Sunday, February 12, 2012

What in the world does it mean to "descale" my Keurig?

I was surprised to see the pool-water blue that resulted from the descaling process.

We were given a Keurig coffee maker for Christmas a year ago.  We use it ALL the time.  It's a great instant hot water maker for tea and oatmeal.  We also use the reusable k-cup that you can put your home ground coffee into.  We love it.  No more old coffee for us!

Recently though, it started flashing a warning that we needed to descale it.  That sounds kind of scary, like there's a slimy snake inside of it or some kind of fish, but I guess it's a normal coffee maker thing.  When you used tap water, there are minerals in it, especially if you have really hard well water like we do.  The minerals build up inside the coffee maker, affecting the heating mechanism, the taste and most notably, it tends to clog up the machine.  Recently, our keurig was only brewing half the normal amount of coffee at a very sluggish rate.  In the last few days, "descale" warning came up.  I decided I had better figure out how to do this thing, so I looked it up.  I got my information from the Keurig company itself on how to do this descaling thing.  This post is my interpretation of what they tell you to do.  Please don't depend wholly on my word to do this: read the full directions for your specific brewing machine yourself!

Here's the link:  Keurig Descaling Instructions

Anyway, descaling is not as mysterious and wonderful as it sounds.  All it is is this:  you run vinegar through the coffee machine to dissolve the minerals.  I couldn't believe how blue the vinegar became!

Here's what I did:  I dumped out the leftover water in my keurig.
*I filled the water reservoir with white vinegar.
*I turned off the "Auto Off Feature."
*Then I ran the vinegar through the EMPTY keurig coffee in it and caught it in a coffee mug.
* I kept doing this and dumping out the coffee mug until the reservoir asked me to refill it.
*Then I let it sit for several hours with the last of the vinegar left inside.
*After it had sat, I tried running water through, but it was still sluggish and didn't wanna let the vinegar through.  I thought I had broken it.  I had never descaled, and we have REALLY hard water and use this thing ALL the time, so I think there were LOTS of minerals in it, so I let it sit overnight.
*The next morning, we filled half the reservoir with more vinegar and ran that through.  More blue liquid came out.
*We ran an entire reservoir of plain tap water through to be sure to get all the vinegar out.  Now the keurig works wonderfully.

I've read that you should do this descaling thing at least once a month if you have hard water, so I'll be doing that from now on.  Hope this helps you fellow Keurig owners!

***Extra note:  If you do all of this, and water is still really sluggish to go through your keurig, there may be something blocking the nozzle.  Get a safety pin or a paper clip and a flash light, then point it up at the needle that is made to puncture the K-cups when you use them.  This is where water comes out.  Our keurig was saying it needed to be descaled, but it really just had bits of coffee grounds blocking the little holes inside the needle.  When we stuck the paper clip up inside the needle, the chunks of coffee grounds fell out, and the water is flowing freely!


  1. good tips. I don't have a Keurig, just a plain old coffee maker, but I run vinegar thru mine about once a year. It never came out blue, that's kinda cool. We hardly ever make coffee in ours tho. I also ran vinegar thru my food steamer periodically.

  2. Thanks I was having water flow issues with my Keurig after years of having it. Looked on line found your instructions, did them and the poking of the need and it opened up the water flow. I was getting ready to throw it out.

  3. Thank you I was lost and had no idea what to save my life and my Keurig from the trash...

  4. I put the vinegar in the water container, I poked a paper clip up the pin, I closed the top, I pushed the BREW button, and nothing is happening. Help!!

  5. I've had water flow issues too. I put white vinegar in the water container, I poked a paper clip up the pin, I closed the top, I pushed "Brew", and NOTHING has happened. What do you suggest that I do next?? Please help!!

  6. Thanks so much for the tip! I had literally had my Keurig for 2 weeks and it wasnt filling a cup. The needle was blocked by a few grinds and now all systems are go!


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