How To Empty Keurig Internal Tank? (For All Models)

Having a coffee maker at home is convenient, but that isn’t enough. It also should stay in the best working condition; for that, you need to empty the internal tank of the machine. 

Unplug Keurig’s coffee machine, empty the reservoir, adjust the floating disk, and let it drain by brewing. For a comprehensive cleanup of the internal tank, remove the drip tray and the K-cup, and disassemble the machine to access the tank and empty it. 

It is just a quick overview. To delve deeper into the cleaning process of the Keurig coffee maker, read this article till the end to discover the different ways to empty the tank for different models and how proper maintenance improves the brewing process. 

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Why Empty the Internal Tank?

Keurig coffee maker is the most popular choice for coffee lovers. 

Since it is an appliance, it will require regular care and maintenance to stay in the best condition for the long term. 

Emptying and cleaning the machine is one of the best maintenance you can give the coffee maker. 

I recall a time when I had neglected my Keurig coffee maker in terms of cleaning. 

I went on a vacation and did not empty the tank. 

When I had my first coffee after returning, it tasted too bad, and the smell wasn’t aromatic enough. 

I first thought that maybe the coffee had gone bad. 

But the taste was the same even after I bought a new coffee. 

So, I started checking my machine. Upon inspection, I found the accumulation of minerals and coffee oils. 

It explained the coffee’s weird taste and the reason behind the slow brewing. 

Over time, the machine will accumulate coffee ground remains, oils, and minerals from the water. 

Several issues will arise if not cleaned properly:

  • If not cleaned, these materials will clog your machine badly. This will further reduce the machine’s efficiency in brewing coffee. 
  • With these impurities inside the machine, you will receive a terrible taste in your coffee.
  • The machine will either slow the brewing or won’t brew. Over time, it will also struggle to pump water. As a result, the machine will overheat and damage quickly. 
  • The machine will brew very slowly, you receive only grounds, or it’s giving you very weak and less coffee. 
  • A dirty coffee maker becomes a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. It can further threaten your health, affecting your immune system, allergies, and asthma. 

It is essential to empty your coffee maker to avoid these problems, especially when not using it too long. 

Even if you are not going anywhere, emptying and cleaning the tank is essential. 

It will remove all the leftover residue, which can stay even after you use up all the water in the reservoir. 

Safety Precautions

It’s always captivating to learn something new. 

You must be excited to learn how to empty Keurig’s internal tank and increase its efficiency and lifespan.

But before you jump to the steps, you must be aware of some safety precautions. 

Following these measures will keep both you and the coffee maker safe from injuries. 

So, what are these safety precautions? Let’s see:

  • Before starting any DIYs with your machine, you should switch off your coffee machine, especially when you disassemble it. However, sometimes you may not need to unplug; it depends on the machine’s problem you have and its troubleshooting steps.
  • After you have switched off and unplugged your coffee machine, you need to give it some time to cool down if you have just used it. It will keep you from getting scalded. 
  • For thorough cleaning, you must first remove the drip tray and the K-cup, as these can give you access to some water reservoir parts. Carefully remove them without applying any force. 
  • When you tilt your machine to drain the remaining water, put some towels or cloth around the machine to catch the spills around the area. It will reduce messiness and accidents. 
  • While tilting the machine to collect the leftover water, it is best to tilt it towards the sink. Water can spill directly into the sink instead of spilling around the countertop or the floor. 
  • Avoid using sharp objects unless needed. These can damage the machine’s fragile parts and even harm you. However, you may need them to cut some ties; otherwise, do not use them. 
  • Do not blindly follow the steps and processes I have shared, especially for disassembling and reassembling. Always consult your manual owner and then go for it. 
  • While working on the internal tank, check for physical damages, frayed wires, etc. If you catch and fix these issues initially, you won’t face any issues later. It will also stop you from using the machine and prevent severe damage. 

How to empty the internal tank: No disassembling?

There are two ways to empty Keurig’s internal tank: disassembling the machine and emptying the tank without disassembling the machine. 

There are two tanks: 

  • In the outside water tank, you add cold water for brewing the coffee. In most models, this tank is detached and can be separately washed. 
  • The internal water tank is inside the machine; you cannot access it unless you disassemble it. This tank stores and provides the water needed for brewing coffee. It is a reservoir that holds enough moisture that is heated and used in brewing. 

The inside tank supplies continuous water for efficient heating and convenience brewing by pushing a significant button. 

You do not have to drain the inside water tank regularly if you are a regular Keurig user. 

It is circulated and stays clean. 

But if you are out long, drain this tank to prevent damage. 

In this part, I will discuss cleaning the internal tank without disassembling the coffee machine. 

I follow these steps for my Keurig 2.0: 

Step 1: Removing Water Reservoir

Remove the water reservoir from the Keurig, the detached one that holds cold water. 

Throw away all the water in the sink and put it back in your machine. 

Your Keurig machine will display ADD WATER. 

Step 2: Trick your machine with the floating disk 

Once you remove all the remaining water from the reservoir, it will no longer brew. 

At this point, you can trick the machine into thinking the reservoir still has some water for brewing. 

Inside the water tank, you will find a small plastic disk floating up when the tank is filled. 

The disk regulates the amount of water present in the reservoir. 

Try accessing the inside of the tank and slide up the disk with your finger till it reaches the top of the track. 

Then push and fix it in place. Put the lid of the reservoir back. 

The light will stop flashing, and the screen of your Keurig will show ADD WATER. 

Step 3: Run the Keurig without a pod

Open and shut the lid of your Keurig coffee machine as if you are loading the K-cup and selecting a size to brew. 

Do not put the coffee pod. You have tricked your machine into draining the internal tank completely and not brewing any coffee. 

So, the pod is not needed. 

Your coffee maker will brew a cup of coffee with the remaining water in the internal tank.

This will empty all the water left in the tank. 

The remaining water will be collected in the cup or the carafe.

Step 4: Discard the water 

Throw away the water dispensed from the Keurig after this brew. 

You have successfully removed all the remaining water from the internal tank when your machine’s screen should display PRIME.  

There might be a significantly less amount of water left in the tank after this technique.

If this does not work, you must go for the manual emptying method: emptying the tank by disassembling the machine. 

Emptying the internal tank for Keurig Mini, Keurig Mini Plus, or K15

YouTube video player

The steps I will share here won’t need any disassembling. Also, it will not void your model’s warranty.

You need:

  • Your coffee machine
  • Any coffee mug

So, if you have any of these models, you can try the following steps to clean the internal tank:

  1. Turn off your brewing machine but keep it plugged in. 
  2. Keep the mug or a container under the spout of the machine. Any cup will work since you won’t be drinking whatever comes out. 
  3. Lift the brewer handle as if you are loading the K-cup for the coffee, and then put down the handle. 
  4. Press and hold the BREW button until the water comes from the machine and pours into the mug. It will take around 5 seconds to drain. 
  5. Once you are done draining the tank, discard the water. 

Emptying the tank by disassembling: Manual Emptying and Draining

Here, you must disassemble the whole machine and discard the remaining water from the internal tank. 

This is a very complicated and time-consuming process. 

So, I suggest you take your time and patiently empty the internal tank successfully. 

Things you need are:

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Small zip ties 
  • Scissors 
  • Small plastic straw 

I have used these steps for my Keurig 2.0. But these can be applied to other models as well, like Keurig Classic or K40:

Step 1: Pull the pod handle and remove the screws 

You won’t be able to access the water tank from the bottom of the machine. 

So, you have to get access by removing the top section. 

You need to remove the lid of the pod compartment like you are going to put a K-cup. 

Two screws will be present on the underside of the pot compartment lid. 

Unscrew them with a flat-head screwdriver. 

Step 2: Remove the top of the coffee maker 

Once you are done unscrewing the screws, you can easily remove the top area of the Keurig coffee maker. 

This top section will have the name KEURIG on the front. 

Remove the loosened top gently by lifting it forward and upward. Now, the inner tubing of the machine will get exposed. 

Step 3: Remove the silicone tubes from the internal reservoir 

The inside of the machine will contain two tubes connected to the internal reservoir’s top. 

One will be shaped as L facing sideways and the other from the top.

Loosen the zip ties and remove the tubes. 

Hold the zip ties with the needle-nose pliers and shake them to loosen and slide them off their place. 

Now, you can either wiggle the zip ties up and off the metal attachment with the pliers or snip them off to replace them with new ties. 

Step 4: Empty the Water Reservoir

Move the brewer upside down and empty the L-shaped opening tube.

For faster cleaning, put a thin straw over the opening of the detached tube on the water tank’s top. 

It will improve the air circulation in the tube and increase the draining speed. 

Drain the tubes until there is no water left in the tank. 

Step 5: Reassemble the coffee maker

Once you finish this, it is time to reassemble the coffee maker. 

Reattach the silicone tubes after drainage. 

If you have only loosened the zip ties down, wiggle them back and secure the tubes. 

If you have completely removed them, use new zip ties and secure the tubes.

Put back the Keurig’s top section, and you are good to go. 

Another method of emptying the tank is by disassembling  

The tools needed here are:

  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Needle-nose plier
  • Phillips Screwdriver 
  • Plastic syringe or straw 

Following the manufacturer’s manual is the first step before disassembling the machine. 

The manual won’t tell you the draining process but will tell you the location of the different components inside the machine so that reassembling gets easier. 

The primary purpose is to detach the hose connecting the Keurig water tank or the reservoir to the internal pump. 

The location of the machine’s hose will depend on the machine’s model. Let’s get to the steps:

Step 1: Read the manual first

Read the manual to know the location of the hose of your Keurig model.

It will help you determine whether you need to remove the bottom or side panels. 

Once you get the right location, you can easily remove the required panel to access the hose and reassemble it correctly. 

Step 2: Remove the bottom or side panel 

Unplug the coffee machine, and let it cool down for some time. 

At least 30 minutes should be given to the machine to cool down. 

The water in the hot water tank will have the chance to cool down, and emptying will be safe and easy. 

Now take a flat-head screwdriver to remove the screws of the panel. 

Step 3: Disconnect the hose

The house is white and made of plastic. 

Disconnect this by pulling out the fitting. 

If your model has the hose attached to a cable, cut the cable with scissors or knives. 

Before cutting, carry extra ties to replace the old one and connect the hose back correctly. 

Step 4: Drain the water 

Now drain the water into a cup or a container by placing the hose end near it. 

This will take time, at least for some minutes. So, be patient and let it drain completely. 

Step 5: Reconnect the hose and reattach the panel

Once the tank is entirely drained, push the hose back into the fitting and hook it to a tie if needed. 

Check the manual about properly connecting the hose and reassembling the Keurig machine. 

Emptying the machine for long-term storage 

For long-term storage, you need to disassemble the machine. 

Gather tools: 

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Plastic syringe 

You will need 15 to 20 minutes to complete this process. 

But it is an effective method if you are planning to go somewhere for an extended vacation and want to store the machine. 

Before you consult the steps I share, consult your manufacturer manual and check that these steps suit your Keurig model. 

In this section, I will discuss cleaning the Keurig 2.0 for long-term storage. 

It is the most common model in households:

  1. A chrome ring will be present at the top back side of the machine. This needs to be detached. Lift the handle and expose this ring. You will notice 5 snaps fastening the ring at the brewer top. Remove these snaps by pushing them in and up with force.
  2. Close the handle and turn the brewer upside down. Remove the 6 screws on the bottom of the machine with a screwdriver. This will remove the entire front and side panel of the coffee pot. 
  3. Once you have inverted the brewer, open the front of your machine. If the model has silver plastic, remove it by sliding it off first. These pieces will be attached to some hooks. First, push them laterally, unhook them, and pull them outward. Apply some force and slide out the front panel.
  4. Remove the two screws from the top of the water reservoir side with a Phillips screwdriver. While removing, the only thing that holds the exterior machine will be some plastic snaps. With a flat spatula-like object, start prying the wedge between the top and side of the brewer, and separate the entire top of the brewer. 
  5. Now remove the exterior casing to see the internal components. Use some force and unsnap the exterior from the base and remove it. 
  6. Remove the water intake system by unfastening the 3 clips attaching it. When you remove these, the piece should stay disconnected from the 2 tubes attached. Water will come out, and you will see some water inside the black piece. Press the middle of the black intake piece, shake to drain the water entirely, and keep it aside. 
  7. Two screws will hold the entire water tank, the pump, and the internal filter. Remove the internal filter by unscrewing the base of the motherboard with a Phillips screwdriver. The screws are slightly smaller than the others; keep them separate and safe. 
  8. Turn the brew to the other side and remove the screw at the top of the white plastic washer connecting the whole water tank, pump, and internal filter to the base. Detach the water tank and pump assembly. Lift your machine and slide out the tank carefully without hurting the wires. 
  9. Turn the brewer back to the motherboard side and detach the filter behind it from the pump assembly. Empty the filter. Find the tube on the top of the water tank and detach it to let the air displace the water inside while draining. 
  10. Disconnect the tube leading from the pump to the water tank. At this point, water can rush out. So, direct it over a basin or sink. 
  11. Water will still be left behind in the pump assembly. Use a syringe on the entry tube to remove this leftover water from the assembly. Take a tube from the pump and connect it to the syringe at the entry at the top of the tank. 
  12. After you have reached this step, reassemble your coffee machine by following your manufacturer’s manual. Your machine is entirely empty, and it is ready for long-term storage. 

Regular Maintenance Schedule

Preparing a regular maintenance schedule for a Keurig coffee maker is the best way to keep your machine efficient in the long run. 

You can maintain them weekly, monthly, or annually. 

Or, you can follow the routine that I personally follow for my Keurig coffee maker:

Daily or weekly maintenance 

Empty the drip tray and the K-cup holder after each use. 

Please remove it from the machine, empty the residual water, and keep it back. 

It will prevent mold and bacteria growth and keep these components clean and healthy. 

If you drink coffee multiple times daily, perform the cleaning twice daily. 

Wipe the machine’s exterior weekly with a cloth to clean the spills, splashes, and coffee residue. 

It will keep the machine clean and tidy. 

Every 1-2 weeks 

Remove the detached water reservoir and wash it. 

First, empty the remaining water and then clean it with mild soap and water. 

Rinse the reservoir with fresh water to remove the soap residue and let it air dry before reinserting it. 

Monthly maintenance 

Over time, the machine will gather coffee oils and mineral residue from your water type.

Tap water contains some minerals which get deposited in the machine’s reservoir. 

If not cleaned, these minerals accumulate, block the water flow, and brew slowly. 

So, descale your machine with a descaling solution every month. 

You can also use vinegar instead of a descaling solution, followed by a good rinse with normal water to remove the vinegar smell.

Every 3-6 months

Some Keurig models will have a detached water filter in the reservoir. 

If you have one, you must replace the filter every 3 to 6 months for smooth water flow. 

Filters can trap impurities and, over time, create blockage. So, change or clean them. 

Yearly maintenance 

Consider a thorough cleaning: cleaning or replacing the water filter, descaling the machine, and removing and cleaning the other components like the K-cup, the drip tray, and the reservoir. 

You only need to clean the machine by disassembling it if you go away for a long time and leave it behind or store it. 

If you still want a thorough cleaning annually, consider doing it without disassembling it. 

Extra tips 

  • When you do not plan on using the machine for extended periods, clean it thoroughly for long-term storage and store it in a dark, cool place. 
  • Try using filtered water instead of tap water. This will reduce the chances of mineral and scale buildup and frequent descaling. 
  • Some Keurig models come with digital displays that will provide maintenance reminders. Follow these reminders and the prompts for the necessary cleaning tasks. 

Final thoughts 

Regular cleaning and descaling keep your machine good in the long run. A coffee machine not doing its job can be very frustrating, especially in the early morning.

A coffee maker has two water tanks: an external tank with cold water and an internal tank that keeps hot water ready for brewing coffee.

The external one can be easily cleaned and descaled. So, you can perform this cleaning regularly, every day or every week. 

But cleaning the internal tank takes effort. It is necessary when you are going out for weeks and leave it behind, or you want to store the machine for a long time.

Before you follow the cleaning steps I have shared, learn how to disassemble and reassemble the machine correctly and the location of the internal components.

This will help you to disassemble and reassemble the machine quickly before and after cleaning. 

Begin with the process that does not require disassembling. If that works, you do not have to disassemble it. Suppose it doesn’t disassemble the machine to clean the internal tank.

Always unplug your machine and let it cool down for 30 minutes before disassembling. Once you learn how to empty a Keurig internal tank, you can enjoy tasty and flavorful coffee whenever you want.

It will also increase your machine’s lifespan. 

How do I clean my Keurig’s water reservoir? 

To clean the cold water reservoir outside the machine, remove it and dump the lousy water into your sink. Also, you can clean it with soap or a solution of vinegar and water, followed by a rinse of plain water.

How often should I empty Keurig’s internal tank?

You do not need to do it regularly. Emptying the cold water reservoir outside (detachable one) every 1-2 weeks is enough. Draining the internal tank is needed when you go for a vacation and leave the machine behind or store it in a place that gets below freezing.

ReferenceKeurig Coffee Maker

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Jeniffer Smith

Hi, I am Jeniffer Smith, a housemaker and blogger, and I grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I have been researching and fixing appliances and other things around the home and kitchen from a young age to help my single mother. Every time something went wrong, I couldn't rest until I fixed it. And ever since, I have enjoyed fixing things around my home, and I am always ready to help my friends and family with advice and hands-on help. Since we were always looking for affordable ways of fixing things, we rarely hired experts and tried to fix most things ourselves. That interest brought me to write for this blog, as I realized my knowledge could help many people trying to fix things around their homes on their own without spending hundreds of dollars.

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