Cleaning an instant pot seems super simple. You just remove the inside pot, clean it out, and put it back, right? Wrong! Maintaining an instant pot and keeping it in good condition requires a bit of care, but even though there are few more steps involved, it’s still quite an easy process.
Because an instant pot is, in essence, a glorified, multipurpose pressure cooker, a thorough clean is absolutely essential if you want to keep your instant pot working at optimum capacity. Check out these cleaning processes and tips to keep your instant pot squeaky clean!
Everyday cleaning of an instant pot should be done after each use. Cleaning the instant pot immediately after each use is vital to maintaining the appliance’s cleanliness and also for keeping it in good functioning.
The process of cleaning an instant pot after use is quite simple. Clean it like you would most other appliances! Follow the instructions below for a generally approved everyday cleaning process that can be used after every instant pot use:
1. Rinse the inside cook pot and then put it in the dishwasher to be cleaned, or clean it by hand with a soft, non-abrasive sponge. If you have a dishwasher though and the inside pot is dishwasher safe (most are), take the high road and use your dishwasher!
2. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the inside and outside of the instant pot. Get off all the food stains and spots that might be present so that the appliance looks sharp and is truly clean and ready for the next use.
3. Don’t forget the sealing ring! After every use, make sure to remove the sealing ring and wash it thoroughly to remove stuck food and prevent buildups. The sealing ring can be washed either by hand or in the top rack of the dishwasher.
4. Clean the instant pot lid. So many people forget this crucial step, but giving the instant pot lid a good, quick wash can make all the difference in maintaining a sparkly clean, high functioning instant pot.
If an instant pot is cleaned every time it’s used and immediately following each use, the appliance’s lifespan will be much longer. Plus, the time required for the deep cleaning process will be dramatically reduced and you’ll enjoy a cleaner, healthier instant pot.
Owners of instant pots should expect to deep clean their instant pots approximately once every couple of weeks or once a month. This keeps the instant pot truly fresh and reduces the possibility of the formation of yucky residues or strange food odors. It’s an excellent practice.
Deep cleaning is a term that usually incites some degree of fear and nervousness in the hearts of cooks and homemakers, but fear not, because deep cleaning an instant pot is actually simple! These instructions will take you through the process beginning to end:
1. Unplug your instant pot to make sure that you won’t run into any accidental damages to the machinery by way of electricity. Plus, this gives you the change to clean off the power cord too, if you wish.
2. Just like with the everyday cleaning, use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside and outside of the housing unit for the instant pot. Find a small brush (a paintbrush is good) to brush into all the hard-to-reach areas to dislodge anything that’s stuck.
After using the damp cloth to clean the steel housing unit, use another dry cloth (microfiber is a good choice) to dry the unit. This makes sure that there’s no possibility of rusting and it also helps reduce the chance of there being water spots leftover.
3. Wash the lid thoroughly. The best way to clean the instant pot lid is by using a non-abrasive sponge, soap, and warm or hot water. The soap will get off residue and the hot water will kill germs.
4. Examine and clean the small parts of the instant pot. This includes specifically the Quick Release handle and the steam valve. Sometimes tiny pieces of food can get stuck in these small areas, so doing a careful cleaning of these spaces can make a huge difference.
Clean the Quick Release handle with warm water and soap. Next, clean the steam valve itself as well as the steam cover on the inside of the lid. Finally, examine the condensation cup and clean it warm, soapy water if needed.
5. Clean the sealing ring well. When examining the sealing ring, check to see if there is any discoloration or cracking. If there is, it may be time to get a new sealing ring, and this should be made a priority before using the instant pot the next time.
The sealing ring can be cleaned in the dishwasher, or it can be steam cleaned using vinegar. Read the section on steam cleaning for more information on how to steam clean the sealing ring properly.
6. Wash the inner pot and any other accessories that may rest inside the inner pot (such as a steam rack). These parts can be washed in the sink or in the dishwasher. After washing, wipe them down with vinegar using a paper towel to create a shiny finish.
7. Put the instant pot back together again. Of course, at the end of a deep cleaning the instant pot is likely to be almost entirely disassembled, so at the end you must put all the pieces back together to prepare the appliance for its next use.
Steam Cleaning the Instant Pot
Steam cleaning an instant pot is a good way to remove undesirable food odors or stains from the sealing ring or the surface of the inside pot. It’s a simple procedure that takes very little time, so it’s a great thing to do from time to time, especially when you do your monthly deep clean.
To steam clean an instant pot, you’ll need 1 cup of water, 1 cup of vinegar, and some lemon peels and/or lemon oil. The process takes about 15 minutes (counting drying time) and is extremely effective, especially when it’s performed regularly.
1. Pour the water and vinegar into the instant pot cooking pot and add the lemon peels and/or a few drops of lemon oil. Mix the ingredients together, then close the instant pot lid and secure the appliance.
2. When the lid is closed, run the instant pot on its “Steam” setting for approximately 2 minutes, then turn the unit off and allow the pressure and steam to release naturally without any hurry.
3. After the instant pot unlocks, immediately remove the sealing ring (be careful to not burn your fingers!) and set it on a cloth to air dry. Pour out the water-vinegar-lemon mixture, rinse with fresh water, and pat dry with a non-abrasive cloth.
The combined use of water, vinegar, and lemons make this an ideal deep clean method because of the properties that vinegar and lemons have in the process. Vinegar and lemons both have excellent function in this process.
Vinegar purifies and reduces water stains. Plus, vinegar can help break down tough residues and it helps disinfect surfaces. Meanwhile, the lemons add a nice smell to the clean instant pot, and they have disinfectant properties. Combined, lemon and vinegar are an unstoppable pair.
Removing Stains from the Cook Pot
Sometimes, stubborn stains or bits of dried on food stick to the inside of the cooking pot. Some foods, like rice, can cause particularly difficult cleaning situations. With regular cleaning, these problems aren’t as likely to happen, but there are times when you need to deep clean.
There are two common situations:
1. Blue stains – these appear on the interior walls of the cook pot from time to time. They can be remedied best by following the vinegar steam clean detailed above. Alternatively, for stubborn stains, use a sponge soaked in vinegar to scrub out the stains.
2. Dried on food/burnt residue – The first step to resolving this situation is by soaking the instant pot in a solution of soap and warm water to loosen up the sticky bits. Afterwards, it should be easier to clean. The Barkeeper’s Friend is a product that does the job, too.
Blue stains on the outside of the cook pot or on the exterior of the instant pot can also be removed using vinegar. Soap and warm water (and/or The Barkeeper’s Friend) can also be used, along with a little scrubbing, to remove stuck food on the instant pot exterior.
Cleaning an instant pot is a generally easy task to manage, even for the busiest of people. The steps are clean and straightforward and the deep cleaning strategies take very little time and use common household items.
The care and maintenance of an instant pot doesn’t have to be a chore if the cleaning is done properly on a schedule and after every use the pot is cleaned right away. Instant pots are designed for efficiency, and indeed every step of the way they’re highly efficient!