How To Easily Clean A Slow Cooker

Cheap, easy-to-use and a terrific way to make a magic meal out of very little, slow cookers continue to be a constant in kitchens across the UK. They’re extremely convenient – making them more and more valuable in a world where we are constantly pushed for time. However, despite the time-saving powers of slow cookers, they still need cleaned like every other kitchen appliance.

That is especially true of slow cookers because of the bacteria that can fester over time – particularly at lower temperatures. As lower temperatures may be necessary for the sake of a dish, that can pose a problem that a bit of hot water and washing-up liquid isn’t going to solve.

Thankfully, if you’ve found your way to this article, you know this – and you want to keep your slow cooker free of bacteria. To do so, you’re going to have to give it more than a little scrub – it’s going to need a periodic deep clean. However, you’ll likely also want to spend the least amount of time as possible cleaning it. So is there a way that you can fully clean slow cookers in a fast yet efficient manner?

The simple answer is: yes, you most definitely can. In fact, it may surprise you to hear that slow cookers can actually clean themselves. So they’re not only saving us time and effort on our meals, but they’re also saving us from doing any more cleaning than necessary!

How to make your slow cooker self-clean

Now when we say ‘self-clean‘, we don’t mean ‘you don’t need to lift a finger’. There is some preparation work that goes into ensuring that your cooker can perform a self-clean, but this tiny amount of effort will drastically save time and energy that would be spent on any other deep clean method.

Firstly, start by filling your slow cooker with water. This should either be warm or at room temperature for best results. Your slow cooker should have a ‘fill line‘, so fill it with water up to the line. If you can’t see a fill line, either consult the user guide that comes with your slow cooker or judge the levels for yourself. You don’t want it full to the brim; you don’t want it half empty.

slow cooker fill-line

Most slow cookers tend to have a 3.4 litre or 3.5 litre capacity. Again, if you’re unsure, just consult your user guide or use a measuring jug and fill it with water until it’s full – making sure to note how much water you put in. For a 3.4 to 3.5l capacity slow cooker, you’ll want to add 120ml of distilled white vinegar to the water. If you’ve got a bigger (or smaller) slow cooker, such as one with 2.5l or 4.5l capacities, adjust the amount of vinegar to suit the different proportions. So you should use approximately 150ml of vinegar for a 4.5l slow cooker or, conversely, 85ml if its capacity is 2.5l.

After you’ve added the vinegar, you’ll want to add about 60g of baking powder. Do this slowly and don’t worry when it begins to bubble – it’s just a chemical reaction and will pass. With the water, vinegar and baking soda added, it’s time to cover the contents and set your slow cooker on its lowest setting for approximately one hour.

After that hour is up, it’s time to turn the cooker off. Pour out the contents out and you should be able to wipe off the residue with ease. After you’ve done this, let the cooker cool off before bathing it in some soapy, warm water – just as you would lightly clean it after each use. Leave it to dry and voilà! You’ve just successfully deep cleaned your slow cooker!

Well… we have to give the slow cooker some credit too…

You needn’t worry about going through this cleaning process after each use. This form of cleaning is something you can do every six months or even annually to keep your slow cooker hygienic. With that said, if you want to keep your slow cooker squeaky clean, feel free to repeat this cleaning process after each use.

So, there you have it – your slow cooker has been purified of its nastiness and is ready to provide you and your family with healthy, safe meals.

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