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clean coffee maker

How to Properly Clean Your Coffee Maker

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. According to Reuters, 64% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee every day. Unfortunately, the average cup of joe can contain some troubling contaminants that have the potential to affect your health. If you brew at home, learn how to properly clean your coffee maker to eliminate mold, bacteria, and other potential toxins.

Disturbing Coffee Maker Statistics

NSF International conducted a germ study that found half of coffee makers have mold and yeast growing in their reservoirs. Another 10% harbor coliform bacteria. Coffee makers were among the most contaminated surfaces in an average home, ranking in the top 6 alongside dish sponges, shower drains and kitchen sink drains.

Top Reasons to Clean Your Coffee Maker

You should regularly clean your coffee maker to avoid these worrisome germs, but keeping your coffee maker free of buildup has many practical benefits as well.

  • Prolong your coffee maker’s lifespan. Mineral and bacterial buildup can cause the various parts of your coffee maker to degrade and malfunction faster.
  • Improve the taste of your coffee. Mineral buildup restricts the water flow in your coffee maker, which results in lower brewing temperatures. Low brewing temperatures can dilute the coffee flavor you crave and lead to longer brew times.
  • Prevent your hot plate from burning. Spills and buildup on your hot plate can cause the plate to rust and the finish to flake. This can become a fire hazard long-term.

How Often to Clean Your Coffee Maker, and What You’ll Need

How often should you deep clean your coffee maker? We recommend performing the steps in the next section at least once a month, and more often if you are brewing multiple pots per day.

However, to avoid coliform bacteria and other microorganisms you should wash the removable parts with dish soap after each use. Use soap and warm water or stick the removable components in your dishwasher. Don’t forget to wipe down the outside of your coffee maker and your burner plate, as coffee spills can attract germs.

Here’s what you need to stock in your kitchen for your coffee maker cleaning routine:

 How to Deep Clean Your Coffee Maker at Home

Microorganisms need moist nooks and crannies to reproduce. Calcification can create wet spaces within a coffee maker and hasten mold and bacteria buildup. To minimize the risk of contamination and improve the taste of coffee, experts recommend that people decalcify their home brewing units at least once a month.

  • Fill the unit’s chamber with equal parts filtered water and white vinegar.
  • Using a clean paper filter, allow the coffee maker to brew until half of the chamber is empty.
  • Turn the unit off and let it sit for 30 minutes; then, finish brewing.
  • Brew a pot of filtered water to rinse the machine. Do this twice.
  • After you have finished cleaning the internal components, wash the pot and the filter basket in your dishwasher.

How to Deep Clean Your Keurig or K-Cup Coffee Maker

Luckily, the process for removing scale, grime, and buildup from your Keurig doesn’t differ from the steps outlined above.

First, you will detach and wash all removable parts with dish soap and warm water. Wipe down the outside of the machine, and then run the deep clean cycle with vinegar and filtered water. Don’t insert a K cup and run the machine with your cleaning solution. After, run two cycles with just filtered water.

The only difference? With Keurigs you can use white vinegar or the official Keurig descaling solution, which is the only brand-approved cleaning solution.

Use Filtered Water for Better Coffee

Using pure filtered water will reduce the amount of minerals and particles in your coffee and reduce the risk of recontamination. Consider a Pelican countertop filter, 6-stage RO system, or whole house water filter to enjoy cleaner, better tasting water for your coffee brewing needs. You can also decrease the rate of calcification on your coffee maker and other appliances by investing in a water softener alternative.