How to clean an Instant Pot: top tips for keeping your multi-cooker spotless

hand wearing rubber gloves holding a spone with water running from a tap in the sink
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Creating delicious meals from scratch every evening, and impressing your family and friends with your culinary delights is certainly rewarding, but spending hours on end slaving over a hot stove can become tedious, even for those of us that love cooking with a passion.

There are plenty of kitchen gadgets that can make life easier in the kitchen - not only speeding up cooking time, but also offering a multitude of cooking methods to ensure that you don’t serve up the same few dishes week in, week out. None more so than the best Instant Pots, because they're one of the most versatile kitchen appliances you can buy. 

These multi-cookers ensure you can create everything from slow-cooked stews, soups and chillies, to pressure-cooking meat on the bone and vegetables so they’re ready in half the usual time. 

While using your Instant Pot may be a simple task, cleaning it may leave you feeling,well daunted. With so many different components; from the internal pot to the lid, where do you start?  It's important to know how to clean your Instant Pot properly so it continues to perform as efficiently as possible. 

Read on to find out just how to clean your Instant Pot, or if you want to get your hands on one of the best Instant Pots right now, check out these great deals for some of the best prices on the market.  

How to clean an Instant Pot

Before you even pick up a cloth, make sure the Instant Pot has been unplugged from the electric socket and has cooled down completely. Now for the good news, if your multi-cooker is made by Instant Pot, no matter what model you have, the inner pot (also called the stainless steel cooking pot), along with the lid, the sealing ring, and the steam rack are all dishwasher safe, which makes cleaning them far easier. 

If you have a multi-cooker from a different brand, then not all components will be dishwasher-safe, so we’d advise you to check the manual first.

Step 1: Remove the cooking pot, lid, sealing ring, and steam rack from the Instant Pot and make sure they are placed on the top rack of the dishwasher, so water from the dishwasher’s spray arm can reach inside the bowl and curved lid, while also ensuring the plastic components such as the sealing ring don’t warp. Always use a gentle, or standard dishwashing cycle rather than a hotter, intensive wash. 

If any food remnants are burnt onto the inner pot, which can happen when it’s used for browning meat or vegetables before slow cooking, consider soaking the pot in warm water and dish soap, then using a pan scourer to gently it off. Alternatively, place the pot on the bottom rack of the dishwasher for a more thorough clean.

Step 2: Before placing the lid in the dishwasher, remove the sealing ring, as while this can go in the dishwasher too, detaching means both the ring and the lid will be thoroughly cleaned. Also remove the steam release valve, the float valve, and the anti-block shield (which covers the underside of the float valve). 

Step 3: Check there aren't any food remnants blocking either of the valves, as this will stop the Instant Pot from reaching the correct pressure for cooking, and hand wash the three components in warm, soapy water. 

Step 4: Dry the components with a dish cloth and make sure to keep them safe, so they can be re-attached when you’ve finished cleaning the lid. 

Step 5: Once the dishwasher cycle has finished, hold the lid vertically over a sink using the handle, and rotate the lid from side to side to ensure any water that has seeped into the lid can drain away. 

Step 6: The base isn’t waterproof, so wipe the exterior as well as the interior and the heating element. Also pay close attention to the rim, as flecks of food can built-up here - a straw brush is ideal for this, and can be picked up from Amazon for around $6 / £6 / AU$9. 

Step 7: Run a cloth along the power cord to remove any food debris that may have accidentally splashed onto it. 

Step 8: Finally, make sure you empty and rinse the condensation collection cup after every use. 

Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 60

(Image credit: Future)

How to clean a cloudy Instant Pot

Have you noticed cloudy stains on the stainless steel cooking pot? The good news is these stains, which sometimes appear blue in color but can also take on a rainbow hue, are common and easy to remove. 

The discoloration is caused by salt and other minerals in food and water used in the Instant Pot - in fact, they’ll appear on any stainless steel cookware, not just an Instant Pot. A non-abrasive stainless steel cleaner, such as Weiman, will remove the marks and revive the brightness on the inner pot. It can be picked up for around $6 / £11 / AU$28. 

Alternatively, if you don’t have any stainless steel cleaner to hand, try covering the bottom of the pot with white vinegar, and leave for five minutes before rinsing. 

How do I stop my Instant Pot smelling? 

Instant Pots are great for cooking chillies, curries, and stews, but these flavorful dishes often use potent herbs and spices, which can mean the cooking gadget retains odors. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure your Instant Pot doesn’t smell. 

After cleaning the lid, always place it upside down on top of the Instant Pot until it has dried completely. Don’t re-attach the sealing ring to the lid after it’s been cleaned either. Instead, store this in a well-ventilated area, and only replace it just before cooking. 

Finally, if your Instant Pot does retain an odor, use one cup / 250ml of water mixed with one cup / 250ml of white vinegar and add it to the Instant Pot. Then run the Pressure Cook setting for five to ten minutes, before releasing the pressure and emptying the content away. Rinse the inner pot and then dry and store as usual. 

Carrie-Ann Skinner

Carrie-Ann Skinner was formerly Homes Editor at TechRadar, and has more than two decades of experience in both online and print journalism, with 13 years of that spent covering all-things tech. Carrie specializes in smart home devices such as smart plugs and smart lights, as well as large and small appliances including vacuum cleaners, air fryers, stand mixers, and coffee machines. Carrie is now a copy editor at PWC.