Spoiler alert: Maybe don't eat lunch while reading this article, especially if you cooked that lunch in what you thought was a clean Instant Pot. Also, plan on cleaning your Instant Pot now. Darcy Lenz on MyRecipes.com noted that a friend of hers didn't clean the condensation collector on her Instant Pot and then found maggots growing in it.
No jokes about a little extra protein, please. This sight is not one you want to see in an appliance you use to cook meals. In order to save you from this experience, let's talk about how to clean your Instant Pot. These cleaning tips will help you prevent both bug-related disasters and simple problems like food odors.
First, if your Instant Pot has detachable accessories, these are pieces you want to clean every time you use the appliance. You might simply clean out the inner pot and wipe down the outside after each use, but while that gets the big stuff, it leaves things like food particles and moisture in parts of the appliance.
You need to deep clean the machine from time to time, but things like the condensation collector and anti-block shield should be cleaned every time you use your magic cooking machine.
Tips for Cleaning Your Instant Pot
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The good folks at Instant Pot have provided cleaning tips for each part of your machine, so if you've lost your instruction booklet, here are the ways to get a truly clean Instant Pot.
Cooker Base and Heating Element
You can wipe this down with a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel--after unplugging it, please--but don't get it wet. I hope it goes without saying that this piece should never ever go into the dishwasher, but just in case: Don't put the base and heating element into the dishwasher.
Use a small brush or a toothbrush to clean food particles stuck around the lip of the cooker.
Inner Pot and Steam Rack
This part you can put into the dishwasher since both are dishwasher safe stainless steel. You can also hand wash it with dish soap, or place a cup of vinegar inside for five minutes, then rinse thoroughly. The stainless steel inner pot fits perfectly in the dishwasher with your other cookware.
Instant Pot Lid
You can run the lid through the top rack of the dishwasher but it's best to remove the sealing ring and anti-block shield so that the lid gets clean all the way through. Reassembling this is easy too.
You want to make sure that the quick release steam release valve and float valve are completely clean. These items are another bad place for food particles to get stuck; if these valves are blocked, the Instant Pot sealing isn't as effective. Since it's a pressure cooker, an ineffective seal on the steam valve means the machine doesn't work properly. A simple scrub with warm soapy water is all it needs.
Silicone Sealing Ring
Hand wash the silicone ring with soapy water or in the dishwasher. Make sure it's completely dry before you put it back in place in the lid. You can also soak the ring in white vinegar to help remove any food odors or help with any discoloration.
Hand wash with warm, soapy water, then dry with a soft cloth before you put it back in place.
Back where we started, you now know that you really, really should remove this piece and wash it every time. However, the really important thing is to let it dry completely before putting it back in place. Trapped food residue + moisture + heat = let's just not go there, shall we?