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With all of the modern appliances that tend to fill our kitchen cupboards, there is one that many of us continue to use time and time again. I’m speaking of the crock-pot and, although it is a rather simplistic machine, it is capable of producing some of the most delicious meals.

The beauty of the crock-pot is its ability to cook meals without us having to slave over them in the process. We can make stew one day and then the next day, we are making an entire chicken. Yes, the crock-pot is nearly flawless, but there is one problem that many of us have had. It’s the fact that the food smell tends to linger in the crock-pot and can even taint the next meal we make.

If you find ourself in a situation where the smell of a meal lingers beyond the typical cleaning, don’t despair. You can steam the crock-pot using the internal power by steaming the device. Not only will it remove some of the left-over food that has been baked on, but it will also remove the odor. It also makes your regular cleaning much easier.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Before we talk about clearing out the food smell from your crock-pot, it’s good to know that there may be an odor associated with it before you even use it. Prior to using it for the first time, wash the ceramic liner and lid using warm, soapy water and a cloth. After rinsing the newly-cleaned pieces, put them aside to dry or dry them with a towel.

You might also have a problem with an electrical smell or a little smoke when you use it for the first time. As long as it isn’t excessive, it is to be expected and will eventually clear on its own. If you are cooking with a used crock-pot for the first time and you smell or see smoke, it’s not safe to continue using.

Prevention is one important factor to consider when it comes to food odors in the crockpot. Clean the liner as soon as you use it. Gently scrape the leftover food remnants from the inside and then wash it in warm, soapy water using a dishcloth. They will allow you to remove the residue before it has the chance to get baked-on.

The housing of the slow cooker should also be wiped down using a damp sponge after unplugging the unit. A little soap and water can be used if it is soiled but make sure you follow up with a sponge and plain water. Any abrasive pad should not be used to clean either the ceramic liner or the exterior or they may damage it.

If lingering odors are a problem or if food is caked-on, you can use the crock-pot to clean itself. Put the ceramic liner in the base, just as if you were going to prepare a meal. Put water in the crockpot to the level of the leftover food line. If such a line does not exist in your slow cooker, add 1 inch of water. Next, add 1/2 cup white vinegar if it is a small crock-pot and 1 cup if it is a large model. Add in an equal amount of baking soda slowly, allowing it to bubble as you do so.

After the bubbles have dissipated, add a little additional baking soda and put the lid on the crock-pot. Set the slow cooker to the low setting and allow it to heat for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn off the slow cooker, remove the lid and wipe down the inside of the ceramic insert using the liquid inside. The water will be warm so be cautious.

Pour the liquid out and was the ceramic insert after it has cooled to room temperature with warm, soapy water. Rinse and air dry.

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