How to Clean Keurig with Vinegar

  • Keurig is one of the most popular brands in the coffee-making department. Keurig coffee machine devices come in a range of models, from affordable to deluxe options. 
  • Just like you do with every kitchen appliance, you’ll need to clean a Keurig. Vinegar and water are enough to do it correctly! 
  • Read our guide to learn how to prepare the right cleaning solution and clean a Keurig coffee maker without fail. 

What is a Keurig coffee maker?

A coffee maker by Keurig is compact (which saves on countertop space), features convenient and accessible designs, and comes at a reasonable price compared to competitors. 

Keurig coffee maker coffee, which comes in pods, has a balanced and rich flavor. 

Important: Pod coffee systems generally don’t produce as strong a flavor as the best espresso machines. Yet, Keurig’s coffee still has a well-balanced and rich taste with thick crema. 

With an array of models to choose from, it may be a challenge at first to pick the one that truly suits all of your needs. 

Luckily, experts, such as Tom’s Guide, regularly compare the latest models, among which, for example

  • Keurig K-Classic—best-selling, no fuss coffee maker,
  • Keurig K-Mini—cheaper and better for smaller spaces,
  • Keurig K-Cafe—minimum fuss lattes and cappuccinos,
  • Keurig K-Elite—versatile model that can also make iced drinks,
  • Keurig K-Duo Essentials—perfect for single-serve or carafe brewing;

Which Keurig machine to buy? Find the model that fits your preferences and offers the best value for money. 

Having a nice, slim Keurig machine at your disposal means you no longer have to think about wrangling filters and ground coffee beans.

Basically, it’s a good thing!

Yet, since there is so little to do around your Keurig machine daily, you may also forget that you should regularly clean it. 

Believe it or not, Keurig can get pretty dirty. 

Your coffee maker can serve as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold if not taken care of the right way. 

How to maintain your go-to morning machine in perfect condition?

Keep reading how to clean a Keurig, and how often you should clean which parts of your brewer.

Clean your Keurig

There are several ways to clean a Keurig coffee machine, depending on how often you do it. 

To clean your Keurig properly, start by 

  • wiping off the exterior and 
  • rinsing all the removable parts on a weekly basis, using clean water and a vinegar cleaning solution; 

Also, several times a year, perform a deep clean, i.e., descale your machine by 

  • adding a half vinegar half water mixture directly into the reservoir and 
  • running a series of brewing cycles; 

Clean Keurig regularly for better machine performance and cleaner, better-tasting coffee.

Clean the outside of a Keurig

For starters, clean a Keurig coffee maker as needed. 

If you splash your morning coffee, simply grab a damp cloth or towel and wipe it up right away. 

Don’t leave spills on your machine, as it makes Keurig accumulate debris on their exterior and interior parts faster (it will happen over time anyway, though). 

Wipe away dust or splatters with soapy water and a wet, lint-free cloth. 

Then, gently slide out the drip tray, empty, wipe, and put it back in its position. 

Important: Never submerge any electrical appliance in water, such as a Keurig coffee maker. 

Clean the exterior of your Keurig every day or once a week at the very least. 

A drip tray can only hold eight ounces, so you need to empty it every once in a while.

Clean individual parts of a Keurig

Before you get to cleaning individual parts of your Keurig brewer 

  • turn off and 
  • unplug the machine;

Then, allow it to cool.

Lift the lever to disassemble the K-Cup pod holder and funnel.

Depending on your Keurig brewer model, wash other removable parts such as the lid, tray, cold water reservoir, milk steamer, and K-Cup holder.

Now you can wash these elements in the sink or place them on the top shelf of the dishwasher. 

Tip: Remember to set a low-temperature cycle on your dishwasher.

Insert a paper clip into the small tube beneath the K-cup holder to unclog the K-Cup holder with a paper clip. 

Gently wiggle it around to get rid of any accumulated crud.

Important: Be careful not to damage the tube while cleaning—the pod-piercing “exit needle” is located here. 

Loosen any potential clogs from 

  • the “entrance needle” (that thing that pierces the pods), and 
  • the “exit needle” underneath the pod holder 

using a clean paperclip. 

These elements are sharp so do it carefully!

Have you observed your Keurig dumps loose coffee grounds? The reason may be grinds or tea clog the exit needle when you brew coffee, blocking the water from clearing the area after each brewing cycle.

Try forcing air through the waterline by using a straw to dislodge debris.

How to clean Keurig coffee machine parts? First, toss them into a sink of warm, soapy water. 

Scrub stubborn areas gently. If some grinds or stains don’t come off, scrape them away with a soft toothbrush dipped in white vinegar. The long teeth of the brush will help you reach difficult areas.

Thoroughly rinse and pat dry before reattaching the pieces to the machine. Allow them to air dry. 

Tip: Don’t dry your Keurig coffee maker with a towel—it may accumulate lint. Take a kitchen tissue roll or a soft cloth that can soak up the water to dry it quickly.

Finally, wipe clean your machine a few times, including the places you just washed, with a dry or slightly damp kitchen tissue roll until it’s completely dry and looks fresh and clean as new. 

When it comes to the cold water reservoir and lid—don’t risk putting them in the dishwasher. 

Wash them only with soapy water in the sink, rinse thoroughly, and spray the filter with a faucet hose. Otherwise, shake the water reservoir to create a more potent stream of water. 

The water reservoir and pod holder should get a weekly cleaning.

Descale a Keurig with vinegar

When the “PRIME” message and descale light show up on your Keurig coffee maker, it means that calcium deposits clog up your favorite morning brew master.

How do you recognize ‌mineral deposits took over, and it’s time to kick off the descaling process? Brewing may become slower, and your cup may not fill up all the way.

Mineral deposits growing inside your Keurig coffee maker can clog your machine and prevent it from functioning correctly. Clean and descale your brewer regularly to avoid it. 

Learn how to descale and clean a Keurig with vinegar or descaling solution.

It will take a few minutes to descale a Keurig and can improve the performance of your coffee maker and the taste of the coffee it makes.

To get started, you will need a large coffee mug, some distilled vinegar, and filtered water. 

Important: Keurig website recommends not to use softened water or distilled water when brewing with your Keurig. Instead, use bottled water or spring water.

Before descaling, remember to hand wash or wipe down any removable parts with a damp wash cloth.

Run a mix of equal parts white vinegar and water through the machine.

First, pour the solution into the reservoir, turn on the machine, press the brew cycle button, and allow the solution to drain into a cup. 

Tip: You can put a coffee mug or another heat-safe container under the Keurig coffee maker brew head. Make sure it’s big enough to hold all the liquid.

When running a brew cycle, you may need to open and close the K-cup holder but don’t insert any coffee pods.

Dump out the liquid that got out and repeat the process.

If any liquid remains in your Keurig’s water reservoir, run another brew cycle until it’s empty.

Also, it may be necessary to descale your Keurig multiple times depending on how dirty it is.

Vinegar works great for cleaning your Keurig. Just put a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar, add water to the reservoir, and run a few cycles to clear it out.

Descaling stands for removing mineral buildup and should be implemented the least often from all the cleaning practices of your machine—once every three to six months. 

In the end, run one to three brewing cycle processes to ensure you won’t taste vinegar or descaling solution in your next cup of coffee.

At this point, you may want to get the vinegar smell and taste out of your Keurig coffee maker.

Clean your coffee mug, then refill the water reservoir with 10 ounces of just water and repeat. Let the Keurig sit for 30 minutes when you finish. 

Tip: You can also try to pour in a tablespoon of baking soda to make sure your Keurig brewer gets extra clean.

Remove and rinse the reservoir again. 

Fill it to the max fill line with fresh water, and repeat brew cycles until all the water is gone.

Now you can brew coffee as usual.

Descale your Keurig every three to six months.

Tip: It will make everything more manageable if you schedule your water filter cartridge replacement and descaling for the same day. Replacing the water filter cartridge immediately after descaling with vinegar will ensure no vinegar taste remains for your next brew.

Replace the water filter every two months.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Most Keurig coffee makers have filters to ensure the water is free of excess chlorine and mineral debris. However, a few, such as the K-Mini, K-Mini Plus, K15, and Rivo models, don't feature replaceable water filters.
After you descaled it, press and hold the brewing button and 12oz button for 5 seconds to reset a Keurig, do it until water starts dispensing. Then, release and let the water purge. Finally, discard the contents away and press the power button to restart your Keurig.
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