Haven’t cleaned your single-serve Keurig coffee maker in a while? It’s time. Much like cleaning your laundry vents and polishing hardwood floors, maintaining your small kitchen appliances is essential to their well-being. So, take good care of your coffee maker. It is, after all, your lifeline to a productive morning.
The convenience of single-serve coffee makers is unmatched, but unlike a traditional coffee maker, many models retain water in a reservoir for long periods of time leading to mold and mineral deposits. Whether you operate a Keurig, De’Longhi, Lavazzo, or one of the many other brands available, signs that it may be time to clean your coffee maker include:
- Longer than usual time to brew a cup of joe
- When you expect a full cup of coffee but the brewed batch only fills half of your cup
- Extra grounds or granules in your brewed cup
- Any unexpected, moldy, or mildewy smells
- Mineral buildup on visible parts of the machine
Mineral deposits associated with hard water buildup, whether visible to the eye or not, are responsible for many of these problems associated with a single-serve coffee maker. If you have hard water, you may notice a need to descale (or decline) the inside of your machine more often
How Often To Clean a Keurig
The frequency of cleaning will depend upon the model you own and how often you use your Keurig. If you are using your coffee maker daily, components like the coffee mug tray and K-cup holder should be cleaned weekly. The water filter cartridge should be cleaned every other month and the coffee maker should be descaled to remove hard water minerals at least four times a year.
How To Clean Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker
This corner of our dining room is one of the most used areas in our apartment – with the microwave, baking dishes on the shelves below, our pantry in the cabinet, two of my paintings (here and here), and Garrett’s beloved Keurig Mini coffee maker. I don’t drink coffee, so this little machine that his parents’ gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago has been perfect. He can make a quick cup of coffee in the morning without dragging out the french press, measuring the coffee, and then dealing with the messy clean-up afterward. We have very few appliances that we use, but this one has been the most convenient for sure. (You’ll spot my favorite appliance up there too – the ice cream machine!)
Step 01: Your machine may look all shiny and new on the outside, but a quick peek inside the water reservoir and you’ll find lots of nasty-looking mineral deposits. And when you open up the brewer handle, you’ll find coffee grounds all along the sides.
Step 02: Despite the fact that I wipe down the top of the drip tray whenever I clean the counters, it gets gross pretty quickly. First, remove the water level guide. This will let the vinegar get into all the nooks and crannies of the water reservoir.
Step 03: Pull the drip tray out of the bottom of the coffee maker. The top silver part will pop out of the bottom red part making it easier to clean too. The funnel that the K-cups go into can take a little bit to pop out, but you can do so carefully. Just keep in mind that there is a sharp needle inside the funnel as well as on the top of the brewer handle.
Step 04: Using a clean toothbrush dipped into white vinegar, gentle brush the coffee grounds off all the components of the brewer handle. There will also be coffee grounds farther down where the funnel was. Dip a cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the toothbrush. Push it into the funnel hole and gently clean the area.
Step 05: Now it’s time for a descaling rinse! Fill the water reservoir with 10 oz of white vinegar. Place a ceramic mug on the drip tray. Lift the brewer handle, but don’t add in a K-cup. After 5 seconds, lower the brewer handle. Press the flashing blue “BREW” button. It will flash red and then turn solid red. Once the vinegar has gone through the coffee maker, dump the hot liquid into the sink.
Step 06: Repeat the process again, but this time as soon as the button goes solid red, turn off the coffee maker. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Turn the coffee maker back on, lift and lower the brewer handle and press the “BREW” button. Once the hot vinegar comes out, dump it in the sink and rinse the mug.
Step 07: Meanwhile, while the vinegar was soaking, you could use this time to clean all the loose pieces. I know that some of them are dishwasher safe, but we don’t have one, so I just washed it by hand in hot soapy water. I used the toothbrush to scrub out any mineral build-up on the pieces.
Step 08: Once the second vinegar rinse is done, use the toothbrush to scrub any mineral deposits that still remain. I also used a damp cloth to scrub the sides of the water reservoir and to wipe up any mineral deposits that have been brushed loose.
Step 09: To remove the vinegar smell, fill the water reservoir with 10 oz. of freshwater. Place the ceramic mug on the drip tray, lift and lower the brewer handle and then press the “BREW” button. Toss the hot water into the sink once it goes through. Repeat this process three more times to really cleanse the vinegar out of the coffee machine.
Step 10: Put the water level guide back into the water reservoir. Just look how clean it is in there! Put the funnel and drip tray back Into place. Once everything is assembled again, use a damp cloth to wash the outside of the coffee maker. Buff it with a dry cloth until it shines!
Step 11: Now you have a clean Keurig coffee maker that is as good as new and all ready to make a fresh cup of coffee. It may not look like a big difference on the outside, but I like knowing that the next time Garrett makes a cup of coffee it will be fresh and clear of mineral deposits and coffee grounds.