Coffee Maker smells like.. b.o. (body odor)


OK, here's a weird one. We have a Cuisinart Thermal Carafe Coffeemaker, and I swear, every time we brew coffee, a strage smell eminates. Some call it dusty; others say 'chili peppers,' and I think more body odor. Now really BAD b.o., but just kind of a spicy, dusty smell. I found one other mention of this effect on the 'net:

But so far no better explanation. The good news is, it does not change the taste of the coffee. I can clean it up using vinegar, but really just more curious than anything. Anyone have any theories, or better: answers?


I’m answering this, not because I know the answer, which I don’t – but because maybe someone reading this will know.

Some other useful information to know might be the age of the coffee maker, which part of the coffee maker the smell seems to coming from, and so on.

If anyone has any ideas, please share them through the comment function below.

Comments for Coffee Maker smells like.. b.o. (body odor)

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Oct 04, 2015
Maybe it's bacteria
by: Nick (The Coffee Detective)

It may be bacteria or mold growing inside the brewer, out of sight. I would run a diluted cup or two of bleach through the system, leave it to sit for a while, and then rinse a few times by brewing a couple of pots of water without coffee. Worth a try.


Oct 04, 2015
It's the plastic
by: Anonymous

I haven't found an explanation yet, but certain plastics (or possibly their release agents used during manufacturing) degrade and give off a very strong BO smell.
Every large plastic container I've left outside reals, along with all my hose reels. The door handles on my garage refrigerator & the one at work smell aweful. I've tried bleach, cleaners, even sanding with sandpaper and nothing I've found works. It HAS TO BE some chemical degradation by product.

May 03, 2014
I have the same issue
by: Robert

I have the same problem. My coffee machine is clean, and when I make a pot of coffee there is a bad odor. I thought it was from my neighbor as it's a dirty smell. I am using brand name coffee and pure, odor free water.


Jan 13, 2014
coffee smells
by: ray ca

my brewing smells like a skunk was in my kitchen.
folgers, using mr coffee. i have always wondered.
now i should go out an spend lots of money

May 25, 2012
Bad odor
by: fred

You need to open up the device and see if a possible fungus has spread inside.

That's an usual cause of that sort of smell.

May 10, 2011
by: Anonymous

the carafe plastics may be wrong for human consumption and or the brushed/textured steel inside traps old coffee.
mine is stained and baking soda left in hot water overnight doesn't break it loose like it will in a thermos.
the smell of this carafe interferes with the taste of the coffee.
whatever the case this grind and brew machine is garbage , it wastes your money on beans unless you halt brewing and finger out the stuck coffee in the grinder into the basket then resume.
cusinart should do a recall/refund for this stupid device.

Aug 09, 2010
more info
by: Anonymous

Hmm.. well it appears to come from... the steam. I just made that up, but basically the smell just floats around the room and comes from (perhaps unsurprisingly) the filter area. The machine is about 5 years old. You know what I need? A chemist. I bet s/he could identify said smell.

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