How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

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White distilled vinegar being poured into a Keurig coffee maker reservoir to descale and clean it.

If you own a Keurig coffee maker and have already purchased their brand solution for cleaning and descaling your machine, then you are aware of two things:

  1. The cost for a one-time cleaning is slightly ridiculous.
  2. The cleaner smells horrible and definitely isn’t good for you or your family to be drinking any residue from.

Many Keurig machines have a light that comes on when it reaches a point of needing to be descaled, but since my water is hard and easily builds up, I do it before that lights up. It’s up to you how often you clean your Keurig.

After using the Keurig cleaner once, I decided there was no reason not to make my own natural Keurig cleaning solution since I make pretty much 90% of all my other cleaners.

My Keurig cleaning method uses something cheap and safe you probably already have on hand – white distilled vinegar. That’s it!

After cleaning your Keurig, check out our list of recyclable and compostable K-Cups.

Small glass jar of white vinegar being poured into a Keurig Coffee Maker reservoir.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar

Learn how to clean your Keurig coffee maker using distilled white vinegar!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Makes: 1


  • White vinegar
  • Distilled Water


  • Your Keurig Manual (If you can’t find it, I will give a short synopsis of how to descale, though, so don’t panic!)
  • Large Mug


  • Start by dumping out the reservoir of any clean water that is leftover. Also, be sure to remove any K-cup that may still be inside. Now, go ahead and pour one large mug worth of the solution into to the reservoir. Allow the vinegar to soak in the reservoir for 30 minutes to descale and soak.
    A hand pouring vinegar from a glass jar into the reservoir of a Keurig coffee maker.
  • After 30 minutes, place your mug under the spout so it’s ready catch the vinegar. Run the vinegar through your Keurig repeatedly until it’s all cleaned out. My manual says to do it 12 times. I like to let the solution cool a bit before I run it through each time.
  • After you've run the vinegar through several times, replace the vinegar with fresh distilled or filtered water and run that through several times. You will see the water get cleaner and cleaner each time the water runs through and it will also not smell as strong the more you do it. You can't mistake the smell of the vinegar, so just keep running water through until you no longer smell vinegar. Once the water smells clean, wipe out your reservoir well and rinse your filters out good and then you are good to make fresh coffee.
    Red mug catching clean water after cleaning the Keurig coffee maker with vinegar.