How To Clean A Keurig (even if you think it’s broken)
I wonder how many people have thrown away their coffee makers because they didn’t know how to clean a Keurig, particularly one that doesn’t pump water any more?
I nearly did just that, having stopped using my machine for over a year because I’d decided the disposable K-Cups were too expensive. Then one day I found a reusable insert for my Keurig that would let me use my favorite coffee or loose tea and, after bringing it home, eagerly powered up my machine. How frustrating to find it wouldn’t make a cup!
Fortunately, after a half-hour of effort, I got my machine up and running again. Here’s how.
How To Clean A Keurig
Unplug it. I can’t emphasize this enough: unplug the thing!
Disassemble it. Remove the water tank and its lid, along with the stand your coffee cup rests on. Then open the top and remove the K-Cup holder. Wash these pieces in warm, soapy water and dry well:
Unclog the needles. Grab a paperclip and partially unbend it. Then, with the Keurig’s top open, carefully insert the free end of the paperclip into each of the three holes along the needle that pierces the K-Cup. Jiggle the paperclip around then remove it. Don’t worry about harming your machine: there are no working parts here, just holes that get clogged with scale and debris. Like so:
Turn and tap. Turn your machine upside down and, with the top open, give the bottom a few light smacks with the palm of your hand. Crazy as this sounds, this helps loosen debris.
Breathe into it. Thought the previous step sounded crazy? This one’s even wackier, and yet it works! Turn the machine upside down and put a drinking straw over the spout. Wrap this juncture with a paper towel to make it as close to air-tight as possible. Now, blow as hard as you can into the straw to force air through the Keurig spout. This helps dislodge debris and opens the water line.
Wipe it down and reassemble. Grab a lint-free cloth and clean the cup holder, then the outside of the machine. Return all of the parts to the machine.
Descale it. Fill the water tank with white vinegar or Keurig's own Descaling fluid. Now, run the machine without a K-Cup until you’ve emptied the entire tank. Dump each cup of vinegary water after brewing.
Run it some more. Repeat the above step using only clean water in the tank. Check the final cup of water to make sure there’s no vinegar taste. Run more clean water through if needed.
Maintain it. Performing the two steps above on a monthly basis will keep your machine running well. Should you ever notice your Keurig brewing too slowly or making smaller cups than usual, perform the entire process to get it working like new again.