11 Totally Unexpected Uses for a Crock-Pot

Most people think a slow cooker is good only for making a huge vat of chili or a warm, comforting pot of stew. Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of other uses for a Crock-Pot, including pursuits as esoteric as making your own soap or removing paint from metal hardware. The gentle, even heating provided by a slow cooker makes it an ideal tool for conquering all sorts of projects. So, dust off that unused appliance and put it to work with some of these fun and out-of-the-ordinary activities.

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  1. Scrub-a-Dub

    Crock pot soap

    Did you know that you can whip up a batch of homemade scented soap with the help of your slow cooker? You will need 16 ounces of coconut oil, 16 ounces of olive oil, a helping of lye, and the essential oils of your choice. Measure your ingredients into the slow cooker, and turn on the heat. Stir the mixture carefully, and wait for it to set. For a complete tutorial, check out this recipe. The recipe calls for lye, so be forewarned that this ingredient is extremely caustic. Handle it very carefully, and make sure it is kept out of reach of children. 


    Related: 12 Unexpected Uses for a Regular Bar of Soap

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  2. Light Bright

    Crock pot candle

    Can you use your slow cooker to make candles? Yes, you sure can! Not only is it a fun project, but it's a great way to repurpose wax chips from old candles that have burned down. Simply grate or shred the wax into the slow cooker, and heat on low. Then, prep your molds (old coffee cans or plastic containers work well) by oiling them with a bit of cooking spray. Tie a fresh wick (available at craft stores) onto a pencil, suspend the pencil across the top of the mold, and tape the bottom of the wick in the center of the mold. Once the wax has melted, pour it into the mold, and let it cool. Once the wax has hardened, trim the wick and light it up.


    Related: 14 New Uses for Old Candles

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  3. Banish Dry Air

    Crock pot humidifer

    An old slow cooker filled with water makes a great humidifier—a must-have during the dry months of winter. Fill the pot about three-quarters full with hot water, cover with the lid, and turn the appliance to its highest setting. After 15 minutes, remove the lid and let the steam saturate your indoor air. 

    Related: Combat Dry Winter Air with 7 Tips and Tricks

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  4. Artistic Bent

    Crock pot crayon

    You can use a slow cooker to turn broken crayons into fresh art supplies, with the help of inexpensive silicone molds that you can buy at craft stores. Sort your old crayons by color family, and remove the paper wrapping. Place the broken bits of a single color into the slow cooker, and heat on low until the pieces have melted. Pour or ladle the melted crayons into silicone molds, and place them in a cool, dry location until they've cooled completely. Then, break out the coloring sheets and set the little ones to work.


    Related: 10 Things You Didn't Know a Paintbrush Can Do

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  5. Simmering Scents

    Stove top potpourri

    A slow cooker makes a great vessel for simmering liquid potpourri. Place fruit and spices into the slow cooker, add just enough water to cover, and turn the switch to a low setting, leaving the lid off. Go with deliciously scented basics like apples and cinnamon sticks or oranges and cloves, or experiment with lemons, bay leaves, evergreen sprigs, or ginger to find a personalized scent that’s perfect for your home.


    Related: 11 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

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  6. Easy Paint Stripper

    Crock pot paint stripper

    You can use a slow cooker to take a lot of the effort out of removing paint from small metal objects like hinges, drawer knobs, and cabinet hardware. Simply place the items into the slow cooker, cover with water, and let them soak overnight on high. For really tough, dried-on paint, add a few drops of liquid detergent to the water. Let the items cool to the touch, then give them a scrub with an old toothbrush. The paint should slip right off, leaving you with like-new hardware for your next upgrade.


    Related: 10 Top Tips to Make Any Paint Job Go Faster

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  7. To Dye For

    Crock pot dyed yarn

    Knitters, crafters, and other handy types can use a slow cooker to dye fabric or yarn. Place the materials (natural fibers work best) in the slow cooker, and cover with a mixture of four parts water to one part white vinegar. Heat on high until the mixture is steaming, then add food coloring—one drop at a time—until you achieve the desired shade. Let the soupy mix simmer on low for two to four hours, then rinse your threads in warm water and allow to dry thoroughly before using. 


    Related: Bob Vila's Best DIY Projects for Beginners

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  8. Tasty Treat

    Crock pot roasted nuts

    For a special treat, roast your own nuts and seeds in your slow cooker—a perfect way to put pumpkin pie and jack-o'-lantern scraps to use. Grease the bottom of the cooker, and place a cup of raw seeds or nuts into the pot. Sprinkle in seasonings and toss to coat, then cook for three to four hours on high, or until the seeds “snap” when tested. Store in small plastic bags or glass jars for easy snacking.


    Related: 14 Instant Fixes for a Total Pantry Makeover

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  9. Cocktail Craze

    Crock pot cocktail

    Turn your slow cooker into a bartender by using it to cook up a hot cocktail this holiday season. Mix together and warm up the nonalcoholic components of your cocktail in the slow cooker, keeping it covered. When you're ready to serve, pour your spirits into a glass, then ladle in some of the heated mixture. Don't put the alcohol into the pot—it will cook off before you are ready to imbibe.


    Related: 7 Extraordinary Household Uses for Beer

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  10. Playtime Fun

    Cock pot play dough

    Here's a fun project that the kids can help make and then enjoy for weeks to come—making their own play dough. Mix two cups of flour, ½ cup of salt, and four tablespoons of cream of tartar in the slow cooker. After that, pour in two cups of water, two tablespoons of oil, and a bit of food coloring. Place a damp towel under the lid, and cook the colorful mess on high for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring often.When done (the dough should easily form a ball), remove the mixture from the slow cooker, knead several times, and allow it to cool. When stored properly, the playtime essential should last three to four months.


    Related: Control Kids' Clutter with 7 Creative DIYs

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  11. DIY Air Freshener

    Crock pot air freshener

    Baking soda and water can be a powerful tool against bad odors, stale smells, and musty basements, and the mixture's stench-fighting abilities become even more potent when it's heated in a slow cooker. Fill the appliance halfway with water, and mix in a cup of baking soda. Heat on high, uncovered, for several hours or overnight to get rid of offensive odors. To banish especially strong smells, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the water.


    Related: 10 Instant Cures for Any Kitchen Odor

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