Why Do Keurig Machines Clog Anyways?

Why Do Keurig Machines Clog

You’re in a hurry. That alarm on your smartphone didn’t go off as it was supposed to. Or maybe it did but you pushed snooze five times. And now you are late.

But, more than ever, you need your coffee, or you will not survive the day.

And now, wait, what?

Your Keurig machine is only giving you a half cup of coffee!

This is not a good start to the day. How did that happen?

If you are not following the instructions that came with your Keurig machine, it is inevitable that at some point, the machine will clog. Keurig and other k-cup devices, along with standard coffee makers, need to be descaled periodically to ensure that they continue to operate as designed.

With k-cup type machines in particular, it seems that they get clogged up with the build-up of minerals from the water and from tiny bits from the coffee grounds themselves.

So if all of a sudden, your Keurig is only brewing a half cup of coffee, it doesn’t mean that you need to throw it in the nearby dumpster and then head to your nearest barista to buy a new one. It simply means that some descaling and basic cleaning activities are in order.

K-Cup coffee makers are prone to clogs due to the calcification of of inner tubing and due to the coffee grounds that can get up into the puncture needle and even into the water discharge tubing.

More than normal coffee makers Keurig style machines need to be cleaned and descaled more often than regular coffee makers.

Keurig’s Offer Convenience to the Coffee Connoisseur

But You Have to Maintain Them!

If you find yourself frustrated because your Keurig now needs to be cleaned, try not to fret. While clogging does happen, just with any appliance, it needs to be cared for. And Keurig machines, in particular, are very lucrative kitchen appliances because of their simplicity.

Simply fill up the tank with water, pop in your pod and press start, and before you know it, your coffee will be ready. This saves you the time of having to grind your own coffee beans and is far less expensive and more time-effective than stopping at your local coffee shop.

While stopping at a Starbucks is definitely easy, it’s not always fast, and it is definitely not inexpensive. So, if you are on a budget but need your coffee to help you get going in the morning, a Keurig offers a great solution. Not only that, but k-cups tend to come in just about any flavor imaginable now. And not just coffee flavors. Your Keurig can brew apple ciders, teas, and so much more than just coffee, which means that there is something for everyone.

How to Keep Your Machine From Clogging

So, to keep your Keurig working, make sure that you follow the manufacturer instructions and clean the appliance from time to time.

In the least, you should clean the unit once every three to six months. And all you need for a quick and effective cleaning is some water, soap, and either white vinegar or a descaling solution that you can likely find in the cleaning aisle of your nearby grocery store.

Cleaning takes on average 30 minutes or less, and will ensure that you can continue to enjoy your coffee each morning, and won’t be faced with that half-cup experience ever again.

You can see this post for full instructions on cleaning your Keurig out and preventing future clogs.

Now a clogged needle is one thing but what if the problem is the lower needle? The exit needle?

What To Do If Your Keurig Bottom Needle Is Not Puncturing?

If your Keurig bottom needle is not puncturing this is sometimes the consequence of a clogged keurig apparatus but more often than not caused by damage to the needle itself.

The most common instance in which users notice a clogged Keurig bottom needle (or exit needle) is when they are brewing coffee and the stream that flows from their machine appears to be thinner or impeded in some way. Frequently there will be an excess of coffee grind that nakes it into your cup.

If you’ve noticed this problem occurring with your machine, you are in luck, for the process to clean a Keurig exit needle is simple.

Exit Needle Cleaning Process

Before you begin removing parts from your Keurig coffee maker to start the cleaning process, it is important to realize how sharp the exit needle is. This needle may be small, but one prick from its point can cause minor cuts and lacerations.

  1. To begin the exit needle cleaning process all we have to do is lift the Keurig handle to the lid.
  2. Next, we must remove the Keurig K-Cup holder assembly. This piece of the Keurig can be removed by pinching its left and right side. Slight jostling of the piece may be necessary during this step.
  3. Now, we must separate the Keurig funnel from the K-Cup holder assembly. To remove the funnel from the assembly, one must pull each piece away from each other until a faint “snap” reveals their disconnection. (Keurig users who are removing this piece for the first time may experience some difficulties)
  4. Next, one must insert a small pointed object into the needle compartment found on the bottom of the Keurig K-Cup Holder assembly. Many users find that a paperclip works best for this task. The paper clip should help to remove any debris from the needle compartment, however, if the debris in the compartment is extremely dry, this task may produced better results when performed under running water
  5. While completing this cleaning of the exit needle compartment and the K-Cup holder assembly, it may also prove to be wise to clean the Keurig’s puncture needle. This needle can be found under the Keurig lid. The same paper clip should complete this task as well.

Unfortunately if the exit needle isn’t clogged but rather bent then repair may be possible but replacement may be the best course of action.

In some cases an exit needle that is only slightly bent and not puncturing the bottom of the K-cup can simply be bent back but this weakness will probably fail eventually and a replacement of the part or machine will be necessary.

Most clogs can be remedied by cleaning and maintenance but damage is another story. Let’s look further into the diagnosis of a Keurig that is only partially clogged.

How To Tell If Your Keurig Is Partially Clogged

If your Keurig machine been shorting your cup, brewing intermittently, or not brewing fast then there might be a partial clog rather than a complete blockage?

If this does sound like your machine, don’t worry, most always these problems can be fixed quite easily just with the same cleaning procedures we’ve already discussed. In most cases these have nothing to do with the internal pumps that make a Keurig work.

Here is the standard checklist for clearing most partial clogs that happen in k-cup brewers, alternatively we have a full article here all on clearing the most common blockages in a Keurig machine.

Your Keurig Cleaning Checklist

  1. Clean and descale your Keurig
  2. Unclog your Keurig’s needles
  3. Remove internal Keurig clogs

When trying to target and remove a particular clog from your Keurig machine it is important to always complete each step on the checklist, for if your machine is already experiencing one clog it is highly probable that another has already begun to form.

Cleaning and Descaling Your Keurig

First, you need to fill your Keurig’s water chamber with a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar

Next, begin brewing with your Keurig (using a already used K-Cup over and over again if your Keurig requires a K-Cup to present before brewing).

Third, repeat steps one and two until you the machine’s water filter is empty.

Next, fill the empty water filter with cold water.

Finally, run this water through your machine until there is no vinegar left in your machine.

Unclogging your Keurig’s Needles

First, you need to open your Keurig’s lid and gather a paper clip.

Next, partially bend the paper clip until part of it is able to be inserted into the Keurig’s needle

Third, insert the paper clip into the holes surrounding your Keurig’s piercing needle

Finally, repeat these steps, though this time focus on your Keurig’s exit needle (you will have to disassemble your Keruig’s K-Cup holder from the needle compartment)

Removing Internal Keurig Clogs

Removing clogs from the inside of your Keurig machine is very simple. To begin, start by:

First, waiting for the water inside of your Keurig to cool (especially important if it was recently used).

Second, remove your Keurig’s water filter and set it off to the side.

Next, rotate your Keurig into and upside down position over your sink. The lid should be the closest part to the drain.

Finally, give your Keurig a few hefty taps on the bottom. This may sound like an elementary solution, but this treatment has been known to dislodge clogs within the Keurig’s mechanism.


Head blogger at "Top Off My Coffee Please" and lover of great coffee.

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