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How to Descale a Keurig® Brewer

By September 15, 2022December 23rd, 2022Breakroom & Coffee, Health & Safety, Keurig
a keurig coffee maker ready to brew a morning cup

Descaling a Keurig brewer means to run the machine in order to clean the inside system. Some people use things like vinegar, lemon juice, or a baking soda solution, but there is also a descaling solution as well as a whole kit for cleaning your Keurig brewer. While cleaning the outside of the machine is important, the inside needs the same amount of attention and care. There are risks to not descaling your Keurig brewer, such as the growth of mold, bacteria, and germs which can get into your beverage causing you to feel ill. Learning how to descale a Keurig machine is very important because of the health risks it poses. Regularly descaling your Keurig brewer also prolongs the lifespan of the machine. A Keurig brewer and all the coffee supplies to go with it can be expensive, so you want to make sure it lasts the 3-5 year  life expectancy.

What does descale mean on my Keurig brewer?

If the descale button light is on, it simply means that something is blocking the water from traveling through the system to brew your coffee. This means that it’s time to descale your Keurig machine by following easy the steps to ensure that your next cup of coffee or tea is perfect, and the machine is free of any build-up. Descaling should be done every three to six months to keep the inside parts of your brewer clean and clear of any harsh bacteria. The Keurig brewer descale button is there to tell you when your machine needs to go through the descale process.

There are a few different methods for descaling a Keurig coffee maker. You can use Keurig descaling solution, or a mixture of vinegar and water. Both methods are great for clearing out your Keurig’s system and to prolong the lifespan of your machine. Here are the instructions for descaling your Keurig brewer using each method:

Descaling a Keurig Brewer with Vinegar

The first method for descaling your Keurig coffee machine is to use vinegar. Mixing vinegar with water is a great way to clean out the Keurig and get rid of the built-up mineral deposit that lives in the machine. Vinegar is an easy way to descale the machine because it’s a common household product and is used for cleaning, baking, and cooking. Here are some step-by-step instructions for descaling a Keurig brewer with vinegar:

    1. Prepare the machine for the descaling process. Wipe down the water reservoir, if there is a K-Cup® pod in the holder, throw it away, and wipe down both the needle and K-Cup® pod holder to get rid of any coffee grounds.
    2. Use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water and put the mixture into the water reservoir. Diluting the vinegar with water will prevent the machine from any damage that can be caused by using only vinegar.
    3. Get a mug that is on the larger side to catch all of the liquid that will come out. Place it on the Keurig tray and press the “brew” button for the machine to start brewing.
    4. As the cycle is running, the vinegar is collecting all of the sediments and build-up that is in the machine and will start to flow out. Allow the solution to sit in the machine for a few hours to get rid of all of the grime.
    5. Be sure to repeat the steps with vinegar until you don’t see any more sediment and that the water comes out clear.
    6. If the solution still smells like vinegar and there is no more sediment coming out, add water to the water reservoir and keep brewing until it doesn’t smell of vinegar.
    7. When there is no trace of vinegar, rinse out the water reservoir and put clean water into the machine and brew it a few times. This will ensure that your coffee won’t have a trace of vinegar in it the next time you brew a cup.

Descaling a Keurig Brewer with Descaling Solution

This method uses a special solution made for descaling a Keurig coffee maker and is the most effective way to descale your Keurig. Here are instructions on how to use Keurig’s descaling solution kit:

    1. Similar to the vinegar method, make sure the machine is clean and free of any coffee grounds. If there is a K-Cup® pod in the holder from the last time you brewed a coffee, go ahead and remove it, but keep the funnel and holder inside the machine.
    2. If your Keurig has an automatic shut-off feature, be sure to turn it off because in order for the process to work the brewer has to stay on for a longer period of time.
    3. Fill the water reservoir with the solution and water in a 1:1 ratio, then set the machine. If your Keurig has a “large cup setting” press that button and place your large mug on the tray for the solution to flow into.
    4. Run the machine through once for the descaling solution to start making its way into the nooks and crannies inside the machine. You will start to see sediment drop into the cup. This means that the solution is working.
    5. Repeat step 4 until the water reservoir is out of water and allow the rest of the solution to sit in the machine for a half hour. This will ensure that all of the germs and bacteria that could be inside the machine get broken down by the solution.
    6. Fill the water reservoir with clean water after the solution sits in the machine and brew it. This will filter out all of the solution and clear water will begin to enter the mug. Repeat this step until there is no more solution inside the machine and that you don’t see any more sediment.

How to turn off descale light on Keurig?

If the descale light on a Keurig is on, it means that it’s time to descale the machine. After successfully descaling the machine, the light should turn off. If the light won’t turn off even after you clean the inside of the machine, try unplugging it. Make sure all of the descaling solution is removed from the water reservoir by rinsing it thoroughly with water. Plug it back in and the light should remain off. Brewing regular water after descaling will also help make sure that the light turns off. The light on your Keurig is an important indicator to tell you when the machine needs to be descaled, so be sure to keep an eye out for when the light turns on.

What happens if the Keurig isn’t descaled every 3-6 months?

If the Keurig in the office or at home doesn’t get descaled regularly, the amount of mold, bacteria and other harsh germs will grow and form inside the machine. This build-up will make your coffee taste off and can be a health hazard if you are ingesting the build-up that comes from inside the machine. Failing to descale your Keurig can also affect the temperature of the drinks you make and can cause the machine to stop working quicker due to the water flow being disrupted.

The Importance of Descaling Your Keurig

Whether your Keurig is at the office or at home, it’s very important to know when to descale and clean the machine. Regularly descaling your Keurig every three to six months will impact the lifespan of your machine, how the water flows, the temperature your coffee brews at, as well as the taste. Keep the office and at-home coffee drinks fresh tasting and free of any bacteria and mold by descaling the Keurig.



Goodhousekeeping. How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker the Right Way.( August 17, 2022.

Gourmet Kitchen Design. How to Descale Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar. ( August 18, 2022.

Special Coffee Maker. How To Turn Off The Descale Light On Keurig. ( August 18, 2022.

The Cozy Coffee. How To Descale A Keurig – How Do You Descale A Keurig In 2022. ( August 23, 2022.