And you thought the yogurt-making function was surprising…

Here’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to cleaning kitchen appliances: If a piece of the appliance is removable, pull that sucker off and wash it after use. Ideally, every use.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not always the greatest about reading instruction manuals for my new kitchen toys in full—which can lead to my being blissfully unaware that certain parts of a given appliance are intended to be detached, in order to enable thorough cleaning. (Parts such as the griddle plates in a panini press or the blade attachment in a blender.)

However, after bearing witness to what a friend—whose identity will remain anonymous—recently discovered in their Instant Pot… folks, I’ve adopted a new, inspired outlook on what it means to clean my kitchen equipment.

Cutting right to the chase, said friend pulled out their Instant Pot last week to find maggots (yes—maggots) growing in the condensation collector.

I realize you probably have questions. Like, for one, what the heck is a condensation collector?? The condensation collector is a small, rectangular plastic cup that would have come in the accessory kit packaged with your Instant Pot, and is intended to catch excess moisture so that it does not spill onto your countertop. (If you never knew what that little cup was for and have yet to attach it to your IP, reference step 5 of this guide for a handy visual on how to install it.) Many rice cookers also have one of these detachable, condensation-catching cups.

That said, if you still have no idea what I’m talking about, worry not. Your Instant Pot may not have one; some newer models, such as the LUX60 V3, do not come with this feature.

Supposing you do recognize the condensation collector as a piece you have attached to your Instant Pot, I’m sure your big question is something along the lines of how the heck does one avoid ever ending up with maggots in there???

Realistically, what happened in the tragic case of the Instant Pot pictured above can be traced back to the fact that the appliance isn’t used all that often, maybe once or twice a month. And on those occasions the IP was used, the condensation collector was neglected during clean-up—thus, leaving liquid, containing particles of food and fat from the cooking process, trapped in the plastic cup while the appliance was stashed away in a dark cabinet for a few weeks. I probably don’t need to tell you that this entire scenario is a breeding ground for something disgusting, right?

Point being—if you too aren’t using your Instant Pot frequently, you should remove the condensation cup, rinse it out with hot water, and allow it to dry completely with every every use. However, you are likely good to go a couple of uses before giving this part a thorough cleaning if you are utilizing your Instant Pot on a daily basis. As long as you (and anyone else who may be using your Instant Pot) are conscious that this piece needs to be cleaned out as a part of responsible and sanitary Instant Pot maintenance, you should be just fine. Of course, if you felt compelled to immediately burn your condensation collector after viewing the image above (understandable), replacements can be purchased through the Instant Pot website.