How to Clean an Instant Pot

These days it feels like I’m always cleaning my Instant Pot. That’s probably because we’ve been using it more to cook at home to save money.

Before the Instapot, we were a slow cooker family. I was terrified of using a pressure cooker as I imagined it exploding all over the kitchen.

Then, Erin Chase introduced me to the Instant Pot, and now we’re hooked. However, what I never properly learned was how to clean an Instant Pot. So, I taught myself.

Now I’m sharing my cleaning tips with you. Because if you’re an Instapot user like I am, then you’ve probably wondered things like if the Instant Pot is dishwasher safe or what you should use to clean its parts.

How to clean an Instant Pot

I realize that Instant Pot the brand makes many more products than the pressure cooker. It also makes an Instant Pot Air Fryer, Instant Pot Toaster Ovens and Instapot Coffee Makers. However, this article is all about how to clean the part of an Instant Pot pressure cooker. That’s what I own.

Here are the parts of the Instant Pot:

  • Instapot pressure cooker lid
  • Condensation collector
  • Stainless steel inner metal pot
  • Instant Pot shell with heating element
  • Silicone ring
  • Anti-block shield

Finally, always unplug your Instant Pot before cooking. In fact, after you’re done using your Instant Pot, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of pulling the plug, just in case.

Is the Instant pot dishwasher safe?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. Yes, the Instant Pot is dishwasher safe but only parts of it. So, also, no, not all parts of the Instapot can go in the dishwasher.

Truth is, I’ve only ever washed the stainless steel inner pot in the dishwasher. Also, once when the condensation collector smelled really bad after my husband soaked beans, I put that in the dishwasher (top rack only).

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However, according to my Instant Pot user manual, it says that the following parts of the Instant Pot are dishwasher safe:

  • Inner pot
  • Pressure cooker lid
  • Accessories

Even though it says that the Instant Pot pressure cooker lid is dishwasher safe, I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. Because when you look at the lid, it isn’t as straightforward as the inner metal pot or the condensation collection. 

Those things are a single item–one pot made of metal and one plastic part.

On the other hand the lid has moving parts, such as the pressure valve release. Also, I get nervous that there might be electrical components in there that can’t get wet in a dishwasher.

instant pot in dishwasher

Truth is, you’re supposed to remove the two components in the lid before washing. Those components are the silicone ring and the anti-block shield.

FYI, the anti-block shield is supposed to block food particles from being released by the steam valve. Can you imagine how gross that would be if the steam valve was spitting out pieces of food while releasing pressure? Blech.

What do you use to clean the Instant Pot

So, even though the manual says the lid can go in the dishwasher, I wash it by hand. And what do I use? Regular dish soap. We’re a Dawn dish soap family.

I don’t soak the lid and, like I said, I don’t put it in the dishwasher. Instead, I’ll use a dish scrubbing brush to get in the nooks and crannies of the cover lid. Then, I’ll rinse with water, and lay flat to dry on a towel.

You can wipe out the “outer” cooking pot and the heating element with a damp cloth. Make sure you dry afterwards to avoid rust.

Steam cleaning with vinegar

Recently, I tried cleaning my Instant Pot with vinegar. Why? Because we’d made a stew with a bunch of spices that pretty much adhered to the inside of the lid and the silicone lid. All of my other cleaning methods couldn’t remove the debris.

This is what I did. One, I poured two cups of white vinegar into the metal inner pot of my Instapot. Two, then I poured four cups of water in. Three, I plugged in the Instant Pot and pressed steam. Finally, I let it run for a two-minute steam cycle.

However, it’s important to note that a two-minute steam cycle does not last two minutes. Just like a 15-minute rice setting on the Instant Pot is more like 30 minutes.

Anyway, the two-minute steam turned into 20-plus minutes. But when it was done, voila, the debris on the inside of my Instant Pot just wiped off. Sure, my kitchen smells like hot vinegar, but I can live with that.

clean an instant pot with vinegar

What NOT to clean your Instant Pot with

However, this is what I do know. My user manual says not to use any harsh chemicals, powers or scouring pads to clean your Instant Pot. 

I take issue with the scouring pads for the metal inner pot. It’s stainless steel so I feel confident that Brillo or SOS pads aren’t going to hurt the metal. However, that’s the only part of my Instant Pot where I would use that.

As far as vinegar goes, I know it’s a good all around cleaner for many things. On the other hand, vinegar can be corrosive. It’s one of the reasons you’re never supposed to clean granite or other stone surfaces with vinegar. It’s possible vinegar could be corrosive to your Instant Pot, too.

How to clean a burned Instant Pot

The only part of my Instant Pot that has ended up burned is the stainless steel inner pot. Usually, this happens when I make rice and don’t put enough water in. Or, I leave the inner pot inside the pressure cooker for too long on “Keep Warm.”

I find that removing the inner pot and soaking it helps to make it easier to clean off the burnt debris. I’ll usually add some Dawn dishwashing liquid and warm water. Then, I’ll let it sit overnight to soak.

In the morning I’ll do one of two things. One, I’ll rinse it out in the sink, and scrub any parts that didn’t come clean from the soaking. Or, two, I’ll empty it out, and pop it in the dishwasher.

vertical burnt instant pot

How to clean an Instant Pot ring

The silicone ring inside your Instant Pot lid plays an important part in cooking. That is, when the lid is on your Instapot, it creates an airtight seal. Without it, your pressure cooker can’t work properly.

Also, because silicone can trap odors, you may be wondering if you can clean the ring. Well, it depends on how old your Instapot and the ring is.

For example, the Instant Pot company recommends that you buy extra silicone rings. Then, replace them every 12 or so months. Or, if you see cracks or fraying, it’s time to replace the ring.

However, I read an article in Real Simple that talked about using the vinegar steaming method I described above to deodorize (i.e. remove the smells from) the silicone ring. And you know what? It worked.

If it hadn’t, though, I would have replaced the ring.

Replacement parts of an Instant Pot

Where can you buy a replacement ring for the Instant Pot pressure cooker? On the Instant Home store on Amazon.

By the way, Instant Home is the parent company of Instant Pot pressure cookers and the whole lining of kitchen appliances they now make and sell.

Finally, the Instant Pot comes with a one-year limited warranty. If for some reason you were to need to take advantage of this warranty, make sure you have the original purchase receipt. The company won’t fix or replace anything without it.

Here are must-have Instant Pot accessories.