How To Descale A Keurig 2.0 [Complete Guide With Video]

How To Descale A Keurig 2.0 [Complete Guide With Video]

Last updated on May 20th, 2024 at 12:05

It is good to know how to descale a Keurig 2.0 with and without Keurig’s descaling solution – you just never know when you will be caught short and run out of the solution and need to clean your coffee maker.

This article details in a very simple way that you can clean and descale your Keurig 2.0 with baking soda, citric acid, white vinegar and of course descaling solution.

Keep reading for few great ways to descale your Keurig 2.0.

How To Descale A Keurig 2.0 With Descaling Solution

Descaling your Keurig with a descaling solution is an easy 3-step process as follows.

Step 1: Prepare Your Coffee Maker

Remove your water filter if your machine has one. When you see the descale light on or the notification on screen, push the left arrow button then select continue and follow the prompts given to you on the screen.

If the descale light has not come on, and you want to descale your brewer, press both arrows together and select the descale mode.

Step 2: Descale Your Brewer

Empty your water reservoir of all the water and clean it with soap and water. Rinse well. Add the Keurig descaling solution to your water reservoir. Then fill the empty descaling bottle with water and pour the contents into your water reservoir to make a 50% descaling solution and 50% water mix.

Press the brew button to start the descaling process. Ensure that you have a large mug or carafe on your drip tray to catch the hot water that will come out. Discard this hot water and repeat this cycle until your water reservoir is empty.

Repeat this step as necessary, depending on how dirty your coffee machine is.

Keurig Descaling Solution
Keurig Descaling Solution

Read: Keurig size buttons

Step 3: Rinse Your Coffee Maker With Fresh Water

You need to pay just as much attention to this step as much as the other steps in this process – you absolutely do not want your coffee maker to taste or smell of the descaling solution.

For health reasons you need to remove all traces of the descaling solution.

Fill your water reservoir to the max fill line 3 to 5 times with clean water and ensure that you have a large mug on your drip tray to collect the water. Press the brew button when it flashes. Discard the hot liquid that comes out of the coffee spout.

Continue this step until your water reservoir is empty and repeat several times even after the screen displays the descale complete message.

There is no harm in giving your coffee brewer a real good rinse.

How Do I Descale My Keurig 2.0 Without Descaling Solution?

There are many methods of descaling your Keurig 2.0 without descaling solution, three obvious ones are citric acid (or lemon juice), distilled white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.

Let’s talk about the use of lemon juice and citric acid.

Note: Citric acid is readily available in powder form and is more convenient to use. A single lemon has approximately 5% citric acid; approximately 14 to 16 lemons are needed for a good basic clean.

Step 1: Remove All The Removable Parts

Remove all the parts including the water tank, K-Cup holder, lid, drip tray etc and wash them in soapy water.

Wipe all exterior surfaces with a damp cloth and dry well with a clean dry cloth.

Step 2: Descaling Your Machine

Add one heaped tablespoon of citric acid or 14 to 16 freshly squeezed lemons per cup of water to your water reservoir. Continue until your water reservoir is full.

Start a brewing cycle and repeat until your water reservoir is empty.

Repeat this step as necessary. If your coffee brewer is dirty or has a large build up of mineral deposits, you may need a second or third cycle to be repeated.

Step 3: Flush It

This step is every bit as VIP as any other step. Simply fill your water reservoir with plain water and run several brew cycles until you have flushed out the scent of lemons or citric acid and the taste of it too.

This should take at least 3 to 5 water reservoir full to complete the task.

When you are finished, brew a cup of coffee to check the taste.

Read: How to use Keurig

Fill your water reservoir with distilled white vinegar to the half full mark. Fill the rest of your water reservoir with fresh water to no more than the max fill line. Start a brew cycle. Keep repeating this until your water reservoir is empty.

Discard the content of the mug or carafe that you use to catch the dirty solution that comes out of the coffee spout.

Fill your water tank 3 to 5 times and run flushing cycles by starting a brew cycle and keep repeating this process until 3 to 5 reservoirs full have run through your coffee maker. This is to remove the traces of vinegar and loose dirt from your machine and ensure that your next cup of coffee has no taste of vinegar.

How To Descale A Keurig 2.0 With Vinegar
Descaling A Keurig 2.0 With Vinegar

How Do I Descale My Keurig 2.0 With Baking Soda?

Cleaning and descaling your Keurig 2.0 with baking soda is a third option that you have if you are clean out of descaling solution (pun intended!).

Baking soda is good because it is very alkaline. Simply add a quarter or half a cup of baking soda to a full tank of water.

Stir well to ensure the solution is fully dissolved.

Run brewing cycles and ensure until your reservoir is empty. Repeat as necessary.

Run 3 to 5 reservoirs full of clean water to flush and rinse the system. Brew a cup of coffee as a test brew to ensure that there is no taste of bicarbonate of soda in your coffee.

Note: It is perfectly safe to consume baking soda. I take it daily with water to ensure my body is in a more alkaline state.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Descale A Keurig 2.0

It is not a matter of how many ounces as each water reservoir has a different capacity. What is important is to use a 50% water and 50% white vinegar solution.

My own method is to fill to the half full line with distilled white vinegar and then add your water to the max fill line.

If you have run out of Keurig descaling solution you can use distilled white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda. With distilled white vinegar, use a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar and water. Press the brew button and start the descaling process.

With bicarbonate of soda you can use a ratio of 1:4 with one part bicarbonate of soda and 4 parts of soda.

Yes, if your Keurig coffee machine has a water filter, remove it before you start the descaling process. Fill your water tank with the Keurig descaling solution and start a brewing cycle and continue until your water tank is empty.

The run 3 to 5 rinsing cycles with a water tank full of fresh water.

When your Keurig descale light won’t go off and stays on, it means that your coffee maker needs some more cleaning. It needs a real good descaling.

Start by cleaning the needles with the special needle cleaning tool that came with your coffee machine. Then run a real good deep clean with distilled white vinegar by filling your water reservoir to the half full mark and filling to the max fill line with water.

Run brewing cycles until the water reservoir is empty.

This should put your descale light off. It doesn’t repeat the cleaning cycle for a second time and third time if needed. This time using a fine needle to clean both the entry and exit needle and poke around to remove any blockage.

Run the same 50% White vinegar and 50% water solution while running a cleaning cycle.

When your descale light does go out, run several rinsing cycles to remove the scent of vinegar.

Personally I love using distilled white vinegar and baking soda to clean my coffee equipment as both get the job done every bit as good as descaling solution and is very cheap. I have not noticed any difference in terms of their ability to remove mineral deposits when compared to the proper Keurig descaling solution.

Technically, Keurigs descaling solution is probably better due to being specifically designed for their machines and to be gentler on them than vinegar which is acidic and corrosive.

The secret: don’t let mineral deposits build up! Use filtered water from one of those filter jugs in your coffee maker. Even though Keurig coffee machines have a built-in filter, that doesn’t mean you can’t prefilter your water as a preventative maintenance step and help to prolong the life of your machine.

You can also run regular cleaning cycles every other week with bicarbonate of soda, which is alkaline. Only infrequently, every quarter or so with distilled white vinegar.

No, I advise against letting vinegar, bicarbonate of soda or cleaning solution of any kind in your machine as there is no benefit. The solution has to flow through your coffee maker for there to be a benefit of cleaning.

I’ve heard stories of coffee lovers doing this, but vinegar is acidic and is not doing good things while it is sitting in your coffee maker, which is why it is best to flow through your machine.

Final Thoughts – How To Descale A Keurig 2.0

I consider learning how to descale a Keurig 2.0 with various different techniques and methods is important to keeping your coffee machine well maintained.

Although the manufacturer considers running a full descale cycle every 3 to 6 months, I consider running a good light cleaning cycle every other week to keep your machine in tip-top condition and serving you high quality coffee. 

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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