Can You Clean a Coffee Maker With Bleach?
Should you clean a coffee maker with bleach?
The short answer is no.
The long answer: keep reading to find out why not to use bleach to clean a coffee maker and what to use instead.
Never clean a coffee maker with bleach
Bleach is a harsh chemical that wreaks havoc on your health in so many ways.
Here are the dangers of using bleach:
1. Bleach can harm your eyes
Just a tiny splash of bleach into your eyes may cause a chemical burn that requires weeks of treatment with antibiotic eye drops and numerous visits to the doctor.
Depending on the severity of the injury, it could permanently damage your vision.
2. Bleach harms your lungs
If you regularly clean a coffee maker with bleach, you’ll also expose yourself to toxic fumes more often than anyone should.
A Harvard study cautioned that cleaning with bleach just once a week increases your chances of developing lung disease by 32%.
3. Ingesting bleach
Cleaning your coffee maker with bleach will inevitably leave behind a chemical residue that’ll end up in your morning cup of joe.
Based on those findings, you shouldn’t clean your coffee maker with bleach.
So should you just skip the cleaning process all together?
Why you should clean your coffee maker
Warm temperatures and constant moisture don’t just help to make your favorite brew; they also foster the growth of nasty little microbes.
A study carried out in the airline industry discovered that at least 37 kinds of microbes grow inside coffee makers.
Intrigued by those findings, CBS News replicated the study using the coffee makers in their offices, and found similar results.
This means that your beloved coffee likely has quite a bit of unwanted company while getting brewed.
So, since bleach is not a recommended method for cleaning a coffee maker and getting rid of microbes, let’s look at some safe alternatives.
Alternatives to cleaning a coffee maker with bleach
Now that you’ve learned not to clean your coffee maker with bleach, here are some natural alternatives that aren’t only safe, but also quite inexpensive.
1. Clean a coffee maker with vinegar
That means vinegar works great for cleaning a coffee maker, but if for some reason vinegar is not your thing, just keep reading.
2. Cleaning a coffee maker with baking soda
Researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo discovered that baking soda is effective at reducing bacteria.
But that’s not all.
Baking soda also does a great job at removing stains and bad odors, making it an appropriate natural cleaner for coffee makers.
And it’s a lot more affordable than the next method.
3. Clean your coffee maker with commercial cleaners
However, watch out. Most of those products don’t reveal their full ingredient list.
This means there’s no way for you to know if they include harsh chemicals that could stick around inside your coffee maker and harm your health.
If that sounds too risky then it’s best to stick with one of the two natural methods mentioned above.
Already bleached your coffee maker?
If you’ve already done the deed with bleach, then you need to remove the chemical residue.
There are a number of options available, but Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid or C6H8O6) is the safest one for neutralizing leftover bleach (see here).
Here’s how to proceed:
1. Take your coffee maker apart and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
3. Reassemble your coffee maker and make a second concoction of water and ascorbic acid. Run this solution through your coffee maker to neutralize the bleach in any areas that couldn’t get disassembled.
4. Flush the coffee maker with water.
5. If you want to make sure all the bleach residue has been eliminated, get a pack of bleach test strips (get more info here). Individually wipe the different areas inside your coffee maker. If the result should indicate anything other that zero ppm, it’s time to go back to step one.
How to clean a coffee maker the right way
Here’s how to do it:
1. Discard any coffee grounds.
2. Disassemble your coffee maker to wash the individual parts with natural dish soap. This will remove any loose residue and make the following steps more effective. (Avoid commercial brands since they often contain harsh chemicals that could leave behind a toxic film that sneaks into your next cup of coffee. If you’re looking for a dish soap that’s 100% safe, check out this one.)
3. Reassemble the coffee maker.
4. Pour vinegar into the water chamber.
5. Start the brew cycle and allow it to run just long enough for the vinegar to start to drip into the coffee pot.
7. After half an hour, restart the cycle.
8. Discard the vinegar and run a cycle of clean water through the coffee maker.
How to prevent microbial growth in a coffee maker
Now that you’ve learned how to clean a coffee maker without bleach, here are some ways to keep it clean.
1. Wash the individual parts of your coffee maker frequently to prevent nasty microbial buildup. Use a natural dish soap that doesn’t leave behind any chemical residue that could affect your health and spoil the taste of your coffee (watch the video below and then learn more here).
2. Let the coffee maker air dry. Moisture and dampness encourage bacteria growth, but air drying has the opposite effect. You can decrease bacteria growth by simply letting the parts of your coffee maker air dry on a clean dish rack.
3. Clean the coffee maker with vinegar (following the steps above) on a regular basis to keep your coffee not only tasty and invigorating, but also sanitary.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Congratulations – you’re a coffee maker cleaning pro!
Now you know how to clean a coffee maker: you simply use apple cider vinegar instead of bleach.
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