Keep your pressure cooker performing at its best with these easy cleaning tips.

By Jessica Bennett
November 20, 2019
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The pressure cooker is the superhero of kitchen appliances. It's our go-to gadget for whipping up quick-and-easy weeknight meals and delicious desserts in record time. It can make yogurt, cook eggs, and perform a list of other surprising tricks that make our lives easier. This multifunctional appliance can pretty much do it all, but it needs regular upkeep to continue cooking at its best. Lucky for you, cleaning an Instant Pot is a fairly simple process. Because most of the components—including the inner cooking pot, sealing ring, and lid—are easily removable and washable, cleanup is easy. See our step-by-step instructions on the best way to clean an Instant Pot.

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How to Clean an Instant Pot

Use our tested method for cleaning and caring for your pressure cooker.

What You Need

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Dishtowel or microfiber cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush or toothbrush
  • Dishwasher (optional)
  • White distilled vinegar

Step 1: Unplug and Disassemble

Make sure your Instant Pot is unplugged and cooled down before you begin cleaning. Remove the lid, steam rack, and inner stainless-steel pot from the exterior cooker base. You might also want to check for damage to the cord or any needed repairs at this time.

Related: How to Use an Instant Pot to Make Cooking Faster

Step 2: Clean Instant Pot Base

Much like a slow cooker, the base of your pressure cooker contains the heating element and electronic components, so this part should never be submerged in water or placed in the dishwasher. To clean the Instant Pot base, wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth to remove crumbs or food splatters. If you need to clean the inside of the cooking base, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe it down and dry the interior immediately. Clean the recessed area around the lip of the base with a small scrubbing brush or toothbrush to remove any stuck-on food.

Step 3: Wash Inner Pot and Steam Rack

The inner bowl and steam rack are made of stainless steel, so these can be washed by hand in warm, soapy water or placed in the dishwasher on either rack for tougher-to-tackle food stains or remains. Over time, you might notice water stains or discoloration on the bottom of the inner pot, which can be easily removed with vinegar. To renew the finish, pour 1 cup white vinegar into the stainless-steel bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes before pouring it out and rinsing with water. Avoid using steel wool or abrasive cleaners, which can damage the stainless-steel surface.

Related: How to Clean Stainless Steel (Even Those Dark Water Stains!)

Step 4: Clean Instant Pot Lid and Components

Before cleaning your pressure cooker's lid, the anti-block shield and silicone sealing ring should be removed and cleaned separately. The anti-block shield is a small round or oval element (depending on your pressure cooker) installed underneath the lid. To remove the anti-block shield, use your thumb to gently push the piece toward the lid rim and lift up to pop it off. Hand-wash the shield in warm, soapy water and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Remove the sealing ring and inspect it carefully for cracking, warping, or other damage, which are signs you need to replace it. The sealing ring can be hand-washed in soapy water or placed in the dishwasher. Because it is heat-resistant, you can place it on either rack of your dishwasher.

With the anti-block shield and sealing ring removed, wash the Instant Pot lid in warm, soapy water or place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. (Yes, the lid is dishwasher safe!) Once clean, check the lid's steam release valve and float valve to ensure they're clear of food particles that could prevent the cooker from maintaining pressure. If needed, remove and hand-wash the cup that collects condensation.

Step 5: Reassemble Instant Pot

Once all parts are clean and dry, reassemble the Instant Pot lid. Double-check that the sealing ring, anti-block shield, and float valve are securely in place, as these are essential for the pressure cooker to function properly. Put all pieces back together with the base and enjoy your newly clean Instant Pot.

How Often to Clean an Instant Pot

To avoid the buildup of food or odors, all pieces of the Instant Pot that come in contact with food should be cleaned after each use. That could include the inner cooking pot, steam rack, and lid components like the sealing ring and anti-block shield. Other parts that don't necessarily get dirty each time, such as the exterior or the condensation cup, can be cleaned occasionally or as needed.

Related: Best Instant Pots of 2019

Cleaning an Instant Pot is easier than you might think. All it takes is some wipe-down, washing, and reassembly. These tips on how to clean an Instant Pot will keep your pressure cooker clean— and ensure it'll keep serving you well for years to come.

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