How To Clean A Moldy Coffee Maker

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What usually goes through the mind of a coffee lover on the mention of ‘coffee’ is aroma and flavor. And to achieve this, you need to utilize your coffee beans on a coffee maker. But did you know that a contaminated machine leads to a high possibility of consuming mold? It’s sad that we assume this when brewing coffee.

It would be hard to imagine that the coffee in your cup contains mold. The sad truth is that germs are in high concentration in the kitchen. In fact, studies show that coffee makers are the fifth dirtiest kitchen appliance. The filter holder and water tank are the two areas that are constantly moist hence creating an enabling environment for mold to grow. If you consume coffee from a pot that is improperly cleaned, you could experience bloating or diarrhea.

Many people assume that the natural antibacterial in coffee or hot water that runs through a coffee machine is enough to kill germs. But this is not the case. To kill bacteria, you need to heat water above boiling temperature, which no coffee maker for home use can reach. However, the acidic nature of coffee can eliminate about 50% of the germs in the filter and your pot.

If you think too much about the likelihood that there’s mold in your coffee maker, you’ll never truly enjoy your morning cup again. Unfortunately, ignoring it doesn’t make it less true because coffee makers are a prime breeding ground for mold thanks to their dampness and inaccessible inner workings. You can’t scrub every part of your coffee maker, but there’s a simple way to rid it of mold. When you’re finished, celebrate your success with the best-tasting cup of coffee your maker has ever produced.

Coffee Makers: The Basics

Coffee machine manufacturers have been honing and perfecting their designs for over 30 years. They strive to make their coffee brewers as straightforward and easy to use as possible. Coffee machines, as the name suggests, are household appliances that are used to brew coffee. There are many different models and types of coffee machines available today, and each one uses a different brewing principle.

However, the more common machines use a similar principle of placing ground coffee onto a metal or paper filter within a funnel. This is then set over a coffee pot that is made from glass or ceramic. When you remove the top of your coffee machine, you will notice three main features:

A reservoir houses the water that you pour into the device at the start of the coffee brewing process. There is also a hole at the bottom of the bucket that a tube moves through. A white tube leads upward from below the base of the reservoir. This tube carries hot water up toward the drip area. Finally, there is a type of shower head to which water arrives from the white tube. The water then escapes the shower head and is sprayed over the ground coffee. In some coffee machines, the water escapes from the tube itself, rather than the showerhead, onto a perforated disc known as the drip area.

Cleaning a Drip Coffee Maker

Mold can build up in any damp part of a traditional drip coffee maker, even in the carafe if you let water or coffee sit in it for too long. You’ll find coffee maker cleaning solutions on the market, but simple white vinegar is really all you need to clean mold in coffee makers.

First, clean all the removable parts of the coffee maker with hot, soapy water. Next, put a paper filter in the machine and fill the carafe nearly to full with half water and half white vinegar. Pour the vinegar solution into the machine and set it to brew just as you would a normal pot of coffee. (If you have a newer machine with a “clean” option, choose this instead.)

Stop the cycle halfway through and let the machine sit for 30 minutes while the vinegar works its magic. Finish the cycle, discard the vinegar solution and refill the carafe with clean water. Add a new paper filter and start a new cycle with just the water, which should flush the machine of any lingering vinegar taste. Repeat once more with another cycle using just water, clean the removable parts again and you’re ready to brew coffee.

Cleaning a Pod Coffee Maker

Coffee makers that use pods are just as prone to mold buildup as drip coffee makers. One thing that’s different about these models is that their manufacturers tend to stress the importance of using the brand’s own products for routine cleanings. If you go that route, the packaging will include specific directions.

If you don’t want to pay for a special cleaning solution, the solution of equal parts water and white vinegar can also be used to clean mold from a pod coffee maker. Before doing anything, though, check the coffee maker’s manual for specific cleaning guidelines because the machine may have special cleaning settings. These manuals can easily be found online.

The process is the same as it is for drip coffee makers. Fill the reservoir with half water and half vinegar but leave the pod chamber empty. Run the machine as many times as necessary to empty the reservoir and then run the machine again until you’ve emptied two reservoirs of clean water.

Preventing Mold in Coffee Makers

The key to preventing mold buildup is to keep your coffee maker and its removable pieces clean and dry when it’s not being used. It may be super convenient to keep your water reservoir filled, especially in a pod-style coffee maker, but this provides a natural environment for mold. Being diligent about washing all the removable parts of your coffee maker will also keep it as clean as possible. Wash the reservoir/carafe and the removable filter with warm soapy water after every use.

Tips For Using Your Coffee Machine

There are some things you can do to make sure that you are getting the best possible cup of coffee every time. The first, and most important, is to keep your coffee maker clean. The second is to always use a medium grind. Most auto-drip coffee machines were designed to be used with a medium grind, though the optimal grind may vary.

Lastly, always brew a full pot, regardless of how many cups of coffee you plan on pouring. Your coffee machine’s reservoir and brew basket are manufactured to accommodate the machine’s maximum capacity. Anything less will cause the machine to run inefficiently.

Final Thoughts

We’ve learned that cleaning your coffee machine of mold is not as gross as it sounds. Follow the steps above, and your coffee machine will be in tip-top shape in no time.

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