How to Clean a Keurig With Vinegar for Great-Tasting Coffee

Updated January 31, 2022
Keurig machine

When it comes to cleaning your Keurig, you don't want to run a bunch of chemicals through it. Why? Because you're drinking the coffee it makes. Therefore, white vinegar is a great, clean option. Find out how to clean your Keurig with vinegar and how often to do it.

Cleaning Keurig With Vinegar: Materials

Sure, you know that you need white vinegar. But that's not the only thing you will need to give your Keurig an excellent clean.

  • White vinegar
  • Spring water
  • Dish soap
  • Towel or cloth
  • Cup or mug
  • Paperclip

Step 1: Clean Removable Parts

Before you hop into descaling the internal parts of your machine, it's good to get the removal parts nice and shiny.

  1. Unplug the machine.
  2. Pull off the water reservoir, lid, tray, and K-cup holder if you have one (make sure to remove any old K-cups.)
  3. Fill the sink with soapy water and a cup of white vinegar.
  4. Scrub all the parts and rinse.
  5. Towel them dry.
  6. Assemble machine for Keurig descaling.

Step 2: How to Use White Vinegar to Clean and Descale a Keurig

It's very easy to use white vinegar to deep clean and descale a Keurig coffee maker. The only thing you'll need is white vinegar, some water, and the small appliance itself. Follow these steps when cleaning your Keurig using white vinegar.

  1. Ensure that the water reservoir is empty.
  2. Remove the filter from the reservoir (assuming that your unit has one).
  3. Fill a large cup or mug with vinegar.
  4. Pour the vinegar into the reservoir.
  5. Place the cup or mug on the unit's base so it will catch the vinegar as it comes out.
  6. Start the brew cycle using a large cup setting.
  7. Allow it to run a full brew cycle.
  8. Discard the vinegar or use it for another cleaning purpose.
  9. Let the unit sit for 30 minutes to an hour.
  10. Fill a clean cup or mug with water.
  11. Pour the water into the reservoir.
  12. Place the cup on the base to catch the water as it comes out.
  13. Start the brew cycle.
  14. Once all the vinegar has brewed, clean out the exit needle with a paperclip.
  15. Repeat as needed until it's brewing well.

Once the water has processed through the reservoir, your unit will be clean, descaled, and ready to use.

Step 3: Getting Rid of the Vinegar Smell or Taste After Cleaning

Vinegar has a very distinct smell and taste. When you use it to clean your coffee machine, it can leave a bit of an odor and taste. But you don't have to deal with it.

  1. Wipe the unit's exterior down with your favorite cleaning solution that doesn't smell like vinegar.
  2. Process another mug or cup full of plain water through the reservoir without using a K-Cup.
  3. Taste the water after it processes through the machine.
  4. Continue to repeat the process until the water doesn't pick up any hint of vinegar when being processed through the reservoir.

Once the water is free from any vinegar flavor, you can once again use your Keurig to make the hot beverages of your choice.

Will White Vinegar Ruin Keurig?

You might be wondering if white vinegar is going to hurt your Keurig. No, it won't. White vinegar has enough acidity to clean the machine without damaging the mechanisms. So, it's a harmless cleaner. However, if you feel apprehensive about using straight white vinegar, you can create a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. You can also try a Keurig descaling solution or a 1:1 lemon juice and water mixture. Any of these solutions will work to effectively clean and descale your Keurig.

How Often to Clean Your Keurig With Vinegar

Cleaning your Keurig isn't rocket science. If you start to notice that it's brewing slower, it's probably time for you to descale it. However, if you want to keep your machine in tip-top shape, you can follow more of a standard cleaning schedule.

  • Weekly remove parts and clean everything with water.
  • Every few months, replace the filter if you have one.
  • Every 3-6 months, descale your machine with white vinegar to avoid build-up.

Simple Method to Clean Keurig With Vinegar and Keep It Clean

To keep your Keurig in good working order, it's important to descale the unit two and four times per year to remove build-up. While you can purchase a descaling solution sold under the Keurig name to do this, it isn't necessary. Instead, you can use white vinegar, a super-cheap ingredient that you probably already have in your cupboard. Now, take a look at your machine, and see if it's time for descaling.

How to Clean a Keurig With Vinegar for Great-Tasting Coffee