Keurig machines and other single cup coffee brewers make mornings a lot easier. Rolling out of bed, popping in your K-Cup pod and letting the machine work its magic ensures you get to enjoy your favorite coffee blend each and every day without fail.
While you might absolutely love your Keurig, you may not realize that it’s actually one of the dirtiest appliances in your house. NSF International, a public health and safety organization, found that the average coffee maker has over 50,000 germs per 10 square centimeters. In addition, of homes showing the presence of yeast and mold, 50% of those households had yeast and mold in their coffee machines. This means your coffee maker is probably one of the top 10 germiest places in your house.
Luckily, cleaning your Keurig coffee maker is a pretty straightforward task. Simply follow the steps below to ensure your single-cup coffee machine stays germ-free and continuously operates at peak performance.
1. Use a Keurig Rinse Pod Once a Week
The first step to maintaining a clean Keurig is to use the purpose-made rinse pods once a week. These pods reduce carry-over flavor between brews if you’re frequently making a variety of beverages. They also rinse away any residue or oils that have built up in your coffee maker. Simply pop the pod into the Keurig as you would any other K-Cup pod and start the brewing process. Dispose of the resulting brew and continue to use your device as normal.
2. Wipe Down the Exterior Every Two Weeks
About every two weeks, give your Keurig a more thorough cleaning. First, remove the reservoir, drip tray and its cover. Soak them in hot water with a little dish soap for about 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Meanwhile, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the exterior. If you have any limescale deposits, you can always put a little vinegar on your cloth before wiping your machine.
3. Brush Out Debris Once a Month
Once a month while you have your Keurig disassembled for cleaning, use a small toothbrush or one of the OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brushes to remove any coffee grounds stuck around your K-Cup holder. Be really gentle when you are doing so, so as not to damage any of the mechanisms. This step will ensure your Keurig stays operational for years to come.
4. Replace the Water Filter Cartridge Every Two Months
If your Keurig has a built-in water filter, you’ll need to replace the water filter about once every two months. As the filters are built to last for a certain number of brews, how often you need to replace your water filter depends on how often you use your machine. Ensuring you have an operational water filter will not only allow you to enjoy better tasting beverages, it will also minimize limescale deposits in your Keurig.
5. Descale Every 3 Months
The absolute most important step in cleaning a Keurig is descaling. This cleaning process is often skipped because people just aren’t aware that it needs to be done. Every three months, you should descale your machine in order to clean out its inside bits. The only Keurig-approved cleaning solution is the Keurig Descaling Solution; however, we’ve also highlighted a few highly-rated alternatives below. To use it, fill the water reservoir with the descaling solution and then add water until the full line is reached. After replacing the reservoir, brew large cups until the “add water” light comes on. Then, fill the reservoir again with normal water and brew 12 more times. You’ll be surprised how much dirt and grime comes out
Keurig 3-Month Brewer Maintenance Kit
This maintenance kit includes some of the above items all grouped together in one convenient package. It includes three Keurig K-Duo Cleaning tablets, a bottle of the Descaling solution, four Keurig rinse pods and two Keurig water filter cartridges. All of them, when used together in a timely manner, can help remove water impurities, prevent mineral build-up, reduce the carry-over of flavor between brews and keep your Keurig working smoothly.
Impresa Products Descaler 2-Pack
This is an alternative to the Keurig-approved descaler that’s highly effective at cleaning out Keurig machines as well as Nespresso, Delonghi and other coffee makers. It’s formulated to remove mineral build-up and is gentle and effective against limescale and other mineral deposits. Not only does this help your coffee taste better, it extends the life of your Keurig machine.
Keurig Cleaning Hack: Utilize Vinegar to Descale
If you don’t want to invest in the Keurig Descaling Solution every three months, you can complete the same process with distilled white vinegar. Again, this is not a Keurig-approved method, but generations of coffee drinkers have used vinegar to clean their coffee makers. Simply use the same descaling steps outlined above, except using a mixture of half vinegar and half water in the first filling of the reservoir.
Hack #2: Try Denture Cleaning Tabs
Another effective method of descaling is to use denture cleaning tabs. As these are antibacterial, they work to effectively kill off anything living in your Keurig. Denture cleaning tabs are also unscented, so you won’t end up with that funky vinegar taste in your coffee. Rather than using a descaling solution or a mixture of vinegar and water, simply dissolve two tabs in a reservoir full of warm water, then run the brewing process until the “add water” light comes on. Fill the reservoir again, and brew several more times to complete the process.
Buy a New Keurig
If you’ve tried to clean your Keurig but you’re still getting a funny tasting brew, it may be time to invest in an upgraded model. The Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker is one of the brand’s newer models, and we’ve consistently rated it the best Keurig coffee maker. The K-Elite has a sleek brushed slate construction and iced coffee capability, and it can brew cup sizes between 4-12 oz. For those who prefer bolder coffee, the K-Elite also has a strong brew button if you prefer your morning coffee on the more robust side. Finally, it even has a hot water on demand button to use when making other foods or beverages such as tea, instant soup and oatmeal.