How to Use Keurig Rinse Pods?

Keurig includes rinse pods as part of their brewer maintenance kits. However, many Keurig owners aren’t sure which parts these cleaning pods are meant to clean and how often they should be used. You may also be wondering whether they serve the same purpose as Keurig’s descaling solution or not.

To understand what Keurig rinse pods are and what exactly they do, you need to know their ingredients and how the pods work.

What is a Keurig rinse pod?

Keurig rinse pods are cleaning containers that resemble normal K-Cups and are used to clean the K-Cup holder. They not only clean the K-Cup holder area but also get rid of any leftover flavours that might be carried from previous brews to your current brew. Each pack of Keurig rinse pods contains 10 pods, with each pod meant to be used only once.

Keurig rinse pods contain the following ingredients: sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, maltodextrin, and sodium citrate. Each of the ingredients and their effects is discussed further below:

Sodium bicarbonate

Also known as bicarbonate of soda, or simply baking soda, sodium bicarbonate is a compound that’s commonly used in cleaning products like Keurig rinse pods since it’s a mild abrasive. This slightly basic compound can, therefore, effectively dislodge built-up grime and grease from the walls of your pod compartment.

Citric acid

Citric acid is a plant-based cleaning agent that’s great at scraping off calcium buildup, hard water stains, and corrosion from surfaces. It’s also a chelating agent and general sanitizer. Unlike acetic acid-based cleaners, citric acid doesn’t have an intense residual smell, making it great for cleaning Keurig pod holder compartments.


Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that’s used as a binding agent in cleaning products. It’s also commonly used as a stabilizer for emulsions.

Sodium citrate

This compound is a sequestrant which works to reduce the amount of cleaning solution needed to clean appliances, resulting in a more efficient cleaning process. The sequestrant captures magnesium and calcium ions, thus preventing the ions from interfering with the surfactants in the rinse pods.

How to use Keurig rinse pods?

To prevent carry-over flavour and get rid of residue/oil in the pod holder compartment of your Keurig coffee machine, follow the steps outlined below:

Add water to the tank

Plug your Keurig brewer into the wall unit. Then, fill the water reservoir with fresh water to the max fill line and replace it in the Keurig unit. Power on the Keurig to start heating.

Insert a rinse pod in the pod holder

Place a large collecting cup on the drip tray. Then, lift the brewer handle and insert a Keurig rinse pod inside the K-Cup pod holder. Next, lower the handle to close the pod holder section before starting the brew cycle.

Start brewing

Press the 8-ounce cup button to start brewing. The ingredients inside the rinse pod will break down oil and grime residue inside the pod holder and the exit spout and clogs on the exit needle.

Remove the used rinse pod

Once done, discard the water dispensed inside the large collecting mug. Also, don’t forget to lift the handle and remove the used Keurig rinse pod. Lower the handle and dispose of the spent rinse pod.

Run a water-only brew cycle

Return the collecting mug to the drip tray and run another cleansing brew, this time using only freshwater. Run one or two water-only rinse cycles to eliminate any residual odour from the rinse pods. This is the final step and the beverage you brew afterwards should have a pure flavour with no hints of carry-over flavour contamination from previous brews.

When do I use cleaning pods + How often?

Ideally, you should use Keurig rinse pods once a week to eliminate the oil and residue that’s building up inside your pod holder compartment. Such buildup can cause clogging issues down the line and should be removed occasionally.

However, you don’t have to wait a week to use these cleaning pods. If you’re worried about the flavour of a previous brew affecting the taste of your next brew, you can use a rinse pod to prevent such flavour contamination before brewing.

Note: If you’re fond of brewing different types of beverage flavours, you may want to use Keurig rinse pods more often to avoid flavour carry-over. 

Do Keurig rinse pods descale?

Keurig rinse pods only clean the brewer section and the drip tray. They won’t get rid of limescale buildup in your Keurig coffee maker’s inner passages and heating compartments. To descale a Keurig, you need a descaling solution instead.

Rinse Pods Vs Descaling Solution

Keurig rinse pods differ from descaling solutions in terms of purpose, frequency of use, residual smell, and ingredients.

The table below summarizes the differences between rinse pods and descaling solutions:

Rinse podsDescaling solution
Used for cleaning the pod holder compartment and needlesUsed for cleaning and descaling the water reservoir and the internal heating components
It should be used for regular cleaning once a weekIt should be used for descaling every 3-6 months
Leave little or no residual odour that can be eradicated with a single water-only rinse cycleIt leaves behind a strong residual smell that needs to be rinsed off through multiple, water-only rinse cycles
Contain citric acid, sodium citrate, bicarbonate of soda, and maltodextrinContains citric acid, silicic acid, bleaching/phosphates agents, and water


Keurig rinse pods are only meant to clean the pod holder section of Keurig brewers. On the other hand, the Keurig descaling solution is formulated and designed for cleaning and descaling the entire brewer, including the water reservoir and the internal passages.

Frequency of use

Keurig recommends using their Keurig rinse pods to clean and descale the pod holder section once every week. By comparison, they recommend that their descaling solution should be used every 3-6 months to get rid of limescale buildup inside the entire brewer.

Residual smell

The residual odour of rinse pods isn’t as intense as that of the descaling solution. As such, you only need to run 1-2 water-only brew cycles to get rid of residual odour after cleaning with rinse pods. By comparison, to get rid of the residual smell after descaling a Keurig coffee machine with descaling solution, 2-3 water-only rinse cycles are recommended.


Keurig rinse pods and descaling solutions also differ by ingredients. Rinse pods contain citric acid, sodium citrate, bicarbonate of soda, and maltodextrin. By contrast, the Keurig descaling solution contains citric acid, silicic acid, bleaching/phosphates agents, and water.


I. Keurig rinse pods

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