The slow cooker has become a fan favorite in the appliance world for a number of reasons. It is perfect for those busy days when you don’t have time to prep for dinner and for a number of cooking and prep shortcuts. It is a hard worker in my kitchen for good reason and gets plenty of use year round. It is inevitable, however, that sometimes food gets stuck on the bottom or splatters get baked on, making cleanup difficult. Let’s take a look at how to clean your slow cooker inside and out with no commercial cleaners and with the least amount of elbow grease required.

Note: Before we begin cleaning, I always recommend looking at your manual or checking with the manufacturer when in doubt. If you are not sure what material your slow cooker may be made from or have other questions, start here. Not sure where your manual is? A simple Google search for your model and make with the keyword ‘manual’ will lead you right to it.


  • white vinegar
  • castile or dish soap
  • baking soda
  • small handled scrub brush
  • optional: Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend

Steps to Take:

  1. Take the insert out of your slow cooker and set it aside. I like to begin by cleaning the interior of the slow cooker. Bring one cup of vinegar to boil in a glass measuring cup or small bowl and carefully place in the interior of your slow cooker. Put the lid on and allow the steam from the vinegar to gently soften some of the residue that may be in the interior while you work on the exterior.
  2. Add several drops of castile soap or dish soap to a small bowl of warm water and begin by wiping down the exterior of your slow cooker. Use a microfiber cloth or a soft cloth and submerge the cloth in the soapy water and wring until damp. Wipe the exterior from top to bottom to remove any splatters and smudges. If you have any stubborn spots that soap and water alone can’t clean, mix up a simple paste of baking soda and water to a runny toothpaste consistency and gently scrub away any remaining residue. Using clean, warm water, wipe away the baking soda mixture.
  3. Wash the insert in a sink full of warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry. If you are in need of more than a simple washing, add a tablespoon or two of baking soda to the insert and use a damp scrub brush or sponge to tackle those tougher spots.
  4. Carefully remove the vinegar from the interior and wipe down the using a clean, damp microfiber cloth or soft cloth. Avoid getting the interior overly wet and never submerge as the electrical components reside in here.
  5. Clean the lid, knobs and handles in a sink of warm, soapy water. A small scrub brush, toothbrush or a toothpick work wonders at getting those hard to reach areas as clean as can be.
  6. If your insert still has residue on it and is in need of a deeper clean, add 1/4 cup of baking soda to the insert, fill with warm water and add several drops of castile soap or dish soap. Cover and set on high for 3 to 4 hours and allow the heat, baking soda and soap to penetrate the baked on residue. Wash and dry when complete.
  7. If your insert has surface scratches, a haze or seemingly permanent stains, Bon Ami and Bar Keepers Friend are some of my favorite safe commercial cleaners for seemingly unremovable stains. It is just abrasive enough while still being safe to use on stoneware and ceramic surfaces.

With the occasional deep cleaning as needed, your trusty slow cooker will continue to serve you and your family well in the midst of busy days.

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