A Three-Ingredient Hack Will Have Your Slow Cooker Cleaning Itself

The convenience of preparing meals in a slow cooker simply cannot be denied. To get a meal going, all you do is add ingredients to the nigh-magical appliance before leaving for work in the morning. Then, you come home hours later to the delicious smell of dinner at the ready. What could be easier?

The downside is the clean-up required after cooking your meal. Sometimes the mess may make you consider putting the slow cooker in the basement next to your mother's old fondue pot from the '70s and all those small appliances that no longer, as Marie Kondo would say, spark joy.

Never fear. We have a simple cleaning hack that will make you fall in love with your slow cooker all over again. Even better, this hack is eco-friendly because it doesn't involve harsh chemicals and is made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Do we have your attention?

An eco-friendly cleaning hack

After eating, most people fill their dirty slow cooker with water, squirt in little dish soap, and hope for the best. They may be forgetting that the last thing they want to face first thing in the morning is a crock of cold water with bits of the previous night's dinner floating in it. But there's a better way, according to Better Homes & Gardens.

To properly clean your slow cooker, first turn it off and fill it with water to the top, ensuring all stubborn food has been submerged. Next, add one cup of distilled white vinegar, then gradually add one cup of baking soda to the mixture and stand back. Anyone who has witnessed the eruption of science fair volcanoes knows what happens next.

The fizzy reaction when baking soda meets vinegar is eye-catching and will also do the dirty work for you. All that's left to do is put the lid on, place it on the lowest setting, and allow the slow cooker to sit for several hours or overnight. After it cools, a simple swipe of the inside with a soapy dishcloth and a quick rinse is all you'll need to make your slow cooker look like new.

Looking like new

The science behind this cleaning technique is simple, according to Live Science. Baking soda is the muscle behind the method because it dissolves stuck-on food by acting as an abrasive. Meanwhile, acidic vinegar is on the opposite end of the pH scale from baking soda. When the two are combined, they create carbon dioxide bubbles that lift the food from a surface. You can also use this combo to eliminate smelly odors from a drain or the laundry you left too long in the washer. Ah, the beauty of chemistry!

Whether you're putting your slow cooker to work making a warming dish like some wintry sweet potato chili or using it to avoid warming up the kitchen during a summer heatwave, slow cookers can be your best friend. That's doubly true now that you know you don't have to dread cleaning it after. Consider that joy sparked.