Your Keurig machine is a great contraption, brewing quick cups of coffee at the press of a button whenever the mood strikes. But just because they’re lower maintenance than other types of coffee makers, that doesn’t mean they don’t require any maintenance at all.
Just like every other kitchen appliance, your Keurig machine needs to be regularly cleaned to keep it safe and functioning properly. If you don’t clean it, you’ll end up with mineral buildup that clogs up the internals and negatively affects the brewing process, or some cases it can even cause your machine to shut down.
And what’s worse, a dirty K-Cup machine can harbor a ton of nasty bacteria and mold growth – stuff you don’t want anywhere near your cup of coffee.
Lucky for you, cleaning a Keurig doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, and you can even use a cheap household product to do it – vinegar. But if you can’t stand the smell or want to use the Keurig-approved descaling solution, that‘s an option, too.
How Often Should You Clean Your Keurig?
Keurig recommends descaling your machine at least once every three to six months, but some versions will prompt you when it’s time to clean by illuminating the descale light. You might need to do it more frequently than that, if you brew a lot of coffee, have hard water, or notice a slowdown in the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
As far as the exterior goes, you should clean it at least once a week, along with the pod holder and reservoir. You’ll also need to check on the drip tray to empty it out and give it a wash, too.
What You’ll Need
Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to gather some supplies. These include either descaling solution or white vinegar (you could use apple cider vinegar, too, in a pinch). You’ll also need a large mug, a cloth, a towel, and some dish soap.
If you’re using a water filter in your machine, this might be a good time to change it out for a fresh one, too.
The Cleaning Process
- Start by unplugging the machine.
- Disassemble the removable parts like the pod holder and funnel, drip tray, water reservoir, and the lid. Wash those in the sink with hot, soapy water. Rinse, dry, and put them back into place.
- Wipe off the outside of the machine with a damp cloth to remove any fingerprints, dust, or splatters. Make sure it’s dry before plugging it back in.
- To descale the machine, fill the water reservoir halfway with vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Or, if you use descaling solution, pour the whole bottle into the reservoir. Fill the empty bottle with water and pour it into the reservoir, too.
- Place a large mug beneath the dispenser.
- Hit the “Brew” button and allow the machine to complete a brew cycle. Empty the contents of the mug, and repeat the process until all of the vinegar or descaling solution is cycled through.
- Fill the reservoir with water, and run brewing cycles until all of the water is cycled through, emptying the mug between cycles. Repeat this step again, until you’ve gone through at least 12 brew cycles.
Your Keurig is now clean and ready for use!
Tips for Keeping Your Keurig Clean
- Use bottled or spring water instead of tap water to help prevent mineral buildup, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
- Replace your water filter every two months. Soak a new one in water for about 5 minutes, then rinse it with water for a minute before placing it in the filter holder.
- Check the needles that puncture the K-Cup pods to make sure there aren’t any stuck grounds. Unplug the machine first and use a clean, bent paperclip to remove any debris.
- Check the pod holder to make sure there aren’t any loose grinds that could end up in your next cup. Wipe them out with a paper towel or remove the pod holder and rinse it before putting it back into place.
- Try using rinse pods between different flavors to prevent carry-over, which is particularly noticeable if you go from a dark brew coffee to tea.
Writer and Product Researcher
Spending the last 10 years researching and writing about various home, garden and electronics topics, Shelley is more than qualified to write for Meccano Home. Her work has been featured on eBay, Pottery Barn, SFGate, TheKnot, Williams-Sonoma and various other blogs and websites.