Cooking TipsPantry Items18 Effective Steps to Clean, Descale, and Refill Your Keurig Coffee Maker

18 Effective Steps to Clean, Descale, and Refill Your Keurig Coffee Maker

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

Is your Keurig coffee maker making your drinks a bit sour or burnt lately? The chances are that you need to clean, descale, and refill the machine for a better functioning and tastier cup of joe.

Cleaning a Keurig coffee maker is easy. It just requires clean water, a sink, mild soap, a sponge, Keurig descaling solution (about 400ml), distilled vinegar (alternative for descaling solution), citric acid, and an air-blower with straw to complete the process. 

We’ve tailored our 18 steps into five segments to make the task easy for you, including info on the removable parts, water filter, descaling, needles, and refilling. Let’s read on.

3 Steps to Clean Your Keurig Coffee Maker’s Removable Parts

Cleaning your Keurig coffee maker starts with the essential parts of the machine, such as the water tank, lid, K-cup holder, mug tray, etc. Cleaning your coffee maker gives you a healthy beverage and keeps your kitchen organized.

Read below for the simple steps of cleaning the removable parts:

Standard Cleaning Schedule: Every week

Required: A cleaning cloth, mild soap, and a sponge

●     Step 1: Disassembling

Unplug the machine first and disassemble the removable parts, including the mug tray, lid, water tank, and K-cup pod. 

●     Step 2: Cleaning

Remove the water filter and wipe the inside surfaces of the water tank and lid with a soapy cloth.

Rinse them with clean water and let them air dry. Avoid rubbing dry with a cloth as it may leave strands.

For the outside surfaces, use a wet sponge to wipe them properly and let them air dry.

●     Step 3: Reassembling

Now, put the parts back together in their correct places.

4 Steps to Replace the Water Filter

Replacing the water filter shouldn’t slip out of your cleaning schedule. A newer and more active filter will continue to give your coffee a smooth texture.

Standard Replacement Schedule: Every two months

Required: A new water filter cartridge, distilled vinegar, baking soda, and clean water

●     Step 1: Soaking the Cartridge

Soak your new water filter cartridge in clean water. Wait for five minutes. Then rinse it for about 50-70 seconds.

●     Step 2: Washing the Filter Mesh

Blend clean water and distilled vinegar in a 2:1 ratio. Add baking soda if available. Then scrub the filter mesh with a cleaning brush before rinsing in clean water.

Tip: You can soak the filter mesh in the vinegar, water, and soda mix the night before (if you have enough time) for deep cleansing.

●     Step 3: Installing the Cartridge

Install the cartridge into the filter holder once you’ve done the cleaning. Then click the lid on to let it fit correctly.

●     Step 4: Putting It into the Water Filter   

Take the attached filter holder and cartridge and install them in the water filter correctly. Make sure you’ve locked them as required.

5 Steps to Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker

You don’t want to mess with a “Descale” indicator on your Keurig coffee maker’s screen. The rule of thumb is to maintain the descaling every three to six months. Neglecting it can worsen your coffee’s taste and quality.

Standard Descaling Schedule: Every three to six months, by the look of the deposit in the machine

Required: A Keurig descaling solution (400ml) or distilled white vinegar

●     Step 1: Filling the Water Tank with Solution

Start by filling the water tank with 400ml Keurig descaling solution and the same amount of water.

●     Step 2: Running the Maximum Brew Cycle

Run the maximum brew cycle, remove the K-cup, and put a large mug on the drip tray plate to catch the brewing liquid.

●     Step 3: Repeating Cycle Until “Add Water” Shows Up

Consider repeating the brewing cycle until the “Add Water” command shows up on the screen.

●     Step 4: Keeping the Machine Idle for 40 Minutes

Let the machine rest for about 40 minutes, so the solution acts deeply on the tank’s surfaces.

●     Step 5: Emptying Solution and Rinsing the Tank

Pour out the solution into the water tank and fill it full with clean water. Rinse it by starting another maximum brew cycle.

Repeat the brew cycle at least 12-15 times to ensure the elimination of any descaling solution’s trace.

2 Steps to Clean Needle Under Brewer-Head

Cleaning the needle under the brewer-head depends on the Keurig coffee maker’s brewing performance. If you’re finding traces of grounds in your beverage, the chances are that the needle is unclean.

●     Step 1: Clearing the Debris off the Needle

Disconnect the power plug first and put the pod holder aside from the funnel. Run a paperclip through the exit needle to unclog any sticking debris inside it.

●     Step 2: Rinsing and Reassembling  

Rinse the funnel and the pod holder with clean water thoroughly and reassemble them.

4 Steps to Refill the Water Tank

Refilling the Keurig water tanks is similar to filling a water jug. As we’ve covered the cleaning part of the water tank above, you can refill it as follows:

  • Step 1: Separate the water tank from the Keurig coffee maker.
  • Step 2: Uncap the tank. Scan inside to find any trace of dirt. Clean it if anything shows up.
  • Step 3: Hold the tank under the faucet and fill it with clean water, just under the brimming point.
  • Step 4: Now, attach the tank to the coffee maker.

7 Unusual Problems in a Keurig Coffee Maker

Having a Keurig coffee maker doesn’t come by without unwanted troubles. Let’s be honest; somehow, these troubles are traced back to your negligence or lack of knowledge.

Check below if your machine is giving you these troubles to know how to deal with them:

1. It Shows “Add Water” Even After Being Filled

If you’re getting the “Add Water” indication on your Keurig while its tank is full, there’s a high chance that it needs to be cleaned.

How to solve this problem?

Clean the tank as mentioned below:

  • Step 1: Apply mild dish soap. Avoid dish soap as it could prove corrosive to the tank’s surface.
  • Step 2: Hand-wash it thoroughly, from the top to the bottom valves.
  • Step 3: Let it air dry.
  • Step 4: Reattach the tank to the coffee maker.

The tank will start working soon after you’ve washed it, as mentioned above.

2. Is Your Keurig Coffee Maker Producing Foam?

Foaming through the Keurig coffee maker may happen due to improper descaling. Sometimes, your machine may have a buildup that prevents the descaling solution from working effectively. If that’s the case, follow the steps below to resolve the problem:

  • Step 1: Turn off the Keurig coffee maker and unplug it.
  • Step 2: Get rid of the existing liquid inside.
  • Step 3: Rinse the machine carefully, ensuring that it’s free of any remaining buildup.
  • Step 4: Let the machine air dry.
  • Step 5: Reconnect the power to the machine. You’ll find it working normally now.

3. It Isn’t Brewing Properly

Whether your Keurig coffee maker isn’t brewing properly or getting shut down in the middle, the possible cause may be some stuck coffee grounds in the dispensing line or a dislodged tank magnet.

Skipping the descaling could also be the reason behind such a problem.

Take the following steps if your machine’s dispensing line is clogged:

  • Step 1: Set a straw or skinny pipe on the dispensing line and blow air through it.
  • Step 2: Remove the K-cup and run the brewing cycle several times with only water.
  • Step 3: Let it rest for a while.

The dispensing line and the brewing should now resume working as usual.

However, if the problem exists in the tank magnet, do the following drill:

  • Step 1: Move the lid over the magnet aside.
  • Step 2: Now move the magnet freely to its attachment point.
  • Step 3: Put the lid back in place.

4. Automatically Turning On and Off

An auto shut on and off may sound weird, but it’s normal depending on the Keurig model you’re using.

Find below the model you use and take the proper measure to resolve this problem:

  • Keurig Elite: This model has an auto-off function that turns off the machine within two hours of the last coffee brewing. Simply press the “Auto-off” button and wait until the green light goes off to stop the function. 
  • Keurig Mini: This model can’t stay idle for more than ninety seconds. Thus, it turns off automatically. Turn it on every time you’re about to brew some coffee. 
  • Keurig Special Edition: Press the ‘Menu’ button twice. Now keep pressing the ‘Small Cup’ button on the left until you reach ‘Off.’
  • Keurig Platinum: This model has the same function as the “Special Edition.” So, follow the same steps to resolve the auto-off problem.

If the problem persists, call Customer Service as soon as possible for professional expertise.   

5. Giving a Descaling Notice

The descaling indicator is the ‘red flag.’ Skipping the descaling schedule is a crime, and when it’s flashing right in your face, you must do it at once.

Follow the descaling steps we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, and you’re good to go.

6. Making a Low Noise While Off

Is your Keurig coffee maker whirring or buzzing lately for no reason? You’re probably looking for dust in the sensor. Here’s how to resolve it:

  • Step 1: Open the sensor.
  • Step 2: Take a washcloth and wipe the inside of the sensor.
  • Step 3: Wipe the outside and surroundings of the sensor too.
  • Step 4: Close the sensor.

Your coffee maker won’t give you any unwanted buzz if you follow the above step.

7. Leaking Water

Leaking water is common in any coffee maker, and its solution is the same for most: cleaning the needles.

  • Step 1: Follow the steps we’ve discussed earlier to clean the needles of the coffee maker.
  • Step 2: Once you’ve done that, plug in the Keurig coffee maker and run the brewer cycle without the pod to see how much of a cup it fills.
  • Step 3: If the cup becomes full, the leaking problem will likely stop.

Problems like low water dispensing, broken touch screen, snd post power outage issues may also interrupt your coffee time. Call Customer Care to solve these issues quickly. 

4 Benefits of Maintaining Your Keurig Coffee Maker Regularly

You’ve probably got the hang of cleaning the Keurig coffee maker through the steps we’ve covered. If so, you must also realize its benefits, or else, why would you go to the trouble?

Let’s check out a few benefits of maintaining the Keurig coffee maker:

1.   Your Coffee Will Be Tastier

cup of coffee

Owning a Keurig coffee maker isn’t enough. You must maintain it as required. The cleaner the machine, the tastier the coffee—that’s the bottom line.

Why do you think the coffee you buy at the shop tastes perfect? It’s because a professional barista cleans his coffee maker almost every single day.

2.   Your Coffee Maker Will Last Longer

Cleaning your Keurig coffee maker prevents build-ups, prolonged downtime, noise pollution, waste of materials, etc. All these benefits help the machine stay operative for a longer period.

3.   You’ll Save Your Pennies

Buying a branded coffee maker won’t spare you the need for proper maintenance. You’ll save yourself a pretty penny if you learn the machine’s utilities, maintenance, and self-servicing techniques.

4.   It Ensures Good Health

Every time an unclean coffee maker makes you a cup of joe, it contains sediments, bacteria, old grounds, coffee oils, etc. Having your coffee mixed with these elements is never a healthy choice as it may give you indigestion and heartburn.

So, the benefit of cleaning your Keurig coffee maker involves health and taste simultaneously. 


As a true coffee lover, you must practice these steps to clean, descale, and refill your Keurig coffee maker. This article has covered the necessary steps for each part of the machine.

Maintaining your coffee maker is easy if you schedule the cleaning, descaling, and refilling steps ahead of time. You love your coffee maker, so make time for it.

Here’s to a hot and satisfying cup of joe! 

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