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How to clean your coffee maker, fertile ground for mold and germs

The best part about waking up is definitely not the mold in your cup of coffee. But if you don’t properly clean your filter coffee maker, there’s a good chance you have mold. If it’s not mold, then at least germs and other unwanted lurkers.

Coffee makers are among the germiest household items, according to a 2011 study by the National Sanitation Foundation. This is because coffee tanks are hot and humid environments, which makes them an ideal breeding ground for molds and yeasts.

Want to enjoy that cup of coffee with peace of mind? Here’s the best way to clean your coffee maker, according to an expert.

How to wash a filter coffee maker

After brewing a pot of coffee, Morgan Eckroth, a Portland, Oregon-based barista and partner at Califia Farms, told HuffPost that it’s a good idea to hand wash your carafe, especially if it is made of stainless steel.

“Most drip coffee decanters are double-walled, so if you put them in the dishwasher it can end up damaging the insulation – so I always recommend washing your hands,” Eckroth said.

She advises using hot water and unscented soap to make it even cleaner. “I prefer unscented ones just because I don’t want any leftover aromas, even though I do a good job of rinsing out. I don’t want to risk a lavender coffee when I don’t feel like it.

Remove the coffee grounds and wash the basket.

Every time you use your coffee maker, hand wash the basket with plenty of hot, soapy water, Eckroth said. “Typically, the coffee baskets of most household machines will be some kind of hard plastic, which over time may eventually start to retain some flavor as the coffee eventually adheres to it. So use plenty of hot, soapy water. Having some sort of sponge or even some sort of scrubber is also very helpful as sometimes grime can build up if it takes too long without washing.

If your coffee grounds basket is made of metal, be sure to dry it well. “I definitely had a build-up of rust when I forgot them and didn’t dry them out,” Eckroth said.

Do a gentle cleansing every 10 days.

People should do “gentle cleans” of their coffee makers every 10 days or so. This involves the use of a product like Urnex cleaning powder, which helps remove oils and coffee residue. “I’ll put some of the cleaning grounds in my coffee basket, like it’s ground coffee, and then cycle the water through it,” Eckroth said. “That way all that cleaning liquid is pushed through the jar. It’s pushed through the basket and you end up with a very nice, clean machine overall.

Descale your coffee maker every 1 to 2 months.

Finally, don’t forget to descale your coffee maker. What you see when making coffee is delicious hot java with an inviting aroma. What you don’t see, however, is the build-up of minerals like calcium and magnesium that pass through the heating element in your coffee maker. According to UrnexThis build-up of mineral scale can prevent the water from reaching its optimum brewing temperature, which can block the flow of water and also prevent your coffee from heating properly. “In general, descaling is recommended every one to two months,” Eckroth said.

The descaling process takes a bit of time – plan to run water through your coffee maker three times to rinse it out completely – but it’s worth it for a clean cup of coffee.

You can make your own solution with white vinegar, but Eckroth finds it easier to buy one. “There is a pretty decent product line out there, and usually if you look at the brand of your coffee maker, they’ll have a recommendation,” she said.

Descaler to try

One descaler to consider is Urnex Dezcal, which costs $ 15.35. Urnex is the brand used by many industry professionals, so it stands to reason that it would also be ideal for home coffee makers. Home coffee drinkers like the De’Longhi EcoDeCalk ($ 16.75) as a green option. Another to consider is this Impresa descaler ($ 14.99).

HuffPost can receive a share of Urnex purchases made through the link above.

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