It's dark and damp, and a perfect environment for germs and mold. When was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker?
A 2011 study by NSF International found that home coffee makers house more in the way of bacteria and mold than most people realize.
And germ specialist Kelly Reynolds had this to say to The Huffington Post:
“(Coffee makers) are certainly a moist environment where mold and bacteria are known to grow in high numbers,” said Reynolds, who studies household germs at the University of Arizona. “Our bodies can deal with them, but at some point they’ll grow to levels high enough to cause sickness.”
Germ Specialist, Kelly Reynolds
So how do you keep your favorite coffee maker clean and running smoothly? The answer is simple household vinegar. For a classic basket-and-carafe-type maker, follow these steps:
- Fill the carafe half-way with household vinegar. Fill the remainder with water. Pour this mixture into the reservoir and run the coffee maker using a plain paper filter. When the carafe is half full, stop the cycle and let sit for 30 minutes.
- After 30-60 minutes, continue the cycle. Discard the vinegar/water mixture.
- Fill the coffee maker with plain water and run through a cycle using a paper filter. Discard the water. Repeat a second time to clear out all traces of vinegar.
- Get ready for great-tasting, germ free coffee.
Pod-based coffee makers can also benefit from a similar cleaning. Refer to product documentation for your particular model.
As a bonus, this vinegar rinse will help your machine run smoothly. Hard water deposits can build up over time. Vinegar will help dissolve and remove these pesky deposits.
In hard-water areas, machines should get a vinegar rinse once every month. Soft-water areas may be able to go a bit longer.
Get ready for a great cup of coffee!