Your Moldy Coffee Maker

This unappetizing title has to do with cleaning your moldy coffee maker and removing the bacteria as well! Bacteria and mold are everywhere in the environment and when they land on moist surfaces they make themselves at home and start to reproduce. One of the unnoticed places in your home where this will happen is your coffee maker. Several publications have written about this issue. We will start with Huffington Post saying that your Keurig machine might be covered with bacteria and mold.

Your Keurig coffee machine may be a bacteria breeding ground, according to a recent test performed by CBS stations in Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Chicago. The news outlets swabbed the various parts of 29 Keurig coffee makers, sending samples to a lab to be analyzed. One swab from a machine in Pittsburgh contained 4.6 million colonies of bacteria and mold, and E.coli showed up on a machine in Dallas.

More than half of the machines came back with bacteria counts in the millions, CBS Pittsburgh reports.

It’s not just Keurig and other single-serve machines that could be growing swarms of germs — traditional coffee makers will also house bacteria, yeast and mold if not sanitized correctly, because the hot water used in the machine isn’t enough to decontaminate the pot.

Periodically scrub out your coffee pot and a couple of times a year boil vinegar in it to descale the mineral buildup. Clean and set out to dry interior parts and you will help reduce the rate of bacteria and mold buildup.

Bacteria in Your Coffee Maker

The Dallas TV station mentioned previously mentions specific bacteria in various coffee makers.

Dallas mom, Stephanie Brink was stunned to hear that her machine had pseudomonas aeruginosa- a bacteria that grows in standing water and pipes.

Heather Dunston, a mother of three was in for an even bigger surprise. The I-Team found enterobacter on her machine. That’s a coliform – a bacteria from your colon.

And, our very own I-Team Senior Investigative Reporter Ginger Allen was in for a big surprise as well. Dunston was not the only one with a coliform on her coffee machine. Klebsiella, another coliform, was found on Allen’s machine.

These germs are all potentially bad actors and can show up along with the mold in your molding coffee maker. The precautions for bacteria are the same as for mold, routine cleaning and drying. The specific steps listed by the Dallas station are these.

  1. Clean your machine regularly – run vinegar through it often.
  2. Use filtered water rather than tap.
  3. Change the water after each use.
  4. Leave the lid off to allow the machine to air out.
  5. Wipe it down like you do your other appliances.

Jefferson said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It appears to be the same price we need to pay to avoid a bacteria infested and moldy coffee maker.

Complicated versus Simple

The more moist nooks and crannies your coffee maker has, the more mold and bacteria you will likely have to deal with. Quartz published an article referring to your coffee maker as a bacterial breeding ground and published a photo of a machine that has a lot of nooks and crannies to clean. An alternative is to boil your coffee as when making Turkish coffee or coffee for the family back on the farm. Or you can use a French press. The glass container and all of the parts can be cleaned, rinsed and dried without having any hidden areas for bacteria and mold to grow.

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