Spring cleaning and your Instant Pot

(aka vinegar is your friend)

Today is the Spring Equinox, which means winter is officially over! And that means it’s spring cleaning time for you, your home, and your Instant Pot.

The two things we get asked about the most when it comes to cleaning are: how to remove water stains from inside the pot, and how to get rid of residual odors from the sealing ring? The answer to both can be the same: vinegar.

Removing water stains from Instant Pot inner pot

The stainless steel inner pot is dishwasher safe, and most people find that a good wash after every use is enough to keep it pristine.

However, over time it may happen that your shiny new inner pot may become cloudy or stained. Perhaps you’re seeing that bluish or rainbow effect that can sometimes appear, or maybe your hard water is making white stains. Not to worry, it’s a breeze to fix. After all, they call it stainless steel for a reason!

You could use a proper stainless steel cleaner – Barkeeper’s Friend works great! – but you’ve probably already got all you need in your pantry. Plain old white vinegar can do the trick.

To clean the rainbow, pour vinegar into your inner pot until the stains are covered and let it sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. Pour it out and rinse, wiping with a non-abrasive sponge if necessary.

White stains caused by hard water might need a little more scrubbing with vinegar or lemon juice, but should easily come away. Never use steel wool or anything else that might scratch the surface.

Instant pot overview

Getting rid of smells from Instant Pot sealing ring

The removable sealing ring that seals the pressure inside the Instant Pot is made of high quality silicone. It’s an amazing substance – it’s flexible, heat-resistant, long-lasting, and makes a perfect seal – but it is also prone to absorbing odors from your cooking.

The good news is that whatever smell your sealing ring has absorbed won’t transfer to whatever food you’re cooking in your Instant Pot (no curry-smelling cheesecakes). A lot of people keep extra sealing rings and use one for sweet and another for savory dishes, just for peace of mind. But if you don’t like having it smell at all, another great quality about silicone comes to the rescue: it’s easy to clean.

You can soak the sealing ring in vinegar for anywhere from a few minutes to overnight, then rinse and wash thoroughly. Any smells should be completely gone.

If you want to clean smells from the sealing ring and stains from the inner pot at the same time, put two cups of vinegar into the pot, then use the steam program for 2 minutes. Wash out the pot, remove the inner ring and let both dry completely.

The silicone ring is also dishwasher safe, and running it by itself through a hot cycle with dishwasher soap is another way to get rid of any unwanted smells.

In order to help prevent smells from building up, remove and wash the sealing ring after each use and let it air dry. A lot of people find putting the lid back onto the cooker upside down until it’s completely dry works great.

Share your spring cleaning tips

One of the best things about Instant Pot is the community of users that has grown around it as more and more people discover that time with an Instant Pot truly is time well spent.

If you have any spring cleaning tips of your own that will help others keep their Instant Pots in tip-top shape, please share them in the comments below. Or, if you have any questions that you’d like to see us address in future blogs, post them too. We read every comment, and love to hear what you think.

Until next time, happy Spring-time and keep on cooking!

13 replies
  1. ConnieSue
    ConnieSue says:

    Is there a special way the sealing goes back in? I can’t find a diagram. I’m a new owner. I removed to wash for the first use. I’m not sure if’s on right, having difficulty with putting the lid on.

    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      The sealing ring should slide in smoothly.

      I put my finger lightly on it and guide and slide it into place while slowly going around the lid.

      The best place would be in your manual which we have available online. Look for your model in the product section.

  2. Kaylie
    Kaylie says:

    I was cleaning my IP with vinegar and water (3 minutes on steam setting) but I forgot to put the sealing ring back on… is my unit ruined?

  3. Mary Ann
    Mary Ann says:

    I wash my sealing ring with hot soap and water after every use and ignore how it smells. I do like the idea of one ring for savory and one for sweet, so where can I buy extra sealing rings for my IP Ultra?

  4. Nicki
    Nicki says:

    I have tried white vinegar and many other suggested methods to get odors out of my sealing ring. I wash my ring after every use but sometimes certain dishes really cause the ring to absorb more odors than others. The only method that works for me EVERY TIME is the SUN. I put my ring on the kitchen table and the sun does the rest.

    • Instant Pot
      Instant Pot says:

      Please remove the antiblock shield and the steam release handle. The run water through the steam release pipe and the steam release handle. You can also use a pipe cleaner to ensure all the starch is cleaned out.

      If starch came up through the steam release you may have filled it too much for starchy items. Starchy foodstuffs can only be filled up halfway for both the liquid and solid food amount.

  5. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I have found that removing the smell from the silicone sealing ring is easiest done by cooking in the oven at 250 for 20 min and continue in 10 min. increments til the smell is gone. Usually takes 30 min. I do this every time I use it.

  6. Granny
    Granny says:

    I have always run my sealing ring thru the dishwasher. It has not removed the odor. Will try the vinegar trick next.


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