How to Clean a Keurig-Style Coffee Maker

Keep your single-serve coffee maker (such as a Keurig) sparkling inside and out with these easy steps for cleaning and descaling.

July 30, 2020

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.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker – Inside and Out

Delime, descale, and clean your single serve coffee maker.

Photo by: Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

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 mildew-y 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 delime) the inside of your machine more often.

More Top Tips
More Top Tips

How to Clean an Auto-Drip Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Follow these simple steps for cleaning an auto-drip coffee maker for a germ-free home brewer and a fresh tasting cup of joe.

Clean That Coffee Maker 02:23

Regular cleanings will keep your coffee maker germ-free and ready to brew.

Steps to Cleaning Your Single-Serve Coffee Maker

1. Begin by emptying any water from inside the reservoir.

2. Wash and clean any removable components of the coffee maker in the sink with warm, soapy water. Some models even have dishwasher-safe components (for example, the entire reservoir on my Keurig is safe to go in the dishwasher). If your coffee maker also excels at espresso and has a milk steamer attachment, use this opportunity to disassemble and clean those pieces, too.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Wash and clean any removable components of the coffee maker in the sink with warm, soapy water. Some models even have dishwasher-safe components.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

3. While the coffee maker is partially disassembled, use a small cleaning brush dipped in vinegar to clean around the base of the machine where the reservoir is and in the area surrounding where the pod/cup goes (I’m not the only one with lots of grounds trapped in there, am I?). On some models, that plastic area that the pod sits in is also removable.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

While the coffee maker is partially disassembled, use a small cleaning brush dipped in vinegar to clean around the base of the machine where the reservoir is and in the area surrounding where the pod/cup goes.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

4. Reusable filters need a good scrub now and again, too, because the grounds will become congested in the mesh. I’ve found that a trip through the dishwasher isn’t quite as effective for the reusable pods, but if you soak it in a cup of vinegar, and then use a small brush to loosen any granules and clean the fine mesh, you can get it pretty clean.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Reusable filters need a good scrub now and again because the grounds will become congested in the mesh. Soak the filter in a cup of vinegar, and then use a small brush to loosen any granules and clean the fine mesh.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

5. Cleaning the inside of the coffee maker is as important as cleaning the exterior components. Reassemble your clean, dry reservoir, and fill it with 4 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of water.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Cleaning the inside of the coffee maker is as important as cleaning the exterior components. Reassemble your clean, dry reservoir, and fill it with 4 cups of white vinegar and 2 cups of water.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

6. Run the machine a few times with no filter in place, essentially brewing cup after cup of hot vinegar. After a few cups have cycled, let the machine sit with the vinegar solution in it for a few hours, and then complete the rest of the cycles so that all of the solution has run its course through the machine. I think you'll be surprised about how dirty that vinegar water will be. You'll be sorry you didn't do this sooner.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

HGTV At Home Cleaning 100 - Clean Your Coffee Maker

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

7. Remove and clean the reservoir one more time, and this time fill it with water.

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Remove and clean the reservoir one more time, and this time fill it with water.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

8. Run several more cups of plain water through the reservoir to clean out any lingering vinegar (though keep in mind that vinegar is non-toxic, and you probably wouldn’t even notice if there were still a few drops of it in your coffee).

How to clean and maintain your coffee maker.

How to Clean a Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Run several more cups of plain water through the reservoir to clean out any lingering vinegar.

Photo by: SHAIN RIEVLEY

SHAIN RIEVLEY

All set! Test it out with some fresh grounds, and have a great start to your day.

Tips for Regular Coffee Maker Maintenance

  • If you’re brewing cups of cocoa, tea or mixtures like soup, run an extra cup of plain water into a mug afterwards. This will help rinse any residual sugars from the filter area and cleanse it before the next use.

  • If you have hard water, or your machine requires cleanings more often than it should, consider using filtered water in the reservoir instead of water straight from the tap.

  • If you’re going on vacation or not planning on using your single-serve coffee maker for an extended period, empty the reservoir and turn off the machine.

  • Cleaning a glass coffee pot? Stick to completely all-natural cleansers, such as vinegar and a few tablespoons of salt. The salt will work like a scrub against any burnt-on coffee stains and spots on the interior.

More on How to Clean With Vinegar

Cleaning With Vinegar 01:40

Infuse vinegar with fruits, herbs and more to make scented cleaners.

More Appliance-Cleaning Tips

Clean a Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Follow these simple steps for cleaning an auto-drip coffee maker for a germ-free home brewer and a fresh tasting cup of joe.

How to Clean a Humidifier

Improve your home's air quality by disinfecting one of the most important small appliances you’re probably forgetting to clean.

The Easiest Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Sanitize and sterilize your most-used appliance with a single cup of vinegar.

Next Up

How to Clean Your Iron

Try this easy method for removing burns and buildup from your iron.

How to Clean an Oil Diffuser

Diffusers require routine maintenance and the occasional deep clean. Learn how to care for this machine, and be rewarded with the best possible aromatic experience.

How to Clean a Coffeemaker: Do Rinse Pods Really Work?

On a mission to get the freshest cup of joe, we tested single-use cleaning pods to see how they worked.

How to Clean an Air Fryer

Maintain your small kitchen appliance easily with these tips for removing baked-on food and residual grease.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Follow these simple steps for cleaning an auto-drip coffee maker for a germ-free home brewer and a fresh tasting cup of joe.

How to Clean Stainless-Steel Appliances

Say goodbye to streaks and smudges with our top DIY and store-bought cleaning methods.

How to Clean an Oven Naturally

You don't need harsh chemicals to get your oven and oven racks shiny.

How to Remove Grime From Grilling Utensils

Cut the grease, grime, and germs with these grilling tool cleaning tips.

How to Deep Clean Your Grill and Grates

Get ready to cook the perfect meal outdoors with this seven-step process for cleaning your grill and grates.

The Best Mini Fridges for Every Space and Budget

Outfit your dorm, garage, tiny home or workspace with one of these top-rated machines.

Related Pages