Brynne Conroy | 

How to Descale Your Keurig for Fresh-Tasting Coffee

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Is your Keurig making some wild noises as it brews your daily dose of caffeine? Or does your coffee just not taste as bold as it did when the machine was new? It’s enough to make you run to the nearest Starbucks. But odds are, it’s time to descale your Keurig. “Scale” is just a fancy word for calcium deposits. While they’re harmless and nontoxic, these deposits can build up over time if you don’t run the descaling process.

However, If they build up enough, they can disrupt the water flow inside the machine. That’s what’s causing all the scary noises and muted flavors. No bueno. To avoid scale buildup, you should descale your Keurig once every three to six months. Don’t stress too hard, though. It’s not a difficult process at all. It can take a little bit of time, but the amount of labor is minimal.

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Gather your materials.

keurig supplies for descaling a keurig

Descaling your Keurig is incredibly easy. You won’t need many materials to make it happen, either. All you’ll need is a bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution and a coffee mug (or pot, depending on your Keurig model). Plus, you can also find several off brands that are just as effective with lower prices to help save you some money.

Whichever brand you choose, the main ingredient for Descaling Solution tends to be citric acid. Because of this, the solution is known to leave behind a citrus odor that can be very hard to get rid of. It may even affect the taste of your coffee until you’ve used your Keurig a few times after descaling.

Don’t want to shell out money for descaling solutions? Then, you can easily replace it with pure white vinegar. Just remember that using the pure vinegar route will make the process take longer. On top of that, whichever room you make your coffee in may smell a lot like vinegar for a bit.

TIP: If you’re using pure white vinegar instead, fill the entire reservoir with the vinegar. Don’t mix in any water so be sure to have plenty on hand when beginning this process.

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Prep the reservoir.

a person pouring keurig solution into the water reservoir

The first thing you’re going to want to do is prep your water reservoir. To do so, simply pour the entire bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution into the reservoir. Then fill the reservoir up to the max water line with water.


Run the solution through your Keurig.

keurig machine running the descale solution through it into a white cup

Now, just run your Keurig as normal, except don’t drink the solution it spits out into your coffee cup. Dump it into the sink.

Repeat this part of the process until the “Add Water” light blinks on. Then you can dump any remaining solution (or vinegar) that’s in the reservoir.



Let your Keurig sit.

person holding a phone that has a time of thirty minutes on it

This is the easiest and the longest part of the process! After you’ve run the descaling solution through your Keurig, leave it plugged in and let it sit for 30 minutes.

TIP: If you’re using vinegar, this is the part of the process that takes quite a bit longer. Instead of leaving your Keurig sit for half an hour, you’ll want to let it sit for four hours.


Run the rinse cycle at least 12 times.

person pressing the brew button on a keurig

Rinse the reservoir out to remove any remaining solution or vinegar. Then fill the reservoir with just water up to the max water line.

Using your coffee cup or pot, run the water through the machine as if you were making coffee. This rinse cycle will have to be repeated at least 12 times (or until the taste of vinegar is gone). You might have to refill the reservoir once or twice throughout the process.

Related: Here are 11 ways to use vinegar that you’ve never heard before.


Enjoy your fresh-brewed coffee.

a coffee cup filled with iced coffee sitting in front of a keurig

Now that your Keurig’s descaled, no more disrupted water flow or funky tasting coffee! Just bold, beautiful brilliance in a mug.

You’ll want to repeat this process every three to six months. Some Keurig models have a special “Descale” light that will remind you, but for most models, you’ll have to set the reminder for yourself.

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