Give it the TLC it deserves
If you spent any time looking at food on the internet in 2017, you’re familiar with the Instant Pot. Now that we’re well into 2018, you probably sucked it up and bought one of the pots. You love looking at the machine, shiny and full of possibilities, but you haven’t yet actually used it, because you have no idea how to clean your Instant Pot. Well, roll up your sleeves, because that changes now.
According to the Instant Pot website, the stainless steel inner cooking pot, the sealing ring, the lid, and the steam rack are all dishwasher safe, so if you have a dishwasher, you just saved yourself a whole bunch of time. If you don’t have a dishwasher, these elements can all be hand washed with hot water, dish soap, and a sponge. Replace the sealing ring from time to time for safety's sake, and also to prevent your yogurt from smelling like that chili you made last month.
To most thoroughly clean the lid, first remove the sealing ring and the anti-block shield (these two elements should be hand washed in warm, soapy water). Place the lid in the dishwasher or hand wash it; when the elements are completely dry you can put them back together.
Because Instant Pots are made of stainless steel, a blue- or rainbow-tinted discoloration could form on the surface of the cooking pot, even when it’s completely clean. While these stains are harmless, if they annoy you, get rid of them by filling the pot with ¼ inch of white vinegar and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes. Use a sponge to wipe the pot, then dump out the vinegar and rinse the pot.
The condensation collector doesn’t need to be cleaned every time you use your Instant Pot, but like the water tank of a Keurig or pod-based espresso machine, it should be cleaned every now and then. (If you read this cautionary tale about maggot growth, you may wish to up the frequency.) If you use your Instant Pot several times a week, try to hand wash the condensation collector once a month. Don’t forget to dry it completely before putting it back in its place.
Finally, know that the base of the Instant Pot (which contains the heating element) is NOT dishwasher safe, nor should it be covered in water via hand washing. If you get the base dirty while cooking, let it cool completely, then wipe it with a barely damp dishtowel. Let the base dry completely before turning it on again.
Now, do yourself a favor and go make Instant Pot breakfast ratatouille.