Personal coffee makers have potential hazards

Personal coffee makers have potential hazards

Personal coffeemakers provide a convenient coffee brewing solution for students, but they have an issue everyone should be wary of.

Mold within personal coffee makers like Keurigs should not come as a surprise.

“Any time there is constant moisture, there is the potential for mold and mildew to generate,” said Terri Newcom, Purdue Extension director for Tipton County.

Keurigs are a simple brewing system, requiring little of the user. Users only add water to the water tank and place the blend cup of choice into the machine. Keurigs are a cost efficient and easy way to brew at home for many. What many Keurig users have not thought of are the possible drawbacks to this machine.

“Since mildew and mold can grow on hard plastic surfaces, Keurigs and other types of coffee makers are susceptible,” said Newcom. “Most likely, the first evidence of mold or mildew will be a bitter taste to the coffee.”

A bitter taste to the coffee is not the only side effect that comes with mold exposure. Because all molds, mildews and bacteria pose health hazards, allergies tend to be a negative result as well. Other health hazards can include coughing, congestion, and respiratory infections.

“With respect to any coffee machine, the hazard is consuming mold spores through the coffee (drunk) from the infected pot,” said Newcom. “A person may experience gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas and diarrhea.”

The way to avoid these health hazards is to simply clean the Keurigs. By cleaning regularly, the risk of mold, mildew or bacteria forming in the Keurig is drastically decreased.

Denise Schroeder, coordinator of the Purdue Mold team, also recommended using a clean cup each time the Keurig is used.

“A dirty cup can add bacteria directly to the machine,” said Schroeder. “Routinely clean them – make sure they clean the drip trays frequently. I would suggest a minimum of at least once a week – daily would be better.”

Newcom noted that a variety of cleaning products can be used. She included commercial cleaning products, baking soda, diluted bleach and even white vinegar.

“White vinegar is a great cleaning solution for many things, including coffee makers,” said Newcom. “In addition, it will help remove sediment and build-up.”

Other suggestions for mold prevention include leaving the top of the coffee maker open to let moisture evaporate between uses and using a dry cloth to dry reachable areas.


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