Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker!

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Your coffeemaker. 

It used to be a honkin’, fandangled-looking thing that required a lot of added effort and dexterity at ungodly morning hours to produce a perfect cup of hot coffee. So here’s the detailed cleaning and descaling how-to tutorial for your Keurig Coffee Maker!

Coffee is the liquid antidote to an early morning and that morning treat you savour, be it while reading the paper, checking emails or commuting in to work.  My morning cup of Cinnamon Pastry coffee (I know, you want one) would not be possible without my Keurig coffeemaker.  My husband and I received our Keurig as a gift 3 years ago and it’s been quite the popular appliance ever since.

A Keurig, Tassimo or Nespresso all do the same thing; brew you one perfect cup of coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate, or a latte ad infinitum).  Despite the neat little packages the single serve beverage comes in (either a K-cup or pod), coffee grinds and sugars do escape and hard water deposits form in the machine’s innards.  This can only mean one thing, a cleaning is needed so that it continues to produce your AM elixir for years to come.

While it may seem daunting at first, it’s an easy process once you know how to clean each part. Also, some of these parts are dishwasher safe which makes our job even easier. Ok, no time to waste, let’s get started.

Required Products &Tools

  • Cleaning toothbrush

  • Pure white vinegar

  • All-purpose cleaner, dish liquid

  • Microfiber cloth

Beginners Luck

Begin by taking the machine apart, remember to always unplug it first!

Remove

  • Reservoir and lid (empty out the reservoir)
  • Drip tray and drip tray cover
  • K Cup holder & funnel (this takes some work & be careful, there’s a sharp needle on the end of this!).  It is important to note that these two pieces actually come apart.  I’ve separated them before and didn’t see the use so if you would like to do so, go ahead, or you can take my word and leave them assembled for the cleaning process.

Wash Up Time

These removable parts can be either placed in the dishwasher on the top rack, or soaked in a sink filled with hot water and about a teaspoon of dish liquid.

A quick note, the lid for the reservoir should not be placed in the dishwasher.  I’m not sure why but it specifies that it should be wiped with a cloth, so just keep that tidbit in mind.

If you are soaking them, leave them in the sink for 15 minutes or so and then gently wipe the interiors with a rag or sponge.

Rinse well and towel dry.

Clean Machine

Now, moving on to the actual unit.  This is simple to clean, most of it can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth and some all-purpose cleaner.

While the parts are washing or soaking, take your (clean) cleaning toothbrush and gently brush out any stuck coffee grinds in the K Cup holder.  If these aren’t removed, they’ll  eventually inhibit the machine from working properly.

While you’re in there, use a damp cloth to remove any build-up from the K Cup holder.

Finish the job off by wiping the exterior with a cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

If you notice any lime scale deposits (white crusty buildup), simply soak a part of your cloth in white vinegar, apply it to the affected area and soak for a few moments.

Following that, wipe any scaly build up away and you’ll see the white lines disappear before your eyes.  Finish up by taking all the washed parts and re-assembling the Keurig; It’s pretty straightforward stuff.

White Vinegar Strikes Again

It’s now time to run that exciting descaling brew.

Nothing is more exciting than a steamy, hot cup o’ vinegar!

It is so important to descale, because limescale will build up on the heating elements and inside the machine’s tubing.  The machine has to work harder to heat your beverage (because of the limescale build up) and will take more energy to do so and further, use more energy to make one cup of coffee and maybe conk out your motor faster  (that’s a crazy waste of money right there on the old energy bill).

Anyway, to do this, fill your reservoir half way with white vinegar.

Brew several ‘beverages’ with no K cup in the holder to clean the reservoir and tubing until the vinegar runs out. The vinegar will break down the calcium deposits.

When that’s done, remove the reservoir and rinse well.

Refill it with water and run more brews of water through to rinse out the reservoir and tubing and get rid of any vinegar. When you don’t smell vinegar anymore, you know you’re in the clear.

Do it many times, or else you will taste vinegar in your coffee, or worse, your coffee will curdle if milk is added (I’ve had this experience, it’s bad, bad news).

This will take about 15 minutes and is admittedly quite boring.

That’s it – the straightforward and simple way
to keep your Keurig machine clean and caffeinated.

3 More Things You Should Know!

1) If you are going away for over a week, don’t leave water in the reservoir. It’ll evaporate and leave the mineral deposits behind that clog the system.

2) If you brew something sticky like a hot chocolate or iced tea, run a cleansing brew of just water and no K Cup through after you’ve made your drink. This will rinse out any sugar crystals that would otherwise be cakey or create a blockage.

3) Use distilled water – they suggest this because regular tap water has calcium or other minerals that can leave deposits in the reservoir and machine over time. The deposits clog the heating coils and that means your machine has to work harder, longer and use more energy. If you don’t use distilled water you will have to clean it more often to keep it going strong.

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Let us know about your coffee maker cleaning experiences or questions.  Thanks for checking this out!

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300 COMMENTS

  1. Cleaning it this way you are missing the fact that the vinegar should sit in the machine for at least 12 hours after you run a couple of cups through the brew cycle. Read the Keurig manual people. It takes more than 15 minutes.

  2. We would never use distilled water as it has such a “flat” taste. Instead, We simply use either our Britta water filter or from the frig dispenser as both are filtered. Some Keurig units also have filters that need replacing periodically. Lastly, inside that removable cup holder is that “needle” you mentioned. One should unfold a small paper clip and insert it from the bottom to the top of the needle since it’s a small hollow tube. This can serve to remove any built-up deposits of coffee dust or debris. This needle is the one that punches those holes in the K-cups. Then follow the rest of Melissa’s instructions.

  3. Great video lots of helpful hints. One thing you might want to add after you’ve cleaned your Keurig is if your dispensary is getting slow and not filling up your cup, you’ll need to burp your Keurig. After you have disassembled hold your Keurig upside down and slap the bottom. Don’t be shy, this machine is tough. Put it back together after cleaning and you’ll be back to a full steady stream of coffee in your cup!

  4. Never ever tell anyone to use distilled water for drinking. It has all the minerals stripped from it. Minerals we need. Read the distilled water bottle it says right on it not for human consumption. People have died from drinking distilled water.

    • Completely untrue. I made all of my kids’ formulas with distilled water, on the specific instructions of the pediatrician. They all grew up just fine.

  5. It was time for me to clean my Keurig so I watched your video. Very very disappointed after I took my carafe out of the dishwasher and it was warped. You said it was dishwasher safe and evidently it is not.

  6. Worked for me with my KEURIG ONLY USE DISTILLED water since day one use a lot of vineger in this house and Thanks for all your tips.

  7. Great instructions. Thanks!! I use white vinegar on EVERYTHING for cleaning mixed with a little bit [2 tsp] of dish soap and R.O. water Vinegar to water ratio is 2:1. Strong, yes. Stinky, yes. Effective, YES!! I live in AZ and we have incredibly hard water so it’s a necessity!! [R.O. water for those who do not know is Reverse Osmosis water. Dasani, etc is R.O. water {Brita is NOT}] I also use R.O. water when making my coffee, not Distilled as I think that the Distilled gives it a ‘flat’ taste. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂 Love your blog!!

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