How to Clean an Instant Pot to Remove Food Smells

Use household items to clean your Instant Pot—and its silicone sealing ring—and say goodbye to food odors.

Instant Pot with Opened Lid and Illustration of a Nose Above It
Photo: Getty Images

Knowing how to clean an Instant Pot is important for its general maintenance and for avoiding lingering food odors from staying in the appliance. The more you use your Instant Pot, the more you'll notice how easily food can get trapped in all the nooks and crannies of the lid, pot, and pressure release valve. Plus, the silicone sealing ring in the lid should also be cleaned. Follow our easy steps to clean your Instant Pot and keep it odor-free.

How Often to Clean an Instant Pot

You should clean your Instant Pot after each use. How deep you clean it depends on the food cooked in it and how dirty each component got during cooking.

Considerations Before You Get Started

Ensure your Instant Pot is unplugged and has completely cooled down before you clean it. Gather any necessary supplies ahead of time and avoid working near electrical outlets.

How to Clean an Instant Pot With Dishwashing Liquid

What You Need:

Step 1: Remove Parts

Take all the removable parts apart: Remove the inner cooking pot, the steam rack, the condensation collector, the lid, the lid's sealing ring, and the anti-block shield underneath the lid.

Step 2: Wipe the Base

Wipe down the outside of the Instant Pot with a damp dishcloth. This outer base must remain dry; be sure not to add water to it after removing the cooking pot.

You can wipe the inside of the base, but limit the amount of water used on the rag, since again, you want to keep this outer base dry.

Step 3: Clear Food Debris

To clean the inside of the Instant Pot, use a small brush to clear out any food trapped in the inner cooking pot, on the lip or edges of the outer base, or in the crevices of the unit.

Step 4: Wash the Parts

Fill a sink with hot water and degreasing dishwashing liquid. Thoroughly wash all the individual parts with a sponge, except the outer base.

How to Clean an Instant Pot Silicone Sealing Ring With Vinegar

If you've soaked and scrubbed your Instant Pot and still smell last week's curry chicken, one part is to blame: the silicone sealing ring. Because it's made from silicone (which is prone to absorbing odors) and is the end-point for a lot of concentrated, super-hot steam, it can get pretty stinky. Luckily, cleaning the Instant Pot silicone sealing ring is super simple.

What You Need:

Step 1: Remove Ring

Carefully remove the silicone sealing ring from your Instant Pot's lid.

Step 2: Place in Dishwasher

The sealing ring is dishwasher-safe, and most of the time, placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher will get rid of unpleasant odors.

Step 3: Fill Pot With Vinegar

If you don't have a dishwasher or smells are still lingering after the dishwasher cycle, try cleaning the sealing ring with our favorite cleaning agent: vinegar.

  • Replace the sealing ring inside the lid.
  • Fill the cooking insert in your Instant Pot with two cups of vinegar and seal the lid.

Step 4: Use the Steam Cycle

Set the steam setting on your Instant Pot for two minutes. Once the cycle has finished, remove the sealing ring and completely air-dry it before replacing it.

How to Get Rid of and Prevent Smells in an Instant Pot

To keep your Instant Pot odor-free, try these tips:

  • Clean your Instant Pot regularly (and after each use) to help rid it of food smells.
  • Wash all the parts and especially the lid's sealing ring.
  • Try cleaning the inner cooking pot and the sealing ring with vinegar.

How to Keep Your Instant Pot Clean Longer

To keep an Instant Pot clean long-term, be sure to wipe and clean it after every use by washing the parts with soapy water and removing stuck-on food. Every so often, you can also clean the inner pot of the unit with vinegar to remove any discoloration marks or water spots. (Simply add 1 cup of vinegar to the pot, let it sit for about five minutes, pour out, and rinse.)

We also recommend having a couple of extra silicone sealing rings on hand—this way, you can use one for savory dishes and save the other for sweets. Plus, after rigorous use, the ring may deteriorate. If you notice any cracking, leaking, or deformation in your sealing ring, replace it immediately.

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