Emily VanSchmus | 

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker for Better Tasting Java

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Listen, we’re not in the business of adding more to your plate, but yes, you need to clean your coffee maker. A Keurig coffee maker provides an easy way to whip up delicious coffee at home. In fact, it saves you boatloads of money over time because you can put the brakes on buying expensive coffee drinks. But did you know, you need to clean a Keurig every week? Yeah, we didn’t either. Your next homemade latte might have mold and bacteria in it if the machine doesn’t have a regular cleaning. Cold foam? Yes. Mold and bacteria? Hard pass. So we are offering up everything you need to know to clean a Keurig coffee maker.

Cleaning your Keurig regularly will keep your coffee tasting great. It will make your machine last longer, too. Considering Keurigs cost around $100, you want to keep that thing in good condition. And don’t worry, it’s not as taxing as it sounds. If you complete this task regularly, it should only take about as long as brewing a cup of coffee to clean.

If you’re in the market for a new at-home coffee machine, be sure to check out our best tips for how to save money on a Keurig. And for more money-saving tips on just about everything, text DEALS to 57299 to be the first to know about the hottest deals each day.


How often should I clean my Keurig?

person rinsing keurig coffee maker water tank in sink

Good news — you don’t need to clean the whole Keurig machine every week. However, once a week you should take out the removable parts. This includes the mug tray and the K-cup holder. They can be cleaned with soap and water. You should also rinse out the water tank weekly. Once clean, make sure the parts are completely dry (we recommend air drying them to avoid transferring bacteria from a dish towel). Then put everything back in the machine until the next weekly cleaning.


What is the best way to clean a Keurig machine?

water filter components for cleaning keurig coffee maker

The weekly cleanings are pretty easy to keep up. With that being said, there are some other steps you should do every few months to keep your machine running smoothly. Here’s how to clean your Keurig the right way:

  • Clean the removable parts. Take out the mug tray and K-cup holder. Clean them with soap and water weekly. Or do this whenever coffee and/or creamer spills into the mug tray.
  • Mind the water tank. Remove the water tank and rinse it out once a week to discourage bacteria from collecting inside.
  • Replace the water filter. You should buy a new water filter cartridge every two months. It might seem like an excessive expense, but it will keep the machine working properly. Furthermore, it will keep your coffee tasting great. Soak the new cartridge in water for five minutes as you take out the old filter and wash the mesh filter holder. When it’s done soaking, pop the new cartridge into the holder. Put it back into the water tank and snap it into place.
  • Descale your Keurig. Every three months (or whenever you’re prompted by the machine), you need to descale it. “Descale” means removing any mineral buildup that happens inside your machine over time. Run the machine as normal with a descaling solution instead of water and a K-cup, and your machine will be clean as new. This is one of the more complicated cleaning steps, so we have some detailed instructions below.
  • Clean the K-cup needle. Sometimes, the needle that pokes your K-cup to make your coffee clogs with coffee grounds. If you notice the machine isn’t brewing your K-cups properly (or if you see a lot of extra grounds coming out of the cup), try cleaning off the needle with a damp sponge. Be extra careful during this step, since the needle is sharp.

Related: Looking to up your coffee game? Check out the best Keurig deals.



How do I descale and clean my Keurig coffee maker?

using descaling solution to clean keurig coffee maker

It’s natural for calcium deposits (also known as “scale”) to build up in your coffee machine over time. To keep your machine running smoothly, you’ll need to descale it every three months or so. It sounds complicated, but as long as you follow these instructions, you should be back to brewing ASAP.

These instructions are for the basic Keurig models; if you have one of the smart brewers, it’s a very similar process, but you’ll want to follow the instructions on the screen. Descaling takes about 45 minutes, so plan to do it when you have enough time to finish the process.

  • Remove the water filter from the water tank and empty the water reservoir.
  • Press the power button to turn the Keurig off (but leave it plugged in because you’ll need to turn it on later).
  • Pour a bottle of Keurig descaling solution into the water tank. Fill the empty bottle with water and add that to the tank too, so you have a 1:1 ratio of descaling solution to water.
  • Place a large cup or mug on the tray, and turn the Keurig back on.
  • Lift and lower the K-cup holder (but leave the K-cup holder empty).
  • Select the largest brew size on your machine, then press the brew button. Once the machine brews your liquid, dump it out.
  • Repeat until the “add water” indicator comes on. Let the machine sit for 30 minutes with that light illuminated.
  • Dump out any liquid that’s left in the water tank, then fill it all the way up with clean water.
  • Put your cup back on the drip tray and repeat the brewing process with just water (again, don’t add a K-cup).
  • Keurig recommends running 12 rinsing brews with plain water before using the machine as normal again.


Should I clean my Keurig with vinegar?

You can use vinegar in place of the expensive Keurig descaling solution, but only white distilled vinegar will work. The Keurig brand recommends using their solution, but many users report that using white distilled vinegar in place of that solution cleans the mineral deposits just as well.


Can I take apart my Keurig to clean it?

Some parts of the Keurig are meant to be taken apart and cleaned, but you should only try to take apart the pieces specifically mentioned above. The drip tray, water filter and reservoir, and K-cup holder can and should be taken apart for cleaning — trying to disassemble anything else can damage the machine.


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