How to Descale a Keurig

Although single cup coffee machines (aka a Keurig) are a fast and very convenient way to make a cup of coffee, there is a little maintenance involved. Even if you have soft water, minerals can deposit on the heating coils buried deep within your Keurig (as well as drip coffee machine), making your coffee taste off, and if left long enough, causing your coffee machine to fail – and Keurig’s are not cheap coffee machines. This build up is known as Limescale (thus the term “Descaling”).

Descaling your machine every couple of months is a great way to keep it humming. This means better tasting coffee, and a steady stream of caffeine. Think of it as preventing coffee withdrawal! I should note here that if you live in an area with very hard water (or if you use your Keurig heavily), you may need to do this basic maintenance more often.

There are several commercial descaling solutions on the market (link to some of them here). As well, you can use simple household vinegar (link here), which is a lot cheaper. Some aficionados claim that the commercial descalers, especially the one made for and sold by Keurig – Link here to Keurig descaler, do a better job and help the coffee to taste better. As well, Keurig’s descaler can be used for drip machines, water kettles, and other appliances that suffer from Limescale buildup.

Cleaning your Keurig

  • Remove all of the parts that can be removed… Water reservoir and cover, cup stand and cover, K-cup holder. Be careful with this one – you need to put your finger below the basket (where the coffee comes out) and push upward.
  • Wash everything with warm soapy water.
  • Dry thoroughly.
  • Wipe off the outside of the machine with a damp cloth. Open the K-cup compartment and wipe around the K-cup holder (look for loose coffee grounds).
  • Put the machine back together.
  • Fill the reservoir with a solution of half white vinegar and half water (or use Keurig’s descaler. Follow directions on the bottle as to the proportion of water to descaler).
  • Place a mug below the spout and start the brew cycle. Make sure the K-cup holder is empty.
  • Empty the contents of the mug and keep running the machine until the “fill reservoir” light comes on.
  • Rinse out the reservoir and fill with fresh water.
  • Run the brew cycle several times, until the “fill reservoir” light comes on.
  • You’re now ready to brew a great-tasting cup of coffee!

The Keurig solution does do a better job, but because of the price, I usually alternate between vinegar and Keruig’s descaling solution. If I lived in an area with hard water (which, fortunately, I don’t), I would most likely use Keurig’s solution all the time.

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