Your Keurig coffee machine may be bacteria breeding ground, according to a recent test performed by CBS stations in Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Chicago. The news outlets swabbed the various parts of 29 Keurig coffee makers, sending samples to a lab to be analyzed. One swab from a machine in Pittsburgh contained 4.6 million colonies of bacteria and mold, and E.coli showed up on a machine in Dallas.
More than half of the machines came back with bacteria counts in the millions, CBS Pittsburgh reports.
These findings are pretty disturbing, no doubt. But before you vow to switch to tea, you should know that most kitchen products will likely host a heck of a lot of grossness if they aren’t properly cared for.
The kitchen sponge, for example, is home to a lot of bacteria when it isn’t sanitized. Some doctors consider it the dirtiest item in the house, containing more grime than the toilet seat.
And pretty much anything that creates an environment for standing water will pose the risk for possible bacteria infections. Possible germ breeders include shower loofahs and water bottles with a bit of liquid left inside.
But back to coffee. It’s not just Keurig and other single-serve machines that could be growing swarms of germs — traditional coffee makers will also house bacteria, yeast and mold if not sanitized correctly, because the hot water used in the machine isn’t enough to decontaminate the pot.
“[Coffee makers] are certainly a moist environment where mold and bacteria are known to grow in high numbers,” University of Arizona germ specialist Kelly Reynolds previously told The Huffington Post. “Our bodies can deal with them, but at some point they’ll grow to levels high enough to cause sickness.”
A Keurig spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that the company “is committed to creating brewers and pods in a way that brews the perfect cup of coffee, tea and other beverages while maintaining the highest safety standards.” She said Keurig recommends descaling machines every 3-6 months with vinegar or a descaling solution to keep the brewer free of buildup, directing us to tips for adequately cleaning the machine.
Dutifully cleaning your coffee machines won’t just keep the germs away — it’ll also make your coffee taste better. These two reasons should be motivation enough to get scrubbing!