Descaling Keurig with white vinegar
Using a Keurig means no longer having to hassle with coffee filters and coffee grounds each morning. This simplicity makes most of us forget about cleaning this every day device. Over months of continual use calcium, lime, and bacteria can begin to build up inside your Keurig or single-cup coffee maker. Keurig does recommend to use filtered water when using their machines but this isn’t always convenient.
Keurig suggests performing a cleaning process called Descaling to deep clean and get rid of the calcium, lime, and bacteria build ups. The descaling process does take around 45 minutes to one hour to complete so be prepared to set some time aside for this process. Descaling can help maintain the heating element, and other internal parts that come in contact with water and help keep you enjoying a tasty cup of coffee every morning.
Why use White Vinegar as Cleaning Agent
White Vinegar is a cheap and environmentally safe way to clean a lot of your normal everyday items. White Vinegar’s acidity is what makes it such a good cleaner. Because white vinegar is so acidic, it can counteract a lot of buildups. It can dissolve away soap scum, scale left by hard water, and even kill many forms of bacteria.
Items needed to Descale Keurig with white vinegar
- White Vinegar
- Keurig filter replacement (If applicable)
- Large Coffee cup or mug at least 12 oz
- Soap and towel
- Nearby sink for disposal and water
Some prep before starting the Descaling process
Since you are already going to be cleaning your Keurig you might as well clean the whole machine as well. So before starting the descaling process you might want to wipe down the outside of your machine, clean the K-Cup pod holder and funnel, and clean the Keurig needle as well. See below for instructions on how to do this.
- Turn off and unplug the Keurig and allow to cool.
- With some mild soap or cleaner wipe down the outside and wherever you can reach with a moist towel.
- Lift up the lever to disassemble the K-Cup pod holder and funnel, and wash both parts in the sink. Take a paperclip and open it up so you have a straight end. Once you have your straight end insert it into any holes in the K-cup holder and funnel to get loose any sediment that could be there.
- With the lever still in the upright position take the paperclip and poke through the two holes the needle has to loosen any sediment. Be careful with this step since the needle is very sharp.
- Re-assemble the K-Cup holder and funnel in the Keurig and turn the power back on so you can start the descaling process.
Watch embedded video below for demonstration of how to clean the Keurig needle and K-cup pod holder…
Steps to Descale a Keurig with white vinegar
- Empty the water from the reservoir and, if you have a filter remove this also.
- Turn on the Keurig and pour the white vinegar into the water reservoir until it reaches the Max Fill Line and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
- Place a large ceramic mug (not paper!) under the spout
- Lift the handle, and then select the largest brew cycle and then lower the handle without inserting a pod.
- Start the brewing process.
- When the mug is full, dump the white vinegar down the sink and repeat until there is no more white vinegar left in the reservoir.
- If there is still vinegar in the reservoir, either add enough water to run one more cycle or dump the remaining solution in the sink.
- Once you can’t see any more vinegar in the reservoir, fill the reservoir with water until it reaches the Max Fill Line and run until you need to add more water. Once you reach this stage fill the reservoir with more water and run 2-3 more cycles to make sure all the vinegar is flushed away.
- After cycling through the water thoroughly rinse out the reservoir.
Preventing Scale and Calcium buildups
Scale and calcium deposits usually form from having hard tap water. In a lot of areas or homes the water pipes are old and thus will leave a lot of residue if not filtered properly. That is the reason why Keurig suggests using filtered or bottled water when brewing coffee to help keep the scale deposits to a minimum. For some using bottled water is not an option since it can be very pricey. If you have hard water in your area and on a budget consider buying a simple water filter such as a Brita water filter pitcher to keep combat the scale and calcium issue. Keep in mind you should still perform the descaling process even when using filtered as this also will help remove most bacteria and other harmful particles that may form by having water just sit there for extended periods of time.