Your Keurig brewer is one of the essential elements of your kitchen. It gives you access to hot, fresh coffee and other drinks on demand. You don’t know what you would do without your Keurig. To keep your machine working at its best, you must clean it regularly. Here is a guide on how to keep your favorite coffee companion in top shape.
Descaling Your Keurig
Whether you have a Keurig, a Keurig 2.0, or any other version of the brewer, it is important to descale it. This means to remove calcium and other mineral deposits that accumulate in your brewer over time. Although these deposits aren’t harmful, they can put a damper on your machine’s functioning. If you wait too long between descaling sessions, your Keurig might get clogged and stop working altogether.
How often you need to descale will depend on a few factors, such as how frequently you use your Keurig and the quality of the water that you use in it. If you have one of the Keurig Plus brewers, your machine may even give you a reminder when it is time to descale. If your Keurig doesn’t give you reminders, be sure to descale it at least once every three to six months.
How to Descale: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1 – Gather Your materials. You will need:
- A half-and-half mix of white vinegar and water OR a bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution.
- A large ceramic mug. It is important that you don’t use a paper cup instead.
Step 2 – Fill your Keurig’s water reservoir with the descaling solution or the vinegar-and-water mix. Without inserting a K-cup, start the brewing cycle. Use your ceramic mug to catch what comes out of the machine.
Step 3 – Repeat the brewing cycle until the water reservoir is empty. The descaling solution will remove any calcium and lime buildup that has gotten stuck inside your machine.
Step 4 – Fill the reservoir with plain water and begin the brewing process again. Repeat the brewing cycle until the reservoir is empty. This process will remove any residual vinegar so the vinegar’s taste doesn’t get into your coffee.
Following these simple steps will clean the inside of your machine and leave you with fresher tasting coffee and other beverages.
Preventing Mineral Buildup in Your Keurig
To prevent lime and calcium deposits from building up quickly in your brewer, be choosy about the type of water you use. If your house has hard water and you have to soften it, avoid using water from the tap. The salt that you use to soften the water will leave sodium ions behind, and these ions can cause a phenomenon known as over-extraction. Basically, this means that your coffee and/or tea will end up tasting bad, and your Keurig may suffer performance issues.
Also, don’t use mineral water or spring water. These will leave behind nasty deposits and can affect the taste of your drinks.
The two best types of water for your machine are distilled water and filtered water. Distilled water is probably the best option, as it has the lowest mineral content and is readily available at almost any grocery store. Furthermore, a home filtration system can get out most of the icky stuff in your tap water, but you have to be diligent about changing the filter regularly.
Another option is to buy a water filtration system from Keurig that fits in your machine’s reservoir. However, this may not do the trick if you have hard water in your home; the Keurig water filter focuses mostly on removing chlorine. If you do have one of these filtration systems, be sure to swap out the filter every 60 tank refills, which equates to once every two months for an average household.
Other Tips for Cleaning Your Keurig
When you’re descaling your Keurig, why not take advantage of the opportunity to clean the entire machine, both inside and out? Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean other components of your machine:
Step 1 – Gather your materials. You’ll need:
- A clean, dry cloth
- A paperclip
- A sponge
Step 2 – Unplug the Keurig. This will prevent you from damaging the electronics — or getting electrocuted while you’re cleaning.
Step 3 – Disassemble your machine, taking away removable parts. This might include the water reservoir and the mug stand.
Step 4 – Wash the parts you removed in warm, soapy water. Set them aside to dry.
Step 5 – Use your clean, dry cloth to wipe the surface of the machine. Pay special attention to the area around the K-cup holder, where tea and coffee granules might collect. The sponge can help you get any debris out of the holder.
Step 6 – Use the paperclip to remove anything that might be stuck in the machine’s needle, which is where water flows through your coffee.
Step 7 – Put the machine back together and plug it back in.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Cleaning Your Keurig
If your home doesn’t have hard water, you may wonder if cleaning your Keurig is really all that important. It is. Buildup will occur over time, no matter how picky you are about the type of water you use. However, descaling your machine will tackle this problem and keep your coffee tasting fresh.
Cleaning your Keurig can also prevent you from getting sick. In fact, in a recent year, a TV news station swabbed 28 Keurig brewers and found that more than half contained harmful bacteria.
Essentially, your Keurig is an important part of your daily routine. Treat it well so it keeps brewing amazing, delicious coffee for years to come.