A Paper Clip Is The Ticket To Finally Cleaning Your Keurig Needle

Despite all the methods we employ to make our perfect cup of joe, whether using a regular coffee maker, French press, or pour-over, there's no denying the simplicity of the Keurig. For those of us who are always trying to find ways to cut corners in the morning, having our coffee ready in under a minute seems too good to be true. Even those who scoff at it because of the price or environmental effects can probably see the allure.

But like any machine, a Keurig will only work as well as it's maintained and cared for. There are crevices and tiny spaces on the single-serve machine that need a bit more care and attention, such as the needle that punctures the coffee pod. If your coffee pods start to explode when you attempt to make coffee, the needle is probably clogged. You may be surprised to know that, instead of recommending that its customers buy a pack of branded cleaning supplies, even Keurig's website suggests using a clean paper clip along with a large mug and a sink.

After removing the pod holder, take the funnel out of it. Find the tube that pierces the bottom of the pod, and use your straightened paper clip to dig inside and remove any gunk or blockages. After cleaning the pod holder, lift the brewer's handle to find the entrance needle under the brew head. Again, take the paper clip and swirl it around inside, loosening and removing anything lodged inside.

Exploding pods could also mean other issues

If you've thoroughly cleaned your single-use machine and your pods are still exploding, what do you do? The answer may lie with the machine you're using.

Aldi shoppers were thrilled when the discount grocery store began selling the Keurig copycat Ambiano Single-Serve Coffee Maker for $49.99, a steep discount from the brand-name product. But exploding coffee pods expose the reason you should always read the fine print. "Mine came with a big warning that said only Keurig cups are compatible," wrote a commenter in reply to a Redditor complaining about the Aldi-brand pods exploding in their Ambiano. 

While it's possible the exploding pods were caused by the Redditor using Target and Aldi-brand pods, others pointed out that it could just be a problem with overfilled coffee pods or thicker cups that aren't getting pierced all the way. "I push the cup down good before closing the machine and open it to check the top got pierced. Sometimes the foil top or plastic cup are a little thicker," said one commenter.

If you find your coffee pod exploding when you attempt to make coffee, cleaning the needle should always be your first action, as it commonly gets clogged with coffee grounds. Using either a cleaning product or a mix of vinegar and water to clean and descale the machine should be the next step. But if you happen to have a Keurig copycat, the problem may be with incompatible coffee pods.