All coffee machines need descaling from time to time, in order for the water to be able to pass through the pipes efficiently and for your brew to be as clean and clear as possible.
A Keurig machine is no different. You may think that because they are a pod machine, there is a bit less ‘going on’ in their system. However, the pipes (and other parts) can still act as a breeding ground for bacteria and limescale if not cleaned out regularly – Nobody wants that!
So, if you’ve already got to grips with how to use your Keurig, the next thing you need to know is how to descale a Keurig.
In short, here is what to do:
Step 1: Empty your reservoir and fill halfway with vinegar, before topping up to the fill line with water
Step 2: Keep brewing until the water runs out
Step 3: Rinse through again, but just with a reservoir of plain water, until there is no taste of vinegar remaining – this may take more than one reservoir
Some people brew half of the vinegar solution, before allowing the rest to sit for a few hours. This could give more powerful results, but the taste could linger for longer.
How Often Should You Clean Your Keurig?
First things first — it isn’t just descaling which you need to take care of. If you keep the machine clean, limescale is actually a lot less likely to build up as quickly.
You should wash the removable parts of your Keurig machine at least once per week. The water reservoir, lid and cup holder should be cleaned in warm, soapy water, and then you should wipe the rest of the machine with a damp clean cloth.
Rinse these removable parts and then allow them to air dry. Drying with a cloth could mean bits of lint or fabric are left on the parts, and not rinsing them could mean a soapy tasting coffee.
Then, every two months, you should:
- Replace the filter cartridge
- Check for general wear and tear or parts which need replacing
- Clean the Keurig needle – this is what punches the pod for the water to flow through. Unplug the machine, unclog the extra grounds with a paperclip and rinse
When Do I Descale My Keurig?
As well as cleaning weekly and checking it over bi-monthly, you should be descaling your Keurig machine every 3-6 months.
Why such a large timescale? Well, depending on different factors, how quick your Keurig scales up can change. If you use it a few times a day, use hard water or slack on your cleaning, the limescale can build up faster.
It is really important to do this frequently because a build-up of limescale deposits could alter how efficiently your machine works, and could even damage it in the long-term.
Wondering how to tell when your Keurig is ready for a descale? It will likely start underperforming, so finding it harder to pump the water or coffee out (the tell-tale sign here is a slower-than-usual delivery of your brew). Maybe there are odd sounds, as though it is straining to work a little bit.
Some also have lights on which will let you know when the time has come. But ideally, you should NOT let it get to this stage as it risks damage. Read on to find out how to descale your Keurig machine.
How To Descale A Keurig
You should always buy the descaling liquid or tablets from the manufacturer which is designed for that particular machine.
This way, it won’t be too strong or acidic and will work well for the way the machine operates. The below is a generic guide on how to descale a Keurig, which suits most machines – always follow manufacturer instructions for your particular machine and the descaling solution you’re using.
What You Need:
- 1 bottle Keurig® Descaling Solution (14oz/400ml)
- Large ceramic mug
- Fresh water
Descaling for K-Cup, Rivo, and Keurig 2.0 Brewing Systems:
Step 1: Turn the power off, remove the water reservoir and empty it
Step 2: Pour the entire bottle of descaling solution into the reservoir
Step 3: Fill this empty bottle with water and also add to the reservoir
Step 4: Turn the power on, place the mug on the cup holder and make a ‘coffee’ as you would normally – this is a cleansing brew
Step 5: Repeat until the ‘add water’ light comes on, emptying the cup in-between times
Step 6: Allow the machine to sit for ~30 minutes
Step 7: Clean and rinse the reservoir fully
Step 8: Fill the reservoir with fresh water and perform at least 12 cleansing brews
Step 9: Brew coffee as usual
For MINI and MINI Plus brewers
Step 1: As above, but rather than use a whole bottle, pour one third (around 4.6 oz) of the Keurig® Descaling Solution into the Cold Water Reservoir, and add fresh water to the 10 oz fill level.
Step 2: Lift the brewer handle but do not add a K-Cup® pack. After 5 seconds, lower brewer handle and press the BREW button
Step 3: Repeat again up until you press BREW, but delay this for 30 minutes to allow the solution to work
Step 4: Repeat above but with just fresh clean water three times
Can I Descale A Keurig With Vinegar?
The Keurig® Descaling Solution has been designed specifically for Keurig brewers, and this includes the strength of the cleaner when following the above instructions. This is why using the official descaler is always recommended, even though there are cheaper alternatives now on the market.
It is also odourless, unlike white vinegar. Descaling coffee machines with vinegar is common, but because of the odour and taste, it can be hard to get rid of these when you come to make your coffee.
With the official descaler, the wait time is much shorter and there is no chance of a horrible smell and flavour afterwards. White vinegar can be used as an emergency, but for best results and a longer-lasting machine, always stick to the official products.
Another consideration – Keurig will not be too happy if you have to claim on the warranty of the product and you tell them you’ve been cleaning it with white vinegar…