If you are a real coffee lover, there’s a great chance you have not only a pour-over kettle for coffee but also one of those amazing Keurig machines in your kitchen. They are really great and absolutely perfect for people who want to get a cup of tasty coffee as soon as possible. However, there is a significant point you need to keep in mind when it comes to Keurig coffee makers. They require quite specific maintenance, including regular descaling.
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Of course, descaling can hardly be considered the most exciting process when it comes to automatic coffee makers or even the world’s best dual coffee maker. Nevertheless, you need to remember that this process is an absolute must-have as it can ensure that your machine works properly. In fact, descaling is extremely important when it comes to Keurig coffee makers that are single-serve machines.
Usually, using a coffee machine, you need to clean it properly every month. In order to descale your coffee maker, you should use a special descaling solution or regular white vinegar. Using one of these options, you need to perform several runs using no pods and only some water with a descaling solution.
What Is Keurig Descaling
Water contains a whole variety of different components, chemicals, and minerals. In various regions, water contains a different amount of those chemicals that form hard deposits that may ruin your pipes, showerheads, kettles, and even a coffee maker or pour-over coffee machine. Descaling is a process of removing those hard deposits. While it may sound rather complicated, the process itself is rather simple and does not require any special skills.
In fact, when it comes to Keurig descaling, the whole process is not only simple but also pretty fast. Usually, you need about 15 minutes to descale your coffee maker. You need to spend only 15 minutes each month to make your Keurig work better and longer. The only thing you need to decide on is what you are going to use to descale your coffee machine? As we have mentioned before, there are two options: descaling solution and white vinegar.
Speaking of descaling solution, all options are pretty similar and include various acids such as citric acid, formic acid, acetic acid, glycolic acid, hydrochloric acid, formic acid, sulfamic acid, and phosphoric acid.
Some of these acids are widely used and well known, while others are less common. Nevertheless, any descaling solution contains some type of acid. Also, there are numerous recipes for homemade descaling mixtures. On the Internet, you can find recipes based on lemon juice or citric acid.
Using descaling solutions, you need to remember that some of them require several usages in a row. For example, you may need to repeat the process about 2 or 3 times. Considering the fact, make sure to buy a sufficient amount of your descaling solution. Read the instruction attentively when buying one and calculate the required amount properly.
Benefits of Keurig Descaling
While using some clean water with their Keurig coffee makers, most people think that there is no need to descale it as the insides are perfectly clean. However, the truth is that after each use such minerals as magnesium, calcium, and others leave traces on the insides of your coffee maker. Depending on the hardness of the water in your area, the amount of all those minerals vary significantly. If you are living in the area with very hard water, you may need to descale your Keurig coffee maker more often. To be able to provide your coffee machine with proper maintenance, you need to learn the hardness level of water in your area. You can look for special tests or address one of the labs that perform such tests in your area.
Better Coffee Taste
Speaking of all those minerals that scale in your coffee machine, all of them are non-toxic. Nevertheless, all of them may impact the taste and quality of your daily cup of coffee.
Perfect Brewing Temperature
When limescale covers heating elements, it is harder to provide the required temperature of the water. Due to the fact that limescale consumes some heat, the water temperature is lower than it should be. As a result, your coffee may have futile and rather dull. Moreover, you will not be able to get hot enough coffee. In other words, descaling is important for perfect brewing temperature.
Lower Electricity Consumption
As soon as limescale appears, your Keurig coffee maker starts to consume more electricity. It happens because the machine needs more power to perform the same tasks. Regular descaling will guarantee you lower electricity consumption.
Shorter Brewing Process
If your Keurig coffee maker is covered with limescale, it needs more time to complete one brew. It happens because of water flow disruption and prolonged heating process. As soon as you descale your coffee machine, it will start working faster.
Coffee Machine Protection
As you know, all the issues related to limescale building may impact your coffee taste and quality. Moreover, it will lead to the breakdown of your coffee maker.
Considering all the mentioned points, you need to remember that descaling is very important.
How Does Keurig Descaling Work
Most coffee machines produced by Keurig inform their owners about the necessity to descale the system. Nevertheless, it is better not to wait until the message pops up and perform descaling regularly. If your coffee maker does not have such a faction, it is better to perform descaling at least once in 2 or 3 months, but if the water in your area is rather hard, make sure to descale your machine more often. Also, descaling should be more frequent in case you use your Keurig coffee maker really often. It can be done as often as once a month or at least two months.
Keurig produces its own descaling solutions designed specifically for their coffee makers. Also, there are recommended descaling solutions from other manufacturers that can be used with Keurig machines. All these descalers are perfect for dealing with limescale in a water tank and the whole system, including inner components. At the same time, they reduce any possible damages that may appear during the descaling process.
Moreover, it is absolutely easy to use as you only need to mix your descaling solution with some water, pour the mixture into the water reservoir, and perform a test brew without a coffee pod. After it, just rinse your machine with some clean water and enjoy a tasty cup of coffee without worrying about limescale.
Why Should You Descale Keurig
Why is it really important to descale your coffee maker regularly? What may happen to your Keurig coffee machine if you do not perform descaling regularly?
As we have mentioned before, limescale can have an incredible impact on your Keurig coffee maker, as well as your coffee. First of all, it happens because it covers heating elements.
In this case, heating produced by the boiler of your coffee maker does not achieve the water and as a result, it does not heat up to the optimal temperature for coffee brewing.
Also, because of the limescale build-up, your coffee machine may stop working completely. It happens because of the fact that the limescale clogs the water flow.
If you never or rarely descaled your Keurig coffee maker, there is a huge possibility that your daily cup of coffee is not so tasty and full-bodied as it could be. Moreover, there is even a bigger chance that it may stop working properly really soon. In any case, both these scenarios are quite unpleasant, so if you want to avoid these problems, you need to make sure that you descale your coffee machine regularly.
Keurig Descaling Solution vs Vinegar
There are two the most popular and effective options for those who need to descale their coffee maker. The first one is a special descaling solution designed specifically for your Keurig machine. The second one is a regular white vinegar that you can buy in your local supermarket.
Just keep in mind that only white vinegar is suitable for this task. You cannot use balsamic vinegar, apple vinegar, or malt vinegar, so save these options for your favorite dishes.
It is likely you already have some white vinegar in your kitchen cupboard, but if not, just visit some grocery store or supermarket in your area or buy some white vinegar online. In any case, it is easy to get some white vinegar if you want to descale your Keurig coffee maker.
If you prefer using some descaling solution designed specifically for your coffee maker, you need to look for the available options online. Just make sure that the descaler you are going to buy is suitable for your model of Keurig.
According to Keurig, all their descaling solution can be used not only for descaling their coffee machines but also other items such as kettles, water heaters and so on. While being a bit more expensive option then vinegar, Keurig’s descaling solution is 100% guaranty of the long-lasting life of your coffee maker.
As we have mentioned before, Keurig’s descaling solutions are rather pricey and harder to get. At the same time, white vinegar is significantly cheaper and can be easily bought in any store.
Both Keurig’s descaling solutions and vinegar are rather effective. However, the first one is a bit more effective as it specifically designed for Keurig coffee machines.
When it comes to warranty, there is none if you use vinegar. The reason is that it is mainly used has nothing to do with descaling. At the same time, descaling solutions’ manufacturers promise that their products are absolutely effective.
How to Descale Keurig With White Vinegar
As mentioned before, the descaling process is very simple and in order to perform it, you need to complete several easy steps. Below, there is a detailed guide for those who want to descale their Keurig coffee maker using white vinegar.
Step 1 – Preparing machine for descaling
First of all, you need to make sure that there is no coffee pod in your Keurig machine. If necessary, you can remove a cup holder or funnel as well. However, you need to remember that the funnel/ cup holder helps to guide the descaling mixture and prevent any possible spills.
After it, you need to remove a water reservoir and pour any remaining water out. If your reservoir has a built-in water filter, make sure to remove it from the reservoir.
Turn off the automatic shut-off setting before starting the descaling process. It is very important to leave the cleaning mixture in your Keurig coffee maker for a long time. The brew also should take more time than usual to make sure that the system is descaled properly. Also, while cleaning your coffee maker, you can brew coffee with a stovetop espresso machine.
Step 2 – Mix clean water and vinegar
Mix some clean distilled water and regular white vinegar. The proportion is one to one. Make sure to fill one half of the water reservoir with vinegar. One other important point is that you should never use just vinegar without water, as it can significantly damage the insides of your Keurig coffee maker.
If you think about using apple vinegar, you should reconsider your choice. Of course, it is possible to use apple vinegar, but it has a really strong scent and it can be hard to get rid of it. We are pretty much sure that you do not want to drink coffee that smells like apple vinegar.
In case, there is no severe scale build-up, you can use lime juice. Just pour some juice in the water reservoir. The proportions are one-third of juice and two parts of water.
Make sure that the reservoir is filled with a cleaning mixture to its maximum capacity. Do not forget to mix the water and vinegar properly.
Step 3 – Use a ceramic mug
Do not forget to place a ceramic mug on a special tray right beneath the spout. Make sure that your mug can hold at least 300 milliliters or 10 ounces of liquid. In such a way, you can avoid possible spills and overflows.
As soon as the brewing process is completed and your cup is full, just toss the water in the sink. The water will be full of scales after the cleaning mixture removes it from the insides of your coffee maker.
Repeat the brew several times until the water reservoir is absolutely empty. Most Keurig coffee makers inform you when there is not enough water and you need to refill the reservoir. When it comes to some smaller models such as K10 Mini Plus or a K130 Brewer, you need to turn it off as soon as the brewing process starts.
Step 4 – Let the mixture sit in the reservoir
Leave the remaining vinegar-water mixture in the reservoir and let it sit for about four hours. As soon as your coffee maker starts flashing the message “Add Water,” make sure to stop the brewing process and let it sit. In such a way, you will make sure that vinegar removes all the limescale inside your coffee maker.
Make sure that the machine still works while the mixture does its job. If you do not know how to deal with the “Auto Off” feature, you need to open the menu and find the settings of this feature. Switch through the option until you find the one that says “Off.”
Step 5 – Toss the remaining mixture in the sink
As soon as the process is complete, just toss all the remaining cleaning mixture right in the sink and rinse the whole system properly. It is important to get rid of the remaining vinegar before moving to the finishing steps.
Step 6 – Fill the reservoir with fresh water
While there is no vinegar in the reservoir, there are still some leftovers inside your Keurig coffee maker. To get rid of it, you need to use some clear water. Do not forget to perform this step if you do not want to drink coffee that tastes like vinegar.
Step 7 – Brew a cup of hot water
Brew some clean water without using coffee pods. By the way, if you are looking for a place to keep your coffee pods, you can buy a storage coffee pod holder. The first cup will have a rather strong vinegar smell and even taste. However, the next cup will have a weaker taste and smell.
Step 8 – Toss the water in the sink
As soon as the first brew is complete, just toss the water in the sink and place it back beneath the spout. There is no need to rinse the mug as you still need to rinse the system several more times.
Step 9 – Repeat the process several times
Keep repeating the process until there is no water in the reservoir. Make sure to damp each mug right in the sink before performing the next brew. After each brew, the smell and the taste of vinegar become weaker.
If you use small coffee makers such as the K10 Mini Plus and the K130 Brewer, there may be a necessity to refill the water tank several times so you can get rid of the smell of vinegar.
When it comes to larger Keurig coffee makers such as K-Cup Home series, the K145, K155 Brewers, Vue Brewers (V500, V600, V700), and Rivo Brewers, you may need to perform the brew about 12 times so you can rinse the whole system properly. It means that you may be obliged to refill the water tank at least once. Some extra info you can find in the review of the Keurig k55 coffee system.
How to Descale Keurig With Keurig’s Descaling Solution
If you use a Keurig coffee machine, you can be sure that it will remind you when you need to descale it. Also, your coffee will likely have a bad smell and flavor. You can try to add some sugar-free coffee syrup, but it will hardly help to resolve the problem. Moreover, there is a possibility that the machine will not be able to fill your cup properly.
To descale your Keurig coffee maker, you need to use a descaling solution designed for your coffee maker. It is the most effective way to get rid of the limescale inside your Keurig machine. Using it, you can easily resolve the problem. Just follow the steps described below.
Step 1 – Prepare your Keurig
The first thing you should do when descaling your Keurig coffee maker is to remove some elements and wash them properly with some soap. While preparing your coffee machine, you need to be really attentive. You need to switch off and unplug the machine before removing the required parts of your Keurig. You need to remove the lid, pod holder, and mug tray. Use soapy water and a soft cloth to wash the removed parts. After it, rinse and dry them. Use a soft wet cloth to wipe some unremovable parts of your coffee maker and let them dry.
After cleaning and drying all the elements, reassemble them so you can start the descaling process.
Do not forget to get rid of the used coffee pod if there is any and water in the water tank. Also, make sure to prepare everything you may need beforehand. Find an appropriate mug that can contain enough liquid. Also, ensure there is enough free space and nothing will disturb you while you descale your Keurig coffee machine. You can use a premium stainless steel coffee maker to brew your coffee while cleaning your Keurig machine.
Step 2 – Add water and descaling solution in the reservoir
Add one part of your Keurig descaling solution and one part of clean distilled water to the reservoir. You can use a descaling solution produced by Keurig or look for other options offered by other manufacturers. Just make sure to follow the instructions on the label. There are several standard steps you should follow when descaling your coffee maker with a special solution.
If you use K10 Mini Plus and K130 Brewer, you need to use about one-third of the bottle of the descaling solution. Usually, it is about 4.6 ounces or 136 milliliters of liquid. Pour it in the water reservoir and add two parts of water.
In case you have Keurig K-Cup Home series, the K145, K155 Brewers, Vue Brewers (V500, V600, V700), or Rivo Brewers, you need to use the whole bottle for one descaling process. Pour it in the water tank and add the same amount of clean water. By the way, if you are only looking for your coffee maker, you can choose between Keurig k475 and k575.
Step 3 – Use a mug
Find the mug that is large enough to contain the required amount of water. Make sure that the size of the mug matches the size of the brew to avoid overflow and spills. Place this mug on the mug tray.
Step 4 – Perform one more brew
Complete one brew and as soon as the process is complete, toss the water from the mug into the sink. After it, open the lid, wait for five seconds, close the lid and perform one another brew. As soon as the brew is completed, toss the water in the sink.
Step 5 – Let it sit for 30 minutes
Repeat the brewing process until there is no water in the water reservoir. Do not forget to pour the water out of the mug after each brew. As soon as there is a notice “Add Water” on the panel of your coffee maker, stop the process and let it sit for half an hour. Do not forget to switch off the Auto-Off feature. During this time, the cleaning mixture will destroy all the limescale inside your coffee maker.
In case you are an owner of Keurig K10 Mini Plus or a K130 Brewer, wait until the last mug will start brewing before the notification, pause the process and wait for 30 minutes. In this situation, a coffee brewing alarm clock comes in handy. After it, start the process again and wait until it is completed. Do not forget to get rid of the water in the mug.
If you have a Rivo Brewers, the whole process is much faster. The reason is that you do not need to wait for half an hour during the last brew. You just need to complete it and move to the next step.
Step 6 – Rinse your coffee maker with fresh water
As soon as there is no cleaning mixture in the reservoir, you need to rinse it well. Make sure there are no remains of the descaling solution and pour some clean water in the reservoir. Use this water to rinse the whole system that still contains some cleaning mixture.
Step 7 – Brew several cups using only clean water
You need to perform the brew with only some cold water several times. Repeat the process until there is no water in the reservoir. You need to complete this step to avoid some bad taste of your coffee. There can be specific requirements when it comes to different models of Keurig coffee makers.
Using K10 Mini Plus and K130 Brewer, you should perform at least 3 brews to clean the system properly. At the same time, when it comes to the Keurig K-Cup Home series, the K145, K155 Brewers, Vue Brewers (V500, V600, V700), and Rivo Brewers, about 12 brews should be performed.
Do’s and Don’ts When Descaling Keurig
The descaling process is pretty simple, but there are several simple rules you should keep in mind to make sure that it is performed properly.
- Follow the instructions properly;
- Rinse the system well;
- Perform the descaling of your Keurig coffee maker regularly;
- Use distilled water when descaling your coffee maker.
- Never use apple or other types of vinegar except white;
- Never forget about proper proportions;
- Never use vinegar or descaling solution without water to avoid damages.
FAQ About Keurig Descaling
What is in the Keurig descaling solution?
There are different types of Keurig descaling solutions and their ingredients may vary. However, all of them contain some type of acid. Nevertheless, you have nothing to worry about as all the ingredients are safe and can be used with kitchen equipment.
Does scale still build up if I’m using filtered water?
Using water filters, you will hardly be able to avoid the limescale completely. However, you can significantly reduce the build-up of limescale in your Keurig coffee maker significantly.
Can I use baking soda or baking powder to clean my Keurig coffee system?
To remove the limescale, you need to use some acid while baking soda is an alkali. If you use it to scratch off the limescale, there is a great possibility you will damage your coffee maker. Of course, you can mix it with some vinegar, but it can be less effective than other options. Speaking of baking powder, it is absolutely ineffective when it comes to descaling.
Can I avoid having to descale my Keurig if I use filtered water, soft water or distilled water?
Even when you use filtered or soft water, you still need to descale your Keurig coffee maker. The process can be performed not so often, but still, you need to do it once in about 3 months.
When it comes to distilled water, it can help you avoid descaling your Keurig coffee maker. The reason is that distilled water is absolutely clean. However, the point is that you can hardly find it in any store.
I think my brewer is clogged. How can I unclog it?
To unclog your Keurig coffee maker, you may use a descaling solution or vinegar mixed with clean water. Usually, the process is the same as the descaling process. However, if the clog is really big, you may use some vinegar without water and let it sit for about thirty minutes. Just keep in mind that it is quite a radical method and vinegar can damage your coffee maker, so it is better to try other options before opting for this one.
Why is the descale notice still on after I finish the process?
If even after some descaling, your Keurig coffee maker still shows the descaling notice, perform the process once again and make sure to rinse the system properly. However, if the notice does not disappear, you can try to reset your coffee machine. To do it, you need to switch off the machine and unplug it for at least five minutes.
If the notice still flashes on the panel even after the rest, the best option is to address the customer service.
How do you replace the filter on a Keurig coffee maker?
First of all, you need to remove the old water filter that is located in the water reservoir. Just open the reservoir and remove the filter unit but make sure to be gentle to avoid any possible damages. Open the special holder located in the filter unit and remove the old filter. Take the new filter and soak it in clean water for about 5-10 minutes. After it, rinse the filter carefully with the tap water. Make sure to rinse the holder as well. Place the filter in the holder and attach it to the unit and then to the reservoir. Make sure to replace the filter every two months. Some Keurig coffee makers have a built-in reminder for filter replacement.
In fact, it is up to you which method you are going to use to descale your Keurig coffee machine. The main point is to make sure it is effective and can be performed regularly without any problems.
If you use filtered or soft water, you can simply use some white vinegar mixed with clean water once per 1-2 months. It is absolutely enough to make sure your coffee maker works properly. However, if your machine is clogged or severely covered with limescale, it is better to give preference to the descaling solution. It tends to be more effective and can help you avoid some possible breakdowns.
In any case, both options are pretty much effective, so you can choose the one you like. The only important thing is that it will help you to maintain your Keurig coffee maker properly.
Photo from: cndtrvlgrl / depositphotos.com.