This corner of our dining room is one of the most used areas in our apartment – with the microwave, baking dishes on the shelves below, our pantry in the cabinet, two of my paintings (here and here) and Garrett’s beloved Keurig Mini coffee maker. I don’t drink coffee, so this little machine that his parents’ gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago has been perfect. He can make a quick cup of coffee in the morning without dragging out the french press, measuring the coffee and then dealing with the messy clean up afterwards. We have very few appliances that we use, but this one has been the most convenient for sure. (You’ll spot my favourite appliance up there too – the ice cream machine!)
As convenient as any of the modern one-cup coffee machines are, they do require some regular maintenance and upkeep to make sure they’re in working order. Ideally, you should clean and de-scale (remove the mineral deposits) every 6 months to keep them in good shape. Below is how I keep the Keurig Mini clean and the process is similar for most other machines. Of course, I recommend that you refer to the owner’s manual first to find out how to remove any parts, as well as the proper order to do it. If you don’t still have the manual, you can usually find them online.
What you’ll need:
- white vinegar
- clean toothbrush (perfect use for your old one when you get a new toothbrush!)
- cleaning cloths
- ceramic mug
- dish soap
- fresh water
- good tunes (a requirement for all cleaning projects in my opinion)
Your machine may look all shiny and new on the outside, but a quick peek inside the water reservoir and you’ll find lots of nasty looking mineral deposits.
And when you open up the brewer handle, you’ll find coffee grounds all along the sides.
Despite the fact that I wipe down the top of the drip tray whenever I clean the counters, it gets gross pretty quickly.
First, remove the water level guide. This will let the vinegar get into all the nooks and crannies of the water reservoir.
Pull the drip tray out of the bottom of the coffee maker. The top silver part will pop out of the bottom red part making it easier to clean too.
The funnel that the K-cups go into can take a little bit to pop out, but you can do so carefully. Just keep in mind that there is a sharp needle inside the funnel as well as on the top of the brewer handle.
Using a clean toothbrush dipped into white vinegar, gentle brush the coffee grounds off all the components of the brewer handle.
There will also be coffee grounds farther down where the funnel was. Dip a cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the toothbrush. Push it into the funnel hole and gently clean the area.
Now it’s time for a descaling rinse! Fill the water reservoir with 10 oz of white vinegar.
Place a ceramic mug on the drip tray. Lift the brewer handle, but don’t add in a K-cup. After 5 seconds, lower the brewer handle. Press the flashing blue “BREW” button. It will flash red and then turn solid red.
UPDATE: Some readers said that they needed to put the funnel back into the machine to prevent the vinegar from spraying out. I’ve never needed to do this, but you may want to and prevent any unwanted spills on your countertops.
Once the vinegar has gone through the coffee maker, dump the hot liquid into the sink.
Repeat the process again, but this time as soon as the button goes solid red, turn off the coffee maker. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Turn the coffee maker back on, lift and lower the brewer handle and press the “BREW” button. Once the hot vinegar comes out, dump it in the sink and rinse the mug.
Meanwhile, while the vinegar was soaking, you could use this time to clean all the loose pieces. I know that some of them are dishwasher safe, but we don’t have one, so I just washed it by hand in hot soapy water. I used the toothbrush to scrub out any mineral build up on the pieces.
Once the second vinegar rinse is done, use the toothbrush to scrub any mineral deposits that still remain. I also used a damp cloth to scrub the sides of the water reservoir and to wipe up any mineral deposits that have been brushed loosed.
To remove the vinegar smell, fill the water reservoir with 10 oz. of fresh water. Place the ceramic mug on the dip tray, lift and lower the brewer handle and then press the “BREW” button. Toss the hot water into the sink once it goes through. Repeat this process three more times to really cleanse the vinegar out of the coffee machine.
Put the water level guide back into the water reservoir. Just look how clean it is in there!
Put the funnel and drip tray back into place.
Once everything is assembled again, use a damp cloth to wash the outside of the coffee maker. Buff it with a dry cloth until it shines!
Now you have a clean Keurig coffee maker that is as good as new and all ready to make a fresh cup of coffee.
It may not look like a big difference on the outside, but I like knowing that the next time Garrett makes a cup of coffee it will be fresh and clear of mineral deposits and coffee grounds.