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Having a pressure cooker such as Instant Pot can make your mundane activities such as cooking a walk in the park. From helping you cook dishes like rice and chicken to allowing you to satisfy your sweet tooth with brownies and cakes, this effective gadget can without a shade of doubt handle almost everything you throw at it. However, as powerful as it might be, every Instant Pot machine requires regular maintenance for proper functioning. This means washing the parts of your machine as soon as you finish cooking and giving it a deep-cleaning once a month.

Cleaning an Instant Pot: Step-By-Step Guide

Below, we prepared a comprehensive step-by-step guide for you to learn how to clean the Instant Pot quickly and effectively.

What You Need

  • Warm soapy water
  • White vinegar and baking soda
  • Clean, soft cloth
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Soft toothbrush

Do not use steel wool, abrasive cleaners, or other scrubbers that could ruin the lining of your pot.

Step One: Unplug the Instant Pot

The key thing to remember about any unit with an electrical outlet is to unplug it before cleaning.

Step Two: Clean the Inner Pot

The best part about the inner pot is that is dishwasher safe, no matter if it’s aluminum or uses stainless steel materials. Rinse it out and place it upside down on the lower rack to wash.

If, however, you prefer the handwashing method, use hot soapy water to clean it while getting the stuck-on pieces of food out by scrubbing with baking soda. Create a solution of three parts warm water to one part baking soda and scrub with a soft-bristled bottle brush to preserve the surface of your pot. Rinse it well and wipe down its interior and exterior surfaces using a soft dry cloth.

Boiling Method

The boiling method is perhaps the easiest way to get rid of burnt-on food as it loosens the burnt-on food particles for effortless cleaning. Boil some water in the inner pot for several minutes and then

Step Three: Wash the Sealing Ring

The sealing ring can absorb odors from strong-smelling foods such as garlic or onion. Throw it in the dishwasher or wash it by hand to get rid of these odors. In case you are still noticing lingering odors after a thorough wash, try the following tips.

  • Mix one part of white vinegar with one part of water (possibly two cups of each liquid) into the Instant Pot, adding a roughly chopped lemon rind.
  • Run the steam program for somewhere around two minutes.
  • Once the program finishes, remove the ring and let it air dry.

Although the odor absorbing properties of white vinegar have proven themselves highly efficient time and again, it is pretty challenging to fully eliminate some odors. This is why we recommend replacing the ring every six months to a year if you don’t want any lingering odors to crosscontaminate your food.

Step Four: Remove and Wash the Tiny Parts From Your Lid

Cleaning the lid doesn’t require frequent removal of all parts, however, if you want to be more thorough, you might want to disassemble a few key parts from its exterior and clean them separately.

  • Inspect the float valve and the steam release valve to make sure whether they are free of any food particles.
  • Remove any tiny parts from the interior such as the anti-block shield, a silicone nub that prevents food particles from interfering with the steam release valve, to inspect more thoroughly for any clogs. Using your thumb, push the anti-block shield towards the outer edge of the lid firmly but carefully and it should pop right off.
  • Another small part to remove is the silicon cap that covers the float valve.
  • Although machine washable, we recommend putting these tiny parts in warm soapy water and cleaning them thoroughly using a toothbrush.

Step Five: Clean the Lid

After removing the sealing ring and all the small parts, place the lid in the top rack of your dishwasher to give it a proper wash. If, however, a dishwasher is not an option, use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of any remaining food particles. Allow the lid to fully dry before putting the pieces back together by turning it like a steering wheel over your sink.

Step Six: Wash the Condensation Cup

If the Instant Pot you are using has a flat plastic cup that collects water droplets at the rear of the cooker base, make sure to remove and clean it after each use. The reason for this is that it collects a hodgepodge of food particles which can promote mold growth when combined with moisture.

The best part about cleaning the condensation cup is that it is dishwasher safe but cleaning it by hand is also a breeze. Wash it in soapy water and make sure to rinse it well before putting it back on the machine.

Step Seven: Clean the Cooker Base and Heating Element

The cooker base requires the most care when cleaning the Instant Pot as it is not dishwasher safe. Use a slightly dampened soft cloth to wipe down the exterior and inside lip of the base. Make sure to always keep this part dry as it houses the heating element and electronics.

Step Nine: Plug the Machine in an Electric Outlet

Once every nook and cranny is fully dry, you can freely plug the machine back in an electric outlet. Make sure to push the power cord firmly all the way into the cooker base to ensure safety.

Tips to Keep Your Machine Clean Longer

  • Remove undesirable odors by soaking the rings overnight in a 1:1 distilled vinegar and water solution.
  • Most machines come with two rings, and for a good reason too. Switch them for sweet and savory dishes to help prevent cross-contamination of odors and flavors.
  • Never clean the inner surfaces of the Instant Pot with an abrasive sponge as it may damage the mirror finish.

When to Replace My Instant Pot?

Even though Instant Pot does not release any information about the life expectancy of its pressure cookers, the fact that they use high-end materials indicates that their Instant Pot is most likely to last for several years, of course, with proper care. Do note, though, that you might need to replace certain parts such as the silicone ring every two to three years in order to keep the machine efficient.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how the whole Instant Pot cleaning process goes and are going to use the knowledge to not only prolong its lifespan but enjoy foods free of cross-contamination as well.

The best part about this machine is that the majority of its parts are dishwasher safe (except the cooker base and the heating element). Whether you use the dishwasher or wash its bits and pieces by hand, make sure they are fully dry before putting them back together. The last but not least key thing to remember is to always unplug the device before washing.

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