An unfortunate complication of the convenient coffee-making Keurig is how inviting these machines seem to look to ants. Ants come for the warmth, stay for the water, and may even feed on the coffee grounds.
Finding ant trails around your Keurig may be unsettling, but spitting out a wriggling creature that was floating in your coffee can be downright unnerving. To get rid of them, you’ll need to first de-ant your Keurig and then thoroughly clean it.
Here is our step-by-step guide to take care of ants and keep them out for good.
Why Are There Ants in My Keurig?
Finding a swarm of ants in your Keurig coffee maker can be just as nasty as finding weevils in your rice or moths in your closet.
Keurigs are chock full of crevices and orifices that ants can disappear into. This can make it almost impossible to find every last crawler.
None of the models are completely sealed, and ants have a way of sneaking into the tiniest cracks and ending up in your coffee. Even if you finally manage to get rid of every last ant, you’ll also have to find a way to keep the next wave out, or you may wake up the next day to a whole new batch.
Keurigs and other kitchen appliances seem to attract more than their fair share of ant infestations. Ants are drawn to dark places they can squeeze into and shelter. Some species detect the magnetic waves around electric cables, and some just love the warmth that emanates from certain appliances, especially when the weather gets a bit crisp outside.
Ant activity in and around electrical devices can end up damaging the wiring and even cause short circuits in your whole building.
Careless cleaning customs can also contribute to ant epidemics. Besides the inviting coffee grounds, if your Keurig is located in a busy kitchen or you use it with dirty hands, all kinds of food particles can find their way into the machine’s innards. There’s nothing an ant colony loves more than a dark, warm cave lined with food residue.
Another thing that brings ants to your Keurig is the plentiful water. Ants can live for a while with no food, but they need a regular supply of water to stay alive.
Your Keurig also needs a regular supply of water. Even if you leave the tank empty, there will usually still be water in the inner reservoir.
If you use tap water in your Keurig, ants may also go after the calcium deposits that build up in the machine over time. That makes a good case for regularly descaling your device to get rid of the deposits.
How To Get Rid of Ants in a Keurig Coffee Maker
Here are a few ideas you can try to help manage light ant presence or root out heavy infestations.
What You Need
- Spray bottle
- Dish soap
- Large freezer bag
- Peppermint oil
- Lemon juice
- Black pepper
- If there are only a few ants in and around your Keurig, start by using a natural spray. We don’t recommend using commercial ant sprays around your coffee machine because the strong odors can affect your coffee experience, and some of the chemicals can harm your health.
- Fill your spray bottle with a solution of vinegar and water, and use it to douse the area around your machine. If you find vinegar too distasteful, you can mix the water with other natural ant repellants like lemon juice, cinnamon, peppermint oil, black pepper or cayenne.
- For heavier infestations, start by moving the machine to stop the ant flow. Put it in the sink, or carry it outside before you start cleaning it.
- Empty out all the water from both the tank and the inner reservoir as well as any coffee grounds, beans or pods.
- If you don’t want to take the Keurig apart, seal the whole thing into a large freezer bag, and put in the freezer for a couple of days. You’ll have to find another temporary source of life-giving brew, but after a few days of freezer temperatures, your Keurig should be free of live ants. Skip to step nine.
- If you don’t mind a few screws, you can instead disassemble your Keurig into as many pieces as possible using your screwdriver.
- Clean all the pieces with dish soap and water.
- Put the Keurig back together, and take a second to admire your work.
- Fill the reservoir with half water and half vinegar, and run a descaling cycle to flush out any ants in the tubes or tiniest parts you couldn’t reach. You should be regularly descaling your Keurig anyway, so this step counts as part of your routine maintenance.
- When the descaling is done, empty the reservoir, and fill it up with fresh water.
- Run through a normal cycle with nothing but plain water to rinse out the machine.
- Your Keurig is now 100% free of ants. All that’s left to do is keep them from returning.
How To Prevent Ants Coming Back
Although your Keurig is now clean, somewhere, there’s an ant nest that knows its location. You may want to set it up in a new place just to wipe the ant GPS of this valuable knowledge.
Keep the Keurig as clean as possible. Dump out the used coffee grounds immediately after making a batch of coffee. Wipe down the surface every time you use the machine, and lift it up to clean the counter underneath and around it with your favorite water and vinegar or lemon juice solution.
Even if you go full Mr. Clean on your machine, ants may still be drawn to the warmth. You can keep them out by sprinkling nontoxic diatomaceous earth under and around it once the counter dries.
It may also work to draw a chalk circle around your Keurig, either on the counter or around the bottom of the machine itself. Ants don’t like chalk because it covers up the pheromone odors they use for navigation.
You can also use the spices we talked about earlier. Put a bowl of cinnamon or cayenne beside your coffee maker, or sprinkle black pepper around the perimeter. This will at least keep your kitchen ants away from the Keurig. Finally, keep your countertops and floor as dry and free of food particles as possible.
All of these tips, however, really only address the symptoms of the problem. To fix the problem, you’ll need to take care of the ant source.
Look for ant trails around your kitchen. They might be under the sink, on the walls, or in your pantry. See if you can find gaps in your baseboards that ants are using as a back entrance and seal them or lightly dust them with diatomaceous earth.
You can use bait stations with boric acid placed strategically around your kitchen to get at the nest. This works better than spraying the ant trails because the ants will take the bait back to their nest, where it can work its magic on the whole infestation at once.
Your Keurig can be a handy source of warmth, shelter, and water for kitchen ants. To get them out, you can either take your machine apart and clean its guts or put them in a freezer bag in your freezer for a few days.
Make sure to descale the Keurig after rinsing it out. To keep the ants out, clean your Keurig regularly, and leave ant-repelling spices or liquid solutions nearby.
If you suspect you have an ant nest somewhere in your kitchen, use boric acid bait stations to solve the underlying problem.