I received my trusty Crock-Pot shortly after I got married 12 years ago. While it's not much to look at and doesn't have all the bells and whistles that adorn the newer models, it's sentimental. It's one of the last gifts my dad ever gave me before he died, and it's my go-to gadget when I want to whip up some of my favorite recipes. But in spite of its reliability, it's come dangerously close to being tossed in the trash countless times over the past several years. Why? Because it stunk . . . literally. Years of use left an odor that I have tried over and over, without success, to eliminate.
When it comes to cleaning my Crock-Pot, you name it, I've done it. It looks brand new, but nothing I did got rid of the smell. It's gone through the dishwasher, I've let it soak (for days) in a variety of different cleaning solutions, I've used as much elbow grease as I could muster, and I've even let it spend a day or two outside in hopes of airing it out. Nothing worked. It was actually so bad that just opening the cabinet where I store my Crock-Pot would stink up my kitchen. I was beginning to agree with my husband that it was time for a replacement, but I decided to try just one more thing, and I couldn't have been more excited when it actually worked! Seriously, I called up just about everyone I know to tell them the secret.
I poured about three cups of water and one cup of white vinegar into the Crock-Pot. Then, because it's fun, I let each of my three children add 1/4 cup of baking soda. We watched as it bubbled and fizzed, and then I put the lid on, set it on low, and crossed my fingers that this last-ditch effort would do the trick. I wasn't optimistic since I'd soaked it in vinegar and baking soda before, but I had also never thought to turn it on and let it simmer.
I returned to my experiment two to three hours later. I emptied the Crock-Pot, washed it with mild soapy water, dried it, and took a whiff. To my surprise, I smelled nothing. I couldn't believe that the odor that had been lingering in my Crock-Pot for years was finally gone. I also couldn't believe that the solution had been so simple. So, before you toss your trusty (albeit stinky) slow cooker, give this a shot. You'll be glad you did!