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How to Descale a Keurig Properly Using the Keurig Descaling Solution or Vinegar

Whether your beverage of choice is a cup of hot coffee, creamy hot cocoa, or a frothy latte, a Keurig can easily satisfy your cravings in no time. A Keurig can provide you with no fuss, no mess, and no filters. However, most of us rarely think about cleaning our Keurig machines.

But did you know that your Keurig gets dirty with time? There’ll be an inevitable mineral buildup naturally resulting from regular use, which can do more than just affect the taste of your coffee. It could clog your machine and could cause it to work slowly or stop working altogether.

That’s why regular cleaning is part of maintaining the beloved machine that you’ve spent considerable moolah on in order to fuel your coffee habit. Part of your duties as a responsible Keurig owner is knowing how to descale a Keurig properly. To motivate you further, just like the other pod coffee systems and coffee makers in the market, your Keurig can become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Ew. You don’t want that.

So, if you want to know how to descale a Keurig, please read on.

What Equipment Will You Require to Descale Your Keurig?

Descaling your Keurig is not as hard as it seems. However, the first thing that you need to understand is the process of deep cleaning your Keurig and how often it should be cleaned. You also need to understand how the Keurig coffee maker functions.

Remember, running hard water through your machine can result in a small amount of calcium (limestone) being left behind. And with time, the calcium buildup can end up clogging your Keurig, making it hard for the machine to heat up. So here are a few things you will need to descale your Keurig:

Keurig Descaling Solution

The best solution for dealing with the mineral buildup in the Keurig is the Keurig descaling solution. Keurig descaling solution can eliminate the mineral buildup that affects the taste of coffee, leaving your machine clean. This solution contains some acetic compounds that can break down the limestone buildup in the brewer.

This solution also contains citric acid, which can safely clean your machine without destroying it. And the good thing about this solution is that it can clean your brewer without leaving any residual taste or odor. Plus, it can extend the longevity of your Keurig.


Another solution that can help you descale your Keurig is vinegar. Vinegar is a unique solution that can get rid of all the minerals buildup without damaging your brewer. The only negative thing about descaling using vinegar is that it leaves a weird taste and smell after you have finished cleaning it. And thanks to the acetic acid in vinegar, this solution can kill the mold and bacteria growing in your brewer.

A Huge Mug

Since you will be running the descaling solution through the Keurig coffee maker, you need a huge mug. You can use the mug to collect the descaling solution and the water that you will use to rinse the machine with.

Keurig Water Filter Refill Cartridge

The water filter is a unique part of the machine that helps you eliminate chlorine from water and must be changed after every two months. Changing the filters will guarantee you great-tasting coffee every time you brew your favorite beverage. Make sure you get filters made using high-quality material.

Other Requirements

Another solution that will help you clean out your coffee maker is water. So make sure you have a lot of clean water that you will use to clean out the descaling solution and other parts of your brewer. Remember, you will have to wash numerous parts of your coffee maker using a clean microfiber cloth, soap, and clean water. And if you plan on replacing the Keurig needle, make sure you get the right needle for your machine.

How Often Should You Clean Your Keurig?

The Keurig coffee maker is a unique brewer that has numerous parts that should be washed separately. Some parts should be washed weekly, while other parts must be cleaned once every six months. The removable parts of your coffee maker must be cleaned once every week.

Every Week

Ideally, all the removable parts of your brewer must be washed once every week. Some of the removable parts that must be washed weekly include the K-cup holder, mug tray, lid, and reservoir. You should:

  • Unplug your Keurig.
  • Disassemble all the removable parts of the Keurig, and this includes the K-cup holder, mug tray, lid, and water reservoir.
  • When cleaning the lid and water reservoir, you should remove the filter and wipe the surface using a soapy damp cloth.
  • Clean the mug tray and K-cup holder separately using warm water.
  • Rinse your lid and reservoir with warm water and let it air dry.
  • Wipe the exterior surface of your brewer with a wet sponge and replace the removable parts, and plug it back in.

Every Two Months

To keep any unwanted flavors off of your coffee, you should replace the water filter cartridge every two months. To install a new filter, you should do the following:

  • Soak your new cartridge for 5 minutes in freshwater and rinse it for about a minute.
  • Remove the old filter from the filter holder and then wash the mesh on the lower filter holder.
  • Insert it in the upper filter holder and snap it in and then reinstall the cartridge in the reservoir and lock it in place.

Every Three to Six Months

After cleaning all the removable parts of your brewer, you should descale it using a descaling solution or vinegar. Descaling the coffee maker helps remove the hard water mineral that might have buildup over time. The mineral buildup is normally left by the water used when brewing. The mineral buildup can affect how your machine functions. So, make sure you descale it once every three to six months or when you notice that your machine is running poorly.

How to Descale a Keurig Using a Descaling Solution

1. Remove All the Water From the Reservoir.

The first thing you should do is remove the reservoir from the machine and then pour out the water.

And then, wash the reservoir in the sink using soap and water before returning it to the brewer.

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2. Switch off the Machine

It’s always a good idea to switch the machine off before pouring any solution into the reservoir.

3. Pour the Keurig Descaling Solution Into the Reservoir.

Once the machine is switched off, you can empty the entire bottle of the descaling solution into the reservoir. And then fill the empty bottle with filtered water and then pour it into the reservoir until it’s full.

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4. Turn the Machine Back on and Place Your Mug on the Mug Tray

After filling the reservoir with the descaling solution, you can turn the machine on. Wait for all the buttons to light up, and then select the button option for the biggest cup your machine can brew. And then allow the machine to run normally.

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5. Let the Brewer Run Normally

Let the brewer run until the add water button turns on. Remember to pour the collected solution into the sink every time the mug fills up. Make sure you click the huge mug button every time you discard the water and place the mug on the drip tray plate. Repeat this procedure until the reservoir is empty.

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6. Leave the Machine on for About 30 Minutes

Once the “ADD WATER” indicator lights up, the reservoir is empty, so let the machine stand for 30 minutes. And allow the solution to unclog the machine and remove the mineral buildup and clean the machine properly.

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7. Rinse the Reservoir and Fill It With Water

After 30 minutes, you can remove the reservoir and then rinse it in water. You can even wash it using water and soap. After cleaning it, you should replace it and then fill it with filtered clean water and select the huge mug option. And allow the machine to run until the add water button turns on again. Running clean water in the machine will help remove the last traces of the descaling solution.

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You may have to rinse it about 12 times to get all the solution out. Run clean water through the machine until the collected water is clean and coffee-free.

Check out the demonstration of the whole process in this video:

How to Descale a Keurig Using Vinegar

Vinegar is also a unique descaling solution that functions the same way as the Keurig descaling solution. Vinegar is acidic, and it can remove the mineral left by the hard water and even get rid of the mold and bacteria. So, instead of using a descaling solution, you can use vinegar. All you have to do is fill the reservoir halfway with vinegar and then top it up with water. And follow the above procedure, and your brewer will be clean in no time.

How to Clean Keurig Needles

If you have trouble brewing, then it means that some coffee grounds are stuck on the Keurig’s needle. Remember, the needles help punch the exit and entrance points that the water flows through. To clean the needle, you should first unplug the brewer and then carefully clean the needle using a paperclip. The paper clip can help remove the debris lodged on the needle before rinsing it.

Benefits of Descaling Your Keurig Coffee Maker

While many people clean their brewer using water, some coffee lovers believe there is no need for descaling their machine. But, the truth is that after every use, traces of minerals like calcium and magnesium are left in the machine. The amount of debris left depends on the hardness of the water. Therefore, descaling the Keurig has numerous benefits, including:

Better Tasting Coffee

Even though the minerals scaling up in your machine might be non-toxic, they can affect the taste of your coffee. A huge amount of mineral buildup can affect the quality of your coffee. So make sure you descale your brewer at least twice per year.

Perfect Brewing Temperature

Heating the water to the right temperature can be quite challenging when your machine has not been descaled. And that is because the mineral covering the heating elements consumes a lot of heat. This will force your Keurig to produce low-quality coffee.

Lower Electricity Consumption

High mineral buildup can result in your coffee maker consuming more electricity than usual. And that’s because your machine will need more power to function. Regular descaling can help lower your electricity consumption.

Shorter Brewing Process

If the Keurig has high minerals buildup, it will take more time to brew your favorite beverage. This can prolong the heating process. So, descaling it twice every year will leave your machine functioning properly. And a well-functioning brewer will produce high-quality coffee within the shortest time possible.

Increase the Longevity of Your Keurig

Mineral buildup can force overwork your Keurig, and this might result in your coffee maker breaking down. Therefore, descaling your machine can prevent your machine from breaking down.

Also, know how to prime a Keurig.

Final Thoughts

With a Keurig coffee maker, you can enjoy a high-quality coffee every morning before leaving the house. However, daily usage of your Keurig can result in mineral buildup and even growth of mold and bacteria. And this will affect the quality of your coffee and even overwork your machine. Every time you brew, the hard water tends to leave some minerals in the machine, and over time they can start affecting the machine.

So make sure you descale it after every three to six months using a Keurig descaling solution or vinegar. Fortunately, descaling a Keurig is not as hard as it seems, and with the right equipment, you can have your machine clean in no time. Just make sure you have plenty of water to rinse the machine.

Other than descaling the brewer, you need to clean the removable parts every two weeks. Don’t forget to replace the filter after every two months and clean the needle when it’s dirty. Remember, a well-maintained brewer can guarantee you high-quality coffee every morning.


Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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