How to Descale a Keurig (or Other Pod Coffee Maker) - Living Strong Television Network
How to Descale a Keurig (or Other Pod Coffee Maker)

Pod-based coffee machines like Keurig and Nespresso are more convenient than their pot-filling predecessors, but they still get dirty inside, the same as any coffee maker. You should descale your machine every three months or so, removing calcium buildup and other gunk in there. Sure, you can buy products designed to do this for you, but you can also just use vinegar.

How to descale a Keurig

To descale your Keurig machine, fill your water reservoir with a mixture of half water and half distilled white vinegar. Place a large mug or bowl where you’d normally put your coffee cup and run the machine as normal, dumping the mixture every time the mug fills. Keep doing this until the water reservoir runs out of mixture. Wash and refill the reservoir, then repeat the process to rinse it out, refilling your container until there’s nothing left in the machine. 

Be careful not to overwork your poor Keurig. Consider giving it a half-hour break between descaling and rinsing. 

How to descale a Nespresso

Nespresso warns against using vinegar or other-branded descaling solutions, which you could argue is because they want you to spend money on theirs. Still, if you’re nervous, just buy the Nespresso cleaning products. Online, plenty of people have discussed using vinegar to clean theirs out, but to be on the safe side if you’re going to do it, dilute the vinegar quite a bit. I tried it using one part vinegar and two parts water, and only running the solution through once, and it worked great. 


Credit: Lindsey Ellefson

Be sure to follow the directions for your specific model, but in general, you’re likely going to have to turn off your machine, push the top button and lever simultaneously until the light turns orange, and press the lever down once to start descaling. It will take a while, but it will empty your reservoir. (Conversely, I just “brewed” a cup of the mixture and had no issues.) Rinse the machine by washing out the reservoir, filling it with water, and running some plain water through a few times. 

Tools for descaling pod-based coffee machines

If you’re cheap like me, grab some distilled white vinegar and get to it. You can get 128 ounces for $3.99 at Target

If you’re worried about using vinegar, Amazon has Keurig’s three-month brewer maintenance kit ($17.99) and Nespresso’s descaling solution ($19.99) available, too. 

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