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A Keurig coffee maker and a cup of coffee

Angi How To Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

Date Published: Feb. 3, 2016

Time: 4 Hours, 30 Min

When’s the last time you cleaned your Keurig?

Whether you drink a quick cup of coffee in the morning or you’re a serious coffee lover who drinks several cups a day, your Keurig will need regular cleaning and descaling to brew the best cup of joe.

Impurities in water — particularly if you have hard water with a high mineral content — can cause scale or calcium deposits to build up in your Keurig and affect the taste of your coffee.

How often you’ll need to clean and descale your coffee maker depends on how hard your water is and how often you use your machine. If you notice your drinks are tasting a bit “off” or your cups of coffee come up a little short, it’s probably time for a thorough cleaning.

MORE: How Do I Clean THAT? Tips to Clean 5 Odd Things

Source: Keurig

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Tools & Materials Needed 
Dish soap
Non-abrasive cloth
48 oz. white vinegar
Large ceramic mug
Washing the water reservoir from a Keurig coffee maker in a sink
1Clean the reservoir

Start by cleaning the water reservoir and reservoir lid. Do not put them in the dishwasher — instead, remove the reservoir and the lid and clean them with a damp, soapy, non-abrasive cloth, then rinse them. To clean the filter screen at the bottom of the water reservoir, just run it under a strong stream of water from your faucet or your sink’s water sprayer, or fill the reservoir with about two inches of water and agitate it. Rinse both the lid and the reservoir thoroughly, but don't dry the inside of the water reservoir, since drying it with a cloth may leave lint behind. Let them air dry.

Keurig K-cup holder in a dishwasher
2Clean the K-cup holder

You can wash your K-cup holder in the dishwasher, but it’s important to use a low-temperature cycle to avoid damaging or melting it. Remove the K-cup holder very carefully to avoid the sharp needles by holding it by the top and pulling on it firmly until it pops off. Then, place it in the top rack of your dishwasher, and run the dishwasher on a low-temperature setting. After it’s been washed, replace the K-cup holder by using the two front ridges as a guide and snapping it back into place.

Cleaning the exit needle on a Keurig K-cup holder
3Clean the exit needle

The exit needle, located inside the bottom of the K-cup holder, may need to be cleaned using a paperclip if it becomes clogged with coffee grounds. To start, remove the K-cup holder from the Keurig brewer. Pull off the funnel, which is attached to the bottom of the K-cup holder. Then, straighten one end of the paperclip, insert it into the exit needle and use it to push the clog out. Replace the funnel by simply snapping it back onto the bottom of the K-cup holder.

Descaling a Keurig with white vinegar
4Descale your Keurig

If the red “descale” light is on, you should descale your Keurig immediately, since the light indicates a buildup of calcium deposits or scale. While scale isn't toxic, it can hinder the performance of your coffee maker, and descaling helps maintain the heating element and other internal parts of the brewer that come in contact with water. Even if the light isn’t on, Keurig recommends descaling your coffee maker every three to six months. First, if there’s water in the reservoir, empty it. Then make sure to turn off the Keurig's "auto off" feature. Next, pour 48 ounces of white vinegar into the water reservoir. Place a large mug (don’t use a paper cup) on the drip tray plate and run a brew cycle — but be sure not to use a K-cup. When it’s done brewing, pour the contents of the mug down the sink. Repeat the brewing process without a K-cup until the “add water” indicator light turns on. Then, leave the Keurig on and let it stand for at least four hours. After four hours is up, discard any residual vinegar and rinse the water reservoir thoroughly. To make sure the water reservoir is brewing coffee using just fresh water (and not residual vinegar), fill it with water and place the mug back on the drip tray plate. Repeat the brewing process without a K-cup until the “add water” light turns on. If you notice any lingering vinegar taste, you may need to perform additional water brew cycles.

Wiping down a Keurig with a cloth
5Clean the outside of the Keurig

Keurig recommends cleaning the outside of your coffee maker regularly. To do this, just wipe down the exterior of the coffee maker with a soapy, damp, cloth — never immerse your Keurig in water or other liquids. Use a dry cloth to wipe it dry. The drip tray can accumulate up to 8 oz. of overflow, so make sure to empty and clean it regularly. To do that, just slide the drip tray assembly toward you, keeping it level to avoid spilling any coffee, tea or water it may have collected. Don't put the drip tray in the dishwasher — just wipe it with a soapy cloth, then rinse and dry.