These easy steps have helped thousands of people clean their Keurig coffee makers and get broken ones working like new.
Knowing how to clean a Keurig or fix a broken one means you won’t have to spend money on a replacement. The following steps work on all Keurig machines. They will clean and fix it, even one that’s been shorting cups or not brewing at all. Before proceeding, read through all of the steps to understand each and how they help fix your broken Keurig.
How To Clean Your Keurig
You will need:
- Several clean, lint-free cloths (microfiber cloths work best)
- An old toothbrush
- Distilled white vinegar (4-8 cups)
- A pinch of baking soda
- Mild dish soap
Remove any K-Cups or pods in the holder. If your Keurig doesn’t run without a pod in the holder, insert a used one. Then, fill your Keurig water reservoir with a homemade descaling solution made from equal parts cold water and distilled white vinegar. (Or use a commercial Keurig descaling solution.) Immediately begin brewing and dumping out cups until you’ve emptied the entire tank.
2. Rinse and Repeat if Needed
Once you’ve brewed all of the descaling solution, rinse the water reservoir and refill it with fresh, cold water. Run this through the machine, dumping each cup until the tank is empty. On the final cup, test whether all of the vinegar is out of the machine by adding a small pinch of baking soda to the brewed cup of water. If it fizzes, run another tank of fresh, cold water through. If there’s no fizz, you’ve flushed out all of the vinegar.
3. Clean the Keurig Parts
After descaling your Keurig, remove the water reservoir and lid, along with the stand that supports your cup. Open the top and remove the K-Cup holder — that’s the insert that pops out. Wash the Keurig parts with warm, soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to dislodge any white residue (scale) you find on the water tank or other places. Rinse with clean water, dry with a soft cloth, and reassemble your Keurig.
How to Fix a Broken Keurig
If your machine is shorting cups, sputtering, brewing only half a tank, or not working at all, the steps below will get your Keurig working like new again. These work best when you do all of them since a Keurig that isn’t working correctly often has more than one clog.
1. Unclog the Needle
Before you clean your Keurig’s needle, make sure it’s been at least 30 minutes since your last brew, so you don’t burn yourself. Then, 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 needle’s holes. You don’t need to worry about puncturing anything: this area is all hard plastic. Jiggle the paperclip around in each hole to break through sediment. (If you are uncomfortable about using a paperclip, try a Keurig cleaning kit instead.)
2. Dislodge Clogs Inside the Keurig
Unplug the machine and remove the water tank. Set it aside. Now, standing at a sink, turn your machine completely upside down over the sink basin and give the bottom a few smacks with the palm of your hand. Crazy as it sounds, this helps loosen debris. Many readers have reported water gushing out of their machine at this point because the smacking dislodged hardened sediment within the Keurig’s pump.
3. Dislodge Clogs in the Keurig Tube
Blowing through this tube gets rid of air bubbles or mineral buildup you can’t see. Use a can of compressed air, or follow the steps below.
- With the machine still upside down, put a drinking straw over the spout. (See photo above.)
- Wrap this juncture with a paper towel to make it as close to air-tight as possible.
- Blow as hard as you can into the straw to force air through the Keurig spout and dislodge scale buildup in the water tube. (There’s no need to worry about this step since you’ll be cleaning the tubes in the next step.)
4. Reassemble and Descale Your Keurig Again
Dislodging clogs in a Keurig loosens lime and other debris. You must descale it a second time right away to get that stuff out of your machine. (Step 1 in “How to Clean a Keurig,” above.)
Tips to Keep Your Keurig Clean
Descale it monthly: Some Keurig models will tell you when to descale it, but others don’t. Those descaling notifications aren’t always reliable, though, so it’s not a bad idea to schedule this task monthly.
Use filtered water: Tap water contains a lot of minerals that build up. So, if your Keurig has frequent problems or your descaling notification turns on often, try switching to filtered water instead of tap. The stuff from your refrigerator water dispenser works fine, or get a special filtering water pitcher. Don’t use distilled water, though–removing all of the minerals ruins coffee’s flavor.
Wash the parts often: It’s a good idea to remove and rinse the water reservoir daily and let it air dry overnight. Then, once a week, wash it and any other removable parts weekly in warm, soapy water and rinse it well. If you use a reusable Keurig pod, wash it daily. Also, any time you brew something besides coffee — like cocoa, chai, or soup pods — immediately run an extra cup of plain water to clean your Keurig’s insides and prevent clogs.
Drain when not in use: An empty water tank doesn’t mean there’s no water in the machine. If left for more than a day or two, that water can cause clogs and lead to mold or mildew. If you have a Keurig in your office, for instance, you don’t want to leave it full of water over the weekend. So, unplug it and empty the tank. Wait 30 minutes, then turn it upside down over a sink to drain. Then, leave it empty with the top open to improve airflow.
Troubleshooting Common Keurig Problems
If you continue experiencing problems after following the steps above, try these methods below to fix common problems with Keurig machines.
Unseated Reservoir Magnet
Remove the water reservoir and look on the side where it touches the machine. Make sure the magnet is flat against the side of the tank and at the bottom of its channel. Reseat the reservoir properly.
Keurig Won’t Turn On
- Unplug the machine for several minutes, then plug it back in.
- Hold the ON button down for five seconds. This step purges water in the line.
- Unplug the machine again, plug it back in, and try the power.
- If it still does not work, it’s time to call customer service. (See below.
Keurig Shuts Off Unexpectedly
- See if the green Auto-Off button is in service. This setting turns the machine off after 2 hours if not in use (90 seconds in a Keurig mini).
- Press the black Auto-Off button to disable this feature.
Contacting Keurig Customer Service
Keurig has outstanding customer service, which is available seven days a week. Reach them by calling 1 (866) 901-BREW (2739). If your machine is still under warranty, they’ll even send a free replacement.