There’s no denying that pod-based coffee machines have found their place in the coffee maker market, and Keurig machines are perhaps the most well-known of them all.

They’re a convenient and reliable source for your morning coffee, until you realize it’s been forever since you’ve properly cleaned your machine.

Not only can a dirty coffee machine become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, mineral buildup can also clog your machine and produce a less-than-tasty cup of coffee.

If you have a newer model, then it will tell you when to descale it, but if yours doesn’t, it’s best to descale your machine at least once every 3 to 6 months to keep your machine running smoothly and efficiently.

Some factors like the mineral content of your water and the frequency of which you use the machine can also make a difference in how often you need to descale the coffee maker. For example, if you make coffee every day and have hard water, then you should descale your machine at least every 3 months.

In this article, we’ll show you the basics on how to descale your Keurig machine, so you can get back to enjoying your coffee.

What You’ll Need

To break down mineral deposits like calcium and lime from your Keurig machine, you’ll need some type of acidic cleaner. You have two options here.

Keurig Descaling Solution

Descale Keurig

Keurig sells their own descaling solution approved for use in your machine. This solution generally costs between $6 and $12 depending on the size of the bottle. It’s easy to use, works well, and doesn’t have a strong odor, but it can leave a lingering taste in your coffee if you don’t rinse enough.

White Distilled Vinegar

Keurig Descale

White distilled vinegar is a cheap and readily available option that’s often used as a cleaner, and it really does a good job of breaking down scale. However, vinegar gives off a strong odor especially when heated, so it might not be the best option if you’re sensitive.

If you’re going to take the time to descale your machine, you might as well do the job right and clean the removable parts, too. You’ll need some dish soap and a sponge or cloth for this.

Now that you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to get cleaning.

Descaling the Machine

Descaling Keurig

The cleaning process itself is quite simple since the machine does most of the work for you, but it can take a bit of time to complete.

So, prepare to wait about 45 minutes to an hour from start to finish before you can use the machine to make your next cup of coffee.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

  1. Unplug and disassemble the machine. Depending on which model you have, removable parts include the water level guide, the lid, the mug stand, and the K-cup holder.
  2. Wipe off the outside of the machine with a damp cloth.
  3. Wash the removable items, such as the water level indicator and the k-cup basket (watch out for the sharp needle), in hot, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly and let dry before returning them to their places on the machine.
  4. Plug in the machine, and fill the water reservoir halfway with descaling solution or white vinegar. Fill it the rest of the way with water.
  5. Place a mug on the mug stand.
  6. Start a brew cycle, and allow it to fully complete. Discard the solution, and replace the empty mug on the stand.
  7. Refill the reservoir with half white vinegar or descaling solution and half water. Run another cycle, but this time power off the machine when the water starts to dispense into the cup. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  8. Start the brew cycle again, and let the process fully complete. Discard the solution from the mug.
  9. Fill the reservoir with water only, and start a new brew cycle. Catch the water in the mug, and empty it out when the cycle completes. Repeat this a few more times to rinse out the vinegar or descaling solution from the machine.

Simple Preventative Tips

While you can’t really get out of needing to descale your Keurig machine at least every 6 months, there are a few things you can do to keep it running smoothly.

  • Use bottled or filtered water instead of tap water to reduce mineral deposits in the machine
  • Run clean water through the machine occasionally to rinse out any debris from the needle.

If the needle becomes clogged, remove the pod holder and clean out the tube with a paper clip. Rinse it off, then carefully clean out the two holes in the needle with the paper clip. Replace the pod holder, and run two water-only brew cycles.

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Writer and Product Researcher

Spending the last 10 years researching and writing about various home, garden and electronics topics, Shelley is more than qualified to write for Meccano Home. Her work has been featured on eBay, Pottery Barn, SFGate, TheKnot, Williams-Sonoma and various other blogs and websites.

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