Grinding your own coffee is the best single thing you can do to improve the quality of the coffee you make and drink. But, should
What is the lifespan of a Keurig coffee maker?
Coffee is a necessity for me in the morning. And like many Americans, my first cup of the day usually comes from a Keurig coffee maker. I would hate for my Keurig to break down. But I know it will someday. The question is: when?
What is the lifespan of a Keurig coffee maker? On average, a Keurig coffee maker that is used daily has a lifespan of approximately 5 years. That said, the manufacturer offers a one year guarantee on defects in materials or the working of the machine. If you take good care of your coffee maker (e.g., clean it every once in a while), you have a good chance it will last way longer than 5 years.
Let’s take a look at what you should do to get the most out of your Keurig coffee maker, and to keep it in working order for as long as possible. You now know what the average lifespan of a Keurig coffee maker is, but let’s beat that!
What should you do to increase the lifespan of your Keurig coffee maker?
A brand new coffee maker is squeaky clean. And to keep it that way is the best way to ensure it stays in working order for years and years. But that also means that you don’t get to enjoy a nice cup of coffee from it. A coffee machine that is used will become dirty. That is a fact.
It is also a fact that if you never clean your coffee maker, it will eventually break down. The build-up of coffee residue and limescale due to the water running through the machine are the leading causes of gunk related breakdowns.
So, the key to keeping your Keurig coffee maker in working order is to clean it periodically.
Time for some Keurig coffee maker maintenance tips.
How to clean and maintain your Keurig coffee maker
Cleaning and maintaining your coffee maker might seem like a daunting task at first. But it is not hard at all. Many parts can be removed from the machine for easy cleaning. Some of them are even dishwasher safe!
What you need to clean your Keurig coffee maker
To give your Keurig a thorough cleaning, you’ll want to have the following items on hand:
- A toothbrush you can use for cleaning (not one you need to brush your teeth with : )) and/or a sponge
- A bottle of pure white vinegar
- A mild liquid cleaning detergent like all-purpose cleaner or dishwashing liquid
- A cloth, preferable a microfiber cloth
Step 1: clean the removable pieces
Take out the reservoir and its lid, the drip tray, and its cover. Next, carefully remove the K-cup holder and the funnel underneath it. If you don’t know how to remove these and can’t figure it out on your own, be sure to check your manual. It would be a shame to break your coffee maker while you are trying to take good care of it. WARNING! Be careful when you are trying to remove the K-cup holder and funnel. There is a needle in there somewhere (this punctures the K-cup when you brew coffee).
For cleaning the removable parts, there are two options:
- Soak them in warm soapy water for 15 minutes and then rinse and towel dry them. Use the toothbrush or a soft sponge to wipe off any residue that isn’t soaked off.
- Wash the removable parts in the top rack of your dishwasher. Don’t place them in the bottom rack. It gets hotter there, and you might damage the components.
Step 2: clean the rest of the machine
While the removable parts are soaking or are in your dishwasher, use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the Keurig. Use the same cloth to remove any build-up of dirt from where the K-cup holder and funnel go. Finally, make sure to clean the bottom part of the machine where the drip tray goes.
Step 3: descaling the machine
The invisible parts of the coffee maker need cleaning too. Especially limescale build-up can clog your machine and cause it to break down eventually. Here’s how to do it:
- Fill the water reservoir with pure white vinegar. There is no need to fill it, halfway is enough
- Brew (without a K-cup in the holder) until the vinegar runs out
- Remove the reservoir and rinse it thoroughly with warm water
- Fill the reservoir to the top with fresh water
- Brew (without a K-cup in the holder) until the water runs out
The vinegar will break down and remove any calcium deposits (limescale) in the reservoir and the tubing of the Keurig. It is vital to remove all residue of vinegar from the machine before you brew any coffee with it.
In most cases running a full reservoir of fresh water through the machine will clear out any vinegary taste. Be sure to smell the last two or three brews from the reservoir of fresh water. If you can’t smell any vinegar, it is gone.
tips on how to keep your Keurig Coffee Maker clean
You don’t want to clean your Keurig coffee maker any more than necessary. It isn’t the most inspiring work (but it can be very satisfying!). So, here are some tips to keep your Keurig coffee maker clean longer:
Tip 1: empty the reservoir if you are away
If you are going away for more than a day or two, or if you don’t plan to use your coffee maker for another reason, empty the reservoir. Water that sits unused in a reservoir for too long will start to evaporate. This will leave calcium and mineral deposits in the reservoir, which might clog your coffee maker.
Tip 2: if you brew something sticky, rinse afterward
The Keurig coffee maker can be used for more than just coffee. If you decide to brew hot chocolate or any other sugary drink with it, it is a good idea to rinse the machine. You can do this easily by running another brew through the machine after brewing your hot chocolate. This time without a K-cup. This rinses out the K-cup holder and the funnel, keeping it nice and clean.
Tip 3: use distilled water
Especially when you live in an area with ‘hard’ water (water with a high mineral content), you might want to use distilled water for brewing coffee with your Keurig. Hard water can leave mineral and calcium deposits on the heating elements in the machine and might clog the tubing. Also, calcium and other mineral deposits on the heating elements reduces their efficiency. The heating coils have to work harder (i.e., use more energy) to heat the water, which could eventually lead to a breakdown.
Tip 4: rinse removable parts regularly
To avoid build-up of residue on the removable parts of your Keurig coffee maker (the K-cup holder, the funnel, and the drip tray), it’s a good idea to rinse these with warm water regularly. For me, emptying the drip tray and cleaning it (and the K-cup holder) is part of my daily kitchen cleanup routine, but I am a bit OCD about these things. Rinsing all removable parts with hot water once a week will go a long way.
Tip 5: descale your Keurig once a month
The avoid the build-up of limescale/calcium deposits in the machine, it is good practice to descale your machine once a month. Especially when you live in an area with hard, mineral-rich water. If you live in an area with particularly soft water, you can descale once every two months. Descale regularly keeps your machine in top shape.
As said, descaling can be done with pure white vinegar. Specialized descaling solutions are widely available, but these can be quite expensive. The best value descaling solution is undiluted white vinegar. It works great and is dirt cheap.
Other resources on Keurig maintenance
The cleaning process and tips the section above will keep your Keurig coffee make in top condition for a long time. But don’t take my word for it. There are a lot of excellent resources online for Keurig maintenance. I’ve collected what are, in my opinion, the best Keurig coffee maintenance and cleaning resources. They all help you to increase the lifespan of your Keurig coffee maker.
Melissa Maker from Clean My Space has an excellent video on cleaning your Keurig coffee maker. She goes in-depth on the tools and cleaning methods:
Keurig has its own set of maintenance videos and resources:
How to Descale Your Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker
How to Clean the Needles in Your Keurig Brewer
How to Clean Your Keurig Brewer
How to Clean Your Keurig K-Cafe Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker
When is it time to replace your Keurig coffee maker?
When you take good care of your Keurig coffee maker, you can trust it to brew endless cups of coffee for many years. But, inevitably, at some point, it is time to replace your trusty brewing companion. These are the signs:
When your Keurig stops brewing coffee
This one seems obvious. When a coffee maker stops making coffee, it is broken. You could try and have it repaired. I applaud that. Repairing an otherwise perfectly good machine is a great way to reduce waste and help protect the environment.
But getting your coffee maker repaired might not be the most economically efficient option. Keurig coffee makers are not easily fixed. As with many consumption goods today, the Keurig is designed to be built as efficiently as possible. They were not necessarily built to last a lifetime. I’m not saying these are bad machines. Because they are not. They are excellent for what they are. Repairability just isn’t the most important thing when the Keurig coffee makers are designed.
When the taste of the coffee changes
Another reason to replace your Keurig coffee maker is when the taste of the coffee it brews changes for the worse. A change in the coffee the machine brews might be due to the amount of water the Keurig is able push through the K-cup. Or it might be due to the heat the heating elements can produce.
In any case, if the coffee from your Keurig coffee maker starts tasting awful, it is time to replace it.
When the K-cups you need are becoming difficult to find
Keurig Green Mountain isn’t a static company. They continuously innovate to stay one step ahead of the competition. Because competition is fierce in the world of coffee. But these innovations can make your old coffee maker obsolete and hard to keep in use.
For example, Nespresso has developed a new pod which is only usable with a newer type of machine. Old pods are still available, but we don’t know whether this is forever. Keurig might come with a similar development.
It is a bit theoretical, but my point is that you are largely dependent on Keurig manufacture K-cups to be able to use your Keurig coffee maker. Not something to worry about, but something to keep in mind for sure.
To summarize: you can influence the lifespan of your Keurig, up to a point
I hope to have shown you in this post that there is a lot you can do to give your Keurig coffee maker a long and productive life. If you maintain and clean the machine regularly, it will serve you well for years. And you will be able to increase the lifespan of your Keurig coffee maker far beyond the average.
If the time comes and you need to replace your Keurig coffee maker for a new one, please consider checking out our round-up of the best single serve coffee makers on the market. You might find something you like.
Or, if you don’t feel like reading another article, click here to check out prices and availability of the most popular Keurig coffee maker on Amazon.
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