Anyone with an Instant Pot can tell you that the appliance can do just about anything you could ask of it. But here’s one thing you probably never knew you could use your Instant Pot for: Sterilization. According to research conducted by students at Dakota State University, Instant Pots are an effective tool for sterilizing bacteria and disinfecting just about anything with heat.
Vaille Swenson, the lead of the research group, tested multiple pressure cookers including the wildly popular Instant Pot to see which ones are effective at eliminating bacteria. While many pressure cookers can generate enough heat and pressure to kill off some bacteria, it is often a challenge to reach levels needed to eliminate geobacillus spore, a type of bacteria known for causing spoilage in food products.
Four different pressure cookers were tested in the experiment: Ones produced by Cosori, Gourmia, GoWise, and of course, Instant Pot. All of the appliances were able to successfully eliminate some strains of bacteria, including gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, filamentous fungi, unicellular fungi, and mixed environmental samples. However, only one was able to kill off geobacillius spore. That achievement went to Instant Pot.
Not only did Instant Pot’s pressure cooker manage to do away with food-spoiling bacteria, but it actually proved to have disinfecting capabilities that are on par with those of an autoclave, a scientific tool that hospitals and scientific institutions often use for sterilizing equipment. Instant Pot products cost significantly less than those specialty machines.
“These results suggest that, depending on the nature of the work undertaken, store-bought pressure cookers can be an appropriate substitute for commercial autoclaves,” Swenson wrote in the abstract of the research paper. “Only the Instant Pot brand pressure cooker was able to inactivate G. stearothermophilus endospores, which indicated that it would be the most appropriate choice for a laboratory pressure cooker.”
Of course, most folks don’t need industrial sterilization tools in their home, but the power of the Instant Pot is still reassuring. If ever you’re worried about bacteria in your food, Instant Pot’s high-pressure cooking and heating capabilities should help to eliminate any of that worry as it has more than enough power to disinfect whatever meal you may be making.