Why Does My Keurig Say Descale? A Comprehensive Guide

Keurig Troubleshooting

If you are a Keurig user, you have most likely seen the “descale” message on your coffee machine at least once. This prompt can be a bit concerning if you are not familiar with what it means or why it appears.

In this article, we are going to explain why your Keurig is asking for a descale, how to properly descale your coffee machine, and tips on preventing scale buildup in the future.

Why Does My Keurig Say Descale?

Keurig Descale Message

The “descale” message on your Keurig is an important reminder that it is time to remove the mineral buildup inside your coffee maker.

Water, especially hard water, contains minerals like calcium and magnesium that can accumulate in the internal components of your machine over time. This buildup or scale, can affect the performance of the machine, changing the taste of your coffee and even clogging the water flow.

The descale alert is the way your Keurig coffee machine is telling you that the scale buildup has reached a level that could interfere with its operation and efficiency.

How To Descale Your Keurig Coffee Machine: A Step-By-Step Guide

Descaling your Keurig coffee machine is an important maintenance task. It makes sure that your brewer operates efficiently and your coffee tastes great.

Follow these easy, straightforward instructions to descale your Keurig machine.

Step 1: Prepare The Brewer

Start by turning off your Keurig brewer.

If your model has a water filter, remove it from the water reservoir.

Empty the water reservoir and pour a whole bottle of Keurig Descale Solution into it.

Now Fill the same bottle with water and add it to the reservoir as well.

Set a large mug on the drip tray. Make sure no K-Cup pod is in the machine.

Step 2: Descale The Brewer

To enter Descale Mode, with the brewer plugged in but powered off, press and hold specific buttons depending on your model (for many models, it’s the 8oz and 12oz buttons) for about 3 seconds until the machine indicates it has entered Descale Mode.

Begin the descaling process by pressing the brew button. The machine will start dispensing the descaling solution.

After each brew cycle, empty the mug into the sink.

Repeat the descaling process until the “Add Water” light turns on, indicating the reservoir is empty.

Step 3: Fresh Water Rinse

Rinse the water reservoir thoroughly

Fill it with fresh water to the MAX fill line.

Start the rinse cycle again by pressing the brew button. Like the descaling process, empty the mug after each cycle.

Continue the rinse cycles until the “Descale” notification disappears. This is a sign that the machine has exited Descale Mode and is ready for regular use.

Additional Tips

Frequency Of Descaling

The need to descale depends on the mineral content of the water you use. Keurig recommends descaling every 3 to 6 months. However, if you use hard water, you might need to descale more frequently. Your Keurig will remind you when it is time to descale.

Water Filter Reminder

If your model uses a water filter, remember to remove it before descaling and to replace it once you are done.

After Descaling

If you notice any residual taste after descaling and rinsing, run additional fresh water brew cycles until the taste is gone.

By following these steps, you can effectively descale your Keurig coffee machine, ensuring it continues to provide you with delicious coffee while extending its lifespan.

How To Prevent Scale Buildup

Preventing scale buildup is key to minimizing the frequency of descaling alerts and ensuring your Keurig operates smoothly. Here are some tips to prevent scale from affecting your coffee maker:

  • Use filtered or bottled water to reduce the amount of minerals that enter your machine, decreasing the likelihood of scale buildup.
  • Regularly empty and clean the water reservoir to minimize mineral deposits.
  • Even with preventative measures, some scale buildup is inevitable, especially if you use your Keurig frequently. It is a good practice to descale your machine every 3 to 6 months, based on your water hardness and machine usage.

Troubleshooting Common Issues After Descaling

Troubleshooting common issues after descaling

Even after a thorough descale, some Keurig users might experience issues with their coffee machine. Here is what you can do to fix these issues.

Keurig Machine Not Brewing

Sometimes, air bubbles trapped in the system during descaling can prevent brewing. A simple fix is to gently tap the machine or perform a power cycle (turn it off, unplug for a few minutes, then plug it back in) to reset the system.

Odd Tasting Coffee

If the coffee tastes strange after descaling, it might be because of residue from the descaling solution. Running additional fresh water cycles can help. If the taste persists, make sure the water reservoir and coffee pod area are cleaned thoroughly.

Descale Message Not Resetting

If the descale notification remains, it could be because the machine hasn’t recognized the descaling process completion. Repeating the fresh water rinse cycle or resetting the machine can help clear the message.

Low Water Temperature

Scale can insulate the heating elements, causing water to not heat properly even after descaling.

If this issue continues, a more thorough descale or professional servicing might be required to remove stubborn scale deposits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use any descaling solution in my Keurig?

While Keurig recommends using their own descaling solution for optimal results, alternatives like white vinegar or citric acid solutions can also be effective. However, it is important to follow specific ratios to avoid damaging the machine.

How do I know if my Keurig needs descaling aside from the alert?

Signs that your Keurig needs descaling include slower brewing times, changes in coffee temperature, reduced coffee volume per brew, and unusual noises during brewing. These symptoms can occur even before the descale alert appears.

What happens if I don’t descale my Keurig?

Neglecting to descale can result in clogged water lines, reduced heating efficiency, compromised coffee taste, and ultimately, a decreased lifespan of your coffee maker.

Is descaling safe for all Keurig models?

Yes, descaling is a recommended maintenance task for all Keurig models, but the specific descaling procedure might vary slightly. Always refer to your model manual for detailed instructions.

Can frequent descaling damage my Keurig?

When done according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, descaling is safe and should not damage your machine. Overuse of harsh chemicals or descaling too frequently, however, can potentially cause wear over time.


By understanding why your Keurig says Descale and following the steps to descale your machine properly, you can make sure that your Keurig will continue to produce delicious coffee for years to come.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to the longevity and performance of your Keurig coffee maker. Happy brewing!