How To Descale A Keurig (Find Out)

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Your coffee machine is a modern-day marvel. You can enjoy a cup (or four) of fresh, hot coffee in minutes with just a few scoops of coffee grounds, some water, and the push of a button. We’d all be living in a bleaker, slower world if we didn’t have this indispensable kitchen staple.

But, for all that our coffee makers provide us daily, we aren’t always so good at giving them the attention they require. Even the most ardent coffee enthusiasts can go weeks, months, or even years without properly caring for their coffee machines.

However, understanding the distinction between two essential methods of coffee machine maintenance, cleaning, and descaling, is the first step toward enjoying the best tasting coffee possible and keeping your drip coffee maker, Keurig coffee maker, or Nespresso machine running at peak performance for years to come.

Your Keurig coffee maker isn’t working properly. Perhaps your coffee is weak, cold, or has an off-flavor. It appears that it’s time to learn how to clean a Keurig, or even better, how to descale a Keurig.

Coffee lovers, take note: To keep your Keurig running at peak efficiency, clean it regularly and descale it every three to six months. Whether you’re new to this or need a refresher, I’ve laid out everything you need to know about keeping your Keurig in top shape.

You have two options for descaling:

Descaling OptionsAdvantages
Keurig descaling solutionMore effective
Guarantees no lingering vinegar tastes or odors
Descaling options and their advantages

Read the whole article to know more about how to descale your Keurig.

What Does It Mean When Keurig Says Descale?

Barista man cleaning espresso machine after working day
Always watch out for the ‘Descale’ light.

The process of removing mineral buildup from a coffee maker is known as descaling.

All you need to know is that if the descale light comes on, you need to put everything aside and get into descaling your Keurig.

A cup of coffee contains nearly 99 percent water, making it one of the most important factors in brewing a good cup of coffee. All water contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which pass through your coffee machine and eventually accumulate as limescale on the heating element.

Hard water” is even more damaging to coffee machines because it contains a higher percentage of these minerals. As the heating elements in a machine are not visible, months of mineral buildup may exist without your knowledge.

Descaling should be done every 3 to 6 months, or when the descale light illuminates for select brewers.

Can I Use Vinegar To Descale?

Coffee machine liquid limescale remover. Coffee capsules and a coffee machine in the background. Closeup
Descale your Keurig regularly

Yes. You can use vinegar to descale your Keurig without worrying about any damage.

Here’s how you can clean your Keurig with vinegar:

  • Fill the reservoir halfway with a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water. Then, just like with the descaling solution, run brew cycles until it’s empty.
  • Allow the machine to stand for 4 hours instead of 30 minutes with the power on.
  • After thoroughly rinsing the water reservoir, refill it with fresh water and run brew cycles until the reservoir is empty. This extra step ensures that any remaining vinegar taste or odor is removed.

How To Descale Keurig?

Now, two things come to mind when you think about keeping your coffee maker in mint condition. First, all you have to do is regular cleaning. Secondly, you should descale your machine every 3 to 6 months when needed.

Here’s how you can clean and descale your Keurig:

Regular Cleaning Of Your Coffee Machine

Wipe down the outside of your brewer with a damp, soapy cloth to clean it.

To remove the drip tray, slide it out while being careful not to spill any excess liquid that may be inside. Then, using a cloth, wipe down the drip tray and plate.

Remove the water reservoir and lid, hand-clean them, and rinse. Remove the water filter first, and don’t dry the inside of the reservoir with a cloth—this will keep lint from getting stuck inside. You should do this once a week.

After cleaning the exterior and reservoir, it’s time to brew a cleansing brew. Fill your now-clean reservoir and place a large mug on the drip tray to accomplish this. Run a water-only brew with no K-Cups on the largest size setting. You can also do this by using a Keurig Rinse Pod instead of a K-Cup.

Descaling Your Keurig

Descale your Keurig brewer every three to six months for a deeper clean, depending on how frequently you use it. This process removes any calcium deposits inside your machine, keeping it in top condition.

Empty your brewer’s water reservoir to begin the descaling process. Then, fill the reservoir halfway with Keurig’s Descaling Solution. Fill the now-empty bottle with water and add it to the mix. Check for any leftover K-Cup pods in the brewer, then place a large mug on the drip tray and activate Descale mode.

Descale mode is activated differently depending on the model, but for the K- Supreme, you do so by turning off the brewer and holding down the 8oz and 12oz buttons together for three seconds. When the light begins to flash, press the brew button to begin descaling. Continue to press the brew button and descaling until the “add water” indicator illuminates.

Fill the reservoir with fresh water and run a cleansing brew after thoroughly rinsing it. Repeat until the Descale notification disappears.

When the Descale notification disappears, your brewer is ready to use again.

How Often Should You Descale Coffee Machine?

Automatic coffee machine cleaning
Descale your coffee machine to keep it working!

I recommend descaling your machine every three to six months.

If you do this, it can improve the quality of your K cup of coffee, prevent some of the most common Keurig coffee maker problems, and increase the longevity and efficiency of your machine.

You can now brew a cup and enjoy delicious java for years to come now that you know how quick, easy, and inexpensive it is!

What Happens If You Don’t Descale Your Coffee Machine?

Mineral scale buildup can harm your machine’s boiler, affecting your coffee in a variety of ways:

  • It’s impossible to extract the full flavor from your coffee beans if the water cannot reach its optimal brewing temperature.
  • Mineral scale buildup can clog water flow and cause a machine to stop working if not removed.
  • Your coffee will be too cold to drink.
  • So, if you haven’t descaled your coffee maker in a while, or if you’ve never descaled your machine, you’re probably drinking coffee that’s less flavorful and more tepid. And that’s assuming your machine hasn’t broken down.

Here’s a video for a better understanding of how you can descale your Keurig:

How to Descale Your Keurig with Vinegar 


There may be no easier or faster way to make a cup of coffee than by inserting a K-Cup pod into a single-serve Keurig coffee maker. However, Keurig machines, like any other coffee maker, must be cleaned and descaled to ensure that the coffee’s flavor isn’t diminished by the oily residue and that the machine functions properly.

Cleaning and descaling a coffee maker is similar. Both affect the unseen inner workings of a coffee maker, allowing it to function optimally, and both rid the machine of an unwanted substance.

However, cleaning and descaling your coffee maker is necessary to ensure that your machine continues to produce better-tasting coffee for as long as possible.

You should try descaling your Keurig machine every 3 to 6 months.

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