Here’s how to clean a Keurig or fix a broken Keurig so you don’t have to shell out money on a new one.
The following steps work on all Keurig machines. They will clean and fix a
How To Clean a 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
1. Descale your Keurig
- 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 before you try to clean your Keurig.
- Fill your Keurig tank with a 50-50 mix of water and distilled white vinegar.
- Immediately begin brewing and dumping out cups until you’ve emptied the entire tank.
- By the time the liquid comes out, the vinegar-water will have done its job. It won’t matter if leftover coffee or tea drains along with it.
2. Rinse and Repeat if Needed
- Once you’ve brewed all of the vinegar-water, rinse the tank then fill it with fresh, cold water. Run this water through the machine, dumping each cup until the tank is empty.
- On the final cup, you can test whether all of the vinegar mixture is out of the machine by adding a small pinch of baking soda to the brewed cup of water. If it fizzes, you should run another tank of fresh, cool water through. If there’s no fizz, you’ve drained all of the vinegar water out of the machine.
3. Clean the Keurig Parts
- After descaling your Keurig, remove the water tank and lid, along with the stand that supports your cup. Open the top and remove the K-Cup holder — that’s the insert which pops out.
- Wash the Keurig parts with warm, soapy water.
- Use an old toothbrush to dislodge any white residue (scale) that you find on the water tank or other places.
- Rinse with clean water, dry with a soft cloth, and reassemble your Keurig.
4. How to Keep Your Keurig Clean
- Descale your Keurig monthly to prevent new buildup.
- Use filtered water in your Keurig, rather than tap water.
- If you prefer reusable Keurig pods, wash them daily so they continue flowing freely.
- 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.
5. Storing Your Keurig When Not in Use
Keurigs do not fully drain just because the tank is empty. Water remaining in the machine for more than a day or two can cause clogs and lead to mold or mildew in your Keurig.
- If you won’t be using your machine for more than a day or two, unplug it and empty the tank.
- After 30 minutes, turn it upside down over a sink to drain.
- Clean the Keurig’s parts and leave the top open to improve airflow while you’re gone.
How to Fix a Broken Keurig
The four steps below work best when you do all of them since a Keurig that’s stopped working or which isn’t working correctly often has more than one clog built up.
1. Unclog the Keurig Needle
If your Keurig is brewing partial cups or sputtering, you may have a clog in the needle. Clean a Keurig’s needle clogs with the following steps after waiting 30 minutes since your last brew.
- 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 holes along the needle that pierces the K-Cup.
- Jiggle the paperclip around in each hole.
Commercial cleaning kits containing individual pods will accomplish this same step, if you’re uncomfortable about using a paperclip.
2. Dislodge Clogs Inside the Keurig
- If you’ve recently used the machine, wait 30 minutes for any water within the unit to fully cool.
- Unplug the machine and remove the water tank. (See “How to Clean a Keurig,” above.) Set it aside.
- Standing over a sink, turn your machine completely upside down and give the bottom a few smacks with the palm of your hand. Crazy as it sounds, this helps loosen debris.
3. Dislodge Clogs in the Keurig Tube
It sounds odd, but blowing through this tube often breaks air bubbles or mineral buildup you can’t see.
- 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 line. (You’ll be using vinegar to descale again, so there’s no need to worry about this step since its acidity will kill germs.)
4. Reassemble and Descale Your Keurig Again
Dislodging clogs in a Keurig loosens lime and other debris. It’s crucial that you descale it a second time right away to get that matter out of your machine. (Step 1 in “How to Clean a Keurig,” above.)
Additional Keurig Troubleshooting
If you continue experiencing problems after following the steps above, please check the following:
Ensure the reservoir magnet it seated properly. Remove the water reservoir and look on the side where it touches the machine. Make sure the magnet there is flat against the side of the reservoir and at the bottom of its channel. Reseat the reservoir properly.
Not turning on properly. Unplug the machine for several minutes then plug it back in. Hold the ON button down for five seconds. This will purge 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.
Shutting off unexpectedly. See if the green Auto Off button is in service. This 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 Customer Service. Keurig has outstanding customer service which is available 7 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.
Note: This entry first appeared in 2011. It has been updated for republication.
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