Keurig MINI Care and Feeding: Cleaning and Basic Maintenance

Wait, didn’t I buy this thing so I could be lazy and not have to clean anything?

As trouble-free as they are, every now and then your Keurig Mini requires some minor cleaning and maintenance. Here’s how to get years of service out of any Keurig model:

Coffee oils

Coffee oils are not as big an issue with your Keurig Mini (or any other single-serve model) as the coffee brew process takes place inside a disposable pod. Unlike regular coffee makers, the pod does not see the oil buildup over time like a filter basket. But just because the coffee may not reside in the machine directly or through a basket does not mean that it is immune to residue issues-largely scale buildup.

What is scale?

Scale is a collection of deposits in water that is composed mainly of calcium carbonate and calcium sulfate. These look like whitish solids on the surface of anything coming in contact with water. Over time scale can affect the heating element in your machine causing it to be less efficient. For those with high mineral deposits or hard water in their drinking water supply here’s a tip: Place a clean glass marble in the Keurig’s water reservoir. Any mineral deposits that would normally accumulate inside the water reservoir will instead build up on the marble. Occasionally remove the marble and replace. Obviously this is simpler with the other models instead of the Keurig Mini in that the reservoir is removable. For the Mini you can leave the marble in the container tray where you first pour the water in.

Cleaning your Keurig Mini

C’mon, folks, do us a favor: When cleaning always remember to unplug the device first. Take that one step. You have probably read this in dozens of appliance manuals but it is extremely important! All electric coffeemakers on the planet are designed to have both electricity and water working side-by-side. The Keurig Mini is no exception-and this danger is so easily avoided. This is also the time to check and make sure the cords don’t have any damage. Cords can become damaged by being near the water reservoir and getting drips or spills. Damaged cords can lead to coffee maker failure or even (gasp) electrocution.

Back to cleaning. Always remember it’s better to start with a mild form of cleaning before moving to harsher methods. You don’t need to use any tough detergents. For all single-serving coffee makers out there you can use warm water only or warm water and mild dish soap to clean the exterior. As you always hear use a soft cloth or paper towel to leave minimal residue and not scratch the surface.

For the interior, you can treat your mini Keurig just like a regular coffeemaker. On the Keurig’s with an LCD screen you’ll get a message telling you it’s time to “De-scale.”  Keurig Mini doesn’t have a screen so you’ll just have to remember to do this routine once every six months.  This will remove any scale or hard water deposits inside the reservoir and around the heating element. Over time these can build up and cause the machine to run inefficiently or not heat up to the proper temperature.  You’ll never have to worry about it if you just do this twice a year and you’ll avoid getting the “De-scale” alert on the upper models.

Here’s what you do:  Pour a mixture of one cup of white vinegar and five or six cups of clean water into the reservoir. And c’mon, don’t get cute and use red wine or apple cider vinegar. Just white vinegar and filtered water is best.  Run him through the brew process and either use use an old, spent coffee pod or no pod at all.

Cycle the machine two or three times with the vinegar solution until empty and then add clean water only to the reservoir.   Run the machine now through at least three cycles (I’ll do up to six sometimes) with just the clean water.  Repeat the process until there is no vinegar smell in the hot water you’re dumping out. Believe us, not even the finest coffee pod can overcome a hint of vinegar!

So we’re done?

Yes, and keep your Keurig Mini happy once a month and he’ll keep you happy every day. It’s extremely easy and that’s the reason we bought these guys in the first place.

Check out my Keurig mini plus review