Here’s How to Stop Instant Pot Steam from Damaging Your Kitchen Cabinets

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

There’s a sort of satisfying pleasure to carefully turning your Instant Pot’s pressure-release valve to “open” and watching the symphony of steam that pours out, signaling that dinner is done. Less fun is watching that same steam spurt droplets of moisture onto your upper cabinets or kitchen shelves. Not only is it annoying to clean up, but it also might be doing potential damage to the wood and paint.

When my family moved into a smaller kitchen — one without an unobstructed length of countertop — I started to worry about my painted cabinets getting hit, even grazed, by the joyful blasts of steam from my pressure cooker. Here’s what you need to know about how Instant Pot steam might affect your cabinets and how you can protect your kitchen.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)

Will My Instant Pot’s Steam Ruin My Cabinets?

Repeated steam exposure to your kitchen cabinets can soften the paint and warp the wood, but don’t stress about the occasional spurt of Instant Pot steam that can be immediately wiped away — it won’t do extensive damage. But if you use your Instant Pot weekly or even nightly — especially in the same area of your kitchen — you’ll need to take some precautions to ensure that the steam doesn’t permanently ruin your cabinets.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4 Things You Can Do to Prevent Pressure Cooker Steam Damage

1. Set your Instant Pot in an unobstructed place.

If you have a kitchen island or a short stretch of counter without upper cabinets, you’re in luck. Set your Instant Pot there for easy, worry-free steam release.

2. Turn your pressure valve away from your cabinets.

This is what I do. After cooking I very gently turn my Instant Pot 90 to 180 degrees so that the steam can vent out into the kitchen and not directly onto the cabinets.

3. Pressure release under your hood vent.

Take this advice with some common sense warnings: Never set your Instant Pot on your stovetop while the stove or oven is in use and always use something heat-resistant (like a wooden cutting board) between the stovetop and the Instant Pot. That being said, your kitchen’s hood vent is designed to suck up steam and heat, so turn it to full blast and let the the steam release!

4. Use a steam diverter.

This one gets another disclosure: Manufacturers discourage these aftermarket steam diverters and you should definitely use them with supervision, but these simple L-shaped pipes from silicone and PVC can redirect steam from going up towards your cabinets and out into the kitchen instead.

A final note: Don’t use a kitchen towel (wet, dry, paper, cloth) to cover the pressure-release valve while pressure is releasing. It can damage your pot, but it can also create an unsafe vacuum in while the steam is actually being sucked back into the pressure cooker.

(Image credit: Meghan Splawn)