how to clean a Keurig coffee machine with vinegar

Whether you use vinegar or descaling solution, make sure you’re cleaning your Keurig correctly.

Let’s face it: None of us want to face life without our Keurig. We’ve come to rely on that magical little machine that makes coffee at the touch of a button. But much like cleaning an oven, cleaning a dishwasher, and cleaning a washing machine, you can’t rely on this appliance to take care of its own cleaning and maintenance.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is that it’s not at all hard to clean a Keurig, and you have a variety of cleaning options ranging from items you already have in your kitchen to the purchasing the company’s descaling solution. Here, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide to keep your coffee machine, lean, mean, and clean so you can sip your espresso in bacteria-free peace.

How often should you clean a Keurig?
The exterior of your Keurig should be cleaned about once a week at the very least, or more frequently if things get dire. Keep in mind that the drip tray can only hold eight ounces, so you’ll need to empty it every once in a while.

It’s recommended that the water reservoir and pod holder get a weekly cleaning, but “descaling”—or removing mineral buildup—can be done less often, around once every three to six months. The descale light will usually flip on when it’s time, but you’ll probably be able to tell on your own anyway. Brewing may become slower, and your cup may not fill up all the way.

As for filter replacement, that can be done every two months or so.

How do I clean the outside of a Keurig?
With a wet, soapy, lint-free cloth, wipe away dust or splatters. Then, gently slide out the drip tray, empty, wipe, and return to its position. But never, ever submerge the machine in water. It is an electrical appliance, after all.

How do I clean individual parts of a Keurig?
Turn off and unplug the machine and allow it to cool.

Next, lift up the lever to disassemble the K-Cup pod holder and funnel, and wash both parts in the sink or on the top shelf of the dishwasher on a low temperature cycle.

While you’re at it, loosen any potential clogs from the “entrance needle” (that thing that pierces the pods) as well as the “exit needle” underneath the pod holder using a clean paperclip. (But be careful—those things are sharp!)

Remove the water reservoir and lid and wash both with soapy water in the sink—not the dishwasher. Rinse thoroughly and spray the filter with a faucet hose, or shake the reservoir to create a more forceful stream of water. But when you’re done, don’t towel-dry the inside, as you could leave some lint behind.

How do I descale a Keurig using a descaling solution?
Perform the functions described above, but instead of using vinegar, fill the reservoir with a bottle of Keurig’s descaling solution. Before moving on to the next step, filling the now-empty descaling solution bottle with water and pour that into the reservoir as well.

Hit the “brew” button to perform a cleansing brew into a ceramic mug (remember, don’t use paper here!). Repeat until “Add Water” is illuminated. At that point, let the Keurig rest for 30 minutes.

After that, remove and rinse the reservoir, fill it to the full line with fresh water, and repeat brew cycles until all of the water is gone (or 12 times, as recommended by the Keurig Descaling Solution manufacturer).

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