Food Safety Issues/Crockpot odor


Hi, Carol - After using my crock pot, I always wash it and store it with the lid on. The other day when I  was going to use it, I lifted the lid and was met with a kind of 'food-y' odor - which largely disappated after awhile - but bothered me. I swirled some vinegar around the inside for a minute or two a couple of times, but that wasn't effective enough.
First, is that any kind of food safety issue if the crock pot was just used, odor and all?
Second, what do you suggest as the best way to get rid of the odor without damaging the stoneware surface - I didn't know how long I could safely leave straight vinegar or what ratio of a vinegar- water mix on the stoneware. Maybe there is something better anyway.

Hi Kay,

This is a new question and I've never been asked about how to remove a "food-y" odor from a crockpot.  Normally, cleaning a stoneware crockpot is fairly easy, except for when food is burned.  Then I recommend using baking soda as both a cleaner and deoderizer.  Adding 1/4 cup baking soda with water to fill 1/2-way and then heating the unit on low for 2-4 hours should remove the odor as well as thoroughly clean your crock.

Straight vinegar will not harm the stoneware crock though using full strength can leave an odor that is not exactly the most pleasing.  

Good luck and I hope using baking soda will eliminate your odor.


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Carol Schlitt


I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.


I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc -

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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