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How to Clean and Descale your Keurig Coffee Maker

Hard water leaves residue and mineral build up on the heating elements of your coffee machine. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that remains after the water has evaporated. Your Keurig Coffee Maker may become clogged with mineral scale over time. Mineral deposits make it more difficult for heating elements to heat the water to the appropriate temperature. Your coffee takes longer to drip and the taste of your beverage may be altered.

Regular washing will not remove this hard water residue from your your coffee maker. Your coffee machine needs to be descaled to perform well again.

Regular Cleanup

Keurig coffee makers are designed for easy cleanup. To clean the outside of your coffee machine, simply wash the surface with a soaked, nonabrasive cloth. Many Keurig models have a removable water reservoir which can easily be washed in the sink with warm water and dish soap.

Cleaning a Coffee Maker with Vinegar

It is recommended that you decalcify your Keurig coffee machine once every three months in normal water situations and once a month if you use hard water. To eliminate the guesswork, some Keurig machines come equipped with a warning light to let you know when it is time to descale.

One of most effective ways of removing calcium build up is using vinegar. White vinegar is a natural alternative to commercial cleaning products. The acid in the vinegar cuts grease and removes stains and hard water deposits.

Cleaning Steps

Step 1:

Unplug the machine and pour the water left in the tray into a sink. Gather needed tools and place next to your Keurig machine – pure white vinegar, paper towels or microfiber cloth, dish soap, and a cleaning toothbrush for scrubbing. 

Step 2:

Remove and empty out the water reservoir. Remove the K-cup holder, drip tray and drip tray cover. Take care not to touch sharp needle underside of the K-cup holder. Place all dishwater safe items into dishwasher on the top rack or in a sink and soak in warm water and a few drops of dish soap.

Step 3:

After leaving them in the sink for 15 minutes, gently wipe the interiors with a sponge, then rinse them well and towel dry. Then take clean toothbrush and clear any stuck coffee grinds remained in the K-Cup holder.  If you notice any buildup, dip your cleaning toothbrush into a small bowl filled with white vinegar and scrub outside and inside of the K-cup holder to remove any coffee grinds or build up.

Step 4:

Take all the washed parts and re-assemble the machine.

Step 5:

Use microfiber cloth or paper towel to wipe down the exterior of the machine top to bottom and remove any dust and water spots. If you notice some white residue, dip a cloth into a bowl with white vinegar and remove it.

Step 6:

Fill your water reservoir halfway with white vinegar and run several brewing cycles with no K-cups.  Place a ceramic cup under the machine, and pour the cups of vinegar into the sink. Repeat the process until the reservoir is empty. The descaling brew will take about 15 minutes. The vinegar will clear up the calcium deposits.

Step 7:

Fill up the reservoir with fresh, clean water and run a few cycles to do a final clean of your machine and to get rid of any vinegar. Continue until there is absolutely no vinegar smell.

When you don’t smell vinegar anymore, remove the reservoir and rinse well.

Keurig Descaling Solution

Running vinegar through the coffeemaker can leave a smell and affect the taste for the next few brewing cycles. To avoid this, you can purchase a descaling solution which is specially designed to remove calcium deposits and to keep your coffee machine in good working order. It doesn’t leave any detectable odor when the descaling process is completed. The product is approved by Keurig for their brewers. It comes with very detailed instructions on the bottle. This descaling solution works slowly, but it is worth the time.

Useful Tips

  • Use filtered water to prevent your Keurig machine from building mineral deposits.
  • Every few days, brew a cycle without a K-Cup to flush the machine with clean water.
  • Don’t leave water in the reservoir if you are going away for several days.

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