One Thing You Should Probably Be Cleaning More In Your Kitchen

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

Image by Ryan Tuttle / Stocksy

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Ah, coffee. The focal point of many a morning ritual, our cups of joe come paired with some notable health benefits—from burning fat to fighting cognitive decline. While not everyone can stomach coffee, those who can will be pleased to know that recent research suggests most people can enjoy five cups a day (and some up to 25 cups!) before the habit starts to compromise heart health.

If you're an avid sipper, chances are your coffee maker takes a beating. According to Becky Rapinchuk, natural cleaning expert and author of Clean Mama's Guide to a Healthy Home, you might want to start scrubbing your machine out more often—since it can easily grow mold and mildew. Thankfully, it's a pretty hands-off cleaning project though it can be time-consuming. All you'll need to get started is some cold water, white vinegar (aka the acidic superstar of the nontoxic cleaning scene), and patience. Here is Rapinchuk's step-by-step guide to cleaning up your machine, whether you use a Keurig or drip maker.

How to clean a Keurig machine:

  1. Unplug the machine.
  2. Remove any accessories such as the water reservoir, K-cup holder, and the tray the machine sits on. Wash those out in warm soapy water and then set them aside to air dry.
  3. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a microfiber cloth. You can either dampen it with a little water or add white vinegar for caked-on grime. (Use a toothbrush to get into those harder-to-reach areas.)
  4. Put all the parts back on the machine and fill the water reservoir with a 50-50 white vinegar and cold water mix. Plug the machine back in.
  5. Turn the machine on and run it without a k-cup, using a cup or dish to collect the hot water that comes out. Continue until there's no water-vinegar mixture left in the reservoir.
  6. Fill the water reservoir up again with plain cold water and run the machine until the water is gone. By the time that's done, you shouldn't be able to smell vinegar—that's how you'll know you've rinsed it out all the way and your machine is good to go.
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How to clean a drip coffee maker:

  1. Unplug the machine.
  2. Remove any accessories such as the funnel. Wash those out in warm soapy water and then set them aside to air dry.
  3. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a microfiber cloth. You can either dampen it with a little water or add white vinegar for caked-on grime. (Use a toothbrush to get into those harder-to-reach areas.)
  4. Put all the parts back on the machine and fill the water reservoir to nearly the top with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and cold water. Plug the machine back in.
  5. "Brew" that vinegar mixture until it is about halfway done. Turn off your machine and let that mixture sit for 30-45 minutes to loosen up any mineral deposits in both the reservoir and pot.
  6. Let it finish brewing. Then, refill your reservoir with fresh water and run it three more times, until the water comes out clear and there's no vinegar scent left over.

How often should you be cleaning your machine?

While that depends on your coffee consumption habits, Rapinchuk says that if your machine starts slowing down or not running as well, it's a sure sign it needs a deep clean. And if you want to give your machine a quick refresh in between cleanings, you can just run plain hot water through it for one cycle. This is a nice habit to get into when you get back from a vacation or any long period of not using your machine.

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Related Class

The Complete Guide To Juices & Smoothies
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And while you're at it....

As you're waiting for your coffee machine to run, you can put that white vinegar to use again on your blender. Fill your container halfway with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar, and run it for 10 to 20 seconds (or longer if it has any stubborn smoothie stains). Empty it out and then rinse thoroughly with warm water and soap until you can't smell the vinegar anymore.

And with that, you're ready to make all the beverages your heart desires.

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