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Food & Recipes

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker So Your Morning Brew Always Taste Its Best


Knowing how to clean a Keurig coffee maker is the key to keeping what is perhaps your hardest-working kitchen appliance in tip-top shape for as long as possible. After all, you don’t want anything to come between you and your first cup of morning joe, right? If you don’t understand how to clean your Keurig, you could end up with a machine that doesn’t run well, leaving you frustrated — and missing your coffee fix. Here’s how to clean a Keurig coffee maker.

What is the best way to clean a Keurig?

Learning how to clean a Keurig machine (Buy on Amazon, $106) isn’t a complicated task. You simply have to follow the steps in order — and not cut any corners!

  1. Before you start cleaning, unplug your Keurig and carefully remove the drip tray, the water tank and its lid, and the stand that supports your cup.
  2. Wash all parts with warm, soapy water and dry them thoroughly.
  3. If you have the Keurig tool designed to clean the needle that pierces the K-Cup, grab it now. (Don’t have the tool? No problem — see our quick-fixes in the sections below!)
  4. Open the top of your Keurig and look on the underside of the lid for the needle, taking care not to cut yourself.
  5. Insert the cleaning tool into the small holes in the needle, wiggling it around to dislodge any stuck coffee grounds. If you’ve noticed that the water has been dripping slowly from your Keurig, it might be due to a clogged needle.
  6. Next, take out the K-Cup holder and wash it with warm, soapy water. It’s really important to get all debris out of your Keurig, so turn it upside down and give the base a few light but firm taps with your palm. Do this over a sink to make cleanup easier!
  7. Once that’s done, turn your Keurig right-side up and wipe down the area around the K-Cup holder as well as the outside of the machine.

Can I use vinegar to descale Keurig?

Your Keurig is now clean, but it’s also important to know how to descale a Keurig. Keurig recommends descaling your machine every three to six months depending on your water source. Descaling gets rid of lime and scale buildup and keeps your machine running well. To do this, you need distilled white vinegar.

  1. Fill your water tank half full with vinegar, then add water to fill it to the top.
  2. Plug your Keurig back in, and run it without putting a K-Cup in.
  3. Repeat this until the water tank is completely empty, emptying the contents of your mug after each brewing cycle. (If you’re looking for instructions on how to clean a Keurig 2.0, be aware that your Keurig won’t run without a K-Cup in place, so simply insert a used one.)

Obviously, you don’t want your coffee tasting of vinegar, so repeat the entire process using only plain water in the tank to get rid of all traces of vinegar.

Is descaling solution better than vinegar?

The simple answer for how to clean Keurig without vinegar is to use a descaling solution. While white vinegar is about 97 percent water and 3 percent acetic acid, liquid descaling solutions are mainly made of citric acid. A wide range of descaling solutions for coffee machines are available to purchase, and the descaling process is the same — you simply use the solution instead of vinegar.

If you follow the process above for how to clean a Keurig with vinegar, you shouldn’t need to buy a descaling solution. However, some people find vinegar doesn’t work for them if their Keurig is very blocked. When choosing a Keurig descaling solution, make sure the product is safe to use in Keurig machines and follow the directions on the packaging. Naturally, Keurig recommends using its own descaling solution (Buy at Walmart, $6.74).

Most Keurig owners prefer using white vinegar for descaling. As a Keurig descaling solution DIY option, vinegar is effective and inexpensive and won’t ever ruin the inside of the machine or leave a chemical taste in your coffee.

How do I unclog my Keurig?

  1. If your Keurig is clogged, leave the vinegar-water to work its magic overnight.
  2. Press the brew button and let it take in the liquid, but before it starts to drip, switch off the machine until the following morning.
  3. When you turn your Keurig back on, it will finish its brewing cycle.
  4. When the liquid runs clean into your mug, get rid of any remaining liquid in the tank, wash the tank out with warm water and soap, then run the brewing cycle a few more times with only plain water.
how to descale a keurig

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

How do I clean the needle on my Keurig without the tool?

If you don’t have a Keurig tool to clean your coffee machine’s needle, you can use items you’re likely to have around the home. A good option for how to clean a Keurig needle is with a paperclip. After you partially unbend it, you can put the straight end of the paper clip into the needle’s holes, doing the same as you would with the Keurig tool to remove scale and debris and leave the holes clear. Any other long, slim, pointed object works for Keurig needle maintenance, such as a skewer or toothpick.

How do you clean a Keurig water reservoir?

How to Clean Keurig Machines

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

The best method for how to clean a Keurig water reservoir is the vinegar descaling process described above. To avoid mold in the water reservoir, you should clean the reservoir with warm water and soap once a week. It’s no big secret how to clean mold in a Keurig water reservoir — it’s simply a case of not giving mold a chance to grow. After you reinsert the clean reservoir, run two hot water cleansing brews before your next coffee brew. 

So there you have it: Now you’re all set to clean your Keurig and carry on enjoy your next morning cup of joe.

Want even more handy cleaning tips? Check out our guides on how to clean a toaster, how to clean an oven, how to clean out candle jars, and how to clean a carpet without a steam cleaner!

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