Recently my family passed down the first Keurig we ever got. I'm pretty sure it's the first one. Here's a pic I found from the great Google.

Anyways, I have been using it to fill my travelers mug before i go to work and it has been taking a long time. Sometimes it will fill my mug almost all the way up, sometimes it won't even hit half way. And it is extremely slow.

I have tried many different K-Cups but they all seem to have the same effect.

Any suggestions?

8 Answers 8


Due to the age and usage of your Keurig machine, I would say that you are experiencing two possible problems - one at a time or perhaps both.

The Problems:

  1. The motor in the pump in your Keurig machine may simply just be getting worn out. If this is the problem, you should be able to hear it struggling to pump water out through the K-Cup. If you need a comparison, try comparing it to a newer model and see how it sounds. If de-scaling (see next problem) does not work, then you may need to replace the motor/pump. It may just be easier at that point to buy a new Keurig machine.

  2. The machine seriously needs to be de-scaled. I would recommend running a solution of 25% lemon juice and 75% water through the machine. Make sure to run around 250 - 500 mL (about one to two cups) of this solution from the tank all the way through to a cup. Then rinse with atleast 1 L of of normal water (about 4 cups).


As I have stated in other answers, breathing the fumes from this can be extremely dangerous for your mucosa (parts of the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, respiratory tract, and lungs). Do not breathe in the steam or fumes.

This is not a huge concern with lemon juice (which is why I recommend it), but if you were to use vinegar or a commercial de-scaler, this would be a huge concern.

Just be smart about it. You don't want to end up with permanent damage to your respiratory tract.

Other possible problems (harder to fix):

It could be possible that a seal somewhere in the pump has worn out and air is entering the system as it is being pumped. This would involve replacing a seal and taking the machine apart though.

There may be some other component, that I can't think of, that is damaged. Try the above solutions and leave a comment. Let me know if anything works.

  • 1
    I've never heard of using lemon juice; do you have a reference on that? Make sure your lemon juice is thoroughly "strained" so that you don't have pulp chunks trying to go through the machine! I use distilled white vinegar and it generally works fine enough. Certainly a good idea not to breathe the fumes, though. +1 thorough!
    – hoc_age
    May 29, 2015 at 16:55
  • I have used distilled white vinegar as well, but it only lasts a short period of time. :/ @hoc_age
    – NealC
    Jun 1, 2015 at 20:59
  • @NealC You may then try a commercial descaler. You can find them in many major grocery stores. Jun 2, 2015 at 15:45
  • 1
    Citric acid is far more cost effective than lemon juice, has no pulp, and IS what most "commercial descalers" are - vasty priced up from buying a bag of it in the spice aisle at your asian or indian market. 5g to 100 g water is roughly "lemon juice strength." It is a "stronger" acid than acetic (vinegar) so more effective at descaling (and again, cheaper than vinegar, too)
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 1, 2017 at 1:11

I used white vinegar also, but ran two cups of vinegar solution (about half water and half vinegar) through to a large cup, then left the solution in the machine overnight. In the morning I ran a full reservoir of water through the machine to get the vinegar out and it worked like a charm. Keurig states not to use vinegar, but I found no problems after doing this several times.

  • I wonder if there's a benefit to leaving it soak overnight. I also wonder why the manufacturer suggests not to use vinegar. Commercial de-scalers are often based on various acids, such as citric acid-based Dezcal. I wonder why vinegar (acetic acid) isn't recommended; maybe simply for the reasons that PatrickSebastien mentions above.
    – hoc_age
    Jun 25, 2015 at 14:47
  • I would think it may be financial since the de-scaler is made by Keurig. I also saw the video that shows the instruction and they suggested leaving the solution in the machine at least 30 minutes. I guess it would give it time to dissolve the scaling. Jun 26, 2015 at 15:42
  • I'll try the solution and then let you know if it worked. :)
    – NealC
    Jun 29, 2015 at 14:37

While all of the above are good recommendations, before you chuck your machine please check the reservoir filter. Mine was having the exact same problem, motor struggling, producing smaller than usual cups of coffee. We took the bottom off and cleaned out the internal filter as we saw on YouTube, didn't help. Descaled it, didn't help. Then simply ran the reservoir filter under the tap for a minute or two and it completely resolved the issue. I didn't remove the filter first either. I usually go against Keurigs recommendation and use tap water in my machine everyday, just had a build up of something in there!


I too, have a Keurig which was probably one of the first ones that came out. A while ago, it started only spitting out a few drops of coffee.

I descaled (something I had been doing regularly anyway). I cleaned the needle. I punctured a hole in the k-cup before starting the brew. This seemed to work for the first cup of coffee and then it would be back to clogging up.

Today, I finally figured out why.

This spring, I started saving the coffee from the pods for my garden.

Yesterday, I bought a different brand of coffee and on the 2nd cup, the machine clogged. When I emptied the coffee from the pods, I noticed the pods were packed with coffee and the pod from morning still had liquid in it at supper time. No wonder the machine clogs. The coffee is so packed into the pod that the water can't run through it.

I cleaned the needle, ran a few cups of water through it and tried my old brand of coffee. The machine worked just fine. I put in the new pod and once again, the machine clogged.

While I may have figured out what was causing the problem, I don't exactly know how to resolve it as there is no way of knowing how much coffee is in the pod before I buy them. The only solution it seems, is to stick to a brand of pods that does work.


It is not against Keurigs recommendations to use vinegar. They actually recommend it on their site in some sections. Link

  • 1
    If you can please quote the relevant portions. Links rot after a while.
    – Mayo
    Mar 8, 2016 at 22:57

My Keurig began running slower and slower. It seemed to take a long time for the pump to fill the internal reservoir as evidenced by a slow rate of decline of the water level on the external reservoir. It turned out to be a clogged screen on the outflow at the bottom of the external reservoir (note not the screen in the removable filter). Time went from 60 seconds to brew a medium cup to 27 seconds once I cleaned it with a basting brush under running water.


Our three year old Keurig suddenly started to run very slowly and produce only a partial cup of coffee. I tried all of the recommended fixes, even taking the upper check valve out and soaking it in vinegar. Cleaned all the needles and outlets with no success. We bit the bullet and bought a new Keurig and… it ran exactly the same way. I then remembered one person commenting online that there was a problem with her K-cup. I purchased a 12 pack of Green Mountain K-cups, reasoning that since Green Mountain is the parent of Keurig they should know how to make good K-cups. It worked!!! Flow was fast and the quantity of coffee was as expected.
The problem started at the same time we purchased an order of Donut House K-cups online. Same brand that we have used for a couple of years. I believe the paper filter in their K-cups is now more restrictive as there is a large amount of liquid left in the used K-cup. So now we use the same K-cup for two passes on the Keurig. Usually two identical medium size settings work best. Still have to use up over 200 of the faulty Donut House K-cups and when gone no more.

  • Is this an answer to the OP?
    – Mayo
    May 7, 2018 at 18:22

For people who have clogging pods who have well water and a water softener that CAN be your problem. The salt ions from the water being softened react with the coffee in the pod and it gums up the inside of the k-cup causing no flow and rupturing pods with coffee grounds in your cup. Just for the heck of it try using bottled water for a while and see if that solves your problem.

  • 1
    Interesting! As someone used to municipal water lines, I would have never thought about that. That said, I am not sure whether this really answers the question? The asker has trouble with various posts and irregular appearance of the described issue?
    – Stephie
    Nov 23, 2020 at 11:16

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