You Only Have To Clean Your Coffeemaker Once A Month. Here's Why

Congratulations: You're saving cash every day by skipping the long cafe lines and enjoying a homemade cup of joe in your own kitchen. However, did you know that, left unclean, your trust coffeemaker can breed mold?

An international household study done by NSF International found that coffeemakers are one of the top 10 germiest household places — along with that old dish sponge you should throw away. In fact, 50% of homes had yeast and mold in their coffee machines, making them unsuitable for use. 

According to the National Capital Poison Center, mold can cause severe respiratory illness and infection. Discarding unused water and coffee grounds will limit the places where mold and yeast can spread. (Still, you may want to rethink using that hotel coffeemaker.)

Given all this information, you may be inclined to start cleaning your coffeemaker on a daily basis. However, it only needs to be done once a month. Here's why.

Cleaning your coffeemaker once a month is enough

Some household appliances, like your refrigerator, only require cleaning once every season, per The Washington Post. However, because a coffeemaker is typically used every day — with coffee grounds and water running through its system — it needs to be cleaned more often than once each quarter. Whether you have a fancy machine that creates latte art or a classic drip machine, your coffeemaker needs to be refreshed every month. 

Without proper cleaning, hard water minerals can build up within your coffeemaker, changing the taste of your cup of joe and causing the brewing process to take longer, per The Washington Post. Thankfully, this buildup isn't as harmful as mold and yeast. A study done by the International Journal of Preventive Medicine reports that hard water minerals don't lead to fatal health issues.

Regardless, the process of cleaning your coffeemaker monthly doesn't require harsh chemicals — or much time. 

The easiest way to clean your coffeemaker

Cleaning your coffeemaker is actually as easy as making coffee. The key ingredient is vinegar, an eco-friendly cleaning agent that eliminates odors and is safe to use around food, according to Healthline. It's also inexpensive, making it a great way to disinfect your coffeemaker monthly. 

Vinegar's acid content breaks through scum and cleanses your machine so you don't have to worry about anything else lurking in that cup of joe. In particular, white distilled vinegar, per Healthline, is best for your cleaning needs as it won't stain. 

To clean your coffeemaker, dilute the vinegar with equal parts water, and pour the solution into the machine's basin. Put a coffee filter in place. Simply run your coffee maker, and the machine will do all the work for you. The vinegar will warm up and work its way through your machine, thoroughly washing the insides.

For a deep clean, you can let the vinegar solution soak mid-brew for 30 minutes. (While it's disinfecting, you should check other household items you should be cleaning but aren't.) After the process is done, pour out the solution from the carafe, and brew two more cycles with just water to wash away any lingering vinegar. This is a key step, or your next coffee will taste sour. If you have a coffeemaker with a detachable carafe, it can be washed daily using dish soap along with your other kitchenware.

Just remember: Before you go to clean your coffeemaker with this easy method, be sure to check that your vinegar has not gone bad first.