How to Clean Your Instant Pot and Keep it Sparkling Like New

If you’re the proud owner of an Instant Pot, congrats! Hopefully you’re enjoying it as much as I do!

It’s a real kitchen MVP in my household. Once you have one, you can’t imagine life without it.

But if it’s been a while since the day you unwrapped yours, it’s probably time for a deep clean.

You may be unsure exactly how to clean your Instant Pot and the good news is that returning yours to tip-top shape is pretty easy. I’m going to go over all the key things you need to know to get your beloved Instant Pot in pristine condition and back in action.

What to Look out For

Like any other kitchen appliance, you can experience some issues related to the cleanliness of your Instant Pot. Over time, you may notice some of the following problems:

  • An odor coming from the sealing ring
  • Discoloration of the sealing ring
  • Staining or “rainbowing” in the stainless-steel inner pot
  • A build-up of things like food particles and grime both inside and out

You’ll be glad to know that fixing (and preventing) these issues is only a matter of giving your Instant Pot a little attention.

Materials Needed to Clean Your Instant Pot

Before we get started, you’ll need to gather a few things that will help get your Instant Pot back to its out-of-the-box state. I recommend having the following items on hand: 

Materials:

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Dishwasher (optional but recommended)
  • Magic Eraser (only for tough stains)

Ingredients:

  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap

How to Clean Your Instant Pot

Now that you’ve gathered the materials needed, it’s time to talk about how to clean an Instant Pot. Follow these seven steps to get your Instant Pot shining like it did the day you bought it.

1. Turn Off and Unplug the Unit

It seems obvious, but we’ve got to say it: make sure your Instant Pot is turned off and preferably unplugged. This step is essential not only for the safety of the unit but also for your own.

Step one is also an excellent time to check the Instant Pot’s cords to make sure they’re in proper working condition.

Replace any damaged cords.

2. Clean Housing Unit

Next, we’re going to focus on the Instant Pot housing unit, which is the only part of this device that you can’t put in the dishwasher.

Remove the lid and inner pot. Wet your microfiber cloth with cleaning solution and give both the inside and outside of the unit a thorough wipe down.

I also recommend paying attention to all the small nooks where food particles and residue can get stuck using a small brush.

3. Clean Lid

After ensuring that the housing unit grease and grime free, it’s time to move on to the lid. And the answer is yes; you need to clean this item frequently, preferably after every use. It’s actually one of the dirtiest Instant Pot parts.

A lot of people aren’t sure how to clean an Instant Pot lid (or that they should clean it), but it’s relatively straightforward.

You have two options when it comes to making the lid sparkle like new. According to the manufacturers, the lid is top-rack dishwasher safe, so you can put it in there with the rest of your dishes. If you don’t want to put it in the dishwasher, you can hand wash the lid with soapy water.

4. Clean the Inner Pot

Next, it’s time to move on to the inner pot. The inner pot is dishwasher safe, so you can stick it in the dishwasher for a good clean, which you should do after every use anyway. Over time, you may notice problems like rainbow discoloration. We’ll cover how to take care of that in more detail below.

5. Check Other Small Parts

The Instant Pot includes many small parts that need periodic cleaning. Three specific ones require your attention.

Start with the quick release valve, located on the lid, which needs to be removed so you can properly clean it. All you need to do is pull up on it to remove and wash with warm soapy water.

Next is the shield that covers the steam valve, which you can also find inside the lid. The steam valve can get blocked if too much residue builds up, so it’s important to check this part periodically. Depending on which model you have, the steam valve either screws off or pops out. Give it a good wash and put it back on the lid.

The last small part you should check is the condensation collection cup. This part often collects food residue, so take a look to see if it needs cleaning. If it does, hand wash it and replace.

6. Inspect and Clean the Inner Ring

The inner ring is critical to ensuring that your Instant Pot works as it should. The inner ring is what lets your unit achieve that perfect seal, so if you want your Instant Pot to be a part of your life for many years to come, be sure to inspect it periodically. Immediately replace it if you see any tears or cracks.

Once you’re sure it’s in proper working condition, you can either put the inner ring in the dishwasher or wash it by hand. Make sure to let it dry completely before putting it back in the lid, and don’t forget to make sure it’s securely in place before using the Instant Pot again.  

The inner ring is made of silicone, which means it may trap odors or become discolored. Later on, we’ll go over specifically how to deep clean the inner ring should you notice any of these issues.

7. Reassemble

We’ve reached the final step, which is to put everything back in its place. Make sure that all the small parts you disassembled in step five return to their proper homes, and that’s it! Once everything is where it should be, you can get right back to cooking with your Instant Pot.

Part-specific Cleaning

You may notice some problem areas that resist normal efforts as you’re completing the Instant Pot deep clean. Let’s take a look at some methods of dealing with these specific problem areas. 

How to Clean Instant Pot Inner Pot

Stainless steel cookware like the inner pot often suffers from bluish or rainbow discoloration over time. This discoloration is caused by minerals or salt in food and water and is rather unsightly, but you’ll be glad to know that getting rid of it is relatively straightforward.

To remove the marks and restore brightness, you can use a non-abrasive stainless-steel cleaner, or white vinegar if you prefer. With white vinegar, cover the bottom of the inner pot, let it sit for five minutes, and rinse the pot out. It should be good as new after this treatment.

If the inner pot has white hard water stains, another common problem, you’ll need to attack this with a little elbow grease. Use a damp cloth soaked in vinegar or lemon to buff out the stains, and avoid using steel wool on the inner pot, which will scratch the surface.

Pro Tip: If the stains resist these efforts, a Magic Eraser should do the trick.

How to Clean Instant Pot Ring

The Instant Pot ring is the most problematic of all the Instant Pot parts, its main problem being that it can absorb food odors and get rather smelly. As I mentioned above, it’s removable and dishwasher safe, so you should be cleaning it regularly, but make sure you’re gentle with it.

Pro Tip: I recommend buying two Instant Pot rings, one for savory meals and the other for sweet foods and swapping them out as needed. Doing so will help prevent savory odors from seeping into sweet foods, and vice versa.

If, despite the best of intentions, you find yourself with a smelly Instant Pot ring, don’t worry. A quick steam clean should help get rid of the smell.

You’ll actually use the steam program on your Instant Pot to do this.

Add two cups of water or white vinegar, as well as cut-up lemon rind, to the inner pot, and with the ring in its usual place, set the program for two minutes. 

Once the cycle is complete, let the ring air dry, and it should be as good as new. With proper care, the ring should last 18-24 months, but you may want to change it more often if you use your Instant Pot frequently.

Everyday Instant Pot Cleaning

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure, and this saying rings true when it comes to keeping your Instant Pot in good shape. A deep clean every now and again is essential, but what steps can you take to keep your device cleaner for longer? Here are some things you should be doing after each use.

Wipe Down the Housing Unit

I recommend paying close attention to the housing unit to keep it in proper working order. The housing unit likely lives right on your counter, which means that it’s probably accumulating grease and grime from everything that goes on in your kitchen daily and not just from what you make in the Instant Pot.

Given its propensity to get dirty, it’s best to do a daily clean more or less like what I did in the deep clean. After each use, complete the same wipe down on both the inside and outside with a damp cloth.

Then take a quick moment to remove any residue you see forming in those nooks and crannies, which will make your eventual deep clean much easier.

Put the Inner Pot in the Dishwasher

If you have one, there’s no reason not to put the inner pot in the dishwasher after every use. Not only is it more convenient for you, but it’s also easier to get a better clean this way. And if you notice any discoloration, remove it with the cloth soaked in vinegar as we saw above. 

Give the Inner Ring Some TLC

The inner ring gets neglected during people’s cleaning regimen because it’s not incredibly obvious that you need to clean it. I already explained how important the inner ring is to the proper functioning of your Instant Pot, so make sure to clean it regularly.

You can put it in the dishwasher along with the inner pot, or at the very least make sure to wash it with soap and water. Doing so will help prevent those unpleasant odors from building up and discoloration from forming.

Pro Tip: Moisture can cause smells, so I recommend storing the lid upside down so that the ring can air out.

Don’t Forget the Inside of the Lid

We’ve already said it, but we’ll repeat it: don’t neglect the inside of your Instant Pot lid. Food splatters as it’s cooking, and this area gets quite dirty.

It’s not necessary to stick it in the dishwasher after every use but do take a moment to get rid of the residue or food splatter once you’re done. All you have to do is take a damp cloth to the lid so that it will be spotless and ready for the next time you need your Instant Pot.

Here’s to a Long and Healthy Instant Pot Life

I hope you found all this information about how to clean your Instant Pot helpful. As you can see, deep cleaning this appliance isn’t hard, but it does require some time and attention. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

After all, a little TLC is all you need to keep it looking like new and providing your family with meals for years to come.

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