How to Deal With Your Smelly Instant Pot Sealing Ring
Does your Instant Pot ring smell like last week's chili? Yeah, we've been there.
The Instant Pot is a real MVP when it comes to shaving time off of prepping your favorite hearty and flavorful dishes. However, after a few uses, the lid and silicone sealing ring tend to harbor odors from dinners past that dishwashing liquid just can't cut. Gross, right? Even if it seems like you've washed these parts within an inch of their lives, don't lose hope just yet. You can combat the off-putting smells with a few simple maintenance tricks.
First, let's address the lid...
The Instant Pot's lid is dishwasher safe, and it's key that you place it on the top rack, removing the silicone sealing ring and the anti-block shield, in order to give it the optimal washing. It's also important to double check the steam valve to ensure that there is no food stuck in any small crevices. After washing, make sure the lid is completely dry before you place it back on the pot for storage. That said, if placing your lid in the dishwasher makes you nervous, you can wash it by hand with soapy water and a soft dish cloth.
Now, about that ring.
Being that the sealing ring is made with (food-grade) silicone, it is highly prone to picking up odors from the foods you cook in your Instant Pot. The ring is a crucial piece of the Instant Pot because it ensures optimal pressure cooking. If the ring becomes damaged or is not inserted in the lid correctly, it can prevent your pot from operating properly—so be sure to pay attention when you remove the ring for the first couple of times so that you know how to properly replace it. This ring should be removed from the lid and washed separately after every use.
A mix of soapy water and vinegar should help remove lingering smells. However, over time, the smells may become more difficult to remove. The Instant Pot care and cleaning guide recommends that if you cook both savory and sweet dishes in your pot, it would be best to have separate rings for each style of cooking. One easy solution is to simply purchase a few replacement silicone sealing rings and swap them out on a regular basis. You can order a package of two on Amazon for about $12, so you may want to go ahead and stock up on enough to allow for tossing your old ring every couple of months or so.
The care guide also recommends that you wash the ring in the dishwasher on a high temperature with an extra-strength detergent. It also claims that you can soak your ring in tomato juice (an acidic liquid) overnight night and then place it the dishwasher for further cleaning. This method also works with a water-based solution of vinegar or lemon juice.
Still stinky? Here's another trick you may want to try: Store your sealing ring in a plastic bag filled with baking soda or ground coffee. Both baking soda and coffee have the ability to neutralize strong odors. That said, if you go the coffee route, your ring may also pick up the odor of coffee; therefore, you should run it through the dishwasher after it's stored in the bag for a few days.
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Of course, if you don't fancy yourself a DIY-type of person and all of these cleaning "hacks" immediately register as a real pain, I'd suggest purchasing a set or two of the replacement rings and calling it a day.