This article started from a question from one of our readers. Their question was, “we understand the cleaning process explained in How to Descale a Keurig but what about cleaning the entry and exit needles?”. It was something we hadn’t covered in any articles and so we thought it might be helpful to other readers to know how to clean the needles – which might help with an issue they are having with their brewer. For example clogged exit needles can be the cause of Partial Cup Brewing or Coffee Grounds Floating in Cup.

The steps below are applicable, as far as we can tell so far, to all Keurig brewers and so should work for yours.

Things That You Will Need:

  • About 10 minutes to complete the process
  • A clean metal paper clip
  • Clean running water
  • A well lit room


Step 1

Remove the portion pack holder from the brewer. You can do this by first lifting the handle up to reveal the holder. At the same time as pushing gently from the bottom of the holder (well, technically the funnel section) and pulling from the top of the holder it should pop out of the brewer.

keurig k-cup portion pack holder

Step 2

You now have to remove the funnel from the portion pack holder. Now if you have a new Keurig these two pieces might not want to separate very easily. Be firm pulling them apart, but gentle at the same time (if that makes sense).

separate needle

Step 3

Now taking the portion pack holder first, insert the straightened paper clip into the hole at the bottom of the holder. Rotate the paper clip around the hole to ensure you dislodge any clogging material like built up coffee grounds. Do note that you shouldn’t try and push the paper clip all the way through the hole as the exit needle opening is on the side of the channel, not at the end.

paper clip

Step 4

Now the portion pack holder has been “de-clogged” it’s a good idea to wash it under clean running warm water to ensure all particles are removed. At the same time as doing this you can also wash the funnel unit to also ensure it’s clear of any build-ups.

Instead of hand washing the holder and funnel you can place them in the dish washer (Keurig recommends top shelf only). However we believe a gentle hand wash it the best approach and is the method we use.

It’s important that the holder and funnel are properly dried before placing back into the Keurig and to this end we recommend leaving them to air dry thoroughly.

Step 5 (please see update below)

We now turn our attention to the entry needle in the Keurig. This is accessed from underneath the top of the head or handle unit. As you can see from the picture this is quite a sharp protrusion and so do be careful. There are two holes in the needle, on the sides, and these are the parts that need to be cleaned.

Update: June 21 2019

Having looked into this step a bit more we do not recommend it now – even though Keurig still do. The reason being on the other side of the needle is the connecting water tube, that runs through the top handle section, into the brewer’s boiler. If the needle is pushed too far up into the needle it can puncture the tube and cause it to leak; and so creating a new problem rather than solving the old one. The blockage of the entry needle is very unlikely and so the risk of this step, we feel, is greater than the potential benefit.

water tube

blocked needle

Step 6

Like we did in Step 3 take the straightened paper clip and twist it around the needle holes to dislodge any clogged material. Unlike the step 3 though we can’t take the needle out and wash it, but the cleaning of the needle is coming up in Step 8 with a water only cycle.

dislodge blockage

Step 7

So we are almost there; we now need to reattach the portion pack holder and funnel together. You will need a firm, but gentle pressure on both ends ensuring that you align the side slots before snapping it back into place. Again, it your brewer is quite new this may take a little more force when compared to a unit that has been around for a while.

Step 8

The last step just involves lowering down the brewer handle down, making sure it clicks into place. We now need to run two water only brew cycles through the brewer. This ensures that the entry needle is cleaned and any remaining particles in the exit needle are also cleared out. We just use water from the faucet, rather wasting the mineral water we often like to use in making our coffee.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments