How to Clean a Keurig

By: Jeremy Glass  | 
Keurig coffee maker
A Keurig coffee maker is up for sale on a store shelf in 2015 in Florida. In 2019, 30 million U.S. households (out of 129 million households total) used Keurig brewing systems, according to the company's annual report. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In 1998, Keurig launched the now-iconic brewers and K-Cup pods, ushering in a new era of convenient coffee making for millions. A failproof design paired with hundreds of varieties of K-Cups hoisted the Keurig into the category of ridiculously convenient kitchen appliances for those exhausted with filters, beans and grinders.

While this brewing system may not be easier to clean than a French press, cleaning your Keurig — known as descaling — every three to six months will keep your machine from building up calcium deposits. Here are a few easy steps you can take to clean your Keurig and ensure it's as spotless as the day it graced your kitchen.


  1. Turn off your Keurig. Unplug your Keurig and remove the reservoir.
  2. Wipe down the exterior of your brewer and the drip tray with a soft cloth and some dish soap while the reservoir is out. Do not immerse your brewer.
  3. Pour in the descaler. Fill the reservoir up to the brew line with a combination of water and a cleaning solution. Keurig has an entire section on its website dedicated to cleaning and maintenance products including a descaling solution made for cleaning. This solution is made from a number of different cleaning acids, but you can also use rinse pods or distilled vinegar if you don't want to spend the extra money.
  4. Hit brew. Place a coffee mug on the drip tray, choose the 10 oz. option and brew. Repeat until the water tank is empty.
  5. Sit for 30 minutes. Step away from your Keurig for a half-hour and allow your brewer to sit with the power on.
  6. Rinse the reservoir. Take out your reservoir one more time and rinse with hot water. You can use dish soap, as long as you make sure to wash out any soapy residue before returning the reservoir to the machine.
  7. Refill reservoir and brew. Keurig recommends performing at least 12 cleansing brews (i.e., without a coffee pod) for maximum cleanliness. You want the water to come out hot, clear and free from residue.
  8. Make yourself a congratulatory cup of coffee. Now that your Keurig is clean and free of calcium, vinegar and soap, you can reward yourself with a delicious cup of coffee.

HowStuffWorks may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article.