Cooking with crockpots — also known as slow cookers — is a breeze. Washing them, however, is a different story.
Some people may feel tempted to cram them in the dishwasher without a second thought.
However, before you do that, you should consider whether or not that’s a good idea.
Can You Put a Crockpot in the Dishwasher?
The short answer to this question is “sometimes.”
Of course, you can’t put the entire slow cooker in the dishwasher. You’ll need to remove the inner stoneware bowl from the heater base.
However, older or smaller crockpots often don’t have a removable stoneware bowl. In these cases, you will only be able to wash them by hand.
When you purchase any kitchen appliance, you should keep track of the instruction manual. These will tell you the best way to go about cleaning your devices.
If you threw away the manual, check the bottom for any engravings that might have cleaning instructions. Sometimes it will say “Dishwasher Safe” on the bottom of the crockpot.
If you are ever uncertain, it might be best to simply wash it by hand. Any hassle that comes with handwashing is better than having to replace your slow cooker.
What Parts of a Crockpot Are Dishwasher Safe?
In general, you can usually assume that the glass lid of your crockpot is safe to put in the dishwasher.
If you can remove the internal bowl, you can safely put that in the dishwasher as well.
The central heating part of the crockpot, however, is never dishwasher safe. Fortunately, you shouldn’t need to wash this part as often.
Other crockpot accessories, such as roasting racks or thermometers, will vary depending on the brand and material. Always refer to the instruction manual if you are uncertain.
What Kinds of Crockpots Are Not Dishwasher Safe?
Any type of crockpot with a non-removable internal bowl is not safe to put in the dishwasher. You will always need to wash these by hand.
If your crockpot’s manual states it is not dishwasher safe, you should also wash it by hand. Even if the stoneware bowl is removable, the warning is there for a reason.
The Materials of Your Stoneware Bowl
So, you’ve determined your slow cooker is dishwasher safe. But is putting it in there actually a good idea?
Before you put that stoneware bowl in the dishwasher, find out whether it’s ceramic or stainless steel. You should also check if it has a non-stick coating.
Ceramic and steel bowls, for instance, can safely handle the dishwasher’s heat without any problems.
However, if your crockpot has a non-stick coating, it might be best to simply wash it by hand. The heat from the dishwasher can wear down the coating over time.
Even if the manual deems it dishwasher safe, you should still avoid putting non-stick materials in the dishwasher.
Is It Better to Put a Crockpot in the Dishwasher, or Clean It by Hand?
Even if you can put your crockpot in the dishwasher, is it worth it? Or should you just make the extra effort of washing by hand?
In general, the best cleaning option will depend on two factors: the size of your crockpot and the amount of stuck-on food.
A lot of crockpot bowls will take up far more space in the dishwasher than they’re worth. As a result, you might end up having to wash more dishes anyway.
If there’s dried-up food stuck on the crockpot, your dishwasher may not clean it thoroughly, either. In the end, you may end up needing to wash your crockpot by hand anyway.
If your crockpot’s bowl is small, though, you should have no problem putting it in the dishwasher.
You can also give the bowl a good rinse before the food dries up. This step will make it easier for your dishwasher to clean it properly.
In the right circumstances, cleaning your crockpot in the dishwasher can save you time and effort.
How to Safely Clean Your Crockpot in the Dishwasher
If you’ve decided you want to clean your crockpot in the dishwasher, here is how you can go about doing it.
First, make sure the crockpot is completely cooled down.
Next, detach the internal bowl, lid, and any other dishwasher-safe accessories. Thoroughly rinse them off in the sink.
After that, you can place them in the dishwasher and run it as you usually would. Make sure to put any plastic accessories on the top rack.
If you have a large crockpot bowl, make sure you don’t put it too close to the detergent dispenser. Otherwise, this could prevent your dishwasher from ejecting the detergent.
How to Clean Non-Dishwasher Safe Parts of Your Crockpot
So, how can you go about cleaning the parts of your crockpot that can’t go in the dishwasher?
Sometimes food can spill on the central heater, for instance. That buildup over time can get pretty gross. Cleaning this part is fortunately pretty easy, though.
Make sure that the heater is completely cool before cleaning. Then, soak a washcloth in soap and water and scrub away any residue from spills.
You might have to use baking soda or vinegar and water for tougher stains to clean them up. As long as you clean the crockpot regularly, though, you usually won’t have too many caked-on stains.
Never submerge the heater in water. In the best-case scenario, you’ll damage it, and in the worst-case scenario, it’ll electrocute you.
You should also try to avoid getting the cord wet altogether. Overall, you want to be very careful when washing the heater base of your crockpot.
If the accessories aren’t dishwasher safe, it should be easy to clean them by hand. Like any other dish or utensil, simply scrub them with soap, water, and a washcloth.
How to Clean Your Crockpot Bowl by Hand
Is your slow cooker’s bowl not dishwasher safe? Or do you just prefer to wash it by hand?
Though it’s big and bulky, cleaning crockpots in your kitchen sink isn’t as difficult as it seems.
As always, unplug the crockpot and wait for it to cool down completely before you wash it.
To prevent the food from drying up, you can let it soak with some soapy water in the meantime. Just make sure it’s warm water; sudden temperature changes can cause ceramic to crack.
Once it’s cooled down, you can wash it out with a soapy sponge or dishcloth. Do not use overly abrasive chemicals or a coarse-textured sponge, especially if it’s a non-stick material.
Do you have a crockpot with a non-removable base? You’ll need to be extra careful when you’re handling these.
Try not to let your sink fill up with water while you’re washing it. If possible, try to wash these crockpots without getting the base wet at all.
Once you’ve finished, hand-dry it with a towel or place it upside down on a drying rack.
If there’s dried food stuck to your crockpot, you can soak the bowl in some soapy water overnight. The soak will soften the food and make it much easier to scrub away.
There are also stoneware-specific cleaners that you can buy. As long as you clean your crockpot regularly, though, you usually won’t need them.
Other Tips for Keeping Your Crockpot Clean
Here are a few general tips to help keep your slow cooker in top shape, regardless of whether you choose to use the dishwasher.
- Try to wash your crockpot as soon as possible once you’re done. Or, at least soak it in water. It’s important to let it cool down, but waiting too long will make it harder to clean.
- Don’t let food sit in your crockpot for too long. Move leftovers to a different container as soon as you can.
- If something spills on the outside of your crockpot, wipe it up right away.
- To remove unpleasant odors, you can use baking soda or vinegar diluted in water.
- To make cleanup easier, you can use single-use slow cooker liners.
- Avoid leaving the slow cooker on for too long. Not only is this a fire hazard, but burnt food is more challenging to scrub off.
- Spray the interior of your crockpot with cooking oil before you use it. The oil can help prevent food from sticking in the first place.
How to Make Your Crockpot Clean Itself
Is your crockpot not dishwasher safe? Or do you simply not have access to a dishwasher? Good news — there’s a way to make your crockpot clean itself!
This method can get rid of stubborn stains and make your crockpot look brand new.
All you need is vinegar, baking soda, water, and a few hours of your time.
Here’s the step-by-step process.
- Fill up your slow cooker with plenty of water. Make sure it’s high enough to cover up all of the stains and dried food.
- For smaller crockpots, add ½ a cup of distilled white vinegar to the water. For larger ones, add a whole cup.
- Next, add the same amount of baking soda as you did vinegar. Make sure to pour it very slowly. Otherwise, the baking soda will bubble up and create a mess.
- Put the lid on your slow cooker and turn on the lowest setting.
- Let your crockpot do its thing for around an hour. For tougher stains, you can go up to four hours.
- Once it’s done, turn the crockpot off and let it cool down completely.
- Pour out the vinegar and baking soda solution and rinse the bowl thoroughly.
Once you’re finished, you’ll have a crockpot that’s as good as new!
Why Is It Important to Keep My Crockpot Clean?
Like any kitchen appliance, you’ll want your crockpot to be as clean as can be.
If you don’t wash it regularly, it may grow bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
Bacteria growth is even more likely after using your slow cooker for cooking raw meat.
Because of this, it’s essential to wash your crockpot after every use. Make sure to use soap and water or something else that’s antibacterial.
Cleaning the outside of your crockpot is vital, too. Otherwise, dried-up food on the heater can attract ants and other pests into your kitchen.
For the sake of your health, keeping your crockpot clean is a necessity.
Crockpots are famous for being convenient, easy-to-use appliances. When it comes to cleaning them, though, it can get a little tricky.
In general, you can use the dishwasher to clean most modern crockpot bowls and lids.
Even then, you should proceed with caution. Dishwashers can wear down certain crockpot bowls over time. They can even leave behind a lot of tough stains.
In some instances, it’s easier and more effective to use a different cleaning method.
Regardless of the model, there are plenty of ways to keep your crockpot looking brand new!
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