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How To Clean Your Coffee Maker in 3 Simple Steps

Although it’s usually not enough to make you sick right away, the germs in your coffee maker can be damaging to your health—and your coffee maker—in the long-term.

Your coffee maker has more germs and bacteria than your bathroom door handle and toilet seats. According to the NSF International Household Germ Study in 2011, of the surveyed households, 50% of coffee reservoirs had yeast and mold. Coffee makers are warm, moist environments that are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Although it’s usually not enough to make you sick right away, these germs can be damaging to your health—and your coffee maker—in the long-term.

Thus, it’s crucial to clean and dry your coffee maker after each use, and it’s even more crucial to decalcify and deep clean it every 1-3 months. Plus, a clean coffee pot leads to richer and less bitter coffee.

Below are the 3 easy ways to get a cleaner pot, better-tasting coffee, and healthier household.

Clean with warm, soapy water daily.

The carafe, lid, and filter basket should be washed daily after each use to ensure they stay in good, working order. Wipe down the parts with a warm, soapy sponge and rinse with a wet towel. You should fill the carafe with warm water and soap and even add in a little rice to gently remove any gunk. Swirl the mixture in the pot.

Then dry thoroughly. Keep your machine open while it continues to air-dry to prevent moisture and bacteria buildup. You should also wipe the outside of your machine with a damp cloth to keep it shining, sparkling, and free of attracting any insects or germs.

Use reusable coffee filters.

If you’re using paper filters, you may be weakening the taste of your coffee and contributing to higher bacteria counts. The pores of paper filters don’t expand enough to allow all of the steeped coffee down into your cup. Instead, some of it rises and settles in the crevices of the inside of your machine, causing more moisture resting inside your machine rather than inside your cup. If you are using paper filters, you should quickly rinse them under cool water before brewing to remove impurities and better allow coffee to flow.

However, it’s better for your coffee, your machine, and the environment to use reusable coffee filters. These are more functional for brewing and allow the coffee to properly drain, keeping your cup fuller and your machine dryer. Plus, you will have to clean the filter basket less often if you use reusable filters.

Decalcify every 1-3 months.

Cleaning every day and using reusable filters will help to keep your pot clean of bacteria and mold, but gunk and minerals can still build up in the “inner workings” of your coffee pot. The best way to decalcify and sanitize your brewer is with vinegar. (No, hot water will not get the job done alone.)

Fill the water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water. Using a paper or reusable filter, brew half of the chamber’s liquid. Turn the coffee maker off and let it sit for 15-45 minutes. Finish brewing the rest of the liquid. This will work to remove mineral buildup, lime scale, and oils leftover from beans or grounds.

Then, clean your filter or add a new paper filter. Rinse the machine by brewing a pot of clear water. Run clean water through your machine again. Your coffee pot will be revitalized, free of goop, and ready to brew delicious tasting coffee!

The same is true for Keurigs and other pod makers. You can use the same vinegar-water method for these mechanisms, but leave the pod dispenser empty (don’t use a filter).

If you live in a city or a hard water area, you should decalcify once per month. Otherwise, you can do it every two or three months.

The Bottom Line

A quick cleaning every day, a thorough detox every month, and quality reusable coffee filters will together save your machine, protect your health, and brew a better cup of Joe.


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