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Your Keurig Is Probably Super Gross. Here's How to Really Keep It Clean

Believe it or not, there is a right way to be cleaning your Keurig. We've broken down everything you need to know.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
4 min read
keurig k elite on light purple background

A clean Keurig will give you delicious, mold-free coffee.


Your Keurig takes care of your morning caffeine needs daily, but be honest, when was the last time you took care of your Keurig? If you're not deep-cleaning it once a week, it's probably pretty nasty right now. We'll show you how to get it back in fighting shape in no time.

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If you leave your Keurig dirty for long enough, the buildup of leftover coffee and coffee grounds can affect the performance of your coffee machine and the taste of your morning coffee. What's worse is that, when left dirty, it's a perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Thankfully, it's easy to give every inch of your Keurig the attention that it deserves. 

We've gathered everything you need to know about cleaning all the parts of your Keurig coffee maker, from cleaning the drip trays to the brewing mechanisms and even the outside of your machine. For more, here are our picks for the top coffee makers of 2024 and what to know about Keurig's new compostable coffee pods

Don't let the coffee pods sit for days at a time

One of the best things that you can do for your Keurig is treat it gently when you're using it, especially if you're using it every day. For instance, remove used coffee pods once they've cooled down, and try to immediately take care of any spills or drips. Coffee can grow mold once brewed, and you don't want that sitting in your Keurig pod holder.

Wipe down the outside of your Keurig

You can begin your Keurig cleaning process by gently wiping down the outside of your coffee machine with a warm, damp cloth or paper towel. Not only does Keurig recommend wiping down your coffee pot daily, this is a really simple step to integrate into your daily cleaning routine. Just make sure that your coffee pot is fully turned off and unplugged before you begin cleaning. 

Wash the drip tray

Keurig also recommends a daily wash for your drip tray, which catches drips from your coffee maker and spills. The drip tray is also prone to unseemly coffee stains. You can hand wash your drip tray with a bit of warm water and dish soap. 

Tackle the water reservoir and matching lid

Yet again, Keurig recommends cleaning this element of your coffee maker daily. Like the drip tray, you can tackle this by hand washing the water reservoir and corresponding lid with warm water and dish soap. Depending on your coffee maker, you can wash both the reservoir and lid in your dishwasher. Just be sure to remove any water filters if you have any in your water reservoir. 

Plus, fresh cold water in your Keurig machine daily tastes way better than days-old water.

Wash the coffee carafe and basket

If you have a K-Duo coffee pot, that means you have one extra step when it comes to daily care. You'll need to wash the coffee carafe and basket if you've brewed a traditional cup of coffee. Like the water reservoir, you can wash the carafe and basket by hand, or depending on your coffee maker, you can put them in the dishwasher.  

Clean the pod holder 

The pod holder can be one of the grossest pieces of your Keurig machine. It's the implement that holds your coffee pod and can collect used coffee grounds. If not cleaned somewhat regularly, it can become very gross very fast, and can also grow mold. Keurig advises cleaning this implement weekly but we suggest wiping it down daily if it looks gross. 

The pod-holder assembly (PHA) will need to be removed from the Keurig before it can be cleaned. You can do this by grabbing the rim of the assembly and gently pulling it out. You'll also need to detach the pod holder from the attached funnel by pulling the two pieces apart. Be careful of sharp exit needles when cleaning these pieces. 

Keurig advises rinsing with water, but it couldn't hurt to scrub away any obviously gross stains or stuck-on coffee grounds -- especially if this is the first time you've cleaned it. 

Give your Keurig a full rinse

To keep your Keurig running smoothly for as long as possible, you'll want to do a regular cleaning brew, or a process called descaling. Essentially, descaling is the process of removing buildup. By not cleaning your Keurig's brewing mechanisms regularly (Keurig officially recommends doing this quarterly) the buildup in your brewing mechanism can begin to affect the taste of your coffee. 

The first step you'll need to take is to run hot water through your coffee maker. You can do this by running your Keurig like you would if you were brewing a cup of coffee, but without a coffee pod. 

Next, you have two options. You can either descale your coffee maker with a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water, or you can use Keurig's own descaling solution. Pour your descaling solution of choice into the reservoir, and run your Keurig as you normally would. After the machine is done, you'll want to let it rest for about 45 minutes. 

We recommend running plain water through your Keurig several times after descaling your machine to combat a vinegary taste. The last thing you want after spending this much time cleaning your Keurig is a ruined coffee.

For more cleaning tips, here's how to make a natural, all-purpose cleaner with three ingredients and how to speed-clean your kitchen in less than 15 minutes.