We are sure that when you think about the germiest spots in your kitchen, you probably don’t consider your coffee pot to be one of the worst. But, a 2011 NSF study found exactly that: People don’t consider their coffeemaker a hot bed for mold and bacteria, but surprise! It totally is.
The study found that, in fact your coffeemaker’s reservoir probably has a higher germ count than some spots in your bathroom – we’re talking about coliform bacteria, yeast and mold (an indicator of possible fecal contamination).
We asked the director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, Carolyn Forte, for her advice on how to keep your coffee maker clean (and your coffee tasting great). You should try this strategy for traditional single – serve machines and carafe coffeemakers.
Each time you use it:
“It’s best to wash the removable parts of your coffeemaker after every use to remove oil, coffee and grinds,” says Forte. “You can hand wash at the sink with soapy and warm water, but usually the pieces are dishwasher – safe. And don’t forget to wipe the warming plate and down the outside where spills can burn on.”
Forte also recommends leaving the reservoir’s lid open use so it can thoroughly dry out (germs love moisture!)
Once per month:
Over time, you may notice that your coffee takes longer to drip, that is because hard water minerals can build up in your machine’s inner workings. To get things back in top shape, you need to”decalcify” and cleanse the machine. Forte’s trick? Good old white vinegar.
Fill the reservoir with equal parts of water and vinegar, and place a paper filter into the machine’s empty basket. Position the pot in place, and “brew” the solution halfway. Turn off the machine, and let it stay for 30 minutes. Then, finish the brewing, by turning the coffeemaker back on, and dump the full pot of water and vinegar. Rinse everything out by putting in a new brewing and paper filter a full pot of clean water. Repeat only once.
Is your carafe a bit black? Pour warm, sudsy water in it and add a little rice. In order to loosen any gunk, wirl the mixture. Use a scrub sponge to rinse well and remove debris.