How To Clean A Keurig Needle (With & Without The Tool)

Is your Keurig not brewing properly? It's likely your needle is clogged. Without regular needle maintenance, it's easy to get dirt, debris, limescale, or ground coffee inside the needle hole.

A clogged needle can lead to poor-quality coffee or leave coffee grounds inside your coffee cup. It can even cause leaks.

Thankfully, it's easy to clean your Keurig needle, and I've done it countless times. In this guide, I’ll show you how to clean a Keurig needle using a specialist tool or other home supplies and let you get back to making a tasty cup of coffee.

Using a Keurig needle cleaning tool is the easiest way to clean the needle, and I recommend this method to anyone who wants the simplest way to perform needle maintenance.

All 2.0 Keurig coffee makers come with the accessory tool as standard, but you can also buy them from Keurig (or Amazon).

The Keurig brewer maintenance accessory tool is designed to fit into the K cup pod holder. It has a small container that you can fill with a cleaning solution to remove and dissolve dirt.

They make it easy to remove ground coffee, dirt, and debris from both needles in minutes.

What You Will Need:

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. 1
    Unplug the machine.
    Start by turning off the Keurig machine and unplugging it from the outlet. Open the brew head and remove any K cups from the pod holder.
  2. 2
    Fill the brewer maintenance accessory tool.
    Fill the cleaning tool with water and white vinegar in a 2 to 1 ratio. This cleaning solution will help remove dirt and debris from around the needle.
  3. 3
    Insert the cleaning tool into the pod holder.
    Place the tool in the K cup holder like you would with a K cup.
  4. 4
    Open and close the brew head.
    Pull the brew head lever to close the pod holder. The needle will go into the cleaning tool and the solution within it. Repeat several times so the cleaner can remove dirt and debris.
  5. 5
    Flush the system.
    Remove the cleaning tool from the K cup holder once all the visible dirt is gone from the needle. Run 3 brew cycles with fresh water to flush any residual coffee grounds, dirt, or cleaning residue.

Once complete, you should have a clean Keurig needle ready to brew with.

Using The Specialized Needle-Cleaning Tool On A Keurig

Lost Your Tool? (How To Clean A Keurig Needle Without It!)

Lost your cleaning tool? No problem. You don’t need a proper maintenance tool to clean a Keurig needle. Here are two effective methods I've used to clean the Keurig needle without a special tool:

Using A Paper Clip Or Safety Pin

This technique is a little more hands-on but still straightforward. Be careful around the needle because it's easily bent or damaged.

What you will need:

  • A paper clip, safety pin, or toothpick
  • White vinegar
  • Tap water

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. 1
    Unplug the machine
    Make sure the Keurig coffee brewer is unplugged, and remove the water reservoir.
  2. 2
    Remove the K cup holder.
    Lift the brew head and push underneath to remove the coffee pod holder. Turn the pod holder upside down and detach the bottom funnel to expose the K cup holder and needle.
  3. 3
    Soak the pod holder.
    Soak the K cup holder in a vinegar solution (use a 2:1 ratio of water to vinegar). This will dissolve any mineral deposits, coffee grounds, or other dirt around the clogged needle.[1]
  4. 4
    Unclog using the paper clip.
    Take a regular paper clip and straighten it out. Insert one end of the straightened-out paperclip (or toothpick or safety pin) into the needle hole and wiggle it from left to right. This will help to loosen any debris in the bottom needle. Wipe down with a cloth to remove the loosened clogs.
  5. 5
    Clean the top needle.
    Open the brew head and locate the entrance needle hole. Insert the paper clip into the hole and wiggle it gently from left to right to loosen any dirt or debris. Carefully pick out the coffee grounds and dirt so the needle is unclogged.
  6. 6
    Flush clean.
    Replace the funnel and insert the pod holder into the coffee machine brew head. Run 3 rinse cycles to flush out any residual dirt.
Using A Paper Clip To Clean A Keurig Needle

Using The Rinse Pods

Keurig rinse pods will keep your whole Keurig clean, not just the needle. I use them as part of my regular maintenance routine, and they are one of the easy methods to prevent limescale buildup.

The rinse pods look just like regular K cups you use in single-serve brewers, but they contain a descaling solution. This flushes your system, dissolving dirt and debris.

You can buy the cleaning pods separately or buy the Keurig brewer maintenance kit that includes disposable rinse pods.[2]

These are compatible with every Keurig coffee machine and offer an incredibly convenient way of cleaning needle without tool.

What you will need:

  • Cleaning pods (you can buy these from Keurig or marketplaces like Amazon)

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. 1
    Insert the pod
    Press the brew lever to open the Keurig and insert the cleaning pod into the machine.
  2. 2
    Run a cleaning cycle.
    Press the brew or clean button to run a cycle through your machine. The cleaning solution will help to dissolve dirt around each clogged Keurig needle as it flows through.
  3. 3
    Run a rinse cycle.
    Once the cycle has ended, remove the cleaning pod and throw it away. Then, run a rinse cycle to remove any outstanding cleaning solution and loose dirt in the system. You may need to run a second rinse cycle to clean it all out and stop coffee filtering through.

Why Is Keurig Needle Maintenance So Important?

Keurig needle maintenance is essential for keeping your Keurig coffee machine running.

If the needles are blocked or damaged, you won’t be able to brew coffee. It can even cause your Keurig machine to leak.

A Keurig coffee maker has two needles:

  • An entrance needle

This Keurig needle punctures a hole in the top of the K cup.

  • An exit needle

This Keurig needle punctures a hole in the bottom of the K cup, allowing hot water to flow through and into your cup once it’s mixed with the coffee grounds.

If the Keurig needles are damaged, dirty, or clogged, they won’t be able to properly puncture the K cup.

This stops hot water from mixing with the coffee grounds in the K cup, essentially stopping the brewing process.

Your Keurig coffee maker should automatically stop the brew cycle if the K cup isn’t punctured by the Keurig needle, but that doesn't always happen.

If it doesn't, hot water and coffee grounds can spill out into your kitchen, or the water pressure in your kitchen could make the K cup explode.

Keurig needle cleaning is essential for brewing consistent Keurig coffee.

Using A Paper Clip To Clean The Keurig Exit Needle

Tell-Tale Signs It's Time To Clean Your Keurig Needle!

You should perform Keurig needle maintenance every 3-4 months or whenever you clean your Keurig K cup machine.

However, if you notice any of the following, it’s a sign that your needle may be blocked:

  • You Aren’t Getting A Full Cup Of Coffee
    This is because the clogged exit needle isn’t making a hole in the K cup for water to flow through.
  • Your Coffee Mug Is Taking Longer To Fill
    The clogged Keurig needles aren't puncturing the K cups properly, resulting in the coffee coming out slowly during brewing cycles.
  • Your Coffee Doesn’t Taste As Good
    Clogged needles won't puncture the K cup properly, impacting how long the hot water interacts with the coffee grounds. This greatly impacts the taste of your cup of coffee and can make it weak or bitter.[3]
  • Your Keurig Is Leaking
    A blocked exit or entrance needle may not be able to puncture the K cups fully, causing water and loose coffee grounds to leak from your machine.
  • Your Keurig Is Making Strange Noises
    Clogged needles can cause higher pressure in the Keurig coffee pod as the hot water doesn't flow through. This can result in your Keurig spitting and making strange noises.
  • Your Keurig Has A Warning Signal
    Some Keurig coffee machines have an indicator light warning that the pressure is too high. This is usually because the clogged needles don't puncture the K cups, so hot water can't exit the coffee pod.
Keurig Coffee Machine With A Cup Of Coffee

Common Keurig Needle Maintenance Questions

Why does my Keurig needle keep getting clogged?

This is usually because of mineral deposits caused by hard water building up around your Keurig needle.[4] Regular cleaning and descaling will prevent this from happening.

How many needles does a Keurig have?

A Keurig typically has 2 needles; one to puncture the top of the K cup and one to puncture the bottom. Some newer Keurigs have more entrance needles to increase the extraction and enhance the taste.

Which Keurig has five needles?

The Keurig K Supreme and Keurig K Supreme Plus both have 5 entrance needles.

Where are the needles in a Keurig?

One Keurig needle is located in the bottom of the K cup holder to puncture the bottom of the K cup. The other compact needle is in the brew head to puncture the top of the K cup.

How do you remove the needle from a Keurig Mini?
  1. Lift up the handle to open the brew head.
  2. Firmly place a finger on each of the tabs that hold the K cup holder in place. Pull these tabs to remove the K cup holder from the Keurig mini.
  3. Use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on the underside of the brew head (where the K cup would be).
  4. Slide the top cover off to expose a small tube.
  5. Gently pull the tube until it pops off.
  6. The needle should fall out on its own once the hose is disconnected. You can then insert a puncture needle replacement.

Take Care Of Your Keurig Needle!

A Keurig needle can become clogged by foil, coffee grounds, or limescale buildup. Once blocked, it can stop your Keurig from brewing and ruin your morning cup of coffee.

Thankfully, it’s a straightforward process to clean the needles. It just takes a small object to clean the needle hole and a cleaning solution to dissolve the dirt.

Hopefully, this guide has shown you how to clean Keurig needle blockages with or without the proper needle maintenance tool, and you can brew great-tasting coffee again.


Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis is the Head of Marketing here at Barista HQ. While keeping up-to-date on the latest trends in coffee, you can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening. She is passionate about keeping you informed about what’s new in coffee.

Leave a Comment