How To Clean A Keurig Coffee Maker Without Destroying It

I'm a coffee addict! There, I've said it. Apparently admitting it to yourself is the first step towards recovery. But this is an addiction I'm not looking to recover from. I truly love my coffee and am almost excited in the morning to get downstairs and get a brew on.

There are a ton of coffee makers on the market, but many of us use the Keurig coffee machine to supply the daily 'fix'. It's awesome, but these things can get really grimy inside, and that can affect the life of the machine and the quality of the coffee you drink.

CBS actually did a study where they swabbed the coffee makers of a number of Chicago families (including some Keurig models) and found bacteria including gram-positive strains like staphylococcus, streptococcus and bacillus cereus.

They also discovered enterics, like e-coli. Yuk!!!

If that disgusts you just a little, then read on. We're going to discover the best methods for how to clean a Keurig coffee maker (or any other single cup machine like Nespresso or Tassimo) to ensure all you drink in your morning coffee is!

How To Clean A Keurig Coffee Maker

There are a lot of parts in a coffee maker, but don't let the task scare you. Cleaning your machine is actually pretty easy. Some parts of the Keurig can be cleaned in a dishwasher, making the whole task even easier. Let's jump in and get started.

Simple Steps To Clean Your Keurig Coffee Machine

What You Need To Get Started


  • Water
  • All purpose cleaner
  • White Vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid

Other Equipment

  • A cleaning toothbrush
  • Dry micro-fiber cloth

Step By Step Instructions

1. Start by ensuring the machine is turned off and unplugged from the wall. Place it on a cloth or on newspaper in case any residual liquid leaks out.

2. Remove the lid and the reservoir and place to one side.

3. Remove the K-cup holder and the funnel, which does have a sharp needle to be careful. It's possible to separate these two pieces, but it's not essential, and appears to have little bearing on the ability to get the parts clean.

4. Remove the drip tray and the drip tray cover and place to one side.

5. Look under the lid to get some instructions from Keurig. A damp cloth is used for the lid cleaning, and the water reservoir can be placed directly into the dishwasher, as can the k-cup holder, funnel and drip tray...Sweet!

Not got a dishwasher? No probs. Fill your sink with some hot water and add a little dishwashing liquid. Soak for 15 minutes, rinse and dry with a towel.

6. Time to clean the rest of the Keurig. Open up the top and use your toothbrush and some all purpose cleaner to clean out any of the coffee grinds that are stuck.

7. Use your all-purpose cleaner and micro-fiber cloth to give the whole machine a wipe over. Start at the top and work your way down. If there is any crusted coffee, take some white vinegar on a cloth and gently massage the crusted areas. White vinegar is an excellent cleaner.

8. Once the dishwasher it finished, it's time to but your Keurig coffee machine back together and run a descale on it.

How To Descale Your Keurig

Here are the steps to descale your Keurig using water and white vinegar.

1. Fill the water reservoir half full with white vinegar and run through a brew cycle with nothing in the machine. So no capsule etc. Make sure there is a cup in place to catch the hot vinegar as it works through the machine.

2. Once the machine stops, run the brew cycle again until the reservoir is empty. Then fill the reservoir with water and continue brewing water only until the reservoir is empty.

3. You're done, so get a capsule and brew yourself and awesome cup of coffee.

Coffee beans and cup

What To Do If Your Keurig Will Not Descale

Descaling your Keurig with white vinegar is usually no problem at all. If you run through the steps above with no success, you could try a descaling solution like this one on Amazon. It's often a little more powerful and can be handy if you've neglected your coffee machine a little.

If you still have no luck, contact Keurig customer support for advice.

How To Clean The Keurig Needle

If you think your Keurig needles need cleaning, it's a pretty simple process. A paperclip is all that is required.

This video from Keurig explains all

How To Clean A Keurig Without Vinegar

If white vinegar is not your preference, you have a couple of choices. Lemon juice works well as a substitute for vinegar for cleaning your coffee machine.

Alternatively, a descaling liquid like this one on Amazon can be used. These liquids are suitable for a wide range of machines like Keurig, Nespresso, DeLonghi and all other single use and espresso machines.

How Do I Clean The Filter On My Keurig?

Cleaning a reusable coffee filter is a really simple process. If you've read the rest of this article, you will have (or about to grab) the cleaning materials you need. Nope, nothing extra is required. Just sone white vinegar, water and a cup or bowl deep enough to submerge your filter.

Step #1 - Empty and coffee grounds into a bin, or better still, into a tub to throw on your compost pile.

Step#2 - Rinse the filter under running water to remove any residual coffee grinds. At this stage, I like to get my cleaning toothbrush and agitate a little to get the much off, or at least, loosened up.

Step#3 - Add 2 parts water to one part white vinegar to a bowl and sit the filter in this for 30 minutes. Feel free to get in there with that toothbrush if needed.

Step#4 - Remove the filter from the bowl and rinse under warm water. Allow to air dry and you're done.

Step#5 - Get that filter back in the machine and get a brew on. Relax and glory in your accomplishment!

How To Clean A Keurig Mini

Cleaning a Keurig mini brewer isn't that much different from cleaning other machines, but I thought is would be useful to detail it in simple steps

Step #1 - Take 8 ounces of undiluted white vinegar and a 10 oz cup or bowl. You'll also need access to a sink, so don't do this in your bedroom (unless of course, you have an en-suite!)

Step#2 - Fill the hot water reservoir with the undiluted vinegar, make sure you only fill to the max fill level mark. The ceramic cup should now be placed on the drip tray.

Step#3 - close the lid on your coffee machine and perform a normal brew cycle. Be sure not to add a k-cup, and make sure that there isn't an old one in the chamber.

Step#4 - Now, pour the contents of the cup (which will be hot...careful now) into the hot water tank. Begin a brew but power the machine off after the water begins to dispense into the cup. This will ensure that the vinegar/water solution is filling the entire system and can do it's cleaning.  Leave for 30 minutes

Step#5 - Once the time is up, perform a brew once again, still without a K-cup in the machine. Make sure you have that cup in place to catch the liquid. I forgot this once and spent the next 5 minutes cursing as I cleared up the mess.

Step#6 - Now, to clean the vinegar out of the system, fill the hot water tank with bottled or filtered water. Close the water filter lid. Run a brew cycle as before.

Step#7 - Repeat this process half a dozen times with no -K-cup in place. This will clean any vinegar out of the system and make it ready to use. Enjoy a brew in your clean machine.

What Is The Best Keurig Cleaning Solution?

There are a number of options when it comes to coffee maker cleaning solutions. Lots of people like to use white vinegar or lemon juice, and I've found this works really well.

But, the companies like Keurig will always tell you their proprietary descaling and cleaning solutions are better. It's up to you to choose.

If your machine is under warranty, then using the recommended cleaning product is probably a good idea, especially if you fear you may need to return it. I highly doubt that Keurig would know you had used vinegar to clean your machine, but if you worry about that sort of thing, then you can find the Keurig descaling solution on Amazon HERE. This descaler is also very popular.

Keurig Clogged? What To Do

Is your Keurig clogged? Not getting any joy using the normal cleaning process? This video will show you how to unclog it using a large syringe.

Well coffee lovers. That sums things up pretty well. I love my Keurig machine (also have a Nespresso, and Aeropress and a double skin French press. Keeping them on great condition saves a ton of time and hassle in the long run, not to mention cost.

If you have any tips or tricks that you use to clean your coffee machine, leave a comment below and share it with the Better Homesteading community.

Happy Brewing!

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