I have a confession: When I first got my Instant Pot, I went about using it for a long time before realizing that I should have been regularly cleaning the silicone sealing ring nestled around the inside of the lid. Even though I cleaned the lid well, the ring held on to the scent of pork shoulder, burrito bowls, stews, and so much more.
My husband suggested just buying a new silicone ring for our Instant Pot. That's an easy and inexpensive solution, and most definitely on the path of least resistance, but I'm stubborn and determined so I began a mission to figure out the very best way to get that funky smell out of this small but crucial element of our Instant Pot.
Steam Clean with White Vinegar or Lemon
The quickest, easiest, and most foolproof way to clean the silicone sealing ring (and tackle that funky smell) requires no more than your choice of white vinegar or water and a lemon rind.
Fill the Instant Pot insert with two cups of white vinegar or the same amount of water and a lemon rind, seal the lid, and run the appliance on the "steam" setting for two minutes. Remove the ring from the lid and let it air dry completely. It should be clean and smell as good as new.
If you use your Instant Pot regularly, removing the silicone ring periodically isn't important just for cleaning, but also to check for damage. If you notice cracking, leaking, or deformation of the sealing ring, it's time to replace it.
Cleaning in the Dishwasher (with One Caveat)
While the sealing ring is dishwasher-safe, your best bet is to use the steaming method outlined above regularly to keep the ring clean and odor-free. If it's been a while since you last cleaned the sealing ring (or in my case, never), the dishwasher will certainly give it a good cleaning, but it might not completely get the odor out.