Coffee is a widely consumed beverage. It keeps us up. It keeps us focused. And some can’t live without it. But what if I was to tell you that your coffee pot is one of the dirtiest vessels in your home and/or business? In a 2011 study conducted by NSF International, the coffee reservoir is crawling with bacteria, mold, and even mildew if not cleaned properly and on a regular basis. I know you may be thinking that hot water would do the trick, yet this is not nearly enough to ensure hygienic status. Maintaining a clean coffee maker will not only keep your customers safe, but the brew will taste better too.

Keep a consistent cleaning schedule for your coffee service. Make sure any and all removable parts of your brewer such as filters and carafes are washed daily with warm, soapy water. Make sure to wipe the exterior as well with a damp cloth. Don’t simply rinse these components; really get in there. Adding water to a slightly wet environment can keep those pesky germs alive.

But this isn’t enough to ensure a healthy brewer. You also should be regularly changing your water filters. A build-up of minerals and contaminants can be found in the machine over time, which will, you guessed it, affect the coffee’s flavor and freshness. Your coffee machine’s lifespan can also be compromised without proper care.

Now that you’re cleaning your brewer daily and changing out the water filtration system regularly, you are on your way to a mean, clean, long-lasting machine. If you want to take it one step further, you can even run a vinegar cycle through the coffee maker. Fill your water reservoir with half vinegar and half water, and brew the solution. Once finished, dump the solution and fill the carafe with just water and brew again. This will remove any remains of vinegar odor or residue left. Do this every 3-6 months, and your machine will be in great condition.