The needles on your Keurig machine are just as important as any other part when it comes to brewing the perfect cup of hot beverage.
Without proper maintenance, they can easily retain coffee grinds which can lead to clogging and therefore and inefficient brewing cycle. In other words, you get cups that are filled only half-way through or those that are not filled with any beverage at all. No jokes!
So you want to make sure you’re cleaning the entrance and the exit needles on the machine on a regular basis in order to avoid such problem. This guide shows you exactly how to accomplish that.
How to clean Keurig needles
Here are the steps for cleaning the needles on a Keurig machine.
Step 1: Turn off and unplug the keurig brewing machine.
Step 2: Lift the handle of the keurig and remove the K-Cup Pack Holder Assembly.
Step 3: Detach the funnel at the bottom by pulling on it until it pops off.
Step 4: Straighten the outer end of a paper clip and insert it into the projection.
Step 5: Work it around in a circular fashion until the clog loosen up and the bits fall out.
Step 6: Run the K-cup Pack Holder and the funnel under running water to remove any remaining clog.
The steps above are for cleaning only the exit needle on the Keurig brewer. Below, i discuss in details, how you can properly clean both the entrance and exit needle of the machine. They’re pointy and super sharp by the way, so remember to be on alert at all times.
Cleaning Keurig needles
It is extremely important that you power off the keurig machine before any cleaning or maintenance to eliminate the risks of shock. After turning off the machine and unplugging, allow it to cool completely before attempting to remove any part for cleaning. It should take at least 10 minutes.
Remove the K-Cup Pack Holder Assembly
This is simply the holder for your brew pods. It’s made of two parts which is the pack holder itself and a little funnel attached to this holder from the bottom.
To remove the assembly from the brewer, lift the brewer handle and then push the bottom of the holder with one hand while simultaneously grasping and pulling at the top of the holder with the other. (I wanted to say another, but i figured out you had only two hands).
This should quickly release the K-Cup holder in no time. If you’re attempting this for the first time on your machine, it might take some extra effort to release the holder, but make sure you go as gently as possible to avoid causing damage to the parts.
When putting back the holder, use the two front ribs as a guide to help you align and snap it back in place.
Detach the Funnel
Remove the funnel attached to the bottom of the K-Cup Pack Holder Assembly by pulling on it with slight force. It should pop right off. The opposite of snapping should be done when attaching it back to the holder.
Clean the exit needle
Now you should have a K-Cup pack holder with a little plastic projection on its end. That’s the end you should use for the cleaning process and not the inside, as the needle’s pointy end is faced up from within and it can easily cause you an unexpected injury.
To clean the needle, you will need a paper clip or any other tool that shape and sturdies similar to it, i.e a needle. Straighten the outer end of the paper clip and gently insert it into the hole and work it around in a circular fashion until all the clog particles loosen up and most of them fall out through the hole.
You can shake the holder with your hands (directly under a trash can or a paper or a rag) to empty the remains of the clog particles in there.
Wash the K-Cup pack holder assembly
After you’re done unclogging the exit needle, it time to finish up the cleaning. To do that, place both the K-Cup pack holder and the funnel you detached from it under a faucet gushing out running water in order to remove any grounds stuck from within them.
Both part of the assembly are also safe to put in the dish washer, but at the top shelf of the dish washer and using low temperature cycles. This is the safest option for plastics as delicate as they are. You may not see that from outside, but they definitely are!
Clean the entrance needle
Once you’re done with the exit needle, you want to clean the entrance needle as it too can build up clogs from grind particles and result in a blockage.
The entrance needle is fastened directly to the Keurig handle, so it goes up when you lift it. To clean the needle, use the same needle and carefully insert it into the hole and work around in a circular fashion to unclog the needle.
For this needle, there’s no need to clean with water. It’s not like you can do so after all.
Allow all washed components to dry completely, and then proceed to fix them back in place. There you go, a Keurig brewing system with needles as clean as those on a hospital syringe.
With your Keurig device, you want to be sure you’re cleaning the needles as often as you’re cleaning other detachable and cleanable parts such as the water reservoir, the Drip tray and the Drip tray plate.
The ideal frequency is once every week — and you might want to consider replacing the standing water in the reservoir at least every three days.
As for how to prevent the needles from getting clogged, you really can’t, because they will eventually. But you always run a hot water brew cycle (without using a K-Cup pack in the holder) to minimize the frequency of clogging.
To run a hot water brew cycle:
Step 1: Raise the handle on the Keurig brewer.
Step 2: Lower the handle on the brewer without inserting a K-Cup pack. Make sure the water reservoir is properly attached to the system and that it’s filled only up to the recommended limit to prevent overflow. The blue brew buttons on the Keurig machine should flash after this.
Step 3: Place a mug or cup directly on the drip tray and then press the brew button.
Step 4: You should get a hot water brew inside the mug accompanied by some residual grounds present inside the needles.
There you go, a hot water brew cycle which trims off most of the clog particles present in the needles and prevent fast accumulation of them which can lead to blockage.
You should do this after brewing packs, especially after using the hot cocoa K-Cup pack according to the Keurig manufacturer.
If you have a Keurig 2.0, you can easily save yourself the stress (i really don’t see any) by purchasing and using the Keurig brewer maintenance accessory instead. It can help you clean needles effortlessly and efficiently.