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The Instant Pot is great for destroying harmful bacteria in your home. Its Sterilize function works wonderfully for canning jars, baby bottles, cooking utensils, and so much more. It even helps to remove lingering food odors from prior cooking use.

Note: Even if your Instant Pot model doesn’t have the Sterilize function, you can still use the manual Pressure Cook function to accomplish the same task.

Benefits of Sanitizing with an Instant Pot

  • Eliminates the need for toxic chemicals
    Sanitizing with an Instant Pot eliminates the need to use toxic chemicals like detergents and bleach that can leave harmful residues on your equipment and make their way into your food.
  • Sterilization deodorizes your equipment
    Sterilization helps eliminate lingering odors from prior meals cooked with your kitchen utensils so that the essence of last week’s savory chili doesn’t taint the flavor of this week’s cheesecake.

Why You Should Use an Instant Pot vs. Other Pressure Cooker Brands

The Instant Pot was put to the test alongside several other brands of pressure cookers to see how well each one performed when killing various strains of microbes, particularly the tremendously heat-resistant geobacillus spore.

G. stearothermophilus endospores are the particular strain of bacteria that is used when testing commercial autoclaves (laboratory sterilization equipment) because its heat-resistance makes it very difficult to kill.

In a nutshell, most pressure cookers were able to kill a majority of the microbes, but the Instant Pot was the only pressure cooker brand that was able to neutralize the geobacillus spore, indicating that it would be sufficient as a laboratory pressure cooker.

Pretty awesome, if you ask me.

How to Sterilize Utensils in an Instant Pot

  1. Use a trivet in the bottom of your Inner Pot.
  2. Add 2 cups of water to the pot.
  3. Insert your equipment you want to sterilize over the trivet and close the lid. (Make sure the equipment you are sterilizing is heat resistant and won’t melt. The maximum operating temperature of the Instant Pot is 244°F.)
  4. Place the Instant Pot lid into Sealing Position (This step is done automatically with the Ultra model)
  5. Use the Sterilize function on High for 15-30 minutes. The longer, the better. (If your Instant Pot doesn’t have a Sterilize function, the manual/Pressure Cook function with the same settings will do the same job.)
  6. Naturally release pressure when finished.
  7. Air dry your equipment on a clean towel or drying rack after sterilizing.

Useful Tips

  • Sterilizing cooking equipment or kitchen utensils is best done in an 8-Quart Instant Pot, unless you have miniature utensils that will fit into a 6-Quart model.
  • If the utensils you need to sterilize are too large for the Instant Pot that you own, it’s best to sterilize them in rapidly boiling water on your stove-top for at least 10 minutes.
  • If you want to take it one step further and eliminate odors from the Instant Pot itself, see my post on How to Deep Clean Your Instant Pot to Remove Smells & Grime.