How To Clean Keurig Machine (7 Easy Steps)

Green Pods How to clean your keurig machine in 7 easy steps

Keeping your Keurig clean is an essential part to ensure you enjoy your favorite cup of coffee. Over time, mineral buildup and bacteria can accumulate, leading to a less-than-optimal brewing experience. 

To clean your machine: 

  1. Remove the water reservoir and drip tray from the machine.
  2. Wash them in warm, soapy water. 
  3. Fill the water reservoir with water and descaling solution.
  4. Run a brew cycle. 
  5. Run a water-only cycle to remove residue.
  6. Insert a paperclip into the needle nozzle and move it around to dislodge any buildup.
  7. Wipe the machine’s exterior with a damp cloth. 

In this post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to clean your Keurig machine. Whether you’re a daily or occasional coffee consumer, these cleaning tips will help you maintain your machine for years to come.

Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚

Why Do You Need To Clean A Keurig?

Without proper cleaning, mineral deposits and bacteria can accumulate in the machine and affect the taste of the coffee. Also, neglecting to clean your Keurig can lead to health risks and damage to the machine. 

Reason 1: The Health Risks 

Because the internal tank doesn’t drain completely, it does create a perfect environment for bacteria and mold to grow. It’s dark and moist, allowing them to thrive and multiply.  

A study of nine Nespresso brewers found the machines contained up to 67 species of pathogenic bacteria that live on the drip tray. When left unclean for long periods, these microorganisms can spread to the rest of the machine. 

And when you prepare a fresh brew, the bacteria transfer into your cup.

The most common bacteria detected were Pseudomonas and Enterococcus. They can cause meningitis and digestive issues in individuals with weakened immune systems. 

Cleaning and descaling your Keurig regularly prevents you from getting sick. 

Reason 2: The Damage To Your Machine 

Scale build-up is notorious for reducing the performance of your machine. It not only ruins the flavor of your coffee but can damage the internal components of your machine. 

Build-up can lead to clogs, leaks, and other malfunctions. 

By cleaning your Keurig, you can extend the life of your machine.

How Often Should You Clean A Keurig 

Keurig recommends you clean your machine once a week and descale every 3 to 6 months, depending on how often you use it. Below is a summary of how often you should clean every part of your machine.

ComponentFrequencyCleaning Method
Drip TrayWeeklyWash with a damp soapy cloth
Water Tank and lidWeeklyRemove and wash with soapy water, rinse thoroughly
HousingWeeklyWipe with a damp cloth
Injector NeedleWeeklyInsert a paperclip and move it around to dislodge any buildup
Pod HolderOnce or twice a weekRun a water-only cycle or use Keurig rinse pods
Internal PartsEvery 3-6 monthsDescale using a descaling solution or white vinegar and water

Here’s a detailed guide to cleaning your Keurig.

What You’ll Need 

  • Large ceramic container 
  • Non-abrasive cloth 
  • Dish soap
  • Needle or paper clip
  • Descaling solution 
  • Keurig water filter handle 
  • Keurig water filter cartridge
  •  Access to a sink

How To Clean Your Keurig (7 Easy Steps)

The entire cleaning process takes 20-30 minutes. 

1. Cleaning the drip tray 

  1. Slide the drip tray towards you while keeping it level.
  2. Discard any water from the tray. 
  3. Wipe the drip tray and drip plate with a damp soapy cloth. You can also wash the components in the dishwasher.

2. Cleaning the water tank 

  1. Remove the water filter.
  2. Wash the reservoir with warm soapy water. 
  3. Rinse well and let it air dry. 

3. Cleaning the housing 

Don’t immerse the body in water. Instead, use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe the exterior. 

4. Cleaning the injector needle 

Cleaning the exit nozzle

  1. Power off the brewer.
  2. Unplug the machine and remove the water reservoir.
  3. Remove the pod holder by gently pulling it away from the brewer.
  4. Insert the clip into the exit needle to loosen any clogs.
  5. Rinse it thoroughly under running water.
  6. Reattach it to the housing.
The Green Pods cleaning keurig machine capsule holder

Cleaning the entrance nozzle.

Underneath the brewer’s head, you’ll see the entrance needle. 

  1. Insert the paper clip and move it around in a circular motion to remove any clogs.
  2. Put the capsule holder into the brewer. 
  3. Reattach the water reservoir to the brewer. 
The Green Pods cleaning keurig machine nozzle with paper clip

5. Cleaning the pod holder 

  1. Place the mug on the drip tray. 
  2. Run a water-only brew by selecting the largest cup size.

You can also clean the pod holder using Keurig rinse pods (more on that below).

6. Descaling your Keurig 

Descaling is crucial to maintain the life o your machine and should be done at least every 3 months.

First Time Desclaing? Where’ve got guides for all popular machines below

How to descale your Keurig (step-by-step guide):


  1. Remove the water filter from the water tank.
  2. Empty the water reservoir. 
  3. Pour the entire bottle of the descaling solution into the water tank.
  4. Fill the bottle with water and pour the water into the reservoir. 
  5. Reattach the tank to the machine.
  6. Place the mug on the drip tray.

Descale cycle 

  1. Press the brew button.
  2. Discard the water and place the mug on the tray.
  3. Repeat until the reservoir is empty.

Rinse cycle 

  1. Rinse the water tank and fill it with clean water to the MAX line.
  2. Place the mug on the drip tray.
  3. Press the brew button. 
  4. Discard the water.
  5. Repeat the rinse cycle two more times to flush out all residual solutions.

7. Replacing the water filter 

  1. Soak the cartridge in a cup filled with clean water.
  2. Rinse the cartridge under running water for 60 seconds. 
  3. Rinse the short handle under running water.
  4. Place the cartridge onto the short handle mesh.
  5. Attach the long handle to the short handle.
  6. Insert the water filter into the water tank. 

Read More: We’ve got a complete guide on replacing your Keurig water filter which you can read here.

Green Pods how to replace the water filter in your keurig machine new filter

Did these 7 steps help? Here’s a video from the official Keurig youtube channel showing exactly how it’s done

How to Clean the Needles in Your Keurig® Brewer

Using Keurig rinse pods 

Rinse pods are a convenient way to clean your machine. They contain gentle yet effective cleaning agents to keep your machine producing fresh coffee. 

Here’s how to use Keurig rinse pods: (or read our complete Keurig rinse pod guide for more details)

  1. Grab some Keriug Pods (We recommend this 10 pack from Amazon)
  2. Place the container on the drip tray.
  3. Lift the handle and place the rinse pod on the pod holder.
  4. Lower the handle and select the 8oz brew size.
  5. When the brewing’s complete, remove and discard the rinse pod.
  6. Return the container to the drip tray and run an 8oz water brew to rinse any residual solution.
  7. Discard the water.
Green Pods keurig rinse pods vs. descaling solution

When To Replace Your Keurig Machine 

While a Keurig is typically expected to have a lifespan of 3-5 years, it’s possible for the machine to experience faults prior to this timeframe. 

Below are some signs it’s time to replace your Keurig.

  • Inconsistent brew quality: If your Keurig produces off-tasting or cold coffee, it may be time to replace it. 
  • Slow brewing times: Does your Keurig take longer than usual to brew even after descaling? It could be a sign that the machine’s water pump is losing power, so it’s best to replace it.
  • Frequent breakdowns: When your machine constantly breaks down and requires repairs, it may be more cost-effective to replace it. Repairs can add up quickly, and you may find yourself spending more money than the machine is worth.

Keurig Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions 

Q. What is the best way to clean a Keurig machine?

Here’s the best way to clean a Keurig machine:

1. Unplug the machine.
2. Remove the water reservoir and drip tray from the machine. 
3. Wash the removable parts in warm, soapy water. 
4. Wipe the machine’s exterior with a damp cloth. 
5. Remove the water filter.
6. Fill the water reservoir with water and descaling solution.
7. Run a brew cycle.
8. Run several cycles of plain water to rinse out the machine. 
9. Insert a paperclip into the needle nozzle and move it around to dislodge any buildup.
10. Dry and reassemble the machine.

Q. Can I use vinegar to descale my Keurig?

You can use vinegar to descale your Keurig however it’s not recommended as it can cause scale to come of in large flakes rather than dissolve and this can, in turn, clog your machine.

But, If you’re in a pinch, follow the steps below to clean the machine using vinegar.

1. Unplug the machine, empty the water reservoir, and remove the water filter.
2. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. 
3. Pour the solution into the water tank.
4. Place a mug on the drip tray and run a brewing cycle without a K-cup pod. 
5. Run several rinse cycles to flush out the solution.

Q. Does baking soda clean Keurig?

You can use baking soda to clean your Keurig. In fact, it’s one of the cleaning agents found in Keurig rinse pods because it effectively and gently removes scale build-up.

Q. How often do I need to clean a Keurig?

Keurig recommends you clean your machine weekly and descale it every 3 to 6 months.

Q. What is better: Keurig descaling solution or vinegar? 

Both Keurig descaling solution and vinegar are effective for descaling your Keurig machine. But there are some differences to consider when deciding which is better for you. 

Keurig’s descaling solution is specifically designed for Keurig machines. It is gentle on the machine’s internal components and effectively removes mineral buildup. 

Vinegar is a natural and inexpensive alternative that many people already have in their homes. It removes mineral buildup, but it can be harsh on some materials and can leave a strong odor. it can also cause scale to come of in large flakes rather than dissolve which can, in turn, clog your machine.


Cleaning your Keurig regularly not only prolongs its lifespan but also prevents bacterial growth that can affect your health. 

You can use Keurig’s descaling solution, Keurig rinse pods, or white vinegar. All these cleaning agents gently and effectively remove coffee oil and residue within 30 minutes.

By following the steps outlined in this post, you can easily clean your Keurig machine and enjoy a fresh and delicious cup of coffee every time. 

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