crock pot silverThe new school year is just around the corner. And you may already be eyeing your slow cooker as the salvation that will keep your family fed through the busy months ahead. But ... how clean is that thing? They're great at cooking meals for you. And yet somehow, amazingly, they've yet to invent a self-cleaning Crock-Pot. There are new models with an inner dish you can lift right out and put into the dishwasher -- that's how mine is built (awesomeness!). But if you don't have one of those, here's how you can clean your slow cooker safely.

1. Turn off your cooker. Unplug it from the wall and allow it to cool. Always make sure you do this first.

2. Wipe the outside. Do NOT immerse the heating base in water. Danger, danger! Instead, wipe the outside with a soapy, wet cloth.

3. Soak the inside with baking soda solution. LifeHacker has a great recipe for a baking soda paste you can smear onto cooked-on foods: Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Sprinkle with the soda and then pour hydrogen peroxide over that, then sprinkle with more soda and let soak. Or create a paste and put that on food stuck to the sides.

how to clean crock pot4. Wash inside with soap and hot water. Otherwise, pour some dish soap and some hot water inside your Crock-Pot. Scrub the inside with a sponge and then carefully rinse with your kitchen sink spray nozzle, pouring soapy water out.

5. Wash lid in dishwasher or sink. Of course, the lid can be washed the same way you wash your dishes.

Extra tip: The next time you use your slow cooker, try this handy tip: Clean your Crock-Pot by leaving it on. Just pour out the contents into another dish and refill with water. Make sure the water covers all stuck-on foods and soak with the cooker on low. That should make cleaning easier.

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How do you usually clean your slow cooker?

 

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