How to Descale Keurig

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Modern coffee machines like Keurig coffee makers have made our mornings quicker, easier, and more convenient. But if you don’t want to ruin your machine, you should routinely maintain and clean it. Descaling is a common cleaning practice for all varieties of coffee makers, not just Keurig models. 

Let’s talk about what descaling is and why you must descale your coffee maker. Then, we will give you the how-to for each group of Keurig machines to keep yours running smoothly. Let’s get into how to descale Keurig coffee makers. 

Why Does My Keurig Need Descaling?

Descaling isn’t the same as cleaning the inside of the machine. Most commercial cleaners don’t break down the mineral buildup inside the water reservoir, and that is why you need to descale. 

Over time, as you pour water from the tap or a water filter into your Keurig, it leaves behind deposits of limescale. This chalky substance forms from tiny pieces of minerals in your water that cling to the inside.  It accumulates more easily within machines that heat water, such as kettles, boilers, and pipes.

Naturally, your Keurig fits the bill, and so over time, limescale will accumulate in your machine’s water reservoir. 

What issues can limescale cause? The chalky deposits block waterways within the machine, so you may notice it performing slowly or weakly. Failure to descale is one of the main causes of Keurig coffee maker problems. In addition, the mineral is easy to taste in high amounts, so if your coffee tastes funny, limescale could be to blame. Lastly, you may hear jarring noises when your Keurig coffee maker tries to brew you a cup. 

In the worst-case scenario, a limescale buildup could shorten your Keurig’s longevity or cause mechanical issues.

The longer it accumulates, the more difficult it is to descale a Keurig. That is why it is critical to regularly check if your Keurig needs to be flushed out. Keurig suggests undergoing this procedure as often as every three months. That will prevent limescale from building up long enough to harm your machine.

What Will You Need To Descale A Keurig?

Thankfully, it doesn’t require much to descale a Keurig coffee maker. You will need water and a descaling solution. You can find this chemical in either liquid or pouch form in stores like Wal-Mart or Amazon or use a natural solution like white vinegar.

No matter which group of Keurig machines you own, it can accommodate both the pouches and liquid. Keurig sells a brand-name descaling solution, which it recommends on its how-to cleaning pages. However, chemicals from other brands work just as well.

The advantage of the Keurig maintenance kit is that it also comes with the tools you need for other cleaning procedures like rinse pods. The Keurig descaling solution bottle contains fourteen ounces of liquid.

There are several other options if you don’t want to use the Keurig descaling solution. The most popular alternative is to de equal amounts of white vinegar and water. This is an affordable and effective option. Other substitutes include equal parts lemon juice and water or citric acid (1-2 tablespoons) mixed with 4 cups of water.

How to Descale A Keurig 

Keurig machines are a bit more dynamic than a standard coffee pot, so descaling isn’t as simple as just pouring a solution inside and waiting. The first step in figuring out how to clean a Keurig coffee maker is to identify which group of Keurig you have. 

The five main groups of Keurig machines are:

  • The Traditional Brewer Group: K Classic, K Cafe, K Latte, K Elite, K Compact, and K Select
  • The K-Duo Series: K Duo, K Duo Plus, and K Duo Essentials
  • The K-Mini Series: K Mini and K Mini Plus
  • The K-Supreme Series: K Supreme and K Supreme Plus
  • And the K Slim machine

The instructions for descaling vary by group. Let’s outline the specific instructions Keurig provides for how to descale each machine. These instructions come from Keurig’s official website.

Traditional Brewer Group

(K Classic, K Cafe, K Latte, K Elite, K Compact, and K Select)

Empty your machine’s water reservoir. If you are using liquid descaling solution, pour it into the reservoir and then fill the empty bottle bottle with water and add that as well. For the pouch, add the entire contents along with three cups (24 oz) of water.

You’ll need to use a cup, mug, or container to catch what comes from the drip tray during the descaling process. Place it securely on top of the drip tray and verify that the K cup pod holder is empty. 

Once everything is ready to go, rinse your machine. Do this by lifting and lowering the handle. Your Keurig will ask you for a brew size, so pick the largest one for the best flush. You must continue to repeat this step until the water reservoir is empty and the illuminated “Add Water” sign lights up. It usually appears after two or three rinses.

Once the light is on, let the brewer rest for 30 minutes. The descaling solution will break down limescale and other deposits inside the machine. Set a timer and relax for a while.

After that time is up, perform a thorough rinse. Fill the water reservoir to the “max” line with fresh water and rinse 12 times on the largest brew size. This will flush all remaining chemicals and limescale out so that your next cup of coffee tastes great.

K Duo Series

(K Duo, K Duo Plus, and K Duo Essentials)

Like with the Traditional Brewer Group machines, verify the K-cup holder and water reservoir is empty. Then, pour your solution pouch or liquid into the reservoir with either a bottle’s worth or 3 cups of water.

Verify there is a large mug or container on the drip tray. Once you’ve done that, press the Oz/POD button. Afterward, you’ll press the 12oz button and hit “brew.”

You’ll need to do the same thing with the carafe. Put the empty carafe on the heating plate, press CUPS/CARAFE, and select the 12 button to initiate a cleaning brew. Once this is complete empty the full carafe , turn the machine off and let the brewer rest for 30 minutes while the solution works its magic.

Now it’s time to rinse your Keurig Duo series. Fill the water reservoir up to the max line with fresh water. Place the carafe on the heating plate and press CUPS/ CARAFE button, then 12 and brew to run the rinse cycle. Turn off the heating plate by pressing and holding the CUPS/CARAFE button for a few seconds. Wash the carafe out, refill the reservoir with fresh water and repeat this cycle three more times.

Finally, rinse the reservoir. Fill it to the max line, and put a large mug or cup on the drip tray. Press the OZ/POD button and then press 12 to initiate a cleaning rinse for the single serve system. Repeat this step a further three times.

K Mini Series

(K Mini and K Mini Plus)

The Keurig Mini series machines are much smaller, so they don’t require as much descaling solution as the others. Verify the reservoir and K-cup holders are empty. Then, pour a third of the liquid solution bottle or one full pouch inside. Regardless of which descaling formula you use, fill the water reservoir up to the 10-ounce line with fresh water.

Once you’ve added the solution and water, ensure a cup is on the drip tray then lift and lower the handle and press the brew button. This will initiate a cleaning cycle.

Once complete, fill the reservoir again and restart the cleaning cycle but this time turn the machine off when the solution begins to dispense.

Afterward, leave your machine alone for thirty minutes. Now, it is ready to dispense the solution. Press and hold the brew button for a while until the remaining descaling solution is dispensed from the machine. Dispose of the expelled mixture, rinse the reservoir thoroughly and fill it up again with fresh water, and run a brew cycle two more times to rinse any remaining solution out of the machine. After that, your Keurig Mini should be clean and ready to go.

K Supreme Series

(K Supreme and K Supreme Plus)

Preparing to descale a K-Supreme Series machine is the same as a Traditional or K-Duo model. Empty the solution with a bottle’s worth of water into the reservoir. Alternatively, you can use a solution pouch with three cups of fresh water. Remember to place a cup on the drip tray and verify that the K cup pod holder is empty.

The K-Supreme machines come with a built-in Descale function. To activate it, power off the coffee maker and hold down the 8oz and 12oz buttons together for a few seconds. It will begin to flash, and then you can press the brew button to start the cleaning. You will need to run multiple brew cycles until the ADD WATER button illuminates. 

Finally, you just have to clean up by rinsing the reservoir thoroughly. Fill the reservoir to the max line with fresh water and start the brewing cycle again. Repeat this process until the DESCALE notification turns off. Then, your K-Supreme is cleaned and ready to go.

K Slim

Descaling a K Slim Series machine is very similar to cleaning the K Supreme product line. Use either a bottle’s worth or 3 cups of water with the liquid or pouch descaling agents. Put a large mug or cup on the drip tray and power off the device. Then, activate the Descale Mode by holding the 8oz and 12oz buttons simultaneously for a few seconds until the descale light turns solid.

One the brew button begins to flash, press the brew button to initiate the descaling cycle. Continue to press the brew button each time it stops until the ADD WATER notification lights up. 

Finally, rinse the reservoir then fill it to the max line with water and pressing the flashing brew button to start the rinse cycle. Repeat this process until the ADD WATER sign illuminates. Once it does, your K-Slim machine is fully descaled and ready for use. 

How to Descale Keurig- In summary

Now you know why and how to descale Keurig coffee machines. I recommend carrying out this process at least once every three months. The descaling process is straightforward and in the long run, it will increase your Keurig’s lifespan and let you circumvent expensive repair or replacement costs. 

When it comes to descaling, the Keurig descaling solution or Maintenance kits are a good place to start if you haven’t done this before. If you want a more natural option you can descale a Keurig with white vinegar or lemon juice as well. Finally, the most important thing to remember is to rinse, rinse, rinse! Make sure all of the descaling solution is out of the machine so your cup of coffee tastes delicious!