How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker - DIY Descaling

How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker – DIY Descaling

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 18:20

Learn how to descale Keurig iced coffee maker with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. In this article the technique gives your machine a deep and detailed clean using distilled white vinegar and includes the unclogging and cleaning of both your needles.

Keep reading for the instructions and get descaling your coffee maker.

How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker

Let’s get to it, and get descaling various Keurig iced coffee makers with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

You will notice that for the various models they all follow the same process and method. The technique will ensure much more than simply descaling your machine, you will get a high quality deep clean of your Keurig brewer.

First, let’s talk about a couple of important things to know!

How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker
Descaling Keurig Iced Coffee Maker Is Easy

Read: What does the iced coffee button on Keurig do?

What Does The Keurig Descale Light Mean?

When you see the Keurig Descale light illuminated, it means that your Keurig coffee maker has buildup of calcium and mineral deposits that have built up in the inside of your machine, the tubes, the heating element and elsewhere.

The accumulation of these are detrimental to the quality of your coffee and the performance of your coffee machine. If it is not taken care of, ultimately your machine will produce sub par coffee and will eventually break your machine.

There are several ways of descaling a Keurig iced coffee maker as you can descale with:

  • Keurig Descaling Solution.
  • Citric Acid.
  • Distilled White Vinegar.
  • Bicarbonate Of Soda.
  • Keurig Descaling Pod.

The two most popular are the Keurig descaling solution and distilled white vinegar.

Both of these have advantages and disadvantages. I have a preference for using distilled white vinegar as it is easy to find and source and is very inexpensive and gets the job done perfectly.

The downside is you need to flush it well to remove any lingering scents of vinegar.

Activating the descale mode is easy. Ensure your Keurig coffee maker is plugged in, powered down. Push and hold down the 8 Oz and 12 Oz buttons at the same time for 3 seconds. When flashing, push the brew button. This will start the descaling process.

Keurig Descaling Solution

The active ingredient in the Keurig descaling solution is citric acid, which means if you can source citric acid at a better price, you may be better to use that.

It also indicates that acidic products like vinegar should not be a problem.

How To Descale Keurig With Vinegar

Descaling a Keurig is easy and very straight forward. I’ll show you in this section how to descale various Keurig coffee machines with vinegar.

How To Descale Keurig Slim With Vinegar

Start the whole process by removing all the removable parts including the water reservoir and K Cup holder and water filter. Clean the well with soapy water.

Pay attention to the valve in your water reservoir and unclog it and clean with a pin. Flush well. Consider replacing your water filter if necessary.

For a complete clean, unclog your needles by poking around the inside of both needles with a paper clip or needle for a minute each.

Use your orange Keurig needle maintenance tool and mill it with a 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% hot water and use the solution to clean your needles by opening and closing the brew head 5 to 7 times.

Run a second clean using your needle maintenance tool by using hot water only. Fill your needle maintenance tool with water that is as hot as possible and repeat the opening and closing of the brew head.

Your needles at this stage should be perfectly clean. You can also consider replacing them, if required. Even if you want to replace them, still run this unclogging and cleaning process as it cleans the lines that lead up to the needles.

What Does The Keurig Descale Light Mean
Descaling A Keurig Slim Is Easy!

Read: How to make iced mocha coffee with Keurig

Step 1: Fill Your Water Reservoir

When you are descaling with distilled white vinegar, never use greater than 50% water and 50% white vinegar. As you increase the amount above 50%, your solution can become a fire hazard due to the heating element.

Fill your water tank to the half full mark with white vinegar and top up with fresh clean water to the max fill line.

Do not insert a K-cup coffee pod of any kind. Leave your K-Cup holder empty.

Put a large ceramic mug on your drip tray to catch the falling solution from the coffee spout.

Ensure your coffee maker is powered down and hold down the 8 ounce and 12 ounce buttons for 3 seconds until the descale light illuminates.

When the brew button starts to flash, press the brew button to start descaling. When your mug catches the water and vinegar solution, discard the solution by pouring it down your sink.

Continue until your water reservoir is empty.

If your machine is particularly dirty, repeat with a second cycle by filling your water reservoir to the max fill line with a 50% water and vinegar solution.

Step 2: Flush It

It is very important to flush your water reservoir with fresh clean water to remove the scent of vinegar from your machine.

Fill your water tank to the max fill line with clean tap water, preferably filtered tap water and press the brew button.

Flush until your water tank is empty. Repeat this step 5 to 7 times or as many as necessary until your machine is no longer producing scents of vinegar in the liquid expelled from the water spout.

Step 3: Clean The Exterior Surfaces

Wipe the exterior of your machine with a damp cloth. And give the drip tray a good clean with soapy water.

Step 4: Brew A Test Cup

Brew a test cup of coffee to find out how the taste of it is. If you detect a hint of vinegar, you will need to run more rinsing cycles.

How To Descale Keurig 2.0 With Vinegar
Brew A Test Cup Of Coffee

Read: Keurig iced coffee

How To Descale Keurig 2.0 With Vinegar

Descaling your Keurig machine is important so important that in my opinion and experience it more important to use is as preventative maintenance and run scheduled descaling cycles every other week, every 15 days.

When descaling every 15 days, use a weaker vinegar to water ratio, use only 25% vinegar and 75% water. This will prevent mineral deposits from building up.

Every other month run a full deep clean of your coffee maker and use 50% vinegar and 50% water.

The objective of maintaining your machine is not to wait until your machine indicates that it is time to descale.

Step 1: Clean All The Removables

Clean all the removable parts, the K-cup holder, the drip tray etc.

Step 2: Clean And Unclog The Needles

Unclog both your needles, the entry and exit needles by poking around inside each one with an unfolded paper clip or needles for 30 seconds to a minute each.

Clean them using your Keurig needle maintenance tool using a white vinegar and hot water solution. Then rinse well by using hot water only in your Keurig needle maintenance tool.

Step 3: Get Ready For Descaling

Fill your water reservoir with 50% distilled white vinegar and water solution.

Step 4: Descale Your Machine

Run the descaling process by pressing the brew button and run until your water reservoir is empty.

Repeat as necessary.

Step 5: Rinse Your Coffee Maker

Fill your water reservoir as many times as necessary to flush out and rinse the scent and trace of vinegar from your machine.

You may need to run 5 to 7 cycles. Fill your water reservoir and press brew to rinse your machine.

Step 6: Clean The Exterior

Clean the exterior surfaces with a damp cloth.

Step 7: Brew A Test Cup Of Coffee

Brew a test cup of coffee. If you have traces or hints of vinegar, run more rinse cycles.

How To Descale Keurig Mini

The process of descaling a Keurig mini is the same as descaling other Keurig coffee makers.

Start by cleaning all the removable parts and unclogging your needles and cleaning them well.

Step 1: Prepare The Water Reservoir

Fill the water reservoir with 50% white vinegar and 50% water.

Step 2: Let It Soak

Power down your Keurig Mini as soon as the solution starts to come out of your coffee spout.

Leave your vinegar-water solution in your Keurig Brewer for at least half an hour, and then power up your coffee maker and press the Brew button.

Repeat this cycle at least twice for a high-quality clean.

Step 3: Rinse Well

Run fresh water rinsing cycles at least 7 to 12 times to ensure that there is no trace of vinegar in your machine.

Step 4: Brew A Test Cup Of Coffee

Brew a cup of coffee using your machine and test it for traces of vinegar. If there are any hints of vinegar, run more flushing cycles.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker

How Do I Put My Keurig In Descale Mode?

To activate the descale mode on your Keurig coffee maker, ensure that it is plugged in and switched off. Press the 8 Oz and 12 Oz buttons at the same time and hold for 3 seconds.

When the brew button is flashing, press it. This will start the descaling process.

Can I Use White Vinegar Instead Of Keurig Descaling Solution?

If you have run out of Keurig descaling solution you can use white vinegar as a back-up descaling solution. Though I’ll add, distilled white vinegar is better.

Use your white vinegar in a 50% vinegar and 50% water mix. Never use 100% vinegar as it is a fire hazard.

How Do I Clean My Keurig Iced Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

When descaling your iced coffee maker start by filling your water reservoir half full of white distilled vinegar and then fill to the max fill line with clean fresh water.

Run a descale cycle just as you would with descaling solution. When your descaling has finished, run 5 to 7 flushing cycles to remove the scents of vinegar.

What Does It Mean When A Keurig Says Descale?

When your Keurig coffee machine says descale, it means that your machine has a build up of mineral deposits, calcium and limescale, and they need to be removed as they hinder the performance of your coffee brewers performance.

Does Vinegar And Water Descale A Keurig?

Yes, a solution of vinegar and water will descale your Keurig coffee machine and remove the buildup of mineral deposits in your coffee maker. It will also remove the build up of other dirt that has built up.

How Many Cups Of Vinegar Do I Need To Descale My Keurig?

Rather than measuring how many cups to descale your Keurig with, use a ratio of 1:1, 50% vinegar and 50% water. Always use a full water reservoir of the vinegar-water solution.

An easy way is to fill to the half full mark with vinegar and then fill to the max fill line with water.

What Is The Ratio Of Vinegar To Water For Descaling?

The ratio of vinegar to water used for descaling your coffee maker is 1:1. Use equal amounts of each.

How Many Times Should I Run Vinegar Through My Coffee Maker?

How many times that you should run vinegar through your coffee maker depends on how dirty your machine is and when you last descaled it.

If it is particularly dirty, or you have not descaled it in a long time (more than 3 months), run a second or third descaling cycle with vinegar.

The key is to maintain your coffee maker well and run a light descaling cycle every other week, every 15 days by using a weaker vinegar solution of 25% vinegar and 75% water.

Every third month run a cycle with 50% vinegar and 50% water.

Final Thoughts – How To Descale Keurig Iced Coffee Maker

Know how to descale Keurig iced coffee maker is important as it is necessary preventative maintenance and ensuring that both your coffee maker lasts longer and continues to brew amazing coffee every single time.

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Derek Marshall is a coffee expert and a Specialty Coffee Association Certified barista holding the professional certification for coffee brewing and barista skills. He has 20+ years experience of working in specialty coffee shops. He has several authoritative books published about coffee covering topics of specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. His experience as a barista covers 2 decades and counting of working in specialty coffee shops in the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia. Indonesia and Vietnam. He has deep knowledge of the unique coffee culture in each of these nations and specialty beverages requested and brewing techniques and equipment. As a coffee consultant he commands US$50 per hour. Learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew by checking his About Me Page. If you have any questions about coffee, give him a call on +34-639-410-375 or drop him an email Please state your name and where you are from.

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