Keurig Says Prime And Flashing - Prime It The Easy Way [With Video]

Keurig Says Prime And Flashing – Prime It The Easy Way [With Video]

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 18:49

When you Keurig says prime and flashing it’s a sign that there is something that is restricting the normal flow of water. The blockage causing the error is a build of calcium, minerals, lime scale and coffee grounds.

It’s easily fixed with a good quality deep clean.

Keep reading and learn how to prime your machine in a way that ensures the injection lines and needles are clean and clear of all blockages.

Keurig Says Prime And Flashing – What Does It Mean?

When your Keurig says prime, it is not a problem and absolutely nothing to be concerned about. All this means is that there is something restricting the water flow in your Keurig coffee maker or that it is not pumping water like it should.

The problem is almost always a build up of calcium, minerals and limescale. In the case of the needles being clogged the cause is coffee particles, coffee grounds and a build up of coffee oil.

To fix it you need to prime it. Priming your Keurig is pretty much the same as descaling it, the only difference is a full priming process includes cleaning everything including the needles and valves, missing nothing out!

Keurig Says Prime And Flashing
Keurig Says Prime You Can Quickly Fix It

Read: How to prime a Keurig

How To Prime Your Keurig The Easy Way

The first step is to unplug your Keurig coffee maker as water and electricity is not a good mix. With a damp cloth, wipe down all the surfaces.

Remove And Clean your Keurig Water Reservoir

Remove all the removable parts from your Keurig coffee maker and clean them with soap and hot water. Pay particular attention to the drip tray, pod holder and of course the water reservoir.

Clean all parts well and pay attention to the filter screen and the water tank exit valve which are located in the water reservoir. Clean them well and poke around with a toothpick, pin or sewing needle to free any gunk that may be caught in the water tanks exit valve.

Optional: wipe all parts down with distilled white vinegar to get them very clean and fully disinfected. At Latte Love Brew, we strongly advise that you do, as matter of good hygiene.

Now is a good time to have a good look at your water filter, give it a good shake and rinse out any gunk and debris. Consider replacing it if it is very dirty.

Let them air dry naturally and put all the removable parts back in their place.

How To Unclog Keurig Needle

When you prime a Keurig you simply cannot miss this step and if you love coffee don’t dare to skip it!

As a coffee lover, the last thing you want is coffee brewed with old coffee grounds and old oils seeping into your brew.

Look out your Keurig needle maintenance tool. Fill it with hot water and put it in the pod holder. Open and close the brew head 5 to 7 times.

This is a good starting point to free built up dirt and grime.

Use an unfolded metal paper clip, sewing needle or safety pin and poke around inside the entrance needle and exit needle for a minute with each needle. This practice will free all the hard build up of dirt and grime.

Now fill your needle maintenance tool with descaling solution or 50% water and 50% distilled white vinegar and repeat the process of opening and closing the brew head 5 to 7 times.

With sponge wipe the entry needle clean, wipe the exit needle clean too.

This process will not only unclog your needles, it will get your injection lines clean and clear of everything.

Now let’s move on to priming the rest of your Keurig coffee maker and get it in tip-top condition for brewing coffee.

Keurig Needle Maintenance Tool
Keurig Needle Maintenance Tool

How To Prime A Keurig With Vinegar

This part is easy; there is nothing difficult about it. Pay special attention to letting only one eight-ounce cup of the water and vinegar solution fill at a time. This is very important to prevent your machine from overheating and tripping the thermal switch.

When that happens, you will need to take your machine apart to reset it!


let one 8 Oz coffee cup fill at a time and let your machine rest for 20 minutes.

Plug your machine back in and power it up. Fill your coffee maker water reservoir to the half full mark with distilled white vinegar and fill to the max fill line with water.

With an 8-ounce coffee cup below the coffee spout, press the brew button and let the water and vinegar solution run through your coffee machine and discard the contents of the coffee cup when it is full.

Run until your water tank is empty of the water and vinegar solution. If your machine is particularly dirty and has not been primed in a long time, you may need to run a second cycle here.

Where you are finished. Fill your water reservoir with fresh water and run several rinsing cycles to flush out all traces, tastes and scents of vinegar.

That is it, your Keurig has been primed perfectly.

How To Get Air Out Of Keurig

Getting air out of Keurig is easy, very easy. Follow the instructions for your machine.

Keurig K-Mini And K-Mini Plus And Keurig K15 Coffee Makers

Step 1: Power Down Your Keurig

Switch your Keurig brewer off and leave it plugged in.

Step 2: Put A Large Coffee Mug Below The Coffee Spout

The coffee mug is simply to collect the water that will be drained from your machine.

Step 3: Check If There Is Water In Your Cold Water Reservoir

If there is still water in the cold water tank, lift the brew handle to drain it from the cold water tank and into the hot water tank. Close the brewer handle.

Keep repeating this until the cold water reservoir is empty.

Step 4: Press And Hold The Brew Button

Press the brew button for 5 seconds for the water in the hot water tank to drain into your awaiting coffee mug. Hold the brew button until the water stops and only air comes out.

Keurig 2.0, Keurig 2.0 Plus And The Keurig K-Cup Classic Machines

When you have finished your Keurig priming or descaling. The water that is inside cannot be emptied. This does not apply to the K15 or Keurig Mini Plus models.

Remove the water reservoir and empty it.

Keurig Rivo And The Keurig K-Slim

These coffee machines do not have an internal water reservoir. You only need to drain the eternal water reservoir. Remove it and drain it.

How To Reset Your Keurig

If the prime message is still appearing, and you have run a full descale cycle twice and flushed it well and given special attention to the injection lines and needles.

Try resetting your machine. Unplug it and wait for 20 min and plug it back in is one way of resetting your coffee maker.

You can also hold down the 8 Oz and 10 oz buttons at the same time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keurig Says Prime

When your Keurig says prime, it is time to give your coffee machine a real good deep clean and descale it.

Start by removing all removable parts, the drip tray, water reservoir, pod holder etc and cleaning them with warm soapy water and focus on the valves in the water reservoir and make sure they are unclogged.

Pay attention to the water tank exit valve.

Check the water filter and if it needs replacing, replace it.

Put all the removable parts back together and prepare to clean your needles.

Seek out your Keurig needle maintenance tool, fill it with hot water and put it in the pod holder. Open and close the brewer five to seven times. This should loosen some debris, some blockages caused by the build up of coffee particles and coffee grounds.

Use a paper clip, a safety pin or sewing needle to unclog serious blockages by poking around inside the entrance needle and exit needle.

Using your needle maintenance tool, give the injection lines a good clean by filling it with descaling solution or 50% distilled white vinegar and opening and closing the brew head five to seven times.

Finally, wipe your needle clean with a damp sponge. This part is nice and clean and perfectly primed. A part that is often overlooked by coffee lovers.

Now it is time to prime (descale) your coffee machine. Fill your Keurig water reservoir with distilled white vinegar to the half way line and fill the rest with clean water.

Run a full descale until the water reservoir is empty. Once it is empty, let your machine cool down for half an hour or so. This is to make sure that you don’t trip the thermal switch.

Fill your coffee maker with clean water and flush away the traces, scents and taste of vinegar from your machine. Repeat this process 3 to 5 times to get rid of the scents of vinegar.

Viola, that is how you prime a Keurig.

No, water on its own will not clean your coffee maker. It will not remove the calcium deposits or mineral build up in the machine.

You must use a cleaning agent that is acidic to remove the build up.

Yes, but you must dilute the vinegar, preferably distilled white vinegar with water in a concentration no greater than 50% white vinegar and 50% water. A higher concentration will risk your coffee maker becoming a fire hazard.

It should take you approximately an hour to prime a Keurig (descale) and perform that high quality deep clean. Descaling and priming are essentially the same thing.

Be sure to give your coffee machine a deep clean at least every 3 months with a light clean every other week using 25% baking soda and 75% water.

Yes, there is no denying that vinegar does damage a coffee maker, citric acid and descaling solution also damage your Keurig machine. The seals and rubber gaskets are what get affected by the acidity and are easily replaced.

There is no getting around this as you really need to use a acidic compound to break down the debris and mineral deposits.

If you don’t prime a Keurig (descale it) you will end up with a flat tasting cup of coffee, one that is not brewed to a high temperature, a half full cup of coffee or all together.

Eventually your machine will fail to work as it should and refuse to brew. As soon as you see the prime message or the descale light comes on descale your coffee machine straight away.

Final Thoughts – Keurig Says Prime

As soon as your Keurig says prime, don’t wait and let the mineral and calcium build up and completely block the flow of water in your Keurig coffee maker. Get on it straight away and think of the benefits of fixing your machine – better tasting coffee! 

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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