The pressure cooker is the answer to delicious meals done in a flash. And you don’t have to worry about clean-up either. With its removable and washable parts, learning how to clean an instant pot is quick and easy, too.
All it takes is the right cleaning tools and techniques. This step-by-step guide should keep your multifunctional partner cooking at its best!
1. Unplug and Cool Down
Before enjoying your pressure-cooked dish with the family, see to it that you turn off and unplug your instant pot first. That way, your appliance has enough time to cool down before cleaning.
When you’re ready, prep your cleaning tools. Honestly, it’s not that hard to know how to clean an instant pot and make it a habit. That’s because it doesn’t require any specialised tools or expensive cleaning agents.
You probably have them in your house cleaning arsenal already. These include degreasing dish soap, a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush, dish towel or microfiber cloth, and white vinegar.
2. Wipe Down the Base and Rim
Take out the stainless-steel pot and lid, then grab a slightly damp cloth or paper towel to clean the lip and exterior. Remember, the appliance housing contains the heating element and electronics. So, make sure not to put it in contact with water.
In case your soft cloth cannot remove stuck-on food splatters, a small scrubbing brush or toothbrush should do the trick. After that, wipe the rim again with a dry cloth to prevent rusting.
You might want to wash the condensation collector cup at the side of your instant pot, too. Empty it before putting it in the dishwasher or handwashing it in soapy water.
Afterwards, use a damp cloth to wipe down the electric cord.
3. Wash the Inner Pot and Steam Rack
The pot and rack are the easiest to clean as they are usually dishwasher-safe. But do check your product manual first. You can also wash these parts by hand with soap and water if you want. Avoid using steel wool, though, as it can scratch the pot lining.
Over time and several washes later, you might notice that your pressure cooker pot is no longer that easy to scrub clean. Here are some cleaning problems you’ll likely encounter and how to solve them:
- Water stains. At times, these spots will look like a bluish discolouration on the stainless-steel pot. You can remove these by soaking the cooking pot in white vinegar for about 5 minutes. For tough stains, scrub them with a vinegar-soaked sponge before rinsing. You can also use a non-abrasive cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend.
- Food stains. While cleaning your Instant Pot base, soak the pot in soap and warm water to soften the stuck-on junk or burned-on food residue. Then use a sponge to scrub the stain away. A sprinkle of non-abrasive cleanser, and a little elbow grease, also works for stubborn grime.
4. Clean the Lid and Its Parts
This one perhaps is the most challenging part of learning how to clean an instant pot. However, if you do it right, you’ll prevent food build-up and off-odours. Here are the things you need to do:
- Remove the anti-block shield. Use your thumb to push and pop it off. This small nub covers the float valve from the inside. Once removed, wash it in warm, soapy water, then rinse and dry. Place the anti-block shield somewhere safe to avoid misplacing it.
- Clean the silicone sealing ring. Make sure to inspect for warping or any damage after every use. This part is heat resistant, so it is dishwasher-safe. But you can also handwash it in soapy water.
- Wash the lid. Depending on your electric pressure cooker model, some instant pot lids are top-rack dishwasher-safe. But if not, wash it in warm, soapy water. Don’t forget to inspect the steam release valve after cleaning to ensure it is free from food particles.
5. Reassemble and Store
Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble your instant pot lid components and put the inner pot back into the base. Place your pressure cooker into the cabinet or onto your bench. Now, you have a sparkling clean instant pot ready for your next meal!
Cleaning Tips and FAQs
This section might help if you need more tips on how to clean an instant pot.
How often should I clean my instant pot?
You need to wash all components of your instant that come into contact with food after every use. This practice should prevent food build-up that can clog the pressure or steam valve. Removing all food residue should prevent funky odour and bacterial growth, too.
How can I remove the food smell from the sealing ring?
Soak the silicone ring in white vinegar, wash it in soapy water, then air dry. You can also try the steam cleaning technique. Here, pour 2 cups of water or white vinegar into the pot, add some lemon rind, then run the steam cycle for about 2 minutes.
Ideally, use one sealing ring for savoury meals and another one for sweet dishes. That way, you can avoid cross-contamination of cooking smells.
What do I do if I accidentally burn my pressure cooker pot?
Put enough water plus some baking soda and dish soap into the cooking pot. Then boil the soapy water with pressure for about 3 minutes. After the pressure release, wash and scrub the inner pot to remove the softened burnt-on food.
To avoid burning your pot again, make sure to add enough cooking liquid or thin out thick liquids before pressure cooking. You can also deglaze the cooking pot after sauteing or searing meat to loosen the brown food bits at the bottom.
Lastly, always secure the lid. If you do not seal it well, the liquid will evaporate, and your food will likely burn.