Your Instant Pot is gross—here's how to clean the whole thing
Stop putting it off, already.
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I am way, way too into my Instant Pot. I've had the popular electric pressure cooker for nearly a year, and I think I've used it at least three times a week since the day it arrived on my doorstep. It's been a great way to try new recipes and make foods I otherwise would not have time for.
But even though it cuts down on the number of dishes we have to do, the Instant Pot itself gets really dirty really quickly. And not just the easy-to-clean part, either—the whole entire contraption starts to collect little bits of food, drips, and splatters. If you're anything like me, you'll wash the essentials, but leave the rest there to "deal with it later" and then never get around to it. After all, these stains and spills don't actually impact your ability to cook, but they are very unsightly and probably not that sanitary if I'm being honest with my gross self.
I've recently been pressuring myself (ha!) to keep my home clean instead of just tidy. And my Instant Pot is the first big project I decided to tackle. I'd been dreading it for months, but all said and done, it only took me about 15 minutes to get everything spotless, and I hand-washed every piece, too.
What you'll need:
- A dirty Instant Pot
- Dish soap
- Baking soda
- A scratch-free scouring pad or sponge
- A toothbrush, small bottle brush, or Q-Tips
- All-purpose cleaner or cleaning wipes
- Paper towels
- A dishwasher (optional)
Where to start
After you've cooked a meal, you should clean your Instant Pot right away. That way, everything is still warm and any food bits stuck to your device will be easier to un-stick, making the whole process a lot less painstaking.
The first thing you want to do is unplug your Instant Pot—never, and I mean NEVER, attempt to clean an electric device while it's still plugged in. It's common sense, but we all forget things sometimes. Don't forget this.
Next, disassemble your Instant Pot. Put the inner pot, lid, sealing ring, sealing valve, rubber valve cover (if applicable), condensation cup, and any accessories you may have used in the sink. Plug the drain, fill it (and the inner pot) with hot, soapy water, and let it all soak.
Cleaning the base
While that's going, turn your attention to the exterior base. Just as you don't want to leave your Instant Pot plugged in while you're cleaning it, you also don't want to submerge the base in water. This is where all the electrical components live, and it is most certainly not waterproof.
So we can't just scrub it clean with a sponge and soapy water, and we definitely can't stick it in the dishwasher. Instead, we'll have to do a little spot cleaning using a small brush, Q-Tips, paper towels, baking soda, and household cleaner.
Tackle the grossest part first
I used a teaspoon to sprinkle baking soda along the divot between the interior and exterior and then dribbled some water all around it too. This was probably the most disgusting part of cleaning my Instant Pot.
The baking soda helped to unstick stubborn grime, but prepare yourself for some gross-looking gunk (I spared you photos of that part). Take a paper towel and start dredging the sludge. For really stubborn areas, grab your brush and scrub away until it lifts. If it's still not working, add a little more baking soda and water and let it sit for a few minutes.
I haven't cleaned that part of my Instant Pot ever (I know, I know), and I didn't need to unstick anything with the brush. However, having a straw/bottle brush on hand was great for cleaning the hole where the excess liquid runs into the condensation cup.
Tidy up those cosmetic stains and spills
After that, I used a damp paper towel to scrub away some drips and stains from the interior of the base. You don't want to use too much liquid, as it could drip into places liquid shouldn't me. If you encounter stubborn stains here, a sponge or scratch-free scouring pad should do the trick.
The last step is to clean off the exterior. For this, I spritzed some of my favorite all-natural cleaner on a paper towel and wiped down the entire exterior, including the buttons and display screen. You could also easily use pre-soaked cleaning wipes with the same outcome.
Wash the rest
If you, like me, would rather be anywhere but stooped over the sink scrubbing dishes, you'll be happy to know that most of the dirtiest parts can be tossed right into the dishwasher. The inner pot, the sealing lid, and most all accessories are dishwasher safe. Just make sure to put the lid on the top rack only. The other pieces require more hands-on attention, mainly because they're too small to be machine washed.
Clean these like you would any other dirty dish, using mild dish soap and a soft sponge. The sealing valve cover is super tiny, so be careful you don't lose it down the drain by mistake like I almost did.
Get rid of stubborn smells
The sealing ring and sealing valve cover are made of silicone, which is porous and thus tends to attract smells. While we recommend having a backup sealing ring (especially if you make a lot of sweet and savory foods in your pressure cooker), you can get these things pretty clean. First, scrub them well with soapy water. The toothbrush could work, especially for the sealing valve cover, and a regular scrubbing brush is fine for the ring.
If that doesn't work, sprinkle on some baking soda and give them another good scrub. The last thing you can try for truly stubborn odors is soaking them in a bath of vinegar water for a couple hours (yes, hours). Then rinse them and let them air dry.
Put it all back together
When everything is done and dry, you can reassemble it and put it away. Everything can air dry, but if you've got hard water, a wipe-down with a good microfiber towel couldn't hurt to speed up the process and keep things spotless.
That's it! You've done it! You can now bask in the shining glory of your hard work. And the next time you make a delicious recipe in your Instant Pot, you'll be able to clean the whole thing quickly and easily.
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