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 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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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.

315 COMMENTS

  1. Where I live we have a lot of bugs and one got into the reservoir, unnoticed until after brewing a cup of coffee. Cleaned the reservoir but is it OK to run some soapy water through the machine?

    Thanks

  2. Great info! Way better than buying the expensive descaling cleaner that Keurig sells for $13.00-$17.00 per bottle of 12 ounces.

  3. Thank you for your information and how to – it was great. I did clean my machine one evening last week and didn’t use it again until Saturday morning. I usually only use it on weekends I just drink the office coffee during the week. Anyway, back to my Keurig — I went to brew my first cup of the day, when nothing. I could hear something so after taking it apart and putting it back together I unplugged it and plugged it in and it brewed coffee, phew. I am not sure what it did or didn’t do.

  4. mine is very loud when it loads the water. also doesnt always make a full cup usually on the first cup of the day. i have done a cleaning with vinager twice. the first time i did not let it sit. the second time i let it sit for 4 hours it still says descale and is still loud and also the first cup is always really weird. what do i need to do?

  5. Thanks for video. One thing though, the reservoir also says that it is not dishwasher safe. Have you had any issues after washing it?

  6. Okay, hanging my head in shame her because I’ve had my Keurig for a couple of years and have never descaled it. Now it won’t work!!! I’ve tried your cleaning method and the darn thing won’t even “brew” vinegar!!!! Any suggestions? I’m thinking about taking the whole machine apart!!!!

  7. Great advice on cleaning the keurig. Can this be done on some of the new keurig brewers ? They suggest buying their solution for descaling.

  8. I’d descaled once before following your instructions, and today I went to do it without looking back to this. I mixed Vinegar and water…wondered why it wasn’t working too well. Then I returned here and read just vinegar, and it’s working like a dream. Thanks 🙂

  9. Hi Melissa , I didnt know about cleaning it until a friend said she needed to pick up vinegar to clean hers. i looked it up and found you. i followed your instructions and my working perfectly fine Keurig stopped working in the middle og the process.What happened? Stumpped ! Now I have a none working Keurig that I was ttrying to keep longer by cleaning it. Help

  10. Thanks for the tip about the curdled milk. After running clean water through several times I would pour a little milk into the cup of water and would know right away if I needed to keep rinsing or not. Great tip!

  11. Sooo I kinda have the version that you have in this video only its black with silver buttons only and the power button is black and small. Do you know if it is supposed to brew acting as one drop deposit or is it supposed to be 4 different diposits. Cause just cleaned it a lot and it’s now doing that again? Is what I’m asking really.

  12. GREAT video. I do recommend though taking the funnel apart every couple of cleanings coffee build upcan alter taste of teas and such. Thank you for doing this video.

  13. This morning we used the extra cup for other coffee without the top and now I have a mess in my keurig. How do I clean all of that out?

  14. This was a great video! I got my Keurig last Christmas and since I was just putting clean water in it I didn’t think about cleaning it for quite a while until my housekeeper was telling me how to take it apart to clean! So at least I took the reservoir off and cleaned that (which unfortunately had stuff growing in it – YUCK!) but I didn’t clean the other part like your video shows! You may it look really easy. I am on the way to the store for some white vinegar to clean the whole thing better than I did last time!! What a great job you did in both the video for those of us who need to see it and the written instructions for those of us who need to read it also!! Thanks so much!!

  15. We are having a debate here in the office about replacing the filters. Do we have to replace the filters ever so often and if so, why? If we are using distilled water do we have to change them?

  16. After cleaning mine, I ran a cup of coffee; when I added my fat free milk it appeared that the milk started to “separate”(?) so I emptied the cup and was shocked to see a huge wad of tan GUNK at the bottom of the cup. Any idea what this was? the second cup seemed to be fine.

  17. Good afternoon
    I have cleaned my keurig and ran its cup of white vinegar but, it won’t run the second cup; it doesn’t even suck in the water into the machine to make a cup….what do I do now?

    Gretchen

  18. Love the video! It didn’t show you taking out the filter tho from the reservoir? That can not go in the dishwasher I am assuming. I don’t have a dishwasher but was curious. I left water in mine for a couple of weeks and went to clean it today but looked like the reservoir possibly had a little mold/mildew in it at the top where there was not any water, but, I’m wondering if there maybe in the filter even tho that was in water or if running it thru vinegar will be ok… Thank you!

  19. thank-you Melissa,I’ve only used THE Company cleaning fluid. I’m going to try vinegar. Your instructions are clear and concise. I’m looking forward to much less noise from my Keurig. 🙂

  20. Dear Melissa, I have had my Keurig since Dec. 2011. I have never had the descale light come on. So I think using flirted water is fine if someone doesn’t want to go to the trouble of not wanting to buy distilled water. I did experience my machine slowing down on brewing the amount of cup I was getting so the cleaning is right on the mark. I your cleaning reservoir I found helpful because I didn’t know it could be washed, I cleaned it with vinegar. Thanks. Debbie McCarty. Keurig Lover Grandmother of 5 boys.

  21. I can’t get rid of the vinegar taste and I have rinsed it out with water over and over again. Any advice?

  22. just to add! IF you’re a snowbird and leave you’re home or cabin where it freezes – remove ur maker or “store” @ a neighbor! It can’t afford to freeze!

  23. Thanks so much, I thought I would gave to buy a new coffee maker after mine wouldn’t work this morning! Going to clean it now!

  24. I ran vinegar in my machine last night and this morning I still had vinegar in my coffee. I also ran 2 whole tanks of water through my machine. Is there something i can add to the water or do to push the vinegar through the system?

  25. Hi. Tried to clean my reservoir with vinegar now it is all sticky. The more I rubbed it the bigger the sticky stuff spread. How do I get it off?

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