Burn it in a fire and buy a new one?
January 15, 2019 3:45 PM   Subscribe

I accidentally left food in my InstantPot for an unspecified amount of time and I am freaking out on whether I should use it or not. Is it safe or don't even bother?

Usually when I cook with my InstantPot I would: put the leftovers in the fridge, the stainless steel insert in the sink, grab the instant pot off the counter and put it in the cabinet so it doesn't take up valuable space. However, by some horrifying turn of events that can only be described as diabolical to a germaphobe like me, it was put back in the cabinet with the insert and a bit of food leftover. As in, *not washed* and my immediate reaction is to throw it away and buy a new one. But I might be overreacting and that's not economical and I love my instant pot.

So I took out the insert and let the hottest water from the sink rinse it out multiple times and wash with a sponge and Seventh Generation dish soap. I wiped the inside of the top and removed the rubber gasket and soaked that and the stainless steel insert in vinegar. I was going to run the insert through the dishwasher next. I do not currently have bleach, but that might be overkill, not sure. I have Dawn, if it would help to wash it again with that.

I didn't see any gross bugs, but I was so horrified that I instantly threw it in the sink and rinsed it out. It doesn't appear to have anything in the unit itself, but could there be anything of concern underneath the heating element? Is it safe to use? Is there anything that I can do to make it safer or better to use? Thank you for your help, I tried a search but most results seemed more geared to if the food is safe to eat if left out.
posted by lunastellasol to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wash the insert with soap. Wash it with dilute bleach afterwards if you want. Wipe the InstantPot itself down with dilute bleach. You're fine.
posted by Candleman at 3:48 PM on January 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Don't use bleach to clean stainless steel. It will do permanent damage to the surface.
posted by Lexica at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2019 [10 favorites]

Put a cup and a half of water in it, run it on high pressure for 15 minutes, and POW! Instant autoclave.

You could put the silicon ring through the dishwasher, if needed.
posted by jenkinsEar at 3:49 PM on January 15, 2019 [38 favorites]

It's a pressure cooker, so it's self sanitizing when it comes to the inside. Wash it as you normally would, it will be ok.

If it makes you more comfortable, you could bring it up to hi pressure with water to steam the inside before your next instant pot meal.

Edit: ah, dang tunnel. What everyone else said.
posted by jellywerker at 3:51 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't really think this is a safety issue, but those silicone rings can pick up smells so you might want to buy a replacement for $5.
posted by acidic at 4:07 PM on January 15, 2019 [8 favorites]

Wash everything with dish soap (lid, rim) or the dishwasher (ring, insert). Put 2 cups of water in it and run a cycle on HIGH as long as will make you feel better: 15 minutes will do, but run it for 90 if that is more soothing. If you want to replace the ring, that's fine.

It'll be okay.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:18 PM on January 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

I respect the germaphobe sitch. Having said that, as a non-germaphobe when it comes to these things, I would wash it out with hot water and soap and use it without hesitation so if you follow the reasonable steps already suggested, you will be fine.
posted by AugustWest at 4:25 PM on January 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yeah, it's all stainless steel in there, it'll sanitize fine. An Instant Pot is practically a poor man's autoclave as it is.

FWIW I've used bleach to sanitize stainless steel many, many times and never noticed any change in the steel's appearance. Nor would I really care personally, I don't spend a lot of time staring at the inside of my Instant Pot.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:29 PM on January 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

An Instant Pot is the perfect thing to get dirty because you can get it so, so clean! I am also a germophobe. I would wash it with hot water and soap, boil the silicon ring in a pot of water for 5 minutes, and then run the Instant Pot with water in it. Boom, sterile!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 4:50 PM on January 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

Seconding buying a new plastic ring, because they do pick up smells easily. I know some people keep a second ring for desserts so it doesn’t smell like savory foods.
posted by skycrashesdown at 5:11 PM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hmm, did you put the entire unit in the sink and rinse it out? The electronics may not be happy about that. If the elements and electronics got wet, it might be prudent to leave the whole entire thing out to dry for a week, to avoid potential sparks and short circuits.

I did this once with a rice cooker. The rice was cooked to perfection, then left in the unit for several weeks. I totally understand the ick factor. That unit, not being a mini-autoclave, got thrown out.
posted by dum spiro spero at 5:20 PM on January 15, 2019

Thank you so much everyone! I am ordering a new ring and ran current one through the dishwasher. I did a cup and a half of water on hi pressure for 25 minutes and now I have a saved Instant Pot! Woo-hoo!
posted by lunastellasol at 7:03 PM on January 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh my goodness, I thought this was leading to a "Can I eat this" question. Your instant pot will be fine!
posted by InkaLomax at 5:19 AM on January 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older Is it worth it to buy organic?   |   What happened after you zapped your pet's cancer? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.