Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker!

Coffee is the liquid antidote to an early morning. 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 three years ago, and we’ve loved it ever since.

A Keurig, Tassimo, or Nespresso all get cleaned more or less the same way, but check your owner’s manual for specific instructions. While it might seem daunting at first to take apart all these pieces, it’s an easy process. Also, some of the parts are dishwasher safe, which makes our job even easier.

Required Products & Tools

  • Dish liquid
  • Cleaning toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Pure white vinegar

Getting Started

Always remember to unplug! Then, take the machine apart. Remove the reservoir and lid, drip tray and its cover, and the K-Cup holder and funnel (be careful—there’s a sharp needle attached to this!). These two pieces may be carefully separated, but I usually leave mine together for the cleaning process.

Wash Up Time

The reservoir, drip tray and its cover, and the holder and funnel may be washed in the dishwasher (note! Do not put the reservoir lid in the dishwasher). Alternately, place them in a sink filled with hot water and about 1 teaspoon of dish liquid. Let them soak 15 minutes, then rinse well and towel dry.

Clean Machine

While the parts are washing or soaking, take a (clean) cleaning toothbrush and gently brush out any stuck coffee grinds in the K-Cup holder. While you’re in there, use a damp cloth to remove any build-up. Finish the job by wiping the exterior with a cloth dampened with all-purpose cleaner.

If you notice any limescale deposits (white crusty buildup), simply soak a part of your cloth in white vinegar, apply it to the affected area, and let soak for a few minutes. Wipe again and you’ll see the white marks disappear before your eyes. Finish up by re-assembling the Keurig.

White Vinegar Strikes Again

It is so important to descale, because limescale will build up on the heating elements and inside the machine’s tubing. But this part is easy—you just run a de-scaling brew. Nothing is more exciting than a steamy, hot cup o’ vinegar!

Fill the reservoir halfway with white vinegar. Brew “beverages” with no K-cup in the holder until the vinegar runs out, to clean the reservoir and tubing. The vinegar will break down the calcium deposits.

Remove the reservoir and rinse well, then refill it with water and run more beverages until the vinegar is flushed out completely. (You’ll know you’re done when there’s no more vinegar smell.)

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

3 More Things You Should Know!

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

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

Use distilled water. They suggest this because regular tap water contains calcium and other minerals that can leave deposits in the reservoir and machine over time. 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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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

316 COMMENTS

  1. common sense people,after reading all the comments i believe that in some cases the vinegar loosens build up and then it clogs up further in the system because it cant thoroughly do the job. this probably happens in machines that are the most in need of cleaning. it is also my opinion that vinegar isnt nearly as effective as keurig descaling solution seeing how the solution has >50% Citric Acid

    That means that more than half the solution is made up of citric acid. It’s a great cleaning agent that comes from nature, so you can feel comfortable using this cleaning your Keurig.
    <3% Silicic Acid.

    Less than 3% of the solution is silicic acid. Silicic acid is “a weakly acidic colloidal hydrated form of silica made by acidifying solutions of alkali metal silicates.” This is a stabilizing agent.
    <5% Phosphates and Bleaching Agents.

    Phosphates are salts containing phosphorus and other compounds. Phosphorus is a naturally occurring compound. These are cleaning agents included in the descaling solution. and as far as using the dishwasher to clean any plastic parts,just dont take the chance,these things are way too expensive to take the chance on warping parts so bad they cant be used anymore !! oh yeah,if you taste vinegar after using it to clean your kuerig go get the descaling solution and use it as instructed.

  2. Old on people- Melissa- you are completely wrong about the water reservoir an lid being dishwasher safe.
    Read it again-
    It clearly says- NOT dishwasher safe.
    Your message could cause people to ruin their expensive coffee maker.

  3. As I quickly learned after using vinegar for the first time and googling the words “vinegar taste” is that it may NOT be possible to get rid of the taste. I’ve run through 25 times and still heavy vinegar taste.
    Otherwise I love the Keurig but I use those $2.00 Cafe Cups that are refillable. Work great, easy to clean under faucet and I can use ANY coffee.

  4. 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.

  5. I’ve always cleaned my Keurig with vinegar but hadn’t put any parts in the dishwasher before so thought this sounded great! Until I removed my sparking clean, melted and warped water resevoir from the dishwasher afterwards. Maybe only “top rack safe”?, however most top racks aren’t low enough to accomodate such a large item. Anyway, use this tip with caution.

  6. I’ve always cleaned my Keurig with vinegar but hadn’t put any parts in the dishwasher before so thought this sounded great! Until I removed my sparking clean, melted water resevoir from the dishwasher that is! Maybe only “top rack safe”?, however most top racks aren’t low enough to accomodate such a large item/ Anyway, use this tip with caution. I am now on the hunt for a replacement water resevoir 🙁

  7. 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.

  8. Best thing to do with a Keurig is to throw it away! Those little K cups are killing our environment and the cost is astronomical!

  9. I have a Keurig that is a single cup only so the water reservoir is not detachable. Are you familiar with best way to clean those?

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

      • You are both about as right as the other.

        Theresa,
        What Mine2kno said is not “completely untrue”. It is true that you should not drink distilled water regularly. It will dilute your body and cause mineral imbalances. In your case, you added minerals and other good things in the formula you made. Your pediatrician simply wanted you to start with a pure substance so that you have no issue with contamination.

    • You are both about as right as the other.

      Mine2kno,
      Yes, it is true that you should not drink distilled water regularly. It dilutes your system because there are no minerals, like you mentioned. However, that only occurs when you are drinking only distilled water and not when you are adding things to it. Also, most people do not drink *only* coffee with distilled water.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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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