How to Descale a Keurig?( A Step By Step Guide)

Keurig with descaling solutions
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Simple, affordable, and well-designed, Keurig products have outstanding quality. As Keurig coffee machines use K-cups rather than grounds or beans, they are easy to use and require no extra cleanup.

Keurig only requires you to press one button for your coffee to brew within seconds. In addition, you can choose from a wide variety of coffee blends and flavors to satisfy your cravings.

As much as you love your Keurig coffee maker’s convenience, it is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. So, it also requires some special treatment from you to keep it clean.

Over time, it can develop clogs that can cause the machine to malfunction. The build-up and residue in the coffee machine can cause your coffee to taste odd or damage your coffee maker permanently.

You must follow a cleaning routine to prevent mold and bacteria for your machine to run smoothly. Descaling is the simplest way to maintain your brewer’s cleanliness and ensure proper functioning.

Please keep reading to know how to descale your Keurig brewer and keep it squeaky clean.

Different Keurig Coffee Machines

Related Read: How Does A Keurig Work? (A Practical Guide)

What is Descaling the Keurig Coffee Maker?

Descaling the coffee machine removes all build-up and limescale from its internal parts.

It is a quick process of cleaning the coffee machine thoroughly using a descaling solution or a mixture of white vinegar and water. The descaling solution breaks down the gross build-up and flushes it out of the coffee machine.

When descaling the brewer, you must also detach its removable parts and clean them thoroughly.

A brewer requires descaling every 3 to 6 months or after brewing 300 k-cups. The frequency you use your coffee maker affects the timeframe for descaling it.

The more cups you brew daily, your coffee machine will often require descaling.

Keurig Machine with White vinegar
Descale Keurig coffee maker with vinegar solution

Why do I Need to Descale my Keurig?

The water in your brewer contains minerals like calcium and magnesium, which eventually accumulate as limescale on the heating element.

Primarily if you use “hard” water, due to its high mineral concentration, it is more prone to damage the brewer.

As Keurig coffee machines do not have visible heating elements, the mineral build-up can occur for months without you realizing it. The mineral substances can glitch your brewer’s mechanisms and affect coffee quality.

To avoid inconveniences, you need to descale your Keurig regularly. Descaling will not only extend the life of your appliance and keep you healthy but also ensure your coffee tastes delicious.

K-Duo™ Series (K-Duo™ Essentials™, K-Duo™, K-Duo™ Special Edition, K-DuoPlus™)

Descaling a Keurig coffee maker is no rocket science. However, depending on its model, some things might be different for your Keurig brewer, like activating the descaling mode.

So, it is better to refer to you Keurig’s user manual before starting the descaling process. If you own a K-Duo, you can perform the following method as it is.

Keurig Coffee Maker

Preparation for Descaling

Before descaling your coffee machine, you must follow some preparatory steps to get a shiny and properly cleaned one.

First, you must detach all the brewer’s removable parts: the drip tray, K-cup holder, and the water reservoir.

The drip tray collects the coffee residue dripping from the spout, which makes it damp and dirty. So, detach it from the coffee brewer to clean it.

The K-cup pod holder can contain dried coffee residue and dirt, which can block the normal functioning of the puncturing needles.

Lastly, the water reservoir holds water for your coffee for an extended period. You must remove it to clean it thoroughly, so there are no bacteria and limescale.

Once you remove all detachable parts, use a soft brush and soapy water to scrap off all the gunk and dirt. Next, wash all the removable parts under running water to remove any residue.

When you are sure the drip tray, K-cup pod holder, and water reservoir are nice and clean, let them air dry before you put them back into the coffee brewer. You can also use a non-abrasive cloth to clean and dry them.

How To Descale?

Without either adieu, let’s jump into the steps of descaling your Keurig coffee machine:

What you will need


  1. Eject the used K-cup from the coffee machine and discard it.
  2. Remove the water filter cartridge from the water reservoir.
  3. Add the descaling solution to the water tank. Follow the instructions given on the bottle of the descaling solution to prepare it.
  4. Fill the water reservoir with fresh water.
  5. Place a large mug on the drip tray.
  6. To activate the descaling mode, press the 8 and 10-oz buttons simultaneously.
  7. When the lights start flashing, press the brew button.
  8. The coffee maker will begin descaling, and all the gunk and residue will start dispensing from the coffee spout.
  9. Discard the contents into the sink and place the mug back on the drip tray.
  10. Keep repeating the process till the brewer shows the “add more water” message.
  11. Refill the reservoir with fresh water and run several cleansing cycles to remove leftover vinegar or the descaling solution.
  12. Once the water reservoir runs out of water, let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
  13. Clean the exterior of the coffee machine with a microfibre cloth to keep it clean and shiny.

Tip: If you use white vinegar to descale your Keurig, mix it with equal parts of freshwater in the reservoir. But remember not to let the vinegar sit in the coffee machine for too long as it can corrode its internal components.

Expert tips for maintaining your Keurig coffee maker:

Replacing your Keurig with a new one is not easy on the pocket, so I’m sure you would like it to last 2 to 5 years. Well, I have a few simple tips and tricks that can extend the life of your favorite coffee machine.

Descale your Coffee Maker Regularly

Now that you have all the required knowledge about descaling the coffee maker, you must perform the process regularly. Descaling your coffee machine every 3 to 6 months is the most viable option to prevent gross build-up.

However, if you are an avid coffee drinker and gulp several cups a day, you must descale your Keurig more often.

Change the Water Filter Frequently

The charcoal filter in the water reservoir purifies the water. The water filter absorbs all the minerals and chemicals from the water before the coffee maker starts brewing coffee.

Ideally, you must change the water filter every two months to maintain the coffee quality and keep your brewer running smoothly. Jump to this article to learn how the Keurig water filter works and how to replace it.

Use Filtered Water to Brew Coffee

As 98% of your coffee is water, using the correct water makes a lot of difference.

Filtered or bottled water works best for Keurig coffee machines. Filtered water improves the coffee’s taste and keeps the coffee machine free of build-up due to the low mineral content.

Using hard water which contains high mineral content will increase the chances of build-up and limescale accumulating inside your coffee machine and its water reservoir.


While Keurig coffee machines have made preparing espressos, lattes, and teas at home easier, they require some maintenance from your end.

As easy as it is to brew coffee with Keurig, it is equally easy to clean. You need to descale your brewer once every few months, and it will certainly last you 2 to 5 years.

So, if you don’t show the love and attention to your Keurig coffee machine that it deserves, don’t complain if it stops making you your special morning coffee cup.

There is no way I’d wish poorly-tasting coffee made by a smelly machine on anybody, so descale your Keurig pronto!


What is in a Keurig descaling solution?

Most descaling solutions contain citric acid as their primary active ingredient. Other chemicals are in it to stabilize the formula or remove stains and oils from the water reservoir and other parts of the brewer.

What happens if you don’t descale your Keurig?

If you don’t descale your Keurig, it will affect the brewer’s working and the coffee quality. The build-up can interrupt the water flow through the machine, and the gunk can mix up with the coffee. Not descaling your Keurig is unhygienic for your health and unsuitable for the brewer.

Is descaling a Keurig the same as cleaning it?

The descaling process uses a Keurig descaling solution to remove minerals like magnesium and calcium from the internal parts of the Keurig, like the heating chamber and the water tubing. On the other hand, cleaning your Keurig involves removing built-up coffee oil residue and eliminating rancid contaminants.

Can I use white vinegar to descale my Keurig?

Yes! White vinegar is a good substitute for a descaling solution. You can use equal parts white vinegar with water to remove calcium deposits to descale your Keurig. 

How do I clean the needle on my Keurig without the accessory?

You can use a paper clip or a sewing needle to clean the puncturing needles. Straighten the paper clip, insert it in the needles, and then wiggle it around gently to scrape off the dried dirt and coffee grounds.

How do I clear the descale message on my Keurig?

If you have descaled your brewer and it still shows you a descale message, there are a few things to fix the issue. First, add more water and run several brew cycles to rinse off the descaling solution thoroughly. Secondly, you can fix this issue by exiting the descaling mode. To do so, press the same buttons that you did to activate the descaling mode. If the problem persists, reset your Keurig.

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