For some coffee lovers, the benefits of a Keurig Coffee Maker are irresistible. It’s the ultimate timesaver, it accommodates all the different coffee flavor preferences cup-per-cup, and you don’t ever have to worry about having a half-pot of cold, undrunk coffee that ends up going down the drain.
However, because the Keurig can brew only one cup at a time, the amount of use can be substantially higher than a traditional machine, and the more a coffee machine is used, the more often it needs to be cleaned to keep it running smoothly and germ-free. So, how often you should clean your Keurig?
If you use your Keurig regularly, the reservoir should be wiped down weekly using a soapy cloth followed by thorough rinsing, while a descaling treatment is recommended every 3-6 months. After a few days of disuse, it’s a good idea to run one or two cleansing brews to remove any old residues.
This might sound like a lot of cleaning, but the beauty of the Keurig is that cleaning it is usually as quick and easy as making coffee with it. While there are some Keurig owners who claim that a once-a-year rinse is sufficient, we’ve done some research on the matter and found that regular cleaning is worth the effort.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Keurig Regularly?
Using a Keurig is a luxury only as long as you can rely on its quick and easy cup of Joe. One of the biggest drawbacks to the Keurig is its susceptibility to frequent clogs from coffee grounds and mineral deposits from the water. The only way to prevent the dreaded clog is regular cleanings.
Another common complaint about the Keurig is the flavor of coffee it produces. While nothing can quite compare to the old French Press or Moka pot, but contrary to the naysayers, the Keurig can produce a tasty brew. The key to clean tasting coffee is, of course, a clean machine.
The most unpleasant consequence of a dirty Keurig is the build-up of mold and bacteria. Samples taken from poorly cleaned Keurigs have revealed numerous types of harmful bacteria such as staph and e. coli. So regular cleaning goes beyond flavor and function; it’s a matter of health as well.
How to Clean a Keurig?
While it’s good to give the reservoir a good cleaning once a week, it also doesn’t hurt to give it a quick rinse before each use and refill it with fresh water. This will go a long way to ensuring quality taste for every cup.
Once a week, remove the k-cup holder and use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away any build-up of coffee grounds and oils, and then run a couple of rinse cycles to finish the job. This will prevent clogs. Also, run a cycle using a Keurig cleaning pod once a week. A daily or weekly clean-up of the outside is good, too, since plashing does occur.
A monthly detailed cleaning is also worth the effort, and it only takes about 15 minutes. Use a fine cloth and get into all the hard-to-reach places in and around the k-cup holder and the exit needle (but be careful with the needle, as it is sharp!)
What is Descaling a Keurig?
Descaling is the cleaning process that eliminates the build-up of mineral deposits. While regular wipe-downs will remove some mineral deposits, the only way to leave your machine of all clog-causing build-ups is with an occasional descaling.
Since descaling is only needed every 3-6 months, it’s not a bad idea to take the time to disassemble the Keurig and give it a thorough wide-down first.
How to Descale Keurig with Vinegar?
White vinegar has been the tried-and-true coffee machine cleaner for decades, and it holds true for Keurigs as well. To descale with vinegar, simply fill the water reservoir with vinegar (no water mixed in). Depending on how long it’s been since the last descaling, you can fill the reservoir either halfway or to the top.
Then, begin running cycles, dumping out the vinegar as you go, until the “add water” light kicks on. Now that the machine is nice and hot, you can let it sit for a few hours, allowing the remaining vinegar to break down any tough mineral deposits.
Once things have cooled off, empty out the remaining vinegar, rinse the reservoir, and refill it with fresh water to begin another series of cycles. When the water no longer smells like vinegar, you’re all done!
*At this point, it’s not a bad idea to brew a cup of coffee for a quick taste test!
How to Descale Keurig with Keurig Descaling Solution?
While vinegar should do the trick, Keurig does sell a specially formulated “Descaling Solution” for their machines. The descaling process is the same as with vinegar except it’s instructed to use a mix of equal parts water and descaling solution in the reservoir.
How Often Should I Change My Keurig Water Filter?
The Keurig filters are good for two months or 40 gallons, whichever comes first. Since 40 gallons is a lot of coffee, most users can go by the two-month schedule. Or, if you’re not a regular coffee drinker, it’s suggested to replace the filter after 60 reservoir refills.
5 Signs that You Should Clean Your Keurig
- Bad Tasting Coffee
- Reservoir and K-cup Holder Looks Grimy or Oily
- Your Keurig Machine Begins to Smell Weird
- Frequent Clogs or Lukewarm Coffee
- You Are Here Reading This Article (If you are reading this article there is a reason why, so you should probably just clean your Keurig!)
Bottom line: Keeping your Keurig clean is easy. Daily or weekly touch-ups, monthly clog prevention, a descaling every 3-6 months, and scheduled filter replacement. No procedure takes longer than 15 minutes, and the efforts result in a well-functioning machine that produces germ-free tasty coffee at a moment’s notice.