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How to clean your Keurig with distilled vinegar

Just like any appliance that sees a lot of use, your coffee maker also needs a deep cleaning every once in a while.

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Chances are, it's been a while since you last cleaned your coffee maker. If you're making coffee every single day, you should be performing a deep clean -- or a descale -- every three to six months to remove buildup of deposits, such as lime or bacteria.

Descaling your coffee maker should only take a few minutes and can improve the performance of your coffee maker, as well as the taste of the coffee it makes.

What you will need

To get started, you will need a large coffee mug, some distilled vinegar and filtered water. Before descaling, however, you should hand wash or wipe down any removable parts, so you will also need a damp wash cloth.

Descaling the coffee maker

Taylor Martin/CNET

Over months of use, lime, bacteria and other unwanted things can begin to build up inside your coffee maker, especially if you're using a single-cup maker like a Keurig. And it's easy to forget about, since there's no way to visually discern if most coffee makers are due for a descaling.

No less, getting rid of that grime is simple:

  • Start by dumping any water from the cold water reservoir and removing any spent pods that may be left behind.
  • Use a dry (or slightly damp) wash cloth to wipe away any residue, such as loose coffee grounds, from the exterior and the pod housing before descaling.
  • Turn the coffee maker on and pour the distilled vinegar into the water reservoir until you reach the Max Fill line.
  • Once the coffee maker is ready to brew, place the coffee mug on the drip tray, lift the handle, select the largest brew cycle and lower the handle without inserting a pod. Start the brewing process.
  • When the mug is full, dump the mixture down the sink and repeat until there is no more solution left in the reservoir.
  • If there is still vinegar in the reservoir, either add enough water to run one more cycle or dump the remaining solution in the sink.
  • Fill the reservoir with filtered water and run multiple cycles to wash away any remaining vinegar from the machine. Thoroughly rinse out the reservoir.