocked around and risk damage. You do not want to break or damage your slow cooker’s bowl because you are trying to save time.
Once more, this is uncommon; however, it does take place, particularly if you’ve used the dishwasher to clean the pot many times.
Regardless of whether or not it is safe to place your slow cooker pot in your dishwasher , it is still better to hand wash your slow cooker. In reality, the pot uses up lots of dishwasher space and will make it difficult to fit other things inside.
If you do not have anything cooked on the pot, then it won’t take long to hand wash. On the other hand, if you baked anything, then there’s a chance the dishwasher might be effective, so it might be worth trying.
Additionally, try running your slow cooker bowl through the dishwasher many times. This way, it will have an effect, since the first run might loosen any burnt meal, while the second run might clean up the pot.
Essentially, either technique will work provided that the bowl is safe to use in the dishwasher. Only use a dishwasher for cleaning slow cooker ceramic bowls. Never put a nonstick slow cooker in the dishwasher. The reason being, the dishwasher can damage the nonstick coating.
Even if you do not notice any harm to the nonstick coating after washing it with a dishwasher, doing this will decrease how long the bowl’s coating will last.
Storing your slow cooker
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- Allow your slow cooker to dry totally before you store it. This will prevent the growth of bacteria or dump smells that develop when items are stored dump.
- After drying, locate a clean, dry place to store your slow cooker.
- Consider covering your slow cooker with a slow cooker cover which will prevent accumulation of dust and protect it from scratches caused by rubbing off against utensils and cutlery.
- The slow cooker cover will also protect it from the sticky residue which forms due to dust and oil, especially if you do not use your slow cooker regularly.
Slow cookers are great investments you can make for the kitchen. This kitchen appliance allows you to make the most of your busy schedule and enjoy delicious food after a busy day working.
The convenience of using a slow cooker to make your meals will feel like seeking the services of a pro chef to do all the job while you’re engaged in day-to-day activities.