You already know how useful an Instant Pot is – this multi-use cooker works as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and more, to help you make delicious meals quickly. While pressure-cooking, it speeds up the cooking process, letting you have meals ready in a fraction of the time it usually takes, and as a slow cooker, well, just think of a great stew or sauce, gently cooking for hours and melding the mouth-watering flavors together (perhaps you’ve used Good Housekeeping’s Instant Pot Cookbook to create some of your family’s favorite meals).
After every use, your Instant Pot and its lid must be cleaned to keep it at its best and functioning properly. In spite of the number of little parts the lid has, cleaning this cooker is a lot easier and quicker than you think (almost all the parts are dishwasher safe!), and the pros in the Cleaning Lab and Kitchen Appliances Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute have put together some handy tips to help you clean your multi-use cooker, whether it’s an Instant Pot or another brand.
Before you start: Turn off and unplug the Instant Pot, and pull out the inner cooking pot. Always allow it to fully cool before cleaning and never immerse the base and heating element in water or place it in the dishwasher.
What you’ll need:
- Degreasing dish soap, like Good Housekeeping Seal star Dawn
- Soft-bristled bottle brush, like Casabella’s
- Soft cloth, like Skura’s Reusable Microfiber Wipes, or paper towel, like Bounty
- White vinegar
How to Clean Your Instant Pot
1. Clean the inner cooking pot
The inner cooking pot is usually dishwasher safe, whether it’s stainless steel or has a nonstick finish. Place it upside down in the dishwasher on the bottom rack to clean. If using a dishwasher is not an option, wash it in hot soapy water, using a good degreasing dish detergent and a soft-bristled bottle brush to protect the finish, then rinse well and dry.
To remove burned-on food residue in the stainless steel pot, soak it in hot soapy water, and give it an extra scrub with a delicate non-scratch scrub pad. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, or steel wool, which can scratch and damage the finish.
If the inside of the pot has discolored from minerals or salt in the food, to remove the blueish tinge, cover the bottom of the pot with white vinegar and leave it for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly and dry.
2. Remove and wash the parts from your lid
Remove the parts from the exterior of the lid – depending on the model of your Instant Pot, these can include the steam release cover (lift it straight up) and the steam release valve (it also lifts straight up). Some models also have a Quick Cool cover, which easily unclips.
Next, remove the small parts from the interior of the lid – these can include the anti-block shield (a metal cap which covers the steam release pipe) and the silicone cap covering the float valve. Gently push the anti-block shield towards the outer edge of the lid and lift it straight up, pop off the little silicone cap, and slide out the float valve.
All the small parts are dishwasher safe but we like to use an old soft toothbrush to clean them in warm soapy water. Rinse well and air dry.
3. Wash the lid
While the parts are still removed, scrub down the lid. If the lid is dishwasher-safe according to the manufacturer, place it right side up on the top rack. But you might prefer to hand wash it (we do!) using a soft bristled brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Rinse it well to remove the soap and any food particles.
To fully drain the lid, hold it vertically over the sink and turn it like a steering wheel, all the way around. After cleaning, store the lid upside down on the cooker base, to air it thoroughly and prevent any odor build-up. When all the parts are dry, reinstall them (don’t forget the float valve’s tiny silicone cap!).
4. Clean the sealing ring
Remove the silicone sealing ring from inside the lid by following the manufacturer’s instructions; hand wash it in hot soapy water or place it on the top rack of the dishwasher to clean. Replace the sealing ring and be sure it is properly situated in the sealing ring rack, flat against the lid.
To eliminate odors from the sealing ring, we like the solution Instant Pot suggests in its user manual: after cleaning the Instant Pot (and with all the parts correctly reinstalled on the lid, including the sealing ring), add one cup of water and one cup of white vinegar to the removable inner pot inside the Instant Pot. Close and seal the lid, and run the Pressure Cook cycle for about five minutes. Release the pressure and, when safe, open the lid. Remove the silicone sealing ring gasket from the lid, empty the vinegar mix from the cooking pot, and rinse the lid, sealing ring, and inner cooking pot in warm water, then dry. Replace the sealing ring in the lid.
GH Lab Tip: The sealing ring is a critical part in your Instant Pot, so inspect it carefully while you dry it and replace it if it shows cracks or any other damage. Our pros like to keep two on hand.
5. Clean the Instant Pot condensation collector and accessories
If your Instant Pot has a condensation collector accessory at the rear of the cooker base, empty and rinse it after every use. To clean it, it is dishwasher safe (on the top rack), or wash it by hand in warm soapy water, rinse well and air dry.
Wash the steam rack and any other additional tools that came with your Instant Pot either in the dishwasher or hand wash them in hot soapy water, then rinse them well.
6. Clean the Instant Pot base and heating element
Wipe out the inside of the cooker base with a soft damp cloth. Don’t let the base get wet – it is not dishwasher safe! Use an old soft toothbrush to clean any residue from the rim and the groove the lid sits in; wipe it clean with a soft cloth. Allow it to air dry. Clean the exterior and control panel with a soft barely-damp cloth. Wipe down the power cord too.
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