The Instant Pot is a food-making magician. You can basically put anything you want in there—whether that’s spaghetti squash or baked potatoes—and it’s finished cooking to perfection in minutes. While clean-up is pretty easy overall (basically just the stainless steel inner pot and a quick wipe-down of the outside!), it’s the hidden silicone ring on the inside of the lid that can be a little harder to deal with.
The sealing ring has a very important duty in the Instant Pot—it helps ensure an airtight seal on your closed IP, helping truly pressurize the cooker (and thus cook all your food properly). Since it’s made of heat-resistant silicone, it will be just fine in those high, steamy temps. But it only takes a few meals for it to start smelling a little, umm, funky, and battling off the odor usually takes a little more effort. Some food Redditors even report that the smells from the seal can transfer to the food they cook (something that the manufacturers of the Instant Pot generally dispute).
Thankfully, getting rid of the smell only requires calling on our home cleaning BFF, white vinegar. According to Instant Pot’s website, you can kill those gross odors by removing the silicone ring from the IP and soaking it in vinegar for a few minutes or overnight. Rinse and wash it with soap and water, then let it air-dry before popping it back into your Instant Pot. If you want to completely clean out the entire unit (including the ring) in one fell swoop, the makers of the Instant Pot suggest putting two cups of vinegar inside your pot, closing, and turning on the “steam” function for two minutes. It’ll do double-duty on the odors in the ring and any stubborn stains at the bottom of the pot. You can also run it through the dishwasher, if you have one.
Instant Pot also recommends replacing your sealing ring roughly every 12 months for optimal performance (and minimal smell factor). Luckily, you can nab it for only $8 on Amazon.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll have a clean, non-smelly silicone ring at your service soon. Your vegan bone broth is waiting, after all.
Want to fuel your Instant Pot obsession even more? Find out how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is cooking up a revolution with her Instant Pot, and maybe whip up this healthy butternut squash recipe.
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