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The One Spring Cleaning Chore You Actually Need to Do

by Leigh Weingus
May 6, 2021
Photo Credit: Studio Firma

Thanks to vaccination efforts, it finally feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re excited (so excited!) to be able to get outdoors, soak up some sunshine, breathe in some fresh air, and see friends and family. What we’re not so excited about? Spring cleaning. But, even though this may not be at the top of your to-do list, there is one thing you should probably clean, especially this year. Here’s why you need to clean your coffee maker — and a super-simple method for getting the job done. 

Why You Need to Clean Your Coffee Maker

In the past year, we’ve all been making a lot more coffee at home. And that’s good news — for your wallet and for your health.

“At home you have ultimate control of your beans,” notes Dr. Vikki Petersen, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Chiropractor, and Functional Medicine doctor. 

On the down side, all this at-home coffee making means your coffee maker is likely past due for a good cleaning. In fact, Kelly A. Reynolds, PhD, microbiologist and professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona, says that a monthly cleaning routine is ideal. 

“That’s what’s needed to keep the microbial count low,” she says. “Any consistently moist environment can promote the growth of mold, yeast, and bacteria. Some of these microorganisms can cause disease or trigger symptoms of allergy and asthma in sensitive individuals.”

Before you panic, know that “the risk of infection from drinking brewed coffee is probably small,” since “a lot of the microbes will be killed during the process of boiling the water.” Even so, Reynolds adds, “There are a lot of reservoirs and crevices in coffee makers where we find high concentrations persist.”

The good news? It’s really easy to clean your coffee maker.

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Here’s the surprisingly easy process Dr. Reynolds swears by: 

  1. Fill the machine’s reservoir with a diluted white vinegar solution (one part vinegar to two parts water).
  2. Let the solution sit for about 10 minutes, and then run it through a hot brew cycle. (If you have an external pot, let the solution sit in the pot for 10 minutes as well.)
  3. Run two brew cycles with water only.

And that’s it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll forget that you ever didn’t do it. 


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