Instant Pot Cleaning 101 or a quick and full guide how to clean your Instant Pot including the lid, silicone ring, cooking base, pot and even burnt Instant Pot.
Table of contents
- How to Clean Your Instant Pot
- The Cooking Base
- The Lid
- The Inner Stainless Steel Pot
- Common FAQs
- More Instant Pot Resources
Instant Pot’s construction might look hard to clean but in reality it is not. The best part is that the inner stainless steel pot (liner), the sealing ring, the lid, and the steam rack are all dishwasher safe. However, quite often it is either easier to hand wash them, or there is not enough room in the dishwasher, or your Instant Pot needs a deeper clean.
Dishwasher tip: New dishwasher models are tall tub. However, all Instant Pot parts are quite tall and bulky. After placing the lid or pot into the dishwasher, make sure the lower or upper sprayer arm will spin during the washing cycle. Spin it by hand a few times and make sure it doesn’t touch Instant Pot pot or lid.
How to Clean Your Instant Pot
Here is an overview of how to clean your Instant Pot easy, quick and cheap. Video contains everyday care and a few deep cleaning tips, where as the written post contains extra tips.
Safety tip: Prior to cleaning, ensure the cooker is unplugged and has cooled down.
The Cooking Base
Inside and outside
Inside: Inside of the cooking base does not get very dirty and it is important to keep it dry as that’s where electronics (a microprocessor and heating element) are located. Make sure to remove the debris from inside the base where heating element is located to prevent Burn message. Wipe the walls, top of and under the heating element with slightly damp but not wet cloth.
Heating element tip: I do not recommend to scrub the heating element with any type of cleaner. You can damage it and dirt will still stay on.
Outside: Wipe the shiny stainless steel exterior, display and cord with damp cloth. If you would like a streak free stainless steel look, then use natural all purpose cleaning spray with dry cloth to make the pot shiny. Very wet cloth will leave marks as water dries out.
Very important tip: Do not place the cooking base into the dishwasher because it has a microprocessor and heating element. If it gets wet, allow it to dry completely – watch our video on how to rescue your Instant Pot. You might also have to contact the company for help.
The Ridge (the Lip)
The ridge or also known as the lip, collects moisture from the lid, food debris and dust. Also it becomes “a home” to the soup spills as you plate it.
Take wet soft cloth (optionally with a dish soap) that is flexible and can get in into all the nooks and crannies, and wipe the ridge a few times. I like to use microfiber or cellulose cloth that is flexible and can “fill in” entire width of the lip, so when you wipe it, it is thorough.
Many Instant Pot models have the handles with openings – to hold your lid, did you know that?! Like this!
Instant Pot Lux doesn’t have these handles (just like it’s missing the condensation collection cup) but my 8 quart Duo model does. And they do get dirty eventually, mostly with food spills. To clean inside the handles, just pull the wet cloth through and move it up and down a few times.
The Condensation Cup
Condensation cup collects steam from the lid after cooking. Depending on a model, you might have it (Duo model) or not (Lux model). You can give it a rinse or place on the top rack of your dishwasher on a regular basis. For deep cleaning inside, push in wet soapy cloth with a butter knife and get into all the nooks and crannies, then rinse. Ukrainian hack – I clean many hard to reach areas this way.
Lost or broken condensation cup: You can buy replacement condensation collector cup on Amazon. And that’s the one you see in my photos.
Instant Pot lid has 4 main parts:
- Pressure release valve
- Float valve
- Anti-block shield
- Silicone ring
I would say it’s one of the most complex parts of an electric pressure cooker. Not a simple pot lid, for sure. And it does require the most cleaning time.
Hand wash unassembled Instant Pot lid with hot soapy dish cloth and then rinse. You can also place it in a dishwasher.
Dishwasher tip: Washing Instant Pot lid in the dishwasher on regular basis eventually results in a discoloration and scratching of black plastic parts. But it is quick and easy, for sure. I do it sometimes.
Every few weeks, disassemble the lid by removing the silicone ring, pressure release valve and float valve. Deep clean those areas and assemble back. Silicone ring gets discoloured, cracked and stretched, and eventually has to be replaced. See Instant Pot guide when and how to change it.
The anti-block shield has to be cleaned more like once a month or immediately after cooking starchy foods like Instant Pot mac and cheese or Instant Pot mashed potatoes. To remove the anti-block shield, using your thumb, push the side of it towards the lid rim and lift up. It may take a little effort but it should pop out. Wash with warm soapy water, dry and push down to place back.
Assembly tip: As you disassemble the lid, take a visual and mental note how it was assembled, so it will be easier for you to put all pieces back together.
How to Clean Instant Pot Ring and Remove the Odors
Instant Pot’s silicone ring is porous and absorbs odours easily that cannot be removed with dish or dishwasher soap. However, good news is it usually does not affect the taste of food. For example, lid after cooking Instant Pot beef stew can be hand washed and used for making Instant Pot oatmeal without sweet porridge tasting like garlick-y stew.
Silicone ring tip: Any cooking utensil and silicone sealing ring washed in a dishwasher with mainstream dishwasher detergent, will absorb the taste and smell of synthetic fragrances. It is because silicone material is very porous. To avoid this unpleasantry and for health reasons, we use this natural dishwasher detergent and it works wonderful!
To remove the odour from the sealing ring, soak it in a solution of cold water and vinegar overnight, about every few months or as often as you wish. Place ring in the inner pot of Instant Pot or large bowl, cover will cold water until it is fully submerged, and add 1 cup white vinegar. Leave on the counter overnight, then rinse and make sure to place back in the lid correctly and most importantly tight.
Storage tip: Storing lid upside down allows air to flow through and helps to eliminate cooking smell from the Instant Pot’s inner pot and the lid.
The Inner Stainless Steel Pot
Inner pot (liner) is made of food grade stainless steel without any coatings which makes cooking healthy and pot lasting for years. Washing with hot soapy water or in a dishwasher is all it needs on a regular day-to-day basis. It will look like this.
“Rainbow” discoloration that you see in the photo is caused by minerals or salt in food and water and is normal as soon as after the first use of Instant Pot. Also, some foods dry out and leave build up on the walls that needs scrubbing. So, occasionally, it is a good idea to deep clean the pot and here are 2 methods I use.
How to Clean Tough Stains with Baking Soda
For a quick and natural deep clean, use baking soda, a little bit of water and a scrubbing pad or cloth. Avoid steel wool pad as it will scarth the pot.
- You want to make the pot just wet inside and dump the water out – so baking soda doesn’t dissolve in water losing its scrubbing ability.
- Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of baking soda inside the pot.
- Scrub with damp (not wet to avoid baking soda dissolving) pad or cloth until clean.
- Rinse and dry – you won’t see if “rainbow” spots are gone until you dry the pot.
Final verdict: This is what pot looks like when cleaned with baking soda – cleaner than with dish soap but you can still see the discoloration.
How to Clean Tough Stains with Bar Keeper’s Friend
For next level shiny pot, we love to use Bar Keeper’s Friend powder or liquid cleaner. Also don’t forget the bottom of the pot on the outside, if you are a Mr. Clean like me.
- Spray or sprinkle small amount of Bar Keeper’s Friend inside the dry pot.
- Scrub with damp (not wet to avoid diluting the cleaning power) pad or cloth until clean.
- Rinse a few times very well.
Final verdict: And here is how shiny and spotless stainless steel pot looks like when cleaned with Bar Keeper’s Friend. Definitely, it is more powerful than baking soda. I prefer cream to powder cleaner because it scratches less, which is particularly important when cleaning quartz countertops.
How to Clean Burnt Instant Pot
If “oops” happened and you burnt food in your Instant Pot, one of the steps to remediate the error is to clean the pot and start over. To clean up bits and pieces of burnt food from the bottom of your stainless steel inner pot, plain old dish soap and cloth will not work. Here is how to clean burnt Instant Pot in 4 quick and easy steps:
- Fill the pot with hot water and let it sit for 5 minutes – this will help to loosen up food from the pot.
- Drain the water and scrape most of the burnt food with wooden spatula or spoon.
- Finally, finish by cleaning with cloth or scrub with baking soda.
Avoid scratches: Do not scrape the bottom of stainless steel pot with metal spoon or knife to prevent scratches.
Learn more troubleshooting tips here from how to avoid burn to why your Instant Pot is not sealing!
It is best not to. SOS pad is abrasive steel wool cleaning pad saturated with soap that will scratch and damage the stainless steel liner. Please see above how to clean the pot with baking soda or Bar Keeper’s Friend. Also do not clean inside or the outside of Instant Pot housing unit with the SOS pad.
There are 2 popular ways to clean your Instant Pot with vinegar. It helps to remove odours from all parts of Instant Pot and the discoloration from the liner.
#1. Add 2 cups of white vinegar and cut-up lemon rind, close the lid, set valve to Sealing and press “Steam” for 2 minutes. After allow the pressure release naturally, open the lid, drain the liquid, rinse the pot and allow the lid to air dry.
#2. Add enough white vinegar to cover the bottom of stainless steel pot. let sit for 15 minutes, drain and rinse. The discoloration marks should be gone.
Hope you enjoyed my real life tutorial on how to clean Instant Pot. Do you have any Instant Pot cleaning tips for us? Please leave a comment.