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VERIFY: Is My Keurig Brewing Bacteria and Making Me Sick?

Can your Keurig grow bacteria and mold and make you sick?

VERIFY QUESTION

It's coffee time -- and also time to VERIFY. When you pick up that cup of delicious brew, you think you are getting a quick energy jolt. But, what is really in that cup? Caffeine, creamer and...bacteria?

Bonnie Earnhardt submitted this VERIFY inquiry via e-mail:

"There's been a lot of bad press about Keurig coffee makers having slimy, uncleanable water tanks that could cause illness. Is this true?"

VERIFY SOURCE

To VERIFY, we consulted Keurig, cross-checked the fact-checking source Snopes and read up on cleaning tips from Good Housekeeping.

VERIFY PROCESS

Viewer Bonnie mentioned seeing articles about gross Keurigs. We found a blog post from a wellness website titled "Why I Kicked My Keurig to the Curb."

It shows gross pictures, claiming to show the mold people found when they opened up their Keurigs.

Snopes fact checked that article and confirmed yes, Keurig machines get moldy and can make a person sick, if they are not regularly cleaned. But, that is true for most coffee makers, not just Keurigs. Keurigs can be a little trickier to clean, with the hard-to-reach compartments and water reservoir.

Not to worry -- they are cleanable. Keurig recommends de-scaling your machine every three to six months. Scale is a mineral deposit build-up that is not toxic but can prevent the machine from brewing and filtering properly. Put a de-scaling solution or distilled vinegar in the reservoir. Then, follow the instructions on the Keurig website.

Good Housekeeping recommends cleaning other parts of the machine, too. Every week, wash the mug tray and k-cup holder in warm, soapy water. Every two months, replace the water filter cartridge. And, as needed, unplug the machine and use a paper clip to clear out the old coffee grounds lodged in the k-cup holder.

VERIFY CONCLUSION

Without regular cleaning, a coffee maker can grow bacteria and mold. Proper maintenance will keep the coffee flowing cleanly.

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