There is one thing in your kitchen that is probably in major need of a deep clean. This convenient appliance is your coffee maker. Many of us use one daily and we tend to look at the pot or the outside of the coffee maker to decide whether it is clean. The issue with this is that germs, bacteria, and mold thrive in wet and dark environments. The water compartment and filter reservoir of our coffee makers are just the type of places that these organisms love.
In 2011, the NSF conducted a study to find where the most germs are in homes. Coffee makers ranked 5th on the list, with more germs than those found on pet chew toys as well as toilet seat handles. They also found in their research high levels of mold and yeast that can be responsible for causing headaches, respiratory infections, as well as flu-like symptoms. Loyola University tested 10 family’s coffee makers and the results were also shocking. Swabs taken of the water reservoirs and filter cups showed bacteria including E. coli, staph, and strep. All of these if allowed to grow to large numbers can cause major stomach issues and other serious health problems.
Many of us think that the coffee maker itself will purify the water it heats resulting in a safe cup of coffee. According to the CDC, water should be boiled for at least one minute to effectively reduce pathogens. The boiling point of water is 212° F and the average coffee maker only heats water to between 197°-204°F. This is because allowing coffee to boil at any stage during its brewing alters its flavor and can leave it with a pungent taste.
There is no reason to skip your morning cup of coffee though. Keeping your coffee maker clean is easy and can be done in a just a few steps. First, start by running the pot and filter basket through your dishwasher on the top rack once a week. Then once a month, clean the inside components of your coffee maker using a solution of 2 parts distilled vinegar and 1 part water. Simply prepare your appliance to brew a whole pot with this mixture, but without the coffee grounds. Rinse the pot and filter basket with water and brew 2 pots of clean water to remove any remaining vinegar taste or smell. Once cleaned, you can brew yourself a fresh cup of java without having to worry about the mold and germs. Enjoy!