How to Clean and Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker

Hard water leaves residue and mineral deposits on the heating elements of your coffee maker. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that remains after water evaporates. Your Keurig coffee maker can become clogged with mineral deposits over time. Mineral deposits make it difficult for the heating elements to heat the water to the correct temperature. Your coffee will take longer to drip and the taste of your drink may change.

Regular washing cannot remove these hard water residues from your coffee maker. For your coffee machine to function properly again, it must be descaled.

Regular Cleanup

Keurig coffee makers are designed for easy cleaning. To clean the outside of your coffee maker, simply wash the surface with a soaked, non-abrasive cloth. Many Keurig models have a removable water container that can be easily washed in the sink with warm water and dish soap.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar

We recommend descaling your Keurig coffee maker every three months under normal circumstances and once a month for hard water. To eliminate guesswork, some Keurig machines are equipped with a warning light. When the light comes on, it’s time to descale.

One of the most effective ways to remove calcium deposits is to use vinegar. White vinegar is a natural alternative to commercial cleaning products. The acid in the vinegar cuts grease and removes stains and hard water deposits.


  1. Unplug the machine and pour the water remaining in the tub into a sink. Gather the tools you need and place them next to your Keurig machine – plain white vinegar, paper towels or microfiber cloths, dish soap, and a cleaning toothbrush for scrubbing.
  2. Take out the water container and empty it. Remove the K-cup holder, drip tray, and drip tray cover. Be careful not to touch the sharp needle underside of the K-cup holder. Place all dishwasher-safe items in the top rack or sink of the dishwasher and soak them in warm water and a few drops of dish soap.
  3. After leaving them in the sink for 15 minutes, gently wipe the inside with a sponge, then rinse well and towel dry. Then take a clean toothbrush and remove any coffee residue left in the K-Cup holder.  If you notice buildup, dip your cleaning toothbrush in a small bowl of white vinegar and scrub the outside and inside of the K-cup holder to remove coffee grounds and buildup.
  4. Take all washed parts and reassemble the machine.
  5. Using a microfiber cloth or paper towel, wipe the outside of the machine from top to bottom, removing any dust or water stains. If you notice white residue, dip a cloth in a bowl of white vinegar and remove it.
  6. Fill your water container halfway with white vinegar and run several brew cycles without K-cups.  Place a ceramic mug under the machine and pour the vinegar into the sink. Repeat the process until the container is empty. The descaling infusion takes about 15 minutes. The vinegar dissolves the limescale deposits.
  7. Fill the container with fresh, clean water and run a few cycles to give your machine a final clean and remove the vinegar. Continue until there is no smell of vinegar left.

When you don’t smell vinegar anymore, remove the reservoir and rinse well.

If vinegar runs through the coffee maker, it can leave an odor and affect the taste of the next brews. Another option is to purchase a special descaling solution. This solution is designed to remove limescale deposits from your coffee machine. Once the descaling process is complete, it leaves no noticeable smell. This solution is approved for Keurig for its breweries. Very detailed instructions are included. This descaling solution works slowly but is worth the time.

Useful Tips

  1. Use filtered water to prevent mineral deposits from forming on your Keurig machine.
  2. Brew a non-K-Cup cycle every few days to flush the machine with clean water.
  3. Do not leave water in the container if you are traveling for several days.

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5 thoughts on “How to Clean and Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker”

  1. Thanks for the tip. I use vinegar to clean my coffee maker. But we have SUCH hard water (well water) that I had no idea how to clean those hard water stains. I tried the baking soda and it worked. Still, needs a bit more scrubbing but it looks so much better!

  2. Regular of cleaning coffee maker is very important. White vinegar is used as a common cleaning agent that used to cleaning coffee maker. Hot water spray and soft wiper is also used for cleaning the coffee maker.

  3. Thanks for the article! I usually wash my coffee pot in the dishwasher, but I have never used vinegar. I didn’t know that it can remove calcium.


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