Repair your Keurig coffee maker

Keurig coffee makers will make single cups of coffee easily, quickly and with no cleanup, but they do occasionally need a simple tune up. If your Keurig is brewing slowly, shorting your cup, or won’t work at all, don’t throw it away until you’ve tried these tips first. This method has helped thousands of people clean their Keurig coffee makers and get them working like new, even when they thought them broken. I wonder how many people have thrown away their coffee makers because they didn’t know how to clean a Keurig, particularly one that doesn’t pump water anymore?

The following steps work on all Keurig machines. If you own a Keurig 2.0 you’ll need to keep an old, used pod to insert in the machine or it won’t pump water through in Step 7 at all.

1. Unplug it. I can’t emphasize this enough: unplug the thing.

2. Disassemble it. Remove the water tank and its lid, along with the stand your coffee cup rests on. Open the top and remove the K-Cup holder. Wash these pieces in warm, soapy water and dry.

3. Unclog the needles. Get a paperclip and partially unbend it. With the Keurig’s top open, carefully insert the free end of the paperclip into each of the three holes along the needle that pierces the K-Cup. Jiggle the paperclip around then remove it. Don’t worry about harming your machine: there are no working parts here, just holes that get clogged with scale and debris.

If using a paperclip concerns you, you can contact Keurig at 1-866-901-2739 and they’ll ship you a free tool to do this.

4. Turn and tap. Turn your machine completely upside down and, with the top open, give the bottom a few light smacks with the palm of your hand. This helps loosen debris. It’s best to do this over a sink since tapping will dislodge buildup that’s been preventing water flow within the machine and may lead to a rush of water coming out.

5. Clear the tube. With the machine still upside down, put a drinking straw over the spout. Wrap this juncture with a paper towel to make it as close to airtight as possible. Now, blow as hard as you can into the straw to force air through the Keurig spout to dislodge scale buildup in the water line. Canned air like that used to blow dust out of a computer keyboard will also work well to clear this tube.

6. Wipe it down and reassemble. Grab a lint-free cloth and clean the cup holder and the outside of the machine. Return all of the parts to their proper places.

7. Descale it. Fill the water tank with half water and half white vinegar. You may have been told to use straight vinegar, but that can harm the machine due to vinegar’s high acidity — keep it at a 50-50 mix, or use a commercial Keurig descaling product. Immediately begin running the vinegar-water through the machine until you’ve emptied the entire tank, dumping each cup as it brews.

Keurig 2.0 users: Your Keurig machine won’t run without a pod in the holder, so just insert a used one. By the time the liquid comes out, the vinegar-water will already have done its job and it won’t matter if leftover coffee or tea drains along with it. You won’t be drinking this, anyway.

8. Run clean water through it. After you’ve run an entire tank of vinegar water, repeat the above step using only water. Check the final cup to make sure there’s no vinegar taste, and run more fresh water through if needed. To test whether you’ve got all of the vinegar out of your Keurig, sprinkling a pinch of baking soda into the final cup of water. If it fizzes, there’s still vinegar in the system so you’ll need to run more clean water through it.

9. Maintain it. For most households, performing steps 7 and 8 above every three months will keep your Keurig working wonderfully.

A reader has found a solution to a problem from an earlier column.

“I read the September 21-October 4, 2017 column where a homeowner had a question about a vent on the back of the Fox model with a basement. I too, had the same issue with the vent flaps breaking and after much research was able to find a solution. I ordered a DHS6W12 Deflecto 6-in Louvered Plastic Vent Hood from Although it only cost $3.85, the total order amounted to $12.09 with shipping/tax. When the vent assembly arrived, we simply snapped out the flaps from the new vent assembly and snapped them into the one already attached to the house. It’s impossible to remove the whole vent as it is solidly attached to the house internally.”

If you have suggestions for future tips or have questions about maintenance around your home submit them to

Comment on This Story