As much as we love chili, we’d rather not smell it every. single. day.

By Betty Gold
August 02, 2019
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What can’t the Instant Pot do? It pressure cooks, slow cooks, steams, sautés, cooks rice, makes yogurt—and as we just reported, its newest counterpart (the Instant Vortex) actually air fries. Seriously, if the next generation does taxes, I won’t be the slightest bit surprised.

Once you’ve jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon, you’ll likely look back and wonder how you ever managed to get dinner (and breakfast, lunch, even dessert) on the table without it. But as with any product that gets a lot of love, the more you use your Instant Pot the more you’ll notice how easily food can get trapped in all the nooks and crannies of the lid, pot, and pressure release valve. Generally speaking, however, these parts of Instant Pot are pretty quick to clean—take all the removable parts apart, wipe down the outside, use a small brush to clear out any food trapped in crevices, and give everything a thorough wash in warm, sudsy water.

RELATED: 6 Genius Ways You Can Use Your Instant Pot for Meal Prep

But if you’ve soaked and scrubbed the thing to the gills and still smell last week’s spicy beef stew, there’s one part that’s to blame: the silicone sealing ring. This skinny, circular piece of rubber, wrapped around the inside of the lid, is what’s responsible for keeping steam and moisture from escaping while your chicken curry cooks. Because it’s made from silicone (which is prone to absorbing odors) and is the end-point for a lot of concentrated, super-hot steam, this thing can get dank. Especially for those who use their Instant Pot regularly.

Don’t worry, this stinky pot problem happens to everyone. Luckily, cleaning your silicone sealing ring is super simple. For starters, it’s dishwasher safe, and most of the time that gets the unpleasant odor out. But if you can still smell the cumin afterwards (or you don’t have a dishwasher), you’re going to have to bust out our favorite cleaning agent: vinegar.

Using white vinegar to remove odors from the silicone ring is quick and easy: simply fill the cooking insert in your Instant Pot with two cups of vinegar, seal the lid, and set the Steam setting for two minutes. Once your cycle has finished, let the sealing ring air dry fully before you replace it. It should smell good as new!

We also recommend having a couple of extra rings on hand—this way, you can use one for savory dishes and save the other for sweets (hi, Instant Pot cheesecake). And after rigorous use, the ring may deteriorate. If you notice any cracking, leaking, or deformation in your sealing ring, make sure to replace it right away (2 for $12, .com).

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