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Your Coffee Maker Could Be Full of Mold—Unless You Clean It Like This

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 9/21/2017 Brooke Nelson
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Quick—when is the last time you cleaned your home coffee maker? If your answer is anything but “yesterday,” then we have some bad news for you: Your morning cup of joe could be making you sick.

In a 2011 study of 22 households, nearly half of classic coffee makers had yeast and mold growing inside. About one in ten housed coliform bacteria in their nooks and crannies, too. And the news gets worse: On average, home coffee machines tend to be germier than both bathroom door handles and toilet seats. This is the nasty reason why you should never, ever use the kettle in your hotel room for your daily cuppa, either.

'(Coffee makers) are certainly a moist environment where mold and bacteria are known to grow in high numbers,' germ specialist Kelly Reynolds of the University of Arizona told The Huffington Post. 'Our bodies can deal with them, but at some point they’ll grow to levels high enough to cause sickness.'

Sounds gross, right? Unfortunately, a quick dip in the dishwasher isn’t enough to call it clean, either. Vinegar, as it turns out, is necessary to both sanitize and 'decalcify'—or remove tap water’s mineral buildup from—your coffee maker.

A classic coffee machine needs a gentle cleaning every day, according to Carolyn Forté, director of the Home Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. That goes for 'pod-based machines' like Keurigs, too. Here’s how to clean eight more of your trickiest kitchen appliances.

Video: The science of why coffee is good for you (Provided by Wochit News)

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'The carafe, lid and filter basket should be cleaned daily with warm, sudsy water,' Forté told The Huffington Post via email. 'A coffee maker that’s used daily should be decalcified about once per month in hard water areas and every two to three months in soft water areas.'

Thankfully, all it takes is a speedy rinse with vinegar to get your coffee maker back in in spick-and-span shape. Start by filling the coffee maker’s water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water. Using a paper filter, allow the machine to brew until half the chamber is empty. Then, turn the coffee maker off and let it sit for 30 minutes before turning it back on. After it completes its brewing cycle, brew a second and third batch with a new paper filter and clean water.

That completes the monthly deep, decalcifying clean. Now, fill the basin with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. If there is any leftover gunk, use a scrubber sponge to remove it. Wipe the outside of the machine with a damp cloth and allow to dry. As we said earlier, experts recommend repeating these last two steps every day.

Happy drinking! Now that your maker is mold-free, you’ll want to know these tricks to brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

The 8 Dirtiest Things In Your Life (And How to Clean Them) (Provided by Food & Wine) Smartphone: <p>Harboring ten times more bacteria than the average toilet, your smartphone is a technological petri dish.</p> <p><strong>How to clean it: </strong>Get an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_at?linkCode=as2&ie=UTF8&keywords=gorilla+glass+screen+protector&tag=pur0e4-20&index=aps&hvadid=34612788048&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12070894606751597748&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_1tjjivl0p_b">antimicrobial coating</a> or keep <a href="http://staywellkept.com/">antibacterial wipes</a> in your purse and clean it at least once a day.</p> The 8 Dirtiest Things In Your Life (And How to Clean Them)

[Source: The Huffington Post]

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