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I have an Instant Pot. I made some rice about a month ago and haven’t used it since. Unfortunately someone in the house put the cover on the pot with the rice inside and left it there. I just opened it and it was covered in a very think layer of green mold.

Can I use the Instant Pot again if I clean it with hot water and soap?

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    Welcome! Actually, the second question is off topic here, so I'm going to edit it out. We can't advise users about health because we have no way of knowing whether or not you're safe. If you're really concerned, you should contact your healthcare provider. – Catija Dec 13 '17 at 23:51
  • related : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/39928/67 – Joe Oct 16 '18 at 20:39
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Honestly? I would scrub the pot, and then toss it in the dishwasher and be done with it. So long as the smooth surface (notice I did not say scratched up) is clean meaning no visible soil, then running it through the dishwasher with its hot water, detergent and possibly drying cycle will be more than enough. It's not like you have some biochemical experiment you need to avoid doping. Just practice good hygeine with your cooking equipment and you'll be fine.

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    If the instant pot is non-stick then scrubbing and putting it into the dishwasher isn't good advice.... – GdD Dec 14 '17 at 9:28
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    @GdD My instant pot inner pot is stainless... that's what comes with it by default. – Catija Dec 14 '17 at 12:46
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    Not everybody's necessarily will be @Catija . Instant pot is as much of a class of device than a brand name. – GdD Dec 14 '17 at 13:23
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    Yes it is the stainless steal version. I did pretty much what this answer said: scrubbed the heck out of the pot and lid and threw it all in the dishwasher on the highest heat with sani rinse. We cooked dinner in it last night and so far we are fine... – user2884789 Dec 15 '17 at 14:26
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Water and soap (only) is probably a bit less that I'd suggest for this problem.

Get the bulk moldy glop out and wash with water and soap, then rinse.

Fill with Water and chlorine bleach, and a nice long soak (overnight, or even a few days) would be one further component of a through cleaning.

Rinsing very well (do not combine disparate cleaning chemicals) and then using baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with adequate boiling water to fill the pot would be another step - let that soak overnight as well.

Rinse throughly, wash again with water and soap, rinse throughly again, and give it the "sniff test" - if it doesn't smell moldy, and it looks clean, you are good to go.

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    Wow, you like your stainless, stainless! I would note that a full 5 quart/liter Instant Pot would only need about a cup and a half or 350 ml of bleach in a full liner of water. Figure 1 cup per 4 quarts/4 liters/1 gallon which is more than generous. A stronger solution than that is no more efficacious. The baking soda/boiling water step seems like overkill to me, but I'm pretty relaxed about that kind of thing. OP, also remove the rubber gasket from the lid and soak that in the liner and treat the lid with bleach water too. The gasket and inner pot can go in the dishwasher when you're done. – Jolenealaska Dec 14 '17 at 2:19
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    Beer brewer, among other things - I've met mold where I don't want to find it, and I want it gone without a trace when I'm done. – Ecnerwal Dec 14 '17 at 2:28
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    Could you include the right ratio of water and bleach? I think a teaspoon per quart, at least that's what I've seen for countertops e.g. here from the FDA. That's what I immediately thought of for sanitization too. – Cascabel Dec 14 '17 at 3:28
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    This is a pressure cooker after all - surely the first time you run it, you'll get sufficient heat to sterilize? Leaving it to soak overnight, even with baking soda, seems more like a way to grow more stuff than to kill it. – Nate Eldredge Dec 14 '17 at 3:32
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    @Jefromi The cup per gallon/4Liters is strong, probably overkill and promoted by Clorox. Vinegar may actually be better for killing/cleaning mold, but since we're talking about a stainless steel surface that will reach over 250F when used, meh. Bleach is cheap :) The OP should check the label though. With the proliferation of super-efficient washing machines, not all bleach is the old standard sodium hypochlorite at typical strength. Beware of differing brands/formulations, they may have different concentrations. Standard bleach (old-style Clorox) is 5.25% sodium hypochlorite. – Jolenealaska Dec 14 '17 at 5:23
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While the other answers here all suggest overnight soaking with chemicals and/or high-heat treatment I would say that cleaning it thoroughly is enough. Get all that you can out of it, then clean it with soapy water. If you still have stuck on rice soak it with cold water for awhile as that will help the starches release. Once you have all the rice out then clean it with hot soapy water and you're good to go. A spray of anti-bacterial cleaner inside before wiping it out and rinsing wouldn't be a bad step, but remember you're going to be pressure cooking stuff in there, that's going to kill anything that could make you sick. Remember to try and avoid scrubbing as you could damage your non-stick surface, multiple soaking is your friend here. If your pot is stainless then scrub away.

What I would be more concerned with is what may have gotten not in the pot itself but the cooker unit, for instance spores and bacteria. I would use an old toothbrush and anti-bacterial spray to get into all the nooks and crannies like hinges and seals, and don't forget to clean the lid!

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I have encountered similar problems a few times. My approach is:

  • Scrape or otherwise remove as much as possible.
  • Spray with bleach-based kitchen cleaner which I have anyway (meant for worktops and sinks, it warns about rinsing well before contact with food) and wait at least a few minutes .
  • Remove the rest by scraping/rinsing (repeating these steps if necessary).
  • Rinse well
  • Put through the dishwasher (including non-stick: I've only found the dishwasher to make existing damage worse, not to cause new damage). This is one time I use a 65 or 70°C wash rather than my usual 50°C eco wash.

Instead of a dishwasher you could hand-wash as the main purpose of this step is to remove all traces of bleach.

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    Avoid bleach and other high pH stuff if the pot is made of aluminum. You'll get corrosion. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 16 '18 at 23:39
  • @WayfaringStranger, good point, but do they exist? I've had a couple of ceramic ones and one non stick steel. – Chris H Oct 17 '18 at 5:48
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    Nonstick aluminum would not surprise me. Never seen one, but there's a lot of cheap stuff made in this world. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 17 '18 at 15:58
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Don't get so anxious about mold, mold is not necessarily as frightening as people seem to think. To generalize, the truly dangerous mold comes from rotten meat, the mold from rice, bread and vegetables is gross, but much less dangerous. You do not need to take any extraordinary precautions. Wipe and wash out your pot, use dish soap, and smell it. If it no longer smells like mold, your job is done. If it still smells like mold, use a cleanser, and wash the cleanser off thoroughly. You can also simply boil water in the pot, and that kills all mold as well. Dishwasher shouldn't be necessary at all.

Your nose is the tool you are endowed with to detect dangerous mold, if it doesn't smell awful to you, then it's fine.

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    Andrew, you missed the "I made some rice about a month ago" part of the question ... so there's a high risk of this being dangerous mold. – Joe Dec 30 '18 at 23:34

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