If your Keurig is brewing slowly, shorting your cup, or won’t work at all, don’t throw it away until you’ve tried these tips first!
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 anymore?
I nearly did just that, too, when my Keurig wouldn’t work after I’d stopped using it for a while. Figuring it was broken, I decided to try a few things to see if they helped. Sure enough, just 30 minutes later my Keurig was working better than ever. Here’s what I did.
How To Clean A Keurig: 9 Steps
The following steps work on all Keurig machines. If you own a Keurig 2.0, please note the slight variations below.
1. Unplug it. I can’t emphasize this enough: unplug the thing!
2. Disassemble it. Remove the water tank and its lid, along with the stand your coffee cup rests on. Open the top and remove the K-Cup holder. Wash these pieces in warm, soapy water and dry well:
Also see: How To Clean A Coffee Maker
3. Unclog the needles. Grab a paperclip and partially unbend it. 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:
If using a paperclip concerns you, commercial cleaning kits containing special pods will accomplish this same step. (Amazon $8.99)
4. 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. It’s best to do this over a sink since tapping will dislodge buildup that’s been preventing water flow within the machine.
5. Clear the tube. 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 to dislodge scale buildup in the water line.
UPDATE: Some readers have asked if it’s safe to insert a pipe cleaner in this tube. I wouldn’t recommend it due to concerns that the wire within the pipe cleaner could puncture the water tube. Others have asked whether it’s sanitary to blow on it. You’ll be using vinegar to descale in a moment, and vinegar has germ-killing properties.
6. Wipe it down and reassemble. Grab a lint-free cloth and clean the cup holder and the outside of the machine. Return all of the parts to their places.
7. Descale it. Fill the water tank with half water and half white vinegar. You may have been told to use straight vinegar, but that can harm the machine due to vinegar’s high acidity — keep it at a 50-50 mix, or use a commercial Keurig descaling product (Amazon $12.99). Immediately begin running the vinegar-water through the machine until you’ve emptied the entire tank, dumping each cup as it brews.
Also see: How To Use Vinegar In The Laundry
Some Keurig machines won’t run without a pod in the holder. In that case, just insert a used one. By the time the liquid comes out the vinegar water will already have done its job, so it doesn’t matter if leftover coffee or tea drains along with it. You won’t be drinking this, anyway.
8. Run clean water through it. After you’ve run an entire tank of vinegar water, repeat the above step using only water. Check the final cup to make sure there’s no vinegar taste, and run more fresh water through if needed. To test whether you’ve got all of the vinegar out of your Keurig, one reader suggests sprinkling a pinch of baking soda into the final cup of water: if it fizzes there’s still vinegar in the system so you’ll need to run more clean water through it.
9. Maintain it. For most households, performing steps 7 and 8 above every three months will keep your Keurig working wonderfully. If your machine gets heavy use (in an office setting, for instance), you might want to perform those two steps monthly. Should you ever notice your Keurig brewing too slowly or making smaller cups than usual, run through the entire process and you’ll be back in business.
Now that you know how to clean a Keurig and get yours running like new again, you can go back to enjoying your morning jolt of caffeine!
And, hey, if this article about how to clean a Keurig (even if you think it’s broken) helped you get your machine working again, I’d sure appreciate if you’d let other people know. Tweet this, or share it on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest. Thank you!
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