Descaling your machine won't just give you better tasting coffee—it'll remove potentially harmful bacteria (eek).

By Betty Gold and Tamara Kraus
Updated June 02, 2020
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Keurig machines are life-changing appliances for many. Caffeine with the touch of a button—no filters to fuss with, no coffee grounds to clean up. What could be simpler? Single-serve coffee makers like the Keurig are so hands-off that it's easy to forget that they do require some upkeep, particularly when it comes to cleaning.

Keurigs (and all drip coffee machines, for that matter) can harbor harmful bacteria and mineral buildup in their inner workings. This can affect the machine's performance, yes, but failing to clean—also known as "descale"—your coffee maker is unsafe. So if your Keurig hasn’t been performing its best, your coffee tastes off, or you can't remember the last time you cleaned it, it’s definitely time to learn how to descale a Keurig.

But where to begin with so many moving parts? We asked the experts at Keurig how to clean the machine in a flash. Below, find out how to get it sparkling clean and working better with the one household item you always have on hand: White vinegar.

The process will take a few hours, so it’s the perfect rainy day (or quarantine) activity to help you get back to better tasting coffee. Here’s how to clean a Keurig in four simple steps.

how to clean a keurig
Credit: Keurig

1
Empty the Reservoir

Turn off your Keurig. Fill the machine to the maximum line with white vinegar. Note: don’t dilute it with water. Make sure to use only pure, white vinegar or Keurig Cleaning Solution ($27 for a 3-Month Brewer Maintenance Kit; amazon.com).

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker
Credit: Pexels

2
Run the Coffee Maker Until the Reservoir Is Empty

Place a mug on the drip tray, turn on the Keurig, and lift the handle to make sure there isn’t a pod inside. Select the largest cup setting to start cleaning the machine. Empty the hot contents in the mug and repeat this process until “Add Water” lights up.

how to clean a keurig water
Credit: Pexels

3
Rinse With Water

Let the coffee maker stand for at least four hours after the "Add Water" indicator appears (with the power on), then remove the reservoir and rinse it with water to remove any remaining vinegar.

How to Clean a Keurig 2.0
Credit: Pexels

4
Fill With Water to Wash Out the White Vinegar

Fill the reservoir with fresh water to the max fill line, place the section back in the machine, and run the largest cup setting until the reservoir empties. And that's all there is to it! Descale your Keurig every three to six months to keep the coffee maker running efficiently.