How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Machine Properly

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For daily coffee drinkers, that first cup of the day may be the bright spot in your morning routine. It might even be something you go to sleep excited about. Cleaning your coffee machine, however, likely doesn't come with the same level of enthusiasm. And for those who enjoy the convenience of a Keurig but perhaps lost their manual somewhere along the way, you may be at a loss for how to clean a Keurig coffee machine. But if your coffee's started to taste a little off, chances are your coffee maker is in need of a deep clean.

Thankfully, the process of cleaning a Keurig is made fairly easy with its Descale Mode, which is essentially the process of removing calcium deposits or other build-up inside the machine. If you don't have the proper Descaling Solution, there's also a way to clean a Keurig with vinegar. (We'll get into how below.)

It is important to note that in between more thorough cleanings, you should regularly rinse your Keurig's water reservoir and change the water. Swapping out the Keurig Water Filter ($9) every two months will also improve coffee quality. What's more, you can pop in Keurig Rinse Pods ($9) in between cleanings to refresh flavor.

Ahead, learn all various ways to clean a Keurig coffee maker.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Machine

To clean the exterior of a Keurig coffee machine, simply wipe it down with a damp dish towel or, preferably, a microfiber cloth.

As for removable Keurig parts, like the water reservoir, coffee pot, drip tray, and K-Cup holder, simply clean separately with with soapy water in the sink, as you'd do with dishes. Rinse, thoroughly dry, and pop back in the machine. That, however, is the easy part.

How to Descale a Keurig

Descaling is the recommended way to clean a Keurig. For any kind of coffee machine, know that it's best to use purified or filtered water to prevent mineral buildup in the system. That said, it's still bound to happen over time, which is when a good descale is needed.

Some specifics vary per model, but typically, here's how to activate Keurig Descale Mode: Pour a bottle of the Keurig Descaling Solution ($9) into the empty water reservoir. (Keurig also sells a Keurig 3-Month Brewer Maintenance Kit ($15), which includes the solution, plus extra water filters and Rinse Pods.) Fill the empty Descaling Solution bottle with water, and pour that into the reservoir. Make sure there isn't a K-Cup pod in the machine before proceeding.

Place a cup on the drip tray. With the machine plugged in — yet powered off — hold down the 8-ounce and 12-ounce buttons simultaneously for three seconds. Then press the brew button. (For some models, like the popular K-Café, you'll just need to select the largest brew size before hitting brew.) Pour the resulting hot liquid into the sink, and keep repeating the process until the "add water" light comes on.

Lastly, empty, rinse, and refill the water reservoir with fresh water. Press the brew button once more, and carefully pour out the hot liquid.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Machine With Vinegar

To clean a Keurig with vinegar, you'll follow the same steps outlined above. Instead of filling the water reservoir with the Descaling Solution, however, you'll fill it with white vinegar.

Run the machine — again, making sure there isn't a K-Cup inserted — and keep pouring out the resulting liquid in the sink until the water reservoir is empty. To get out any lingering vinegar scent, rinse and refill the reservoir with water, and brew again.

How to Clean Keurig Needle

Coffee grounds can sometimes get stuck in Keurig needles, therefore affecting the taste and consistency of your coffee. Thankfully, cleaning a Keurig needle is fairly simple.

First, you'll want to make sure your machine is turned off and unplugged. To clean the exit needle beneath the K-Cup holder, remove the pod holder from the machine and then remove the funnel from the pod holder by pulling the two apart. Use a clean paper clip to remove loose grounds in the exit needle tube. (While you're at it, feel free to rinse out the pod holder during this step.)

The entrance needle, which pierces pods, can be found under the machine's head, beneath the handle. Insert another clean paper clip in the entrance needle, and gently swirl it around to remove loose grounds. (Be careful, as the needle is sharp.)

How Often to Clean a Keurig

Keurig recommends descaling your coffee machine every three to six months. To make it clear, a descale alert will turn on somewhere around that time depending on how much water has passed through the machine. In between cleanings, however, rinse out the water reservoir about once a week.

— Additional reporting by Nicole Yi

Kelsey Garcia is the associate content director of POPSUGAR Balance, where she oversees lifestyle coverage, from dating to parenting and financial wellness. Kelsey is passionate about travel, skin-care trends, and changes in the social media landscape. Before joining the POPSUGAR team more than eight years ago as an editorial assistant, she interned at Elle and Harper's Bazaar, among other publications.

Nicole Yi is a former associate editor for POPSUGAR Fitness.