Mold growth is a common issue with yogurt makers, especially eco-friendly models made from natural materials like wood, bamboo, or silicone. While mold itself is harmless, it can negatively impact the taste and appearance of homemade yogurt. Thankfully, mold is easy to remove from a yogurt maker with some simple cleaning steps.
Why Mold Grows in Yogurt Makers
Yogurt is created by fermenting milk with live cultures of bacteria. This process requires maintaining a warm, moist environment inside the yogurt maker for several hours. These conditions also encourage the growth of mold.
There are two main reasons mold can start growing in a yogurt maker:
Milk residue – Small amounts of milk and yogurt often get left behind on the inside surfaces after use. Milk is a prime food source for mold.
High humidity – The warm, humid conditions required to culture yogurt also enable any airborne mold spores to thrive.
Eco-friendly yogurt makers made from porous materials like wood, bamboo, and silicone seem especially prone to mold growth. The tiny holes and crevices in these materials can easily harbor food residue and moisture where mold takes hold.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
Preventing mold from forming in the first place is ideal. Here are some tips:
Clean thoroughly after each use – Don’t allow milk or yogurt residue to dry inside the yogurt maker. Promptly hand wash all surfaces with hot soapy water.
Dry completely – After washing, allow all inner surfaces to fully air dry before sealing up the unit. Lingering moisture enables mold growth.
Use boiling water – Once or twice per month, do a boil wash by filling the yogurt maker with water and bringing it to a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes. This helps sanitize and dry out the interior.
Store open – Don’t seal up the yogurt maker between uses. Leave it unassembled with the lid off so air can circulate and keep things dry.
Use fresher milk – Older milk near its expiration date tends to grow mold more easily during fermentation. Use the freshest milk possible.
What You’ll Need to Remove Mold
If mold has already taken hold in your yogurt maker, you’ll need the following supplies to clean it:
- White distilled vinegar
- Baking soda
- Dish soap
- Small brushes or cloth
- Face mask (optional)
- Rubber gloves (optional)
White distilled vinegar is acidic and has antifungal properties that help kill mold.
Baking soda acts as a gentle abrasive to scrub away mold residue. When combined with vinegar, it also creates a foaming reaction that penetrates surfaces.
Dish soap helps cut through grease and enhance the cleaning power of vinegar and baking soda.
Small brushes or a cloth make it easier to scrub small crevices where mold grows.
Face masks and gloves are optional but help protect you from breathing in or touching mold spores during cleaning.
How to Remove Mold From a Wood Yogurt Maker
Wood is very prone to developing mold if exposed to moisture. Here is the best process for removing mold from a wooden yogurt maker:
Step 1 – Wash With Boiling Water
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Place the wooden yogurt maker parts (container, lid, etc) in the water and boil for 5-10 minutes. This will help kill mold and loosen food residue.
Step 2 – Clean With Vinegar and Baking Soda
While the wood is still hot and damp, make a paste from 1 part baking soda and 1 part vinegar. Apply this fizzy paste to all moldy areas using a small brush or sponge. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The vinegar and baking soda will bubble and help break down the mold.
Step 3 – Scrub and Rinse
Use a brush or sponge to gently scrub all areas that had mold growth. The bristles will help remove mold residue from small holes and crevices. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Step 4 – Dry Completely
Allow the wood to air dry fully before reassembling the yogurt maker. Lingering moisture will just feed new mold growth. Place the parts in sunlight or use a fan to accelerate drying.
Step 5 – Rub With Oil
Once completely dry, rub a food-safe oil like coconut or olive oil over the interior wood surfaces. This helps seal the porous wood and prevent future mold issues.
Step 6 – Boil Wash Regularly
Be sure to boil wash your wooden yogurt maker every 2-4 weeks to lower the chances of repeat mold infestations.
How to Remove Mold From a Silicone Yogurt Maker
Silicone is non-porous and less mold-prone than wood, but still requires thorough cleaning to keep mold at bay:
Step 1 – Hand Wash
Disassemble the silicone yogurt maker and hand wash all parts in hot, soapy water. Use a soft brush or sponge to manually scrub away any visible mold.
Step 2 – Vinegar Soak
Fill a bowl or pot with equal parts white vinegar and hot water. Place the silicone parts in the solution and let them soak for 1 hour. Vinegar is a natural anti-fungal that kills mold.
Step 3 – Baking Soda Scrub
Remove the silicone from the vinegar bath. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Gently scrub this paste onto any stained or moldy areas using a soft brush or sponge.
Step 4 – Rinse
Once scrubbed, rinse the silicone thoroughly under hot running water. Repeat if needed to remove all baking soda residue.
Step 5 – Air Dry
Allow the silicone pieces to fully air dry before reassembling the maker. Dryness helps prevent future mold growth.
Step 6 – Boil Monthly
Boil wash your silicone yogurt maker monthly by simmering the parts in a pot of hot water for 5-10 minutes. This maintains cleanliness between uses.
How to Remove Mold From a Bamboo Yogurt Maker
Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, but still needs proper cleaning to avoid mold issues over time:
Step 1 – Hand Wash
Disassemble the bamboo yogurt maker and hand wash all parts with dish soap and hot water. Gently scrub away any visible mold with a soft brush or sponge.
Step 2 – Vinegar Wipe Down
Make a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and warm water. Dampen a microfiber cloth in this mixture and thoroughly wipe down all interior bamboo surfaces. This kills mold and removes residue.
Step 3 – Baking Soda Scrub
Create a paste of baking soda and water. Use this to gently scrub stained or moldy areas of the bamboo. The baking soda will help lift out debris.
Step 4 – Rinse
Rinse the bamboo well under warm running water to remove all baking soda paste. Repeat as needed to eliminate mold residue.
Step 5 – Dry Thoroughly
Allow the bamboo to completely air dry before sealing up the yogurt maker for storage. Moisture allows mold regrowth.
Step 6 – Sunlight
Place the disassembled bamboo pieces in direct sunlight for a few hours. The UV rays help kill any lingering mold spores.
With proper care and cleaning, an eco-friendly yogurt maker can stay mold-free and make delicious homemade yogurt for years to come. Be diligent about washing and fully drying the unit after each use.