How to clean your slow cooker!



It happens to all of us sometimes!
We finish cooking our recipe only to find a baked on ring of cooked/burnt residue inside our slow cooker or on the base.
Or maybe the inner casing of your slow cooker has stains in it?
Don’t despair – we’ve got the solution!

– The sooner you get it off the better!
– Avoid harsh abrasive chemicals or cleaning scourers
– Always unplug the unit from power source before cleaning.


Cleaning inside the Cooking Bowl:

Most slow cooker bowls can simply be washed by hand in the sink or some are OK for washing in the dishwasher after use.  Be sure to check your manual for what is safe for your model as not all models are dishwasher safe.

However if you find yourself with a baked on ring around the dish that’s hard to remove the easiest way is to simply leave it on and cooking after your food has been removed. Add water to a level above the baked on ring and leave it on low for a couple of hours. It should clean away much easier then.

Some suggest placing a dishwasher tablet or even a denture cleaning tablet in the slow cooker while the water is heating in it for up to 2hrs but it is advisable to check with your user manual if this is safe for your model.

As with any ceramic, the stoneware and lid will not withstand sudden temperature changes. Do not fill with cold water when it is hot.

Due to the porous nature of the base of some ceramic bowls do not stand it in water for extended periods as this water can be absorbed through some bases. The bowl can be filled with water and sit but not sit IN water.


Cleaning inside the main casing of the slow cooker – not the cooking bowl but under that:

The metal housing of the slow cooker and electrical lead should NOT be placed in water!  Be sure to completely unplug your unit from the power source and allow it to cool before any cleaning.

Over time with slow cooking you will often find some of your food will splash down into the main casing of your slow cooker – under the cooking bowl.

It is important to ALWAYS CHECK YOUR INSTRUCTION MANUAL FIRST as to how your manufacturer recommends you clean yours.

Most electrical cables are fully sealed and not able to be touched or wet inside this base unit but still exercise extreme caution in washing this main base unit and again – never place the unit itself in water.  And if you can see heating elements inside the base do not clean or add water in this area and instead contact the manufacturer for advice.

For those who wish to proceed here are some suggestions I have gathered that others have said they use to clean off those baked on spills that sometimes gather in the casing area with minimal liquid/moisture used:

– Simply wipe off with a soft, damp cloth and a small amount of dish detergent.  Especially if the spill is fresh or new.
– Clean using a mix of baking soda and vinegar on a cloth or sponge
– A chalk based cleaning paste like Gumption that you can purchase in a tub in your supermarket cleaning aisle.
– Baking soda and lemon juice.  Combine and allow to foam up then apply with soft pad/sponge/scourer
– While a soft green style scrubbing type pad scourer would be OK please consider before using a stronger steel wool type scourer or you could scratch your inner casing or bowl.  A gentle sponge or rubber based scrubbing tool is ideal 🙂
– Some report using a thin coat of oven cleaner, fume free version if you can, and leave an hour or so then wipe off clean.  If doing this I would recommend wiping over a few times with a damp cloth to minimise any smells next time you use the unit.  Note:  caution that it could remove paint coating from the outer of your slow cooker or be too abrasive for your unit so I would use this option with caution?


Prevention is best:

Rather than deal with the clean up try to prevent it where you can!
– Spray your slow cooker bowl with some non stick cooking spray before beginning
– Line your slow cooker with baking paper for baked items or one’s you think may stick
– Use a slow cooker liner bag or even an oven bag to slow cook your dish in
– Follow the recommended recipe time and avoid over cooking/burning
– Do not over fill your slow cooker which will increase the likelihood of it spilling and staining in the casing area.


Do you have a special trick that you use for cleaning your slow cooker?
Share it with us in comments below and I can add it to our list for others to use too 🙂



Image used of stained slow cookers used in main graphic courtesy of 5th Brick House on the Right

17 thoughts on “How to clean your slow cooker!”

  1. Victoria Mathews

    I have cleaned the main casing successfully with the magic eraser. Easy to do, minimal water needed and great result!

    1. Thank you for your suggestion. I am going to try it. The main casing has a stiky orange color in it. Been wanting a way to clean it for a long time now. I will let you know how it works.

  2. I used oven cleaner and not it’s not shiny in there anymore. I plugged it in & it still heats up. Will it be ok?

  3. I just clean mine with a soft dishwashing cloth, and dishwashing detergent. Wait until it’s cooked down. I use warm water, rinse in cold.

  4. Charles Webster

    Hi Paulene,

    I use Glad br. oven bags in my slow-cooker. Works a treat to keep the bowl clean and also to cook different things at the same/one time even if it means placing them in at different times eg. lamb shanks and garlic prawns. Or a main and a dessert. Or a soup and a main etc.

    And I always follow the “venting” instructions for the bags.

    Your thoughts?

    Kind regards,

  5. 3/4 fill with cold water, 1 cup vinegar and slowly add 1 cup bi-carb (baking soda) ADD SLOWLY BECAUSE IT WILL UP
    urn on low for 3-4 hours. let cool empty and wash as usual
    Get rid of the scale and any cooked on scrum

  6. Dianna Delcambre

    Hi. I just received a slow cooker that had a slight stain from former cooker..I foolishly thought Id clean it with a steel wool pad. I’m afraid I scratched it. Can I repair what I did? Will it affect the cooking?Disappointed

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