This post shows how to clean an Instant Pot with vinegar. See how to deep clean an Instant Pot ring, lid, base, and exterior; even what you can put in the dishwasher.
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I feel like two of my blogging worlds are coming together today! 🙂 For years, I've blogged extensively about both cleaning and Instant Pot cooking – well, today, we're going to combine those two big topics into one post.
Small appliances like the Instant Pot can easily be looked over when cleaning the kitchen. I don't know about you guys, but things like my Instant Pot and my Crock Pot are the items that get the dirtiest just from how frequently I use them. It's important to remember those small appliances! That's why I have that specific task written into my cleaning schedule and make it a point to give those gadgets a little love once a month.
How Do You Clean an Instant Pot?
If you're new to the Instant Pot world, learning how to clean an Instant Pot might feel daunting. It isn't, promise. You just have to know the specific steps needed to safely and effectively clean your pressure cooker. It's not hard at all to maintain your Instant Pot so you can get years and years of use out of it.
Before we get going, a quick note – I have the Instant Pot Duo 6 quart, but I believe these directions work for most Instant Pot models.
First, of course, let's take a look at the before pictures of my Instant Pot. I use it to test my freezer meal recipes almost daily (at least 3-4 times a week), so it sees a ton of use. Of course it's going to be kind of messy.
So nothing major, but you can see a few spills, stuck on food, splatters, and general residue all over. The lid, the sealing ring, and that inner rim usually take the brunt of the messes, so those are the areas I focus on most. I usually do this Instant Pot deep cleaning about once a month (on my Journey to Clean small appliance day during kitchen week).
How to Clean an Instant Pot
Step 1: Take the steam valve & silicone ring Off the Lid
One of the biggest questions I've seen about this process is how to clean an Instant Pot lid. It looks a little intimidating…it looks complicated! In reality, it's just a big piece of metal with a few gadgets to allow the pressure cooker to seal. So, first thing's first – yes, you can put several pieces of the Instant Pot in the dishwasher! Obviously the electric base with the heating element isn't dishwasher-safe, but most everything else can be placed in a dishwasher to easily and effectively get them clean.
You'll need to take a few things off of the lid before you clean it. Take the pressure release valve off of the top (like I've shown in the picture above) by simply pulling it. It just has a magnetic connection, so it should come off without any real force. Either rinse the steam release valve off by hand with a little bit of soapy water or throw it in the utensil bin of the dishwasher. Mine normally doesn't get that dirty, so I just rinse it off and set it aside.
You will sometimes see recommendations to disassemble the interior of the lid by taking the anti block shield (that round cap underneath the steam release valve) off. I've never found this to get really dirty, so I skip that step. However, it might be worth checking your anti block shield for any food residue.
Take the silicone sealing ring out of the inside edge of your lid (it should pull out with a little bit of force). You can see that mine is pretty discolored from 5+ years of use – that happens over time and is totally normal. (I recommend having a separate silicone sealing ring for both sweet and savory foods. These sealing rings are notorious for retaining the odors of foods. If you notice your food tasting odd or the sealing ring retaining your food smells, you can always replace it. Most of the time it just needs to be cleaned though!)
Step 2: Clean Some Lid Elements in the Dishwasher
I put both my sealing ring and my lid in the top rack of the dishwasher. If there is food residue or spills on the lid, give it a light scrub in soapy water first to loosen up and grease and grime.
Of course, you always have the option to hand wash the pieces of your Instant Pot if you're not comfortable with putting them in the dishwasher or just don't have a dishwasher. Submerge the lid, silicone ring, condensation collector, and float valve in soapy water, scrubbing with a brush or sponge to remove any burnt-on food or spills. Allow these elements to air dry before putting them back on an Instant Pot.
Step 3: Remove Plastic Condensation Collector from the back
Once you remove both the steam valve and the rubber sealing ring from the lid, you can pop the condensation collector off and put it in the top rack of your dishwasher as well. Most people don't know what this thing is. The condensation collector is just what it sounds like – a small cup on the back of your Instant Pot that collects any extra moisture during cooking. You'll quickly realize that it can get kind of gross. Not only does it collect condensation, but will usually have grease or food particles as well. It can be easy to forget, but it can be one of the dirtiest parts – don't skip this step!
Step 4: Dump the Burnt Food Particles Out of the Instant Pot Base
This might seem straight-forward – but turn the whole heating element (main) part over and dump any burnt food particles in the trash. This goes a long way to making sure you're only cleaning the stuck-on food.
(I'm doing this without the stainless steel inner pot in the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot liner is something that should be cleaned every time you cook! Simply throw it in the dishwasher. I even have an extra one so I always have one ready to use, even if the original stainless steel liner is dirty from the night before.)
This simple dump will get rid of a lot of the food remnants in the bottom of your Instant Pot base and in the outer rim.
Step 5: Clean the Nooks, Crannies, and Surfaces of the Cooker Base
Now we're doing the actual cleaning of the Instant Pot's cooker base!
The hardest part figuring out how to clean an Instant Pot is that little rim around the outside of the base. It's narrow, so difficult to access, but can trap a lot of stray food pieces. To clean that, I wet a paper towel with a white vinegar/water mixture and use a fork to kind of wedge the paper towel in the lip, gently scrubbing back and forth. (See picture above.) The surface inside that rim is surprisingly nonstick, so this trick usually gets all of the spills and leftover food out.
After that, it's easy! I use that same white vinegar/water mixture to wipe the inside and outside of the Instant Pot (in circular motions). You might see a little bit of scorching on the heating element at the bottom of the inside of the base. Again, this is normal. As long as there is no burnt on food on this, a little discoloration isn't going to hurt anything. If it does bother you, try gently scrubbing with a vinegar and water solution. Allow any moisture on the inside of the Instant Pot to air dry before using or storing your cooker.
Step 6: Clean the Exterior of the Instant Pot
Wipe the exterior of the Instant Pot with circular motions so you don't have leftover water stains on the stainless steel. I don't recommend using any abrasive cleaners to clean the Instant Pot's exterior; those harsher cleaners could easily scratch the stainless steel exterior. A simple mixture of vinegar and water on a damp cloth or paper towel works!
Step 7: Reassemble
Once your lid, silicone ring, float valve, and condensation collector come out of the dishwasher, reattach the sealing ring and the valve, add the condensation collector to the back of the pot, and you're done!
See? The Instant Pot looks so much better after a good deep cleaning. You're ready for another month of lots and lots of Instant Pot cooking.
Thanks for stopping by today! I hope this tutorial on how to clean an Instant Pot was helpful.