How to Clean Mold on a Coffee Maker

Contaminants affect the taste of the coffee.
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If you think too much about the likelihood that there's mold in your coffee maker, you'll never truly enjoy your morning cup again. Unfortunately, ignoring it doesn't make it less true because coffee makers are a prime breeding ground for mold thanks to their dampness and inaccessible inner workings. You can't scrub every part of your coffee maker, but there's a simple way to rid it of mold. When you're finished, celebrate your success with the best-tasting cup of coffee your maker has ever produced.

Cleaning a Drip Coffee Maker

Mold can build up in any damp part of a traditional drip coffee maker, even in the carafe if you let water or coffee sit in it for too long. You'll find coffee maker cleaning solutions on the market, but simple white vinegar is really all you need to clean mold in coffee makers.

First, clean all the removable parts of the coffee maker with hot, soapy water. Next, put a paper filter in the machine and fill the carafe nearly to full with half water and half white vinegar. Pour the vinegar solution into the machine and set it to brew just as you would a normal pot of coffee. (If you have a newer machine with a "clean" option, choose this instead.)

Stop the cycle halfway through and let the machine sit for 30 minutes while the vinegar works its magic. Finish the cycle, discard the vinegar solution and refill the carafe with clean water. Add a new paper filter and start a new cycle with just the water, which should flush the machine of any lingering vinegar taste. Repeat once more with another cycle using just water, clean the removable parts again and you're ready to brew coffee.

Cleaning a Pod Coffee Maker

Coffee makers that use pods are just as prone to mold buildup as drip coffee makers. One thing that's different about these models is that their manufacturers tend to stress the importance of using the brand's own products for routine cleanings. If you go that route, the packaging will include specific directions.

If you don't want to pay for a special cleaning solution, the solution of equal parts water and white vinegar can also be used to clean mold from a pod coffee maker. Before doing anything, though, check the coffee maker's manual for specific cleaning guidelines because the machine may have special cleaning settings. These manuals can easily be found online.

The process is the same as it is for drip coffee makers. Fill the reservoir with half water and half vinegar but leave the pod chamber empty. Run the machine as many times as necessary to empty the reservoir and then run the machine again until you've emptied two reservoirs of clean water.

Preventing Mold in Coffee Makers

The key to preventing mold buildup is to keep your coffee maker and its removable pieces clean and dry when it's not being used. It may be super convenient to keep your water reservoir filled, especially in a pod-style coffee maker, but this provides a natural environment for mold.

Being diligent about washing all the removable parts of your coffee maker will also keep it as clean as possible. Wash the reservoir/carafe and the removable filter with warm soapy water after every use.

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