Whether you use a traditional coffee maker or a single cup coffee maker like a Keurig, both need to be cleaned on a regular basis. If your coffee maker is not cleaned, the coffee can start to taste bitter. This can be caused by hard water scaling that builds up inside the water reserve tank and the machine itself.  There can also be caffeine that builds up and creates sludge inside the filter area, the glass pot, and inside the machine.  A Keurig machine has the added problem of water that constantly stays in the reserve tank and throughout the system.  The water is kept warm to give you a quick cup of coffee but it also becomes a breeding ground mold, mildew and bacteria.  This combination can actually make you ill.

CBS did some research on the question; “do coffee makers really make you sick?”  They took swab samples from different single cup coffee makers and found that some had up to ten different types of harmful bacteria in their coffeemakers. These concerns do not mean that you have to stop using your coffee machine.  As long as you follow regular cleaning steps, your coffee maker won’t be filled with harmful bacteria, mold & mildew.

How to clean your traditional coffee maker

Fill the water reserve with a 50/50 mixture of cleaning vinegar and water. Let it sit in the reserve for 30 minutes. Plug in the coffee maker and brew a pot of water without a filter.  Let the vinegar mixture stay in the pot for a few minutes to work on the stains in the pot.  Dump out the dirty vinegar water and run a full pot of clean water through the system. Repeat this process one more time.  The acid in the vinegar will work to remove scaling and mildew that has built up inside the machine.  After the machine has had its last rinse, place the filter holder and the pot in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.

How to clean your single cup coffee maker

Similar to your traditional coffee maker, vinegar is a natural cleaning agent for your single cup coffee maker. Fill the water reserve half way with cleaning vinegar. Fill it the rest of the way with water. Run the coffee maker on brew without putting in a coffee pod.  You should continue to brew until all the water in the reserve is gone then place clean water in the reserve and brew without a pod until all the water is gone.  The vinegar will cut through any coffee buildup as well as remove mold and mildew.  Once the rinse cycle is complete, place the plastic reserve container in the bottom drawer of your dishwasher on the hot cycle.  This will completely remove any slimy, scaly buildup.

How often should you clean your coffee maker

It’s important that either type of coffee maker is cleaned every month if they’re used regularly.  For a traditional coffee pot, you can place the glass pot and filter holder in the dishwasher daily to keep it clean and free from buildup.  The water reserve in a single cup maker can also be placed in the dishwasher on a weekly basis to keep it free from slime and scaling.

Recycling your single use cups

Single serve coffee makers have a bad reputation of filling our landfills with their small, plastic pods. Coffee companies began to realize the harm they were causing and several have taken the necessary steps to find a solution to the problem. Two of the major companies taking part in finding a solution are Keurig and Nespresso. Keurig has stated that by the end of 2020, all of their K-cups will be recyclable. Nespresso has built their own facility dedicated to recycling their coffee pods. We’re excited to see environmentally conscious developments in the single cup coffee maker such as this! Brew on!