How to clean a Keurig needle

Raise your hand if you are a fan of the Keurig! 

The ease of pushing a button to make a single cup of coffee and the quick and easy clean-up make the Keurig a winner for many. 

It is perfect for when you just want one cup of coffee and don’t want to make an entire pot that will most likely go to waste. 

Just like any machine or kitchen appliance, your Keurig needs to be maintained and cleaned in order for it to continue running smoothly and producing a great cup of coffee.

Best Keurig Coffee Maker Under $100

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker K-Cup Pod, Single Serve, Programmable, 6 to 10 oz. Brew Sizes, Black
  • Brews multiple k-cup pod sizes: (6, 8, 10 ounce) – the most popular k-cup pod brew sizes. Use the 6 ounce brew size to achieve the strongest brew.
  • Large 48 ounce water reservoir: Allows you to brew 6 plus cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. The water reservoir is removable, making it easy to refill whenever you need to.
  • Descaling: An important part of cleaning your keurig brewer. This process helps to remove calcium deposits, or scale, that can build up inside a coffee maker over time.
  • Auto-off: An auto-off feature is easily programmed to turn off your coffee maker after it has been idle for 2 hours, helping to save energy.
  • Simple button controls: Just insert a pod, select your desired cup brew size, and brew a great-tasting cup in under a minute.

How do I know if I need to clean my Keurig needles?

There are three major indicators that will let you know when you may need to clean your Keurig needles. 

If your Keurig is brewing less than the correct amount, there are grounds in your coffee or it seems to be getting clogged, it may be time to clean those needles! 

Just to be clear, there are two needles. One punctures the pod from the top and pushes water into the coffee grounds, and the second needle punctures the bottom of the pod allowing the freshly brewed coffee to exit into your mug. 

Both need to be cleaned regularly since coffee grounds can clog up both.

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Cleaning your Keurig Needles

Thankfully it is not difficult to clean the needles on your Keurig. The easiest way is done using a paperclip and a mug or cup! 

As I mentioned before, there are two needles, so I will explain how to take your Keurig apart in order to clean both needles, so you can resume your excellent coffee making experience as quickly as possible.

  1. Unplug your Keurig – This may be an obvious step, but it’s also very important as far as safety goes.
  2. Take it apart – You need to take the K-cup holder out of the machine. You can do this by opening the Keurig like when you’d put a pod in to make coffee. Holding the the bottom part of the machine in place, pull the holder out. It should come out with ease.
  3. Remove filter from pod holder – Hold the top of the pod holder with one hand and the bottom (the funnel) with your other hand and pull apart. You may have to twist to get the funnel dislodged.
  4. Clean first needle – If you look at the bottom of the pod, there is a cylindrical hole, this is where the needle is. Unwind your paperclip, insert the paperclip into the hole and move it around to make sure any small grounds are dislodged.
  5. Rinse – Rinse the K-cup holder and funnel, allow them to dry and put them back together. Then, you can place it back into your Keurig.
  6. Clean second needle – With the Keurig still open, look at the top piece. You’ll see the other needle. This is the needle that allows the pod to fill up with water, and there are two openings in it. Unlike the first needle, this one is very sharp so be careful. Take your paperclip and insert it into both holes to dislodge any coffee grounds.
  7. Close it up and run a couple cycles – Close your Keurig and run a couple cycles without coffee to make sure everything is cleaned and ready to go! Just make sure you put a mug or cup under the spout to catch the water filtering through.

Brewer Needle Cleaning Tool

Another option to cleaning your needles is purchasing this cleaning tool. It’s easy to use and fits into the Keurig, so it does the work for you. 

It looks like a little pod, and it fits where you would typically put your K-cup. I should note that the one I linked is made for the Keurig 2.0, but you can find various models on Amazon.

  1. Unplug your Keurig
  2. Fill the pod with warm water.
  3. Place it where a typical K-cup would go in the pod holder.
  4. Raise and lower the handle of your Keurig five times. By doing this, you are moving water through the needles and pushing out any coffee grounds.
  5. Remove the cleaning pod.
  6. Run your Keurig with only water to flush out any remaining grounds.

Using a cleaning pod is so easy and also inexpensive, but if you can’t wait for it to be delivered using a paperclip is a great way to get the same results.

Replacing Parts on your Keurig

As you’re cleaning your Keurig needle, you may find other parts need to be replaced. I’ve compiled a list of parts that may need to be replaced, how long they last before needing to be replaced and where to purchase them.

  • K-cup Holder – You may find your K-cup holder has seen better days. If the needle seems dull or it begins to come out of your Keurig when you take your pods out, it may be time for a new one. Thankfully, you can find K-cup holders for a great price. This is not an exact rule, but these typically need to be replaced about every four years.
  • Charcoal filter – The charcoal filter in the water reservoir should be replaced fairly often. It is not based on a certain amount of time that’s passed but rather how much you use your Keurig. It is suggested to change it after sixty refills of the reservoir. For most this will be about every month to two months. I am a fan of 12-pack of charcoal water filters, since it has twelve and should last for a year or longer.
  • Water reservoir – Occasionally, you will need to replace the water reservoir if it’s not holding water due to a crack. It is plastic, so don’t be surprised if this happens. This Replacement water reservoir is a water reservoir that is compatible with the “Elite” and “Classic” systems.

Again, keep in mind the amount you use your Keurig will determine how often parts need to be replaced.

Cleaning Your Keurig

Just like any appliance, you need to maintain it by flushing the system. Cleaning your Keurig is pretty straightforward, and you can do it with things you have at home. 

It’s important to descale your Keurig often to avoid build up of mold or bacteria. If you are diligent in taking care of your Keurig, it can last upwards of ten years.

Keurig suggests cleaning your machine every three to six months, but there are also a few tell tale signs that your machine needs to be cleaned or descaled. 

If your machine begins to smell, your coffee takes on a strange taste, the amount brewed is too little or there is leaking, your Keurig probably needs to be cleaned out. 

Below, I’ve listed multiple options to clean your Keurig.

  • Using Vinegar – Fill the water reservoir with vinegar and run your machine without putting a pod in. Make sure to place a cup under the spout to catch the vinegar once it’s rinsed the machine. Run the machine until the vinegar is gone. Do this once more. Then, do the same thing with water. You may have to run a few cycles of just water to get rid of the vinegar aroma. I would suggest actually tasting the water to make sure the vinegar flavor is completely out of the system.
  • Using Lemon Juice – If you don’t have vinegar, you can use lemon juice! Follow the same steps as you would with vinegar, but instead of filling the reservoir with all lemon juice use a solution of half water/half lemon juice. Fill the reservoir with this solution, and once you’ve run it entirely through the machine rinse with water. You only need to fill the reservoir once with the lemon/water solution unlike the vinegar that requires to fillings of the reservoir.
  • Using Bleach – You can use bleach to clean your Keurig, but I would advise against it. It’s too easy to damage your machine that I suggest avoiding it and using a different method. Also, the thought of running bleach through something you will also be drinking from is far from appetizing.
  • Store bought – Another option for cleaning your Keurig is using a store bought solution. This descaler is a great option and also a great price, and you know it will get your Keurig really clean.

Other Resources:

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Wrapping Up:

Cleaning the Needle in a Keurig Coffee Maker

Keurigs are time-savers and such a great option for the person who’s life is full, and they just need a quick and good cup of coffee. 

Thankfully, they are not difficult to maintain or clean. Most of the cleaning can be done with things you have around the house, but remember you can always get the cleaning pod or descaler if you don’t trust the at-home options. 

Just remember if you take the time to clean and maintain your Keurig, it will last you years. Now, that your Keurig needles are clean, go celebrate with a cup of Joe!

Photo by Fitusm Assefa from Pexels

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