Barring instant coffee sachets, which many coffee connoisseurs don’t even consider “real” coffee, to begin with, nothing can match the convenience of the single-serve coffee maker. Often utilizing pods that contain everything to brew up a hearty cup of brew, they’re studies in beautiful simplicity. Funnily enough, this simplicity makes people gloss over the fact that they need regular cleaning as well. We help you understand how to tell when your Keurig single-serve coffee maker needs to be cleaned, what you need to get the job done, and how to do it properly.
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I. Look for the Signs
The problem with the maintenance of these types of machines is that it isn’t readily apparent that they do, in fact, already need to be cleaned. This is because a lot of the mechanism for operation for the single-serve coffee maker is under the hood and away from your prying eyes. Because of this, the only way to tell that cleaning needs to be done is through indirect signs. Here are a few of the most obvious.
Longer than usual brewing times
The way single-serve coffee makers work is to heat the water you put into just the right temperatures. This water is then shunted toward the pod of coffee, where high-pressure pumps force the water through the ground coffee within the pod. This is then filtered, so all you see in the end is coffee in your cup. Each machine has set times within which coffee is prepared. When these times seem unduly stretched out, it is a sign that something is gumming up the works—be it residue collected or dirt.
Less than the right amount of coffee or granules in your cup
Another clear sign that there’s cleaning in your single-serve coffee maker’s future is when you either get less coffee than you normally would or, worse, see granules escape into your cup. Both scenarios are again indicative of a problem that’s stopping the normal process flow of the machine.
Visible mineral build-up
You can expect that your cleaning job needs to be more in-depth when you actually start to notice mineral deposits seeping out of different parts of your machine—notably where components meet and connect. This is usually just a small part of what is already going on within.
Perhaps the worst sign of severe problems is when you start to smell disgusting moldy or mildew-like smells coming from your cup of coffee or the machine itself. This usually happens when there has been no cleaning for a pervasive period of time. This smell comes from mold that forms because of mineral deposits and water constantly flowing through them.
Once you encounter any of the signs, don’t delay and get cleaning right away. Ultimately, you and your loved ones can face genuine health risks without undertaking this relatively simple job.
Gather the needed materials
There are a few simple things that you need to get your Keurig single-serve coffee maker clean:
A clean toothbrush
Warm, clean water
Gather these all together and prepare to clean your machine.
Empty all the water from the reservoir. If it’s a lot and spread over a wider area, take time to tip the machine over and leave it to dry up.
Take out all the removable components of your coffee maker. These should then be washed in your wink or a bowl with warm and soapy water. If there are any thick deposits on these components, be more thorough in your cleaning.
Take your toothbrush—or any small brush that fits—and dip it in vinegar. Use these to clean the area around the reservoir and where your pods and your cup go. Some models feature removable plastic pod holders. Clean these thoroughly disconnected from the machine.
The reusable filters tend to be areas where the grounds tend to get congested—particularly the mesh. The best way to deal with this is to soak them in vinegar for several minutes until the stuck granules soften and become easy to remove. Once softened enough, go back to using the brush to remove them completely.
The next phase involves cleaning the inside of your coffee maker. To do this, take your clean and dry reservoir and fill it with a solution that’s a mix of around four cups of vinegar and two cups of water. Without a filter in place, run the machine a few times with this mix. After around three to four cycles, leave your machine to sit for several hours.
Clean the reservoir once again and this time fill it with clean water. Once again, run the cycles a good two to three times to clean out the vinegar as thoroughly as you can.
Finally, test out the machine with your favorite coffee flavor. If it brews the perfect cup in the time you expect it to, then you’ve done a great job.
III. Maintenance is just as important as cleaning
If you had to exert a lot of effort in cleaning out your Keurig single-serve coffee maker, the odds are that you never do any maintenance. The great thing about maintenance is that it usually means less need for thorough cleaning. More than that, it also ensures that everything operates properly—extending the lifespan of your machine. Here are some great tips to follow to ensure that your Keurig is well-maintained.
● Always empty the reservoir.
Any water that is behind can contribute to the growth of harmful mold or mildew. Once these form, they can be tough to get rid of.
● Run an extra cup of water after brewings.
Doing this will help to keep the interior of your Keurig single-serve coffee maker clear of debris for much longer. Of course, it takes time to do, but it’s ultimately worthwhile as you’ll need fewer cleanings down the line.