Easy Fixes For Keurig Still Says Descale After Descaling

keurig still says descale after descaling
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A delicious cup of coffee first thing in the morning sounds like a great idea for coffee lovers. Keurig coffee machine is ideal for a quick caffeine fix because it is convenient and makes excellent coffee, but what if it gives up on you suddenly?

Being an electronic appliance, Keurig can cause unwanted trouble at any time. You may hear strange gurgling or vibrations from your Keurig, and the descale indicator turns on.

However, it doesn’t mean it has broken; it might just have some maintenance issues that require immediate attention.

Lime deposits and dirt clogging Keurig parts can cause the machine to brew incomplete cups or even stop brewing altogether. When scale and grime build up inside Keurig’s internal components and create a restriction in water flow, a ‘descale’ light is displayed.

If your Keurig machine still displays the descale message even after you have descaled it, we have several reasons for figuring out the issue in this article.

Read on to find an easy solution to fix your Keurig.

Key Takeaways!
  • Descaling is an essential and critical part of the coffee brewing experience.
  • Keurig requires descaling every three to six months to ensure good coffee and the long life of the brewer.
  • The descaling light indicates an ongoing issue with your Keurig that requires your immediate attention.
  • You must detect the problem behind the descaling light turning on to troubleshoot.
  • You can make a homemade descaling solution using white vinegar or citric acid if you don’t want to buy a commercially made one.

What is the purpose of Keurig’s descale light?

Keurig coffee makers have a descale light, which indicates that your coffee maker needs cleaning when it turns on. It can happen when calcium or dirt accumulates in the machine’s inner parts, clogging it up and causing the light to come on.

keurig descaling light

Regardless of the reason, if anything interrupts the water flow in your Keurig, the descale light will turn on.

What reasons behind Keurig’s descaling light on and their solutions?

There can be several reasons your Keurig is showing a descaling light. The following are some reasons and their solutions to fix them.

1. You are Using Hard Water in your Keurig

Using hard water can be why your Keurig showcases a descaling light.

hard water minerals and it's effects
Image Source: newatersofteners.co.uk

A process called scaling occurs when hard water passes through the machine. Scaling is the accumulation of calcium and other sediments in the internal parts of the coffee machine.

We recommend using fresh water for your Keurig. Using correct water will not only make better-tasting coffee, but it is also helpful for the coffee machine to work correctly.


When hard water causes accumulation of limescale in your Keurig, the best possible solution is to descale it.

Descaling is the process of eliminating the calcium and magnesium residue from the internal parts of the coffee machine. This gunk can affect the water flow in the device, causing trouble in its performance and coffee quality.

For descaling, you can use Keurig descaling solution or vinegar. Follow the Keurig descaling solution bottle instructions to prepare the descaling agent.

For vinegar, mix it with equal parts of water in the water reservoir.

Watch this demonstration video of the Descaling process or follow the steps written below.

Descaling Method

The steps to descale your Keurig are:

  1. Unplug your Keurig.
  2. Remove the water filter.
  3. Eject the discarded K-cup.
  4. Pour the descaling solution and water into the water tank. Follow the instructions on the descaling solution to prepare it correctly.
  5. Turn on the coffee machine.
  6. Put an empty cup under the spout.
  7. Run a complete cleansing brew by pressing the 10 oz button.
  8. Empty the contents collected in the cup and repeat the process till it indicates “add more water.”
  9. Let the coffee machine sit for about 30 minutes.
  10. Add fresh water to the reservoir and run a few more brew cycles without a K-cup.
  11. Now your Keurig has no residual limescale or descaling solution, which can affect the taste of your coffee.
descaling keurig

2. The Exit Needle isn’t Clean

There is an exit needle on the inside of the K-cup holder. The needle punctures through the K-cup foil and into the ground coffee within.

If you neglect its maintenance, with time, the residue from the coffee ground will create gunk in it, which results in its clogging.

If the exit needle is clogged, you may hear your Keurig making a spluttering noise. It may cause the coffee to disperse at a slower rate, and it can also cause the K-cup to leak.


To keep the Keurig exit needle clean regularly, we recommend cleaning it once a month.

If you have a Keurig 2.0, there is a specific cleaning tool that you can use for it. This video explains the cleaning process using the Keurig maintenance tool.

If you don’t want to spend money on cleaning tools or have Keurig 1.0, use a sewing needle or a paper clip to clean the exit needle. Here’s how to use them:


  1. Unplug your Keurig coffee maker.
  2. Open the head and remove the K-cup holder.
  3. Remove the funnel from the cup holder.
  4. Insert the tool into the tube, and move it around until it loosens the clog.
  5. Rinse the holder and the funnel under water to remove any particles. Align the side slots to attach them back.
  6. Place the pod holder back into the brewer and close the head.
  7. Place a mug on the drip tray.
  8. Run two cycles without a K-cup to ensure it is working correctly and thoroughly cleaned.

3. You are Packing Refillable K-cups too Tightly

Keurig is one of the most versatile coffee makers that allow you to use refillable k-cups. The refillable K-cups are a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative.

When you overfill these reusable K-cups with coffee grounds, the water flow becomes obstructed, which leads to the machine flashing the descale light frequently and repeatedly displaying the descale message.


A general rule of thumb is to fill reusable K-cups 80-90% with medium to medium-fine coffee grounds when using standard-sized plastic or stainless-steel cups. Your machine will become clogged if you overfill or compress coffee grounds. The extra grinds will prevent water from passing through.

How to fix the descaling light still on after descaling?

If you have descaled your coffee machine, but the descaling light is still on, it is an indicator to repeat the process. There is a possibility that you didn’t run a rinse cycle with enough water, and some residue is lingering around it.

Using a descaling solution or vinegar, descale your coffee machine again. Leave the descaling agent in your Keurig for a longer time, preferably one to two hours.

The longer the descaling agent stays in the brewer, it will dissolve the gunk and limescale off the internal parts.

Expert Tip:
You may still see the ‘descale’ light after multiple descaling cycles. Resetting the machine will turn it off.

How to descale a Keurig Duo?

Descale your Keurig Duo following these steps:

  1. Turn off your Keurig brewer.
  2. Remove the water filter and K-cup from the brewer.
  3. Prepare the descaling agent and pour it into the water tank.
  4. Turn on the machine.
  5. Place a cup on the drip tray.
  6. Press the 12oz button to initiate the process.
  7. Empty the cup and put it back under the spout.
  8. Now press the carafe button and pour the contents out.
  9. Turn off the heating plate by pressing and holding its button.
  10. Let the brewer sit for about 30 minutes without turning it off.
  11. Fill the water reservoir with fresh water.
  12. Brew a carafe and repeat it thrice.
  13. Press the single-serve button to brew a cup. Repeat the process thrice.
  14. Press and hold the 10oz and 8oz buttons simultaneously for 3 seconds. It will turn off the descale light.

How to descale a Mini Keurig?

Following are the steps to descale a Mini Keurig:

  1. Turn off the brewer and unplug it.
  2. Eject the used coffee pod.
  3. Clean the drip tray.
  4. Follow the instructions of the descaling solution bottle and add it to the water tank.
  5. Instead of a descaling agent, you can use vinegar to make your own. 
  6. Place a cup on the drip tray.
  7. Open and close the lever without inserting a pod and press the brew button.
  8. Once the cycle completes, repeat the process.
  9. Fill the water tank with freshwater and run complete cycles thrice.
  10. Repeat the process several times to show the brewer has no lingering solution or residue.

How often should you descale your Keurig Coffee maker?

Keurig recommends descaling its brewers every three to six months. The brewers have a descale indicator light that reminds you that the time for descaling has come.

The time frame for descaling your Keurig also depends on the usage. If you use your Keurig daily, share it with family, or brew several cups of coffee daily, it will need to be descaled within two months.

Can I descale Keurig with vinegar?

Yes, you can! If you don’t have a descaling solution at hand or don’t want to buy one, you can use white vinegar to prepare a descaling agent. Combine equal parts water and vinegar and add to the water reservoir.

How to use it

  • Turn off the brewer and unplug it.
  • Detach the removable parts of the coffee machine and clean them separately with a cloth.
  • Use lukewarm water to clean the drip tray and pod holder.
  • Clean the exterior of the brewer with a microfiber cloth and let all the removable parts air dry.
  • Reassemble the coffee machine and plug it in.
  • Mix equal parts of water and vinegar into the water tank.
  • Run a complete brew cycle.
  • After the descaling process ends, add fresh water into the tank to eliminate any residual vinegar smell or residue.

How Do I Descale My Keurig with Citric Acid?

Citric acid does wonders when used to descale a coffee machine. It rips off the coffee residue and limescale from the internal parts of the brewer, leaving it clean and shiny.

Citric acid is one of the main ingredients in Keurig’s official descaling solution, so you can not doubt its efficiency.

You can make your descaling agent using citric acid to sanitize your Keurig coffee maker. You can get citric acid in powdered form and mix it with water to activate the component.

How to use it

  • Fill the water tank and add one to two tablespoons of citric powder.
  • Initiate the brewing process and keep it going till the water tank is empty.
  • Add fresh water into the water reservoir.
  • Run complete brewing cycles with fresh water at least thrice to get rid of any residual smell or taste.

When should you clean the Keurig exit needle?

We recommend cleaning the exit needle at least once a month. It is an integral part of the pod holder and plays an essential role in the coffee brewing process.

If you neglect its maintenance and cleaning, it can restrict the flow of coffee or make the coffee machine stop working altogether.

The Bottom Line

Whenever your machine needs cleaning, the descaling light will remind you to do so. As mentioned in this article, there can be various reasons with different parts of the brewer that cause the descaling light to turn on.

Use descaling solutions to descale your Keurig regularly to avoid any issues with the whole coffee experience. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the coffee machine will make it last longer and brew better.

No matter what Keurig model you use or how frequently you use it, descale it when it gives you a hint. Hopefully, now you will not ignore the descaling light but rather find and fix the problem.


How to reset the Keurig?

Keurig doesn’t have a button specifically for resetting. You can reset it by letting it sit for some time. Firstly, remove the water tank of your brewer and turn it off.

Next, unplug it and let it sit for one to two hours. Attach the water tank back to the brewer and turn it on.

Now press the brew button, and your Keurig resets. This method usually works, but if it doesn’t, try descaling your brewer.

Are some kinds of water worse for a Keurig?

Yes! Hard water or water with high calcium and mineral content will eventually create buildup in the brewer as it passes through it. The brewer will need more frequent descaling and cleaning because of hard water particles.

Using fresh tap water to make coffee in your Keurig is better.

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