How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Nicole Austin

Cleaning with vinegar is safe, effective and non-toxic. See our tips for cleaning a Keurig coffee maker with vinegar.

Cleaning your Keurig regularly is a simple way to ensure you're brewing the best coffee, which is why we advocate knowing how to clean a Keurig with vinegar!

Keurig has perfected the art of coffee for one, a problem many of us didn’t even realize we had until we could buy coffee pods for every taste preference.

These single source brews are so wildly efficient at brewing delicious coffee that it can be easy to forget that regular TLC for your machine is a must.

How to Clean a Keurig with Vinegar Photo

Coffee pots, like most kitchen appliances, get a lot of regular use, so it’s all too easy to forget that they might need to be cleaned.

Though running hot water through the machine daily seems it would keep it clean, minerals in the water can build up, creating a scale on the inside of the machine that can be hard to see and even harder to reach.

Worse yet, coffee machines are a potential breeding ground for multiple strains of harmful bacteria, including the dreaded staph, e. coli, and strep - yuck!

There are, however, simple and eco-friendly steps you can take to make sure that your Keurig stays working properly and delivers the tastiest coffee. The best part is, you can use items you probably already have on hand to do so!

Homemade Vinegar Cleaning Solution Photo

Why Are We Cleaning With Vinegar?

Cleaning with vinegar is one of our favorite ways to clean our kitchens because white vinegar is known for its safe and effective cleaning properties.

The acidic nature of white vinegar dissolves everything from mineral deposits and scale buildup to grease - and it's even strong enough to kill bacteria.

Vinegar is nontoxic, so once you’re done using it, you won’t wonder if you accidentally consumed trace amounts, or worry about its impact on the environment. You won't even notice vinegar taste in your coffee!

To top it all off, white vinegar is extremely budget friendly and widely available, a staple that you can easily keep on hand for regular cleanings.

How to Clean a Keurig with Vinegar Image

How to Clean a Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Learning how to clean a coffee maker with vinegar is very simple and preferrable to using harsh chemicals that are toxic and could wreck your machine.

Cleaning kitchen appliances with vinegar is so easy we recommend cleaning your microwave with vinegar and also your dishwasher, stove top, and fridge!

Because of the strength of vinegar, you’ll want to cut the intensity by mixing a cleaning solution with equal parts water. Using vinegar only as recommended for cleaning will extend the life of your small kitchen appliances.

Vinegar can eventually erode fragile rubber, so you will want to wipe down anything with rubber parts or gaskets with warm soapy water and a damp cloth.

You can use a vinegar and water solution to remove calcium deposits and mineral buildup by running a few cycles of the brewing process in a few steps.

Cleaning with Vinegar Photo

How to Clean a Keurig With Vinegar

Cleaning a Keurig coffee maker with vinegar is not much different than cleaning your traditional coffee maker. Doing so will extend the life of your machine and give you your best morning brew.

The following steps should be universal regardless of what Keurig model you may own - see the manufacturer's manual for exact cleaning instructions.


The removable parts of your Keurig (or similar pod coffee systems) such as the reservoir lid, drip tray, base and coffee pod holder, along with the outside of the machine should be cleaned on a weekly basis.

  1. The mug tray and K-cup holder can easily be removed and then washed in warm water with the dish soap or cleanser of your choice.
  2. The water tank and lid can be wiped down similarly, and set out to air dry.
  3. You can then wipe down the outside of your Keurig to clean up any coffee grounds, spills or coffee drips.

TIP: Sometimes picking a day of the week where you may be doing other activities, such as meal planning, is the best way to remember this schedule.

How to Clean a Keurig with Vinegar Picture

Every Other Month

Every other month replace the water filter cartridge in your Keurig for optimal performance and to keep hard water minerals from building up as quickly.

Soak the new cartridge for five minutes in fresh, clean water, then rinse it for 60 seconds. Don’t forget to wash the mesh on the filter holder at this time.

Every 3 Months

Every three to six months you will want to go through the descaling process - this is where cleaning with vinegar will come in handy.

You will want to unplug the machine before you disassemble it then begin by emptying the Keurig water reservoir of any remaining water.

  1. Fill the reservoir with 16 oz white vinegar and 16 oz clear water. Do not assume that less water equals a better clean!
  2. Start the brewing cycle without a K-cup and let the machine run as usual. Don’t forget to place a large mug on the drip tray to catch the vinegar and water solution.
  3. Repeat this step until the machine’s “add water” feature comes on.
  4. Let the brewer rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Empty and rinse the reservoir thoroughly. Fill to max fill line with fresh water and repeat the steps above to remove all traces of vinegar.
  6. Resume using your Keurig as usual.

TIP: As stated above, it is important to make sure that the vinegar is properly diluted so the acidity levels are not too high. You want to clean your machine, not damage its integrity.

Cleaning Supplies Photo

More Keurig Maintenance Tips

One of the often-forgotten components of the Keurig is the exit needle that punctures each K-cup with small holes for releasing the brewed coffee.

As always, before doing so, we strongly urge that you first make sure your machine is unplugged to make sure you are safe when cleaning your machine.

To clean this needle, use a paperclip to free up any coffee grounds or debris that may have become trapped and could interrupt the flow of the brew cycle.

Another tip for brewing the best possible coffee includes following the manufacturer’s suggestion of using filtered water or distilled water for brewing.

We also always recommend leaving the lid off of your Keurig and the machine empty between uses to help reduce the growth of bacteria and mold or mildew.

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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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