Erin Doman on July 25, 2016 6 Comments In the past few years, Keurigs have taken the world by storm thanks to the combination of consistent quality and convenience. Making coffee in a rush has never been so easy, but just like a traditional coffee maker and coffee grinder, your Keurig coffee maker needs regular maintenance. In order to keep your prized Keurig coffee maker working optimally, you’ll need to perform a general cleaning as needed, and every 3 to 6 months you’ll want to descale your machine as well. To get started, you’ll just need a few household cleaning supplies and a little time to spare. Materials You Will Need Here’s a run down of everything you will need to clean your Keurig coffee maker. Stock Your Kitchen With The Best Keurig Accessories Water Dish soap Paper clip White vinegar (descaling only) Clean cloths Clean sponge Luckily, you probably already have everything you need in your house. Keep in mind that you do not want to use diluted vinegar. General Cleaning Tips If you are just looking to preform a general cleaning of your Keurig coffee maker, the following tips can make it easier. 1. Unplug and Disassemble the Machine First and foremost, you need to unplug your machine before you begin the cleaning process. Once you unplug the machine, keep the electrical cord away from your work area to ensure it doesn’t get wet. Next, you need to disassemble what you can. You’ve probably already noticed if you accidentally bump the mug stand it will move. The machine has several equally removable parts and these can be washed in warm soapy water. The removable parts are: The water reservoir Funnel Drip place Drip tray If it has been a while since you last cleaned your machine, you can leave the removable parts to soak for a bit while you complete the rest of the general cleaning. How to Buy the Best Coffee Maker 2. Remove the K-Cup Holder The K-cup holder is also removable, but you’ll have to give it a tug. To remove it, grab the holder on either side and firmly pull outward. On the bottom, push the K-cup with your other hand. Eventually, you should be able to wiggle the holder out of the machine. Be careful as there are needles under the holder and you may get pricked if you don’t exercise caution. For this piece, you can simply give it a rinse and wipe with your clean cloth. 3. Wipe the Machine Down With a clean, damp cloth, wipe the external surfaces of your machine. Make sure to get all the nooks and crannies to ensure you don’t have any sticky residue that might attract pests. In particular, look around the K-cup area. Granules from the K-cups like to collect around here especially. 4. Careful With the Exit Needle In the K-cup holder area, there are needles with three holes for grounds to pass through. Debris frequently gets caught in this area and should be removed during the cleaning process. To clean this area, take a paper clip and straighten it out. Use it to work out any debris or clogs near the exit holes. Avoid touching the area with your fingers as you may hurt yourself with the needles. As you are cleaning, know that you won’t be able to push the paperclip through to the other side, so you shouldn’t try and force it. Consider using a flashlight to help you see any debris caught in this area. 5. Reassemble the Machine Now that you’ve wiped everything down, it’s time to reassemble the machine. Snap the funnel and K-cup back into place and reinsert the drip pieces. Make sure all the removable parts are dry before you replace them. Next, you’ll just need to plug it back in. Descaling Your Keurig Machine If you are just performing a general cleaning on your machine, you can stop with the previous step. However, if you are doing a more thorough or seasonal cleaning, continue on to the descaling steps. 6. Vinegar Rinse Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent and something we all have in our kitchens already. You can use vinegar to descale your machine of any buildup. First Rinse: In your water reservoir, pour in undiluted vinegar and run a regular brewing cycle. Do not use a K-cup for this cycle and place a mug on the drip tray to collect the brewed vinegar. Running vinegar through your machine is called descaling and it serves to remove calcium and other buildup from the internal mechanisms of your machine. While you can perform a general cleaning weekly or monthly, descaling should only be done every 3 to 6 months. However, descaling is important to do periodically to clean all elements of your machine and minimize potential health risks from bacteria or debris. Second Rinse: Again, do not use a K-cup for this process. Keep brewing until your machine gives you the “Add Water” sign. At this point, add in another round of vinegar and allow the machine to draw the vinegar in internally. This time you’ll want to let the vinegar sit in your machine for a few hours to tackle any stubborn buildup. Prepare to let the machine sit for a good 3 to 4 hours for most standard models. After waiting for the appropriate amount of time, run another brew and discard the remaining vinegar. 7. Fresh Water Rinse As you did before, place a cup on the drip tray and don’t use a K-cup. Fill the reservoir with water as you normally would. Run a brew with just the water to remove any residual vinegar in your machine. Repeat the water rinse up to three times to fully remove the vinegar taste. 8. Extra Tips for Keeping Your Keurig Coffee Maker Clean To help your future cleanings go a touch faster, you can take a few preemptive steps to reduce the chance of buildup in your machine. First, use bottled water over distilled or softened water. Bottled water won’t cause quite as much build up. Additionally, if you notice your system isn’t performing as it should, this could be a sign that the entry and exist needles might be clogged. This should be your first step for troubleshooting, but be sure to be careful around those needles. Takeaways Keeping your Keurig coffee maker clean will help preserve the flavor of your coffee, tea, cider, hot chocolate and whatever else you can find in a K-cup. Plus, it will help you avoid the health risks that come with using rarely cleaned kitchen items. Proper maintenance of your Keurig coffee maker will keep your appliance lasting for many early mornings to come.