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EW! You could be Drinking Harmful Mold and Bacteria in your Morning Cup of Joe


Straight out of the "scary but true" file, those of us who drink coffee every morning are also probably drinking mold and bacteria along with it. But fear not, there's a way to correct the problem.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. We know that mold and bacteria grow in warm, moist, dark environments. That's a coffee maker. All coffee makers are prone to develop mold and bacteria, but it's those single-serve coffee makers, that about half of us now use, the ones with the little pods, that are particularly bad. That's because in that type of coffee maker, there are small hoses that pump the water, and when they are not in use, the water just sits in the little hoses.

If you're hoping the hot water in the coffee maker kills the mold and bacteria, that's a pretty good guess, but incorrect. The problem is, the water in coffee makers isn't hot enough to kill. It needs to be boiling. Furthermore, it needs to be exposed to the germs for a full two minutes or so. The hot water in coffee makers goes through the machine faster than that. 

In theory this means mold and bacteria build up. But is it really true? Sadly, yes. 

Local television station KDKA in Pittsburgh tested nearly 30 coffee makers. The scientific experiment involved swiping the insides of the various machines and sending the sample swabs off to a laboratory for analysis. 

What the lab discovered was not pretty: millions of colonies of bacteria and mold. Nasty things like E.coli, staphylococcus, streptococcus and pseudomonas aeruginosa.

The good news is there is a cheap and easy way to get your coffee maker clean and keep it that way. The key is vinegar. Just plain, old white vinegar, not the pricey, fancy stuff that overwhelms the grocery store shelves. 

According to CoffeeDetective.com here's 

How To Clean Your Coffee Maker 

1. Fill your brewer's water reservoir with 50% white vinegar and 50% water.

2. Run the mixture through your brewer (without using any coffee, of course).

3. Halt the brew process half way through, so there is plenty of vinegar mix inside the machine.

4. Leave it to sit for 30-60 minutes so the vinegar can do its work.

5. Complete the cycle.

6. Rinse the brewer's insides by filling the reservoir with fresh water and then running it through the machine a few times.

To keep your coffee maker as germ-free as possible between cleanings:

  • Use filtered water rather than tap
  • Leave the lid off to allow the machine to air out
  • Wipe it down daily


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