10 things you didn’t know your slow cooker could do 130



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Slow cookers are one of the best appliances in our kitchen, and they can make some of the best dishes. But did you know that these handy machines are also great for other purposes?

Here’s 10 of our favourite ways to use a slow cooker/crock pot, other than cooking! Which will you try?

1. Make crayons


What you need: 

  • small slow cooker
  • small plastic ladles
  • used crayons
  • plastic or silicone moulds with various shapes
  • pot holders
  • paper towels


1. Sort crayons by colour. Remove paper and break into pieces, 2cm or smaller.
2. Cover bottom of crock pot with whatever colours you like, about 2cm deep
3. Turn crock pot onto low setting and allow crayons to melt for approximately 30 minutes. Wait 20 minutes before you stir and check periodically to see if completely melted.
4. Use ladles to carefully pour melted crayon into molds.
5. Cool crayons in freezer for approximately 10 minutes.


2. Dye yarn


What you need:

  • a slow cooker
  • wool yarn
  • several colours of Kool-Aid (can be bought from specialised candy stories)
  • large spoon
  • colander
  • vinegar


  1. Start by filling the crock pot with water (and a little vinegar if you want) and submerging the yarn in there.
  2. Let it soak for a moment, then turn on medium heat and put the lid on – the yarn should soak for at least 15 minutes or so (longer is fine) before dyeing, and the lid should fog up to show that it’s hot.
  3. Cover one half of the yarn in the pot with whatever colour you like, and the other half with another, sprinkled directly from the packet into the pot.
  4. Cover with the lid and let it sit until the dye fully absorbs into the yarn, so the water looks clear and the yarn is coloured.
  5. Use your spoon to turn the yarn over, so all the undyed yarn from the bottom is now on top. Dye with different colours.
  6. Cover and let the dye absorb again, then use your spoon to turn the yarn around and search for white spots.
  7. Once the dyeing is complete, turn off the heat, and let it sit in the water to cool for awhile.
  8. Scoop the skein out with the spoon, into the colander in the sink, and let it cool all the way to room temperature there.
  9. Rinse a bit, with water of the same temperature, and squeeze the water out as much as you can, without twisting.
  10. Roll up in a towel to dry more, shake it out, then hang to dry overnight or until totally dry.


3. Make old fashioned bar soap


What you need:

  • 453.6 grams coconut oil
  • 453.6 grams olive oil
  • 137.339 grams lye
  • 344.73 grams water
  • Up to 1 ounce of essential oils of choice (optional)
  1. Make sure that your work area is clean, ventilated and that there are no children nearby.
  2. Measure the oils in liquid form (by weight) and pour into the slow cooker. Turn on high just until oils heat up and then reduce to low heat.
  3. While oils are heating, carefully measure the lye and water separately.
  4. Carefully take the cups with the water and the lye outside or to a well ventilated area. Pour the water into a larger glass jar. With gloves and eye protection, slowly add the lye to the water. DO NOT ADD THE WATER TO THE LYE (this is really important). Stir carefully with a metal spoon, making sure not to let the liquid come in contact with your body directly.
  5. As you stir, this will create a cloudy white mixture that gets really hot. Let this mixture set for about 10 minutes to cool. It should become clear and not cloudy when it has cooled.
  6. When the oils in the crockpot have heated, slowly pour in the water and lye mixture and stir.
  7. Quickly rinse the container used for the water and lye mixture out in the sink.
  8. Use the metal or wooden spoon to stir the lye/water mixture into the oil mixture in the crockpot. Once it is evenly mixed, use the stick blender to blend for about 4-5 minutes or until it is opaque and starting to thicken.
  9. Cover and keep on low heat to thicken. Set a timer for 15 minutes and check it every 15 minutes until it is ready. It will start to boil and bubble on the sides first. After about 35-55 minutes (depending on crock pot) it will thicken enough that the entire surface is bubbly and the sides have collapsed in.
  10. At this point, turn the heat off and remove the crock. If you are going to use essential oils for scent, add them now. I added lavender and orange.
  11. Quickly and carefully spoon into moulds. I’ve often heard of people using empty Pringles containers but haven’t tried it. I have used empty boxes lined with parchment paper.
  12. Cover the moulds with parchment paper and set in a cool, dry place.
  13. After 24 hours, pop the soap out of the moulds. It can be used right away, but I prefer to let it set for a few more days so that it lasts longer.


4. Make liquid soap

liquid soap

Detailed instructions here

5. Whip up some sunscreen


What you need:

  • 1 cup of 100% pure shea butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 115g beeswax
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon or more liquid vitamin E
  • 3 tbsp Zinc Oxide powder


  1. Combine all ingredients except the Zinc Oxide in the crockpot.
  2. Heat on high until all ingredients are completely melted
  3. Slowly, whisk in the three tablespoons of Zinc Oxide.
  4. Carefully, pour into mason jars or other heat safe containers and let sit uncovered until cooled.


6. Play dough

Child playing with modeling clay

What you need:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup cream of tartar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 teaspoon cooking oil
  • 2 cups flour (or you can use rice flour to make it gluten free)
  • 1 cup corn starch
  1. Plug in your crockpot and turn to low to warm up slowly.
  2. Dump in your dry ingredients, stirring to evenly distribute.
  3. Add the water and oil. Close the lid and switch the heat to high.
  4. Set a timer and check your play dough every 30 minutes, stirring well each time.
  5. You will know it’s done or close to done when the playdough begins to form a ball when you stir it. When that happens, remove the stoneware insert from your crock pot and stir some more. Dump it out onto a smooth surface and begin to knead. If your dough is overly sticky, add a bit of cornstarch; if overly dry, add a touch more hot water. Each time you make the dough, the water required will be a bit different, depending on the humidity in the air.
  6. Separate the dough into manageable lumps and push a hole into the centre for a few drops of food colouring.
  7. Squish the dough around to distribute the desired colour.


7. Candles



What you need:

  • slow cooker
  • old tea cups or small glasses
  • wicks
  • scented oil
  • old candles/melts


  1. Cut or grate candles and melts
  2. Place cups into your slow cooker.
  3. Fill your cups with the cut up wax as high as you can. Be careful not to spill any into your slow cooker. You could place tin foil along the bottom if wanted.
  4. Drip in a few drops of any new scented oils if wanted.
  5. Turn on LOW for a couple of hours.
  6. Once your melts are completely melted, add the wicks.
  7. Once the cups are cool enough to touch, take out and place them on the counter to cool. Clip the wick if necessary.
  8. When they are completely cooled, light and enjoy!


8. Lip balms


What you need:

  1. 2 tablespoons beeswax
  2. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  3. 2 tablespoons shea butter
  4. 12 lip balm containers
  5. dropper


1. Melt beeswax in a small pan or crockpot over low heat. Add coconut oil and shea butter until all ingredients are melted. Add a few drops essential oil if desired.
2. Using a small medicinal dropper, pour the melted liquid into your lip balm containers. Add a few extra drops to the top after filling each container as the ingredients will shrink as they cool.
3. Cool completely to harden. Cover with cap and decorate or label as desired.


9. Neutralise bad odours


What you need:

  • water
  • baking soda
  • crockpot


  1. Pour water into the crockpot you are going to use. Add baking soda and mix. Turn onto low and keep the lid off.
  2. Let the baking soda do the job of soaking up unpleasant odours.
  3. If you would prefer to use the crockpot as an air freshener, fill with water, and add essential oils or pot pourri.


10. Rose water


What you need:

  • Handful of rose petals
  • Boiling water


  1. Clean the petals and place in medium slow cooker.
  2. Cover with boiling water and squish down to ensure all immersed.
  3. Keep on for 8 hours on low.
  4. Strain the liquid and place in containers. Use within a week or freeze!


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I slow cook a lot of meals but I use a normal pot and turn the stove down low, isn’t that the same thing ?

    2 REPLY
    • Not really Owen if you want to go out you can’t leave a stove on but you can leave a slow cooker on.Great for working families.I used to use it lots when working and bringing the kids up.

    • As a member of the work force Switch mine on low before going to work …. Dinner ready when I come home even switches to warm when cooked … Marvellous

  2. Love my slow cooker. Leave it simmering slowly all day – voila, a home that smells welcoming as you open the door and a delicious meal to satisfy your tastebuds and hunger pains at the end of a long day!

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