What Does It Mean When My Keurig Coffee Maker Says Descale

It’s critical to descale your Keurig brewer as part of its maintenance routine. Descaling removes the buildup of calcium deposits, commonly referred to as scale, inside your coffee machine over time. While calcium and scale pose no health risks, failing to remove them can hinder your brewer’s performance.

Descaling should be done every 3 to 6 months, or when the descale indicator illuminates for select brewers.

What Does It Mean To Descale A Coffee Maker

A cup of coffee contains approximately 99 percent water, making it one of the most critical factors in producing a decent cup of coffee.

All water includes minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which travel through your coffee machine and ultimately build as limescale on the machine’s heating element.

Descaling a coffee maker is the removal of mineral accumulation. Because it has a larger amount of these minerals, “hard” water is much more harmful to coffee equipment. Because the heating components in a machine are not visible, months of mineral accumulation may exist without your knowledge.

What Happens If You Don’t Descale Your Coffee Maker

Mineral scale accumulation can harm your machine’s boiler, affecting your coffee in a variety of ways:

So, if you haven’t descaled your coffee machine for a while now, or if you’ve never descaled your equipment, you’re definitely drinking coffee that’s less delicious and more tepid. And that’s assuming your machine hasn’t broken down. Neither viewpoint is beneficial to you or your coffee.

How To Descale A Keurig

When calcium hardens and mineral deposits dry up in the water, scale develops. When you use high-mineral-content water in a Keurig, it might produce build-up in the brewer and inhibit it from operating properly. It also has an effect on the flavor of your coffee. Yuck! But don’t panic, there are a few different ways to descale a Keurig:

  1. Keurig Cleaning Solution

Keurig has developed and formally certified its own Keurig Descaling Solution for all Keurig 2.0 and 1.0 K-cup coffee machines. Disconnect the machine and turn it off, then load the water reservoir with one portion of Keurig Descaling Solution and one portion of water. 

Brew one cup of hot water in a coffee mug and place it beneath the dispenser. Once finished, pour the water out, replace the cup, and continue until all of the water has been drained from the reservoir. Rinse the reservoir, refill it with new water, and then make another cup of hot water and empty it out. Voila! A Keurig that has been descaled.

  1. Vinegar and Water

After turning off and unplugging the Keurig, disassemble it and wash all detachable parts. The drip tray and pod holder should be rinsed in warm, soapy water, however, the K-cup filter attachment and water reservoir may be cleaned in the dishwasher’s top rack.

While these pieces are drying, use a moist microfiber towel to clean off the Keurig’s surface. Replace all of the components in the Keurig and turn it on.

Fill the reservoir halfway with white distilled vinegar, which is essential for eliminating scale build-up, and the other half with water. Commence the brew cycle without the K-cup and repeat until the reservoir is clear. Repeat with plain water until the water reservoir is completely empty to rinse out the vinegar taste.

  1. Citric Acid

Citric acid, like vinegar, is excellent for disinfecting a Keurig and is an easy DIY method for removing any scale that has accumulated.

Make a citric acid solution by mixing one to two teaspoons of citric acid with four cups of water and pouring it into the water container.

Put a coffee mug beneath the drainage spout and make a cup of hot water, then empty it out and repeat the process. Refill the water reservoir with water and continue processing until there is no more water in the reservoir.


If you examine your Keurig’s user guide, you’ll see that it suggests using filtered or bottled water to minimize build-up caused by minerals and pollutants present in tap water.

Buying bottled water on a regular basis may be costly, so it may make sense to invest in a filtered water container designed particularly for your Keurig machine. Using filtered water will extend the life of your Keurig. The price of the filter is worthwhile because it will conserve your time and profit in the long term.