The Gross Thing That Happens If You Don't Clean Your Instant Pot Properly

In 2010, home cooks everywhere rejoiced when the Instant Pot was released. The Instant Pot website describes the tool as a combination of a pressure cooker and a slow cooker, with the added versatility of a rice cooker. 

Robert Wang, Instant Pot inventor and Chief Executive of Double Insight, Instant Pot's parent company, told The New York Times he invented the device with his own family in mind, since his busy workload as an engineer did not allow him enough time to make healthy meals for his wife and children. He wanted to create a high-tech device that would be able to perform multiple functions with minimal work. 

The idea was a success, with the company claiming to have doubled sales every year since 2011, when the popularity of the Instant Pot really began to pick up steam. Well+Good credits the device's popularity on how quickly they cook. They assert that with an Instant Pot, you can make chili in about an hour, depending on which recipe you use, versus the six or more hours most traditional slow cooker chili recipes require. They say this feature is important to anyone with a busy lifestyle, like parents, young professionals, or college students. 

That being said, being too busy to cook is one thing, but be sure to make time to clean this speedy cooking tool or you'll end up like some very unlucky Instant Pot users.

Clean every part of your Instant Pot every time you use it

My Recipes cautions you to be extra careful when cleaning unfamiliar kitchen appliances. Make sure to read the instruction manual thoroughly, figure out which pieces are removable, and wash everything after each use. 

Writer Darcy Lenz shares a story about her friend who recently discovered the condensation collector in her Instant Pot was full of small dead bugs! The condensation collector basically serves as a backup measure in case your Instant Pot starts to leak moisture — that way you don't come home to a gross puddle on your counter. If you don't empty and clean it after every use, though, you're leaving small amounts of food and water in your dark, warm cabinet, attracting bugs and other things you probably do not want hanging around your kitchen.

Okay — we know we can't leave the Instant Pot dirty, so how should you clean it? According to Wide Open Eats, you should remove the condensation cup after each use and let it dry thoroughly before returning it to its place to avoid nasty things growing in the humid environment. They say to also pay close attention to the steam release and float valves on the lid, to which tiny bits of food can easily get stuck. Aside from attracting bugs and other pests, these valves will prevent the Instant Pot from sealing and working properly if they are blocked.