Instant Pot, Crockpot, and other brands of similar multi-functional countertop cookers can be found in many households. The appliance combines the actions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, yogurt maker, rice cooker, and warmer into one programmable, versatile unit. Ranging in size from 3 quarts to 8 quarts, some models even have inserts so you can bake cupcakes, coddle an egg, or steam fish and vegetables.
Once you've mastered all the settings and recipes, you'll also need to clean the cooker properly to keep it in top shape for years of cooking.
How Often to Clean an Instant Pot
The Instant Pot should be cleaned after every use. Since most of the inner cooking chambers are stainless steel, the vessel can be hand-washed with hot water and dishwashing liquid or placed in the dishwasher. If the appliance is used regularly, it should be deep-cleaned at least once a month.
Equipment / Tools
- Plastic or rubber spatula
- Dishcloth or sponge
- Small nylon-bristled brush
- Sink or dishpan
- Microfiber drying cloths
- Hot water
- Liquid dishwashing detergent
- Dishwasher detergent
- Baking soda
- Distilled white vinegar
- Lemon peels
How to Clean an Instant Pot After Every Use
Unplug the Instant Pot
As with any cleaning routine with a small electrical appliance, always unplug the unit from the electrical outlet before cleaning.
Wash the Interior Cooking Vessel
Allow the stainless steel inner chamber to cool to room temperature. Use a plastic or rubber spatula to remove any excess food. Either hand-wash with hot water and dishwashing liquid or place it in an automatic dishwasher. You should also wash the steaming rack if you have used it during food preparation.
Clean the Sealing Ring and Lid
Remove the silicone sealing ring from the unit's lid. The ring can be hand-washed or placed on the upper rack of the dishwasher on high heat or the sanitizing cycle for cleaning. Wipe down the interior of the Instant Pot lid.
Wipe Down the Base Unit
Use a slightly damp sponge or dishcloth to wipe down the inside and outside of the base unit to remove food splatters and smudges.
Dry and Reassemble
Dry all of the components with a microfiber towel or allow to air-dry. Reassemble the silicone sealing ring into the lid. The unit should be completely dry before storing it.
How to Deep Clean an Instant Pot
Every few weeks, give the unit a deep cleaning to make sure the venting systems are free of clogs and to prevent excessive staining from cooked-on food.
Unplug the Appliance
Remember—safety first. Unplug the cord from the wall and unit. Check the cord for any cracks or problems. With the cord disconnected from the unit and the outlet, wipe it down with a slightly damp cloth.
Clean the Base Unit
Remove the inner cooking chamber. Use a damp dishcloth or wipe down the inside and outside of the base unit. Pay extra attention to the lip of the unit and clean away any food or crumbs that can interfere with a proper seal from the lid.
If there are stains from spilled food, make a paste of one tablespoon of baking soda and a few drops of water. Dip the dishcloth or a nylon-bristled brush in the paste and scrub the stained area. Wipe away the paste and food particles with a clean, damp cloth. Repeat as needed until the base is clean.
Thoroughly Clean All Lid Components
There are a number of lid components that require cleaning. When everything is clean and dry, reassemble the lid.
- Remove the silicone sealing ring and wash it in hot, soapy water, if needed. Inspect it carefully for cracks and replace it if necessary.
- Remove the anti-block shield on the inside of the lid by pushing one side toward the outer edge of the pot lid firmly with your thumb. It should pop right out. Wash the shield with hot, soapy water, then rinse and dry it thoroughly.
- Remove the steam release valve and check it for any food particles clogging the vents. Wash with hot, soapy water and use a nylon-bristled brush to remove any stubborn food. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
- If your model has a condensation cup, pop it off, and wash it in hot, soapy water.
Deep Clean the Inner Pot and Steaming Rack
The inner stainless steel pot and racks can become discolored from excessive heat or have water spots. You can remove the problems by scrubbing with a baking soda paste or by pouring one cup of distilled white vinegar in the pot and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Use a sponge to distribute the vinegar to the sides of the pot. Finish by rinsing the pot with fresh water and drying it well with a soft cloth.
Tackle Strong Odors
The silicone seal can absorb odors from cooking food. To help remove the odors, pour one cup of water, one cup of distilled white vinegar, and a few lemon peels into the inner pot. Place and lock the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the steam release valve to the sealed position. Set the steam setting to three minutes. When the cycle is complete, allow a natural release of the steam. Open the lid, remove the sealing ring and allow it to air-dry. Empty the solution into your garbage disposal to give it a quick cleaning.
Tips to Keep Your Instant Pot Clean Longer
- You can remove the rings and soak them overnight in white distilled vinegar to remove tough odors.
- To help prevent cross-contamination of flavors and odors, use one sealing ring for savory and spicy foods and another for sweet or baked foods.
- As an alternative, use a small foam painting brush or pastry brush to clean out all those nooks and crannies.
- Never use steel wool or an abrasive sponge to clean the inner surfaces of your Instant Pot. Those items can damage the finish or leave tiny bits of steel in the appliance.