How to Clean a Keurig or Drip Coffee Maker with Vinegar

Is Your Coffee Maker Brewing Mold? How to Clean a Keurig and Drip Machine with Vinegar
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When was the last time you deep-cleaned and descaled your coffee maker? Yeah, we thought so. Coffee makers are right up there with smartphones when it comes to devices we use every day but rarely think about or know how to clean.

Scale: The Flaky White Funk Hiding in Your Coffee Maker

Water contains lime, an inorganic residue that contains calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. While lime itself is non-toxic, but it leaves behind scale, that chalky, hard, off-white stuff that won’t just wipe away. It can:

  1. Make your coffee taste crappy.
  2. Create the conditions for the growth of yeast, mold, and coliform bacteria. Ew.

The bad news: scale isn’t always visible. The good news: you can get rid of it with plain white vinegar. Descale your coffee maker regularly in order to prevent a build-up of this crusty grime – every 1-3 months if you have hard water, and every 3-6 months if you have soft water.

How to Clean a Keurig & Descale Your Machine

Every week, wipe down the outside of your machine and clean any removable parts like the drip tray, water reservoir, and K-cup holder in warm, soapy water. Certain removable parts of some pod machines are dishwasher safe – be sure to check your owner’s manual. Look for leftover coffee grinds in the part of the K-cup holder that isn’t removable, and clean them out with an old toothbrush. Watch out for the needle! Let everything air-dry; a cloth towel can leave lint behind.

For descaling, make sure that your water reservoir is empty and then pour distilled vinegar to the maximum fill line. You can also use Keurig’s Descaling Solution, but vinegar works just fine. Place a large ceramic cup on the drip tray and run through one brewing cycle with your machine (with no pod in the holder). Dump out the cup and repeat until all of the vinegar solution is gone and the water reservoir is empty.

Now it’s time to rinse. Add fresh water to the reservoir and run through the brew cycle several times until all traces of vinegar or descaling solution are gone. Keurig recommends 12 times. If your water reservoir is removable, clean it thoroughly and let everything air dry.

How to Clean and Descale a Drip Coffee Maker

Wash your glass coffee pot and its plastic basket with warm, soapy water after every use. Most pots and baskets are dishwasher safe; just be sure to put the basket on the upper shelf. Wipe down the outside of your machine and its warming plate every week. Is your coffee pot stained? Scrub it with a little salt to make it shine like new.

Descale your coffee maker periodically with distilled white vinegar. Put a paper filter in the basket and fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and vinegar. Place your coffee pot underneath and turn on the brewer. Halfway through the brewing process, turn off the machine and let it sit for 30 minutes. Restart your machine until it finishes the brewing cycle. Dump out the pot of vinegar water. Rinse your machine well: add a new paper filter and run through a brew cycle with a full pot of fresh water at least three times.

Related on Organic Authority

5 White Vinegar Uses for All Around the Home
3 Alternative Brewing Methods Without a Pod in Sight
Are Sustainable Coffee Pods ab Oxymoron or Can ‘Green’ Single-Serve Coffee Become a Reality?

Shilo Urban

Shilo first became interested in conscious living when she found herself working simultaneously at a mom-and-pop natural food store and a farm for endangered livestock breeds on the coast of Maine. After residing in Austin, New Zealand, Paris, Seattle, and Los Angeles, she now lives in Fort Worth, Texas where she works as a freelance writer. Her passions include international travel and wiener dogs.