How to Clean a Keurig (Without Vinegar!)

Our Keurig is our go-to for a quick and convenient caffeine fix for many coffee lovers. But with daily use, it’s no surprise that the machine can start accumulating build-up, affecting our beloved brew’s taste.

In this article, we’ll show you how to clean a Keurig and why it works. Say goodbye to subpar coffee and hello to a freshly brewed cup every time.

Buy a Descaling Solution

Before we get started, we need to buy a descaling solution. Alternatively, you can use 5% white vinegar instead of a descaling solution for cleaning your Keurig, or you can purchase citric acid or lemon juice (you need a lot) and make your own solution. I’ve even read that some folks use bleach – but I don’t want bleach near my coffee maker.

If you are in doubt – then buy a good descaling solution.

Keurig makes its own descaling solution that has good reviews. Amazon also sells a number of them. I use this one. It’s not expensive, and you get two full cleans out of every bottle. Plus, it works with other coffee machines, not just the Keurig

Read: How to wash towels with vinegar (and why you should)

descaling solution for cleaning a keurig

With any descaling solution, you want to follow the exact instructions on the back of the bottle – each one may be slightly different. The directions I list below are for this particular descaling solution.

It’s also important to note that descaling your Keurig can take about an hour – so make sure you’ve had your first cup of coffee before starting this process!

Things You’ll Need

Read: The Weird but Effective Way to Clean Oven Racks.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

Below, we’ll outline the steps to clean a Keurig using this descaling solution.

  1. Remove the coffee pod from the pod holder, water filter, and empty the water reservoir/tank.
  2. Pour half the bottle of descaling solution into the empty reservoir. Then, fill the rest of the reservoir with water.
  3. Run the largest cup brew cycle on your machine (without a coffee pod) until the reservoir is empty or you get the low water signal. I use a large measuring cup to collect the brewed water.
  4. Let your Keurig sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Fill the reservoir to the top with water again and run it until it’s empty. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes again.
  6. Repeat step 5.
  7. Remove the drip tray, water tank lid, and the K-cup holder and wash in hot soapy water. Rinse, dry, and replace.
  8. Use a microfiber cloth and some mild dish soap to wipe the exterior of the Keurig and the inner parts you can’t remove, like the needle.
  9. You can also use a small cleaning brush to help clean those harder-to-reach areas.
  10. Fill the water reservoir with clean, fresh water and install a new water filter cartridge (if using), and you’re done!

Why We Need to Clean & Descale

Cleaning your Keurig Machine has several benefits:

  • Extends the life of your coffeemaker
  • It helps maintain the heating element, as well as other internal parts
  • Removes calcium deposits, mineral build-up, and bacteria that may be on the inside of your machine, especially if you have hard water
  • It helps coffee taste better.

Hard water can leave a layer of minerals on the parts of your coffee machine. Calcium carbonate is one of these minerals. When hard water is used in the machine, and it evaporates, the calcium carbonate will stay behind and can cause the machine to get clogged and not work as well. Plus, it can make your coffee taste kind of icky.

girl standing with cup of coffee - how to clean a keurig

It’s also worth noting that your Keurig will run best on distilled or filtered water, as opposed to tap water, without all the minerals that can cause build-up.

How often should you clean & descale your Keurig?

You should repeat this process of descaling your Keurig about every 3-4 months. And I know this sounds gross, but I can always start to taste when my machine needs cleaning. The coffee really does taste better after a good descaling. If you use water filters with your Keurig, it serves as a good reminder. Each time you need to replace the filter – just give your machine a good cleaning first.

As you can see here, there are a number of important steps to ensure your Keurig machine continues to run smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance is key to ensure you can enjoy a consistently delicious cup of joe each and every time.

Furthermore, taking proper care of your Keurig can help extend its life and enhance its performance. So take the time to give your precious Keurig the attention and care it needs. You’ll really appreciate the taste of a freshly brewed cup of your favorite drink.