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Yuck! What’s lurking in your coffee maker?

This content originally appeared March 20th, 2016.

Spring is here! The allergens are blooming, and there's no better time to give your coffee equipment a thorough cleaning. 

We at Red Rock Roasters clean our equipment each and every day and we recommend that you clean too. Why? Let’s put it this way:

According to the Huffington Post, “a 2011 study from NSF International found that about half of coffee makers (we're talking the classic, basket-and-carafe kind here) had yeast and mold growing in their reservoirs. About one in ten were home to coliform bacteria. On average, home coffee reservoirs also had higher germ counts than both bathroom door handles and toilet seats.”

YUUUCK! Sounds like you need to do some serious cleaning.

EVERY DAY: Clean the carafe, using warm, sudsy water (but do not put soap inside the machine). If you don’t have time to do it by hand, many parts of the coffee maker (the pot, filter baskets, etc.) are dishwasher safe.

MONTHLY: If you have hard water, you’ll need to clean everything monthly. If you live in an area with soft water, you can put it off until every two or three months. The Good Housekeeping Research Instituterecommends using half water and half vinegar which sanitizes and decalcifies the mineral buildup from tap water.

Here are the recommended coffee maker cleaning steps.

  1. Make a mixture of 3 cups white vinegar to 6 cups water-- enough to fill the pot.

  2. Put a filter in your coffee maker, as usual.

  3. Pour the mixture into the coffee maker where you would normally add water.

  4. Turn the coffee maker on and let the mixture run half way through.

  5. Let it set for 30 minutes.

  6. Then let the rest run completely through.

  7. Discard the filter and mixture.

  8. Let the coffee maker sit and cool for 15 minutes while it's off.

  9. Rinse the coffee pot.

  10. Repeat all of the above a second time, but this time with plain cold water. This will make sure all of the vinegar and water solution is completely gone.

  11. If the carafe is still dingy, you can use warm sudsy water. Then use a scrub brush to work off any spots. Dump it, rinse it and then you’re good to go.

If you have an espresso machine, take a look at this excellent video:

Happy Spring Cleaning!