Did you know that Keurig recommends cleaning your single-serve coffee machine once every three to six months? While most coffee drinkers can get away with using the descaling solution, you can go further by cleaning the needle of your Keurig machine.
You should also look into how to clean a Keurig needle if you notice that your Keurig machine is slower than usual or if you’re experiencing issues with the hot water flow backing up due to a clogged needle.
What Is a Keurig Needle?
Your Keurig coffee machine actually uses two needles:
- Entrance Needle: There is an entry needle that punctures the foil on the top of the coffee pod. Hot water also comes out of this needle when you brew a cup of coffee.
- Exit Needle: This is the needle at the bottom of the cup receptacle. It punctures the bottom of the coffee pods so that coffee can drain after the brewing process.
These two keurig needles can become clogged due to ground coffee or residues from brewing hot chocolate in your Keurig machine. While partially clogged needles can result in a slow brewing process, clogged needles can be dangerous since they can result in hot water overflowing out of the machine.
Why Should You Always Clean the Keurig Needle?
You can prevent clogs by cleaning the needles on your Keurig machine once a day or once a week, depending on how often you use your coffee maker.
It only takes a few seconds, and you can remove most coffee grounds and residues with a paper towel. You can also prevent clogs by brewing a cup of hot water without a K-cup to push debris out of the needles.
In fact, it’s best to run water through your machine after using products like hot cocoa or latte K-cups since these sugary beverages can form residues that will clog the exit needle if you let them solidify.
Keeping the needles clean can extend the lifespan of your Keurig or other popular coffee machines, and they can continue to serve you delicious coffee cups. Coffee grounds and residues stuck in the exit needles can also end up in your coffee and alter the taste.
Plus, clogged needles are a safety issue. Hot water flows through these needles, and clogged needles can cause hot water to overflow and come out of the machine. Most Keurig machines heat water at a temperature of 192°F, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns.
What Equipment Do You Need to Clean the Needle?
If you own a Keurig 2.0 machine, the best way to clean the needle is to use an official Keurig needle-cleaning tool. It’s the best way to get rid of stubborn clogs. If you have a machine from the K200, K300, K400, or K500 series, you can use this tool.
You can also use a rinse pod. You can get official rinse pods from Keurig to keep your coffee maker clean and prevent the flavor from carrying over if you brew different types of K-cups with your machine.
If you look into how to clean a Keurig needle, you might also come across people who recommend using a paper clip to remove debris from the needles. A paper clip won’t flush coffee grounds and debris out of the machine. Plus, a paper clip can also scratch the plastic and damage the needles if you’re not careful.
Keurig Needle Cleaning
Read on to learn more about how to carry out Keurig needle maintenance with a specialized needle-cleaning tool.
Turn Off the Keurig
You need to make sure your coffee machine is off before you can start the cleaning process. Pushing the on/off button isn’t sufficient since Keurig machines automatically come on when you open the cup receptacle.
Your best option is simply to unplug your coffee maker. You’ll be able to open and close the machine without having the machine turn on automatically.
Fill the Maintenance Pod With Water
You can now prepare the needle cleaning tool. Remove it from the package and open the small container.
You’ll have to fill this pod with water. You’ll notice a small opening at the top of the maintenance tool. When you close your Keurig machine with this pod inside, the entry needle will soak in the small container filled with water.
Don’t overfill the maintenance pod, and make sure to use hot water. Warm water will do a better job of removing residues that might be clogging the needle.
Place the Accessory in the Cup Holder
Next, you should insert the needle-cleaning tool into the cup holder. The needle-cleaning tool features a round container for water and a frame that supports this container.
The container should fit inside the cup holder with the upper part of the frame resting around the opening of the cup holder.
Note that the orientation of the needle cleaning tool matters. Your tool has a down arrow that should face the front of the machine when you insert it.
Open and Close the Brew Head
Now that you have the maintenance pod filled with water in the pod holder, you should open and close the brew head a total of five times.
Opening and closing the brew head will cause the water to flush the needle. You should see coffee grounds and other residues floating in the maintenance pod after opening and closing the brew head.
If you’re not seeing debris floating in the maintenance pod, keep opening and closing the brew head to flush the needle.
Run Three Water Cycles After Taking the Tool Out
You can then remove the maintenance pod and set it aside to clean it. The next step is to run a total of three water cycles through your coffee maker.
Plug your Keurig machine back in and fill the water reservoir in the back of the machine. Open and close the brew head since the machine won’t let your brew until it detects this action, but don’t insert a K-cup.
Place a large cup underneath the machine and brew three cups of hot water. Refill the water tank if you have to.
Running hot water through your machine will help flush any residues left in the entry needle. It will also clean the pod holder and unclog the exit needle.
Changing the Filter
Unless you own a K-Mini, K15, or Keurig Rivo machine, your Keurig coffee maker has a filter that you can replace.
You’ll find a water filter handle in the water tank of your machine. Pull this handle out, and the filter will come out. The bottom of the handle comes off to reveal a small filter cartridge and filter holder.
All you have to do is insert a new filter cartridge in the filter holder, reassemble the filter handle, and place it back in the water tank. You should replace the water filter once every three to six months.
Keurig Needle Cleaning Without the Tool
You can clean your Keurig machine without a maintenance pod. There are different options you can use.
The easiest way to clean your single-serve coffee maker is to simply run some hot water through it. Open and close the brew head to make the machine think you have inserted a K-cup, fill the water tank, and press the brew button.
Your other option is to use a rinse pod or descaling solution. Water that is rich in minerals can form white residues inside appliances. These scaly deposits can form inside of your Keurig machine and clog the needles. Running a descaling solution or using a rinse pod can help break down these deposits.
Did these steps give you a better idea of how to clean a Keurig needle? Using a Keurig needle cleaning tool is the easiest way to unclog your coffee machine. It’s an inexpensive accessory that you can reuse as many times as you need, and cleaning your machine with this tool only takes a few minutes.