Homeowner Helpers: How to take care of your Instant Pot

Homeowner HelpersThe Instant Pot is an Ottawa invention that has become a kitchen craze, but do you know how to properly take care of yours?

I belong to a Facebook Instant Pot group and often see posts from Instant Pot owners asking how to clean theirs or get rid of stains and odours.

So, it seemed like a good idea to put a bunch of Instant Pot care advice in one spot and save you the trouble of having to hunt around to find the answers yourself.


What is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is essentially a pressure cooker on steroids. (A pressure cooker is a sealed pot that cooks with water and steam to create a high pressure, allowing the food to cook faster.) Nothing like your grandmother’s pressure cooker of old, though, Instant Pots are electric and can be up to 7 devices in one: pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, sauté/searing pan, steamer and warming pot.

They’ve become so popular because they save time in the kitchen while still letting you cook a nourishing, from-scratch meal where you don’t have to slave over the stove. For instance, you can grab a chicken from the freezer and have it on the table in less than an hour.

Cleaning an Instant Pot

It’s important to understand which parts of your Instant Pot can go in the dishwasher and which cannot. For basic care, the manufacturer shares this video on how to clean your pot after each use:



Cleaning it properly will help avoid some of the common issues that can arise with the pots, such as staining of the inner pot or odours in the sealing ring.

What if my pot is stained?

According to the company, it’s common for a bluish or “rainbow” discoloration to appear on the inside of the stainless-steel inner pot, which is caused by minerals or salt in food and water.


Using a non-abrasive stainless-steel cleaner will remove the marks. Alternatively, you can cover the bottom of the pot with white vinegar, let it sit for 5 minutes, remove, and rinse the inner pot.

For white hard water stains, the company recommends removing with a damp sponge soaked in vinegar or lemon.

What about odours?

Instant Pot suggests one way to prevent the lid from retaining odours is to place it upside down on the pot until it has completely dried or you are ready to use it, rather than sealing the lid on the pot base when storing.


If odours have already developed, the sealing ring could be to blame. Suggestions from the company have included steam cleaning the ring, running it through the dishwasher, soaking it overnight, storing it in coffee grounds or baking soda, and having separate rings for sweet and savoury foods.

The burn message

A common occurrence on machines is to have a “burn” message display when cooking. It’s possible the message has popped up because the machine does sense the food is burning, but often the message will display because you have not deglazed the inner pot between sautéing and pressure cooking a meal.

This video explains this important step:


Online help

There is such a large community of Instant Pot users (some refer to themselves as potheads) that they can be a great resource to turn to when you need help, are looking for a recipe suggestion or are seeking advice on a problem you’ve encountered. Try these:

Facebook: As mentioned above, there is a Facebook community group. With over 1.8 million members, that’s a lot of potential help for any question you may have.

Reddit: Similar to the Facebook community, there is also a sub-Reddit (a forum or thread on the discussion website that combines recipe sharing with problem-solving.


YouTube: Instant Pot’s channel has helpful videos that can answer questions about both recipes and care of your appliance.

Originally published Jan. 30, 2019.

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About the Author

Anita Murray

Anita Murray

Anita Murray is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and owner of Three C Communications. The veteran journalist has covered the Ottawa housing industry since 2011.



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