How to Clean an Instant Pot

Female hand adding ingredients to an Instant Pot

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Instant Pot and other brands of similar multi-functional small countertop appliances can be found in thousands of 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 three to eight-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.

What You Need

Supplies

  • Hot water
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Lemon peels

Tools

  • Plastic or rubber spatula
  • Dishcloth or sponge
  • Small nylon-bristled brush
  • Sink or dishpan
  • Dishwasher
  • Microfiber drying cloths

Instructions for Cleaning After Every Use

  1. Unplug the Instant Pot

    As with any cleaning routine with a small electrical appliance, always unplug the unit before cleaning.

  2. 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.

  3. Clean the Sealing Ring and Lid

    Remove the silicone sealing ring from the unit lid. The ring can be hand washed or placed on the upper rack of the dishwasher for cleaning. Wipe down the interior of the Instant Pot lid.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Instructions for Deep Cleaning

Every few weeks, it is time to 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.

  1. Unplug the Appliance

    Safety first! This is a good time to 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Thoroughly Clean All Lid Components

    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, wash it in hot, soapy water.

    When everything is clean and dry, reassemble the lid.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

Tip

To help prevent cross-contamination of flavors, use one sealing ring for savory and spicy foods and another for sweet or baked foods.