How to Clean an Instant Pot Inside and Out

Judy Schumer
by Judy Schumer

The Instant Pot is a kitchen workhorse, making everything from soups to cakes to hearty meals—and fast. You can even fill your house with the warm, spiced scent of fall by using your Instant Pot pressure cooker to make potpourri. Knowing how to clean an Instant Pot can protect this kitchen wonder from wearing out prematurely.

The easiest way to clean an Instant Pot is to do a light cleaning, especially the lid and sealing ring, after every use. Cleaning after cooking helps keep food from getting stuck onto the inner pot and turning into gunk around the other parts. You’ll still want to do a deeper cleaning once a month, particularly if you use it a few times a week (and we’ll show you how below).

An Instant Pot has many parts, but you can easily remove all of them for quick cleaning. The inner liner, lid, sealing ring, and condensation cup can be effortlessly detached. By following our instructions for how to clean your Instant Pot, you’ll have it working in tip-top shape for years to come.

Instant Pot on countertop with lid off

Photo via Rachel Belkin

How Often You Should Clean Your Instant Pot

If you use your Instant Pot regularly, it should be deep cleaned once a month, with inner cooking chamber parts (like the inner liner and steam rack) being cleaned after every use. 

Before using your Instant Pot for the first time, clean the inner liner (the stainless steel pot where the food cooks) with warm soapy water (use mild liquid dish soap). By doing this, you’ll remove any leftover manufacturing prep substances like oil or packing residue. You won’t need to use a brush or scrubber when you clean it the first time as you will after cooking.

When you cook in your Instant Pot, not only does food get onto the liner, but it tends to splatter onto the smaller parts of the appliance. By cleaning the inside after every use as you would with any pot or pan, you’ll avoid smells transferring from one recipe to another, and you’ll stop food from getting built up and gunky on parts like the inner pot, the steam rack, and the sealing ring.


How to Clean an Instant Pot Liner

Now let’s get to cleanin’!

The following guide will teach you how to deep clean your Instant Pot from the inside out. Before you get started, always remember to unplug any appliance before you attempt to clean it. Never take a chance when using water around an electric item.

After unplugging, let your Instant Pot cool down completely if you’ve used it recently. Remove the lid from the base of the cooker. Take the steam rack out, followed by the inner pot that serves as a liner. Keep the lid parts together until you’re ready to clean them.

While you can put many Instant Pot parts in the dishwasher, hand washing can prolong and even protect the parts. To hand-wash your Instant Pot liner (the inner pot where the food is cooked), follow the steps below.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Clean towel
  • White vinegar


1. Mix Soapy Water

Plug your sink and fill it halfway with warm water. Add liquid dish soap to the water as it is filling.

2. Wash the Liner

Wash the liner using the sponge to scrub off food particles, just as you would wash a regular cooking pot, letting the warm soapy water do most of the work for you. Rinse thoroughly.

3. Dry the Instant Pot Liner

Dry the Instant Pot Liner with a soft towel. Make sure you dry it thoroughly to avoid water spots.


4. Remove Discoloration

If the bottom of your liner has become discolored, you can quickly bring back the shine by pouring one cup of white vinegar into the liner and letting it soak for 5-10 minutes. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Note: Never use steel wool or abrasive pot scrubbers as they can scratch your Instant Pot Liner and permanently damage it.

How to Clean an Instant Pot Steam Rack

Like the Instant Pot liner, the steam rack comes into direct contact with food, so you should wash it after each use.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge


1.Mix Soapy Water

Plug your sink drain and fill it about a quarter of the way full with warm water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the water as it is filling.

2. Wash the Steam Rack

Place the steam rack into the warm soapy water. Use the sponge to remove food particles and sauces from the frame.


3. Dry the Steam Rack

Dry the rack thoroughly with a soft towel. 

How to Clean an Instant Pot Anti-Block Shield

The lid of your Instant Pot has a few parts. You should separate those parts and clean them one at a time. One of the parts is called an anti-block shield and its job is to protect the pressure cooker’s exhaust valve. 

Depending on which model you have, the anti-block shield is either round or oval, and you’ll find it underneath the Instant Pot lid, next to the float valve (check the diagram in your instruction manual to make sure). 


To remove the shield, use your thumb to push it towards the rim of the lid and lift it up. Wash it with warm, soapy water and a soft sponge. Rinse off any residual soap, then dry thoroughly.


After cleaning the sealing ring and the lid (see below for how to clean those), place the shield back in place and gently pop it back into the lid.

Instant Pot sealing ring

Photo via Rachel Belkin

How to Clean an Instant Pot Sealing Ring

The sealing ring on the lid of your Instant Pot can collect food spatters, absorb odors, and hold moisture, leading to mold. To clean the Instant Pot silicone sealing ring, do the following:


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Towel


1. Remove the Sealing Ring

Remove the silicone ring around the underside of your Instant Pot lid.


2. Mix Soapy Water

Plug your sink drain and fill it with enough warm, soapy water to fully cover the ring. Use mild dish soap to help keep the sealing ring from being exposed to harsh chemicals, which can cause it to crack or discolor.


3. Clean the Instant Pot Sealing Ring

After letting the Instant Pot sealing ring soak for five minutes, lightly wipe it down with a soft sponge. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.


4. Dry the Silicone Ring

Pat dry with a clean towel and place it back into the lid.

Once a month, after regular cleaning of the sealing ring, wipe the ring with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. Doing this will remove any lingering odors.

How to Clean an Instant Pot Steam Valve

Once you’ve removed the anti-block shield and the sealing ring, check the Instant Pot’s steam valve. This area can get gunked up with dried splatters or small particles of food. We don’t recommend attempting to remove it. 


Use a damp sponge to clean around the valve before putting the lid back together. If it seems to have a build-up of food around it, put a tiny drop of liquid dish soap onto a soft toothbrush and lightly scrub the area. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

inside of an Instant Pot lid

Photo via Rachel Belkin

How to Clean an Instant Pot Lid

After removing the other parts of the Instant Pot lid (anti-block shield and sealing ring), you’ll be able to get the lid squeaky clean. Here’s how.


Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Towel


1. Mix Soapy Water

Plug your sink drain and fill it halfway with warm water, adding a few drops of mild liquid dish soap to the water as it is filling.

2. Clean the Lid

Place the Instant Pot lid in the water. Gently wash the lid with a non-abrasive kitchen sponge, being sure to pay special attention to the edges of the lid.

3. Rinse the Lid

Rinse the lid with warm water to remove any soap. Dry with a soft kitchen towel. 

How to Clean an Instant Pot Condensation Cup

The condensation collector on the Instant Pot collects moisture as the cooker cools down. Unfortunately, it can become a breeding ground for mildew and even gross critters like maggots. It only takes a minute to clean it along with your other Instant Pot parts.

When you remove the anti-block shield, clean the condensation collector along with it, using warm soapy water. The condensation collector cup is located at the back of your Instant Pot—just slide it out to remove it. Dry the collector thoroughly. 

How to Clean an Instant Pot Heating Element

The heating element of the Instant Pot is built into the cooker itself, so it should never be submerged in water. But occasionally you may have a bit of food overflow, which then drips down into the heating element. To safely clean the Instant Pot heating element, follow these steps:

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Paper towels
  • Small plate
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Sponge (optional)


1. Unplug your Instant Pot

Unplug your Instant Pot and let it cool off completely. Never attempt to clean any part of the Instant Pot while plugged in. The heating element gets very hot, so a few hours of cooling will ensure that you avoid getting burned.

2. Clean the Heating Element

Wipe the entire heating element with clean paper towels to remove any food residue or moisture from the element.


3. Make a Cleaning Paste

On a very small plate, combine the baking soda and vinegar to form a thick paste. Add vinegar or baking soda to the solution in minimal amounts to get the consistency of toothpaste.

4. Apply the Paste

Apply the paste directly onto the heating element, avoiding any wiring. Stay as close to the outer edges as possible while still cleaning the food residue.


5. Wipe the Paste Off 

Allow the paste to sit for five minutes, then wipe it off with a damp paper towel or sponge. Keep rinsing the heating element with the sponge or clean, damp paper towels until the paste is removed.


Let the heating element air dry before using it.

How to Clean an Instant Pot Exterior

Cleaning the exterior of your Instant Pot is easy if you do it after each use. Because the housing includes the cord, the control panel, and the heating element, you should never submerge the unit in water. 

Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the exterior, then dry it to a shine with a soft cloth (a clean scrap of flannel works well). If you notice food residue around the outside rim, use a soft toothbrush to loosen it before wiping the exterior.

How to Reassemble an Instant Pot

Now that your Instant Pot is clean and shiny, it's time to reassemble it. Put all the pieces back together, being sure to attach the sealing ring and anti-block shield so you have a tight fit for its intended pressure-cooking use. Attach the lid securely on the pot and the condensation cup back in its place.

burnt food on stainless steel pot

Photo via Mom4Real

How to Clean a Burnt Instant Pot with Baking Soda

No matter how much you watch the pot, Instant Pots aren’t immune to getting burnt food stuck to the bottom or sides of the liner. There are two simple, effective ways to clean a burnt Instant Pot using everyday household items. We'll start with a method that includes baking soda and aluminum foil.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Crumpled aluminum foil (about the size of a lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda
  • 3-4 tablespoons hot water


1. Rinse the Liner

Rinse the liner with hot water to loosen any food residue. 

2. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Evenly sprinkle the baking soda over the burnt areas.

3. Make the Paste

Evenly sprinkle the hot water over the baking soda to form a paste. Add water, a few drops at a time, as needed for the paste to thicken.


4. Scrub with Foil

Using your crumpled foil as a scrubber, begin scrubbing over the burnt areas. Continue until the burnt-on food is removed.


5. Rinse the Liner

Rinse your Instant Pot liner with hot water to remove the baking soda paste and food debris.


Commercial Product Recommendation

If you prefer a ready-made cleanser, Bar Keepers Friend is an excellent cleanser for removing burnt food from a pot.

How to Clean a Burnt Instant Pot with Dishwasher Tablets

Dishwasher tablets have all the ingredients you need to clean tough surfaces, all in one small pod. Here's how to use a dishwasher tablet to clean a burnt Instant Pot.

 Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Two automatic dishwasher tablets (like Cascade or Finish), wrapped
  • Rubber gloves


1. Rinse the Liner

Rinse the liner with hot water to loosen any food residue. Leave a small amount of hot water in the liner to cover the burnt parts.


2. Scrub the Liner

Use a gloved hand to scrub the inside of the pot with a wrapped dishwasher tablet. The tablet will gradually dissolve as you clean. Once the first tablet dissolves, use the second to finish the job if needed.


3. Rinse the Liner Again

After scrubbing, rinse the Instant Pot liner with hot water to loosen the soap and any food residue. 

Tips for Keeping Your Instant Pot Clean

If your Instant Pot gets a lot of use, try these tips to keep your Instant Pot clean and working at its best.

  • Dry the inner liner, the lid, and the smaller parts after every use.
  • Dry all parts thoroughly after cleaning to avoid rust and water stains.
  • Wipe down the exterior after each use, making sure to give the rim a good wipe-down.
  • Lightly coat the Instant Pot liner with vegetable oil before each use to keep food from sticking.
  • Always unplug your Instant Pot after each use, leaving it unplugged until you’re ready to use it again. Keep the cord clean and dry.


How often do you use your Instant Pot? What’s your favorite dish to make using it? Let us know in the comments below!

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