How to Clean and Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker

Hard water leaves residue and mineral build-up on the heating elements in your coffee machine. Calcium carbonate is a mineral that remains after the water evaporates. Your Keurig Coffee Maker may become clogged with mineral scale over time. Mineral deposits make it difficult for heating elements to heat the water to the appropriate temperature. Your coffee takes longer to drip and the taste of your beverage may be altered.

Regular washing can’t remove this hard water residue from your coffee maker. Your coffee machine needs to be descaled to perform well again.

Regular Cleanup

Keurig coffee makers are designed for easy cleanup. To clean the outside of your coffee machine, simply wash the surface with a soaked, nonabrasive cloth. Many Keurig models have a removable water reservoir that can easily be washed in the sink with warm water and dish soap.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker with Vinegar

It is recommended that you decalcify your Keurig coffee machine once every three months in normal situations and once a month if you have hard water. To eliminate the guesswork, some Keurig machines come equipped with a warning light. When the light is on, it is time to descale.

One of the most effective ways of removing calcium buildup is by using 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 left in the tray into a sink. Gather needed tools and place them next to your Keurig machine – pure white vinegar, paper towels or microfiber cloth, dish soap, and a cleaning toothbrush for scrubbing.
  2. Remove and empty out the water reservoir. Remove the K-cup holder, drip tray, and drip tray cover. Take care not to touch the sharp needle underside of the K-cup holder. Place all dishwater-safe items into the dishwasher on the top rack or in a sink 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 interiors with a sponge, then rinse them well and towel dry. Then take a clean toothbrush and clear any stuck coffee grinds that remained in the K-Cup holder.  If you notice any buildup, dip your cleaning toothbrush into a small bowl filled with white vinegar and scrub outside and inside of the K-cup holder to remove any coffee grinds or buildup.
  4. Take all the washed parts and reassemble the machine.
  5. Use a microfiber cloth or paper towel to wipe down the exterior of the machine from top to bottom and remove any dust and water spots. If you notice some white residue, dip a cloth into a bowl with white vinegar and remove it.
  6. Fill your water reservoir halfway with white vinegar and run several brewing cycles with no K-cups.  Place a ceramic cup under the machine, and pour the cups of vinegar into the sink. Repeat the process until the reservoir is empty. The descaling brew will take about 15 minutes. The vinegar will clear up the calcium deposits.
  7. Fill up the reservoir with fresh, clean water and run a few cycles to do a final clean of your machine and to get rid of any vinegar. Continue until there is absolutely no vinegar smell.

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

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Running vinegar through the coffeemaker can leave a smell and affect the taste for the next few brewing cycles. Another option is to purchase a special descaling solution. This solution is formulated to remove calcium deposits from your coffee machine. It doesn’t leave any detectable odor once the descaling process is completed. The product is approved by Keurig for their brewers. It comes with very detailed instructions. This descaling solution works slowly, but it is worth the time.

Useful Tips

  1. Use filtered water to prevent your Keurig machine from building mineral deposits.
  2. Every few days, brew a cycle without a K-Cup to flush the machine with clean water.
  3. Don’t leave water in the reservoir if you are going away 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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