Keurig Descale Light – How to Deal with It?

This article will help you understand and decide what to do with your Keurig when its descale light is on.
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: August 19, 2023
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There’s little wonder you have succumbed to the charms of Keurig coffee machines, regardless of the model you purchased. Its ease and comfort of use hook you like its rich coffee. The price range is also great – from affordable coffee makers under $100 to elite top-notch models. But the lime in the water can damage your machine and the brewing process. So, taking care of it is a must if you want to prevent or solve these problems: in this article, we show you why the Keurig to descale light is on and how to descale the coffee maker step by step.

The symptoms of calcification on your Keurig are unmistakable: you’ll have slower pours, the settings will no longer work, stinky clumps, and you’ll only get a coffee cup when you needed a full cup. Fouling occurs when hard deposits from water, which contains many minerals, adhere to the inside of the Keurig, gradually clogging its tubes (the same can happen with your pipes).

Why is the Descale light on?

Keurig Descale Light - How to Deal with It?Keurig coffee machine models, especially the pod coffee models, are the ideal product for coffee lovers. They are the most convenient models of coffee makers available on the market today. They brew the drink quickly and operate silently. Technically, Keurig coffee machines are more potent than many similar gadgets. This also applies to the troubleshooting system. Use it if your Keurig coffee machine malfunctions.

If you have high mineral content in your water, a scale can build up inside your Keurig coffee maker and affect performance. Scale can block the heating element of the Keurig coffee maker and interfere with the heating of the water. Keurig machines have sensors that let you know when tartar has built up, and “Descale” will appear on the unit’s display when this occurs. Then you have to troubleshoot the Keurig.

How to fix it?

Keurig Descale Light - How to Deal with It?To remove the scale, you need 48 ounces (1.4 l) of white vinegar and a ceramic mug. However, instead of vinegar, Keurig also has its special descaling solution, which you can find on their website. The manufacturer recommends the solution for its traditional brewers, that is, the K-Classic, K-Latte, K-Elite, K-Café, K-Compact, and the K-Select. You will start by emptying the tank of the Keurig machine.

Change the water with the 48 ounces (1.4 l) of vinegar or the cleaning solution that you have. Make sure the K-Cup container is empty, then start a brew cycle. Place a ceramic mug under the spout to collect the vinegar. Empty the contents into the sink.

Repeat this process until the vinegar is drained from the water tank. Refill with water and run several brew cycles before use to clean the unit.

Check the power supply to make sure the unit is connected properly, and the outlet is working properly. You may need to reset the circuit breaker if the Keurig brewer does not turn on.

Lift the K-Cup handle up and down to a single part of the package. Make sure the handle is secure and the unit marks “Ready to Brew” on the LCD screen. Check the LCD screen and error messages, such as “Add Water.” Fill the water tank to solve this problem.

How to clean the Keurig exit needle?

Keurig Descale Light - How to Deal with It?Before descaling the coffee machine, you can check if water is not coming out again due to any other reason. At this point, after noticing, don’t descale the Keurig yet. Check the entrance as well as the exit needle if it is plugged.

The needle is that which, during brewing, punctures the bottom and top of the coffee pods introduced. However, with time, grounds of coffee can go up into the needle, causing a clog up in the waterline, therefore, not allowing water to get out.

To remove the grounds and buildup of gunk, use a paper clip to loosen the coffee grounds and push them through the needle holes. This should dislodge the dirt that is clogging up there.

The Keurig coffee machine funnel can be removed from the machine and placed in the dishwasher for cleaning. The water tank can be cleaned with soapy water and a clean cloth in the sink by hand. You will need to descale properly if this does not resolve the problem.

What to do if descale feature doesn’t work?

If the Keurig descale light has been on, and you have been ignoring it, or if the water is hard, then you need to do the descaling process a few times.

The descale light could be on for several months while the machine keeps producing coffee. It will take you a lot of attempts while using vinegar to get rid of the buildup of scale and get the machine working normally once again.

You will see the scale and calcium build up in your ceramic mug while running the solution. This shows that the buildup is being removed effectively.

If the water is hard and you haven’t had time to maintain the Keurig, you may need to upgrade the Keurig. This is the worst-case scenario. However, today, there are a lot of Keurigs you can choose from.

According to most reviews, the most durable, easy to clean, and easy to use model must be the K155 Office Pro Commercial Coffee Maker from Keurig, which, thanks to its reinforced construction and the extra-large water reservoir, is the most reliable option out there.

Iced coffee lovers and K-Cup pod machine enthusiasts are also in for a treat. According to thousands of those who have tried it, one of the best K-Cup pod coffee brewers from Keurig is the Keurig K-Elite Coffee Maker, thanks to its brushed gold finish and iced coffee capability.Keurig Descale Light - How to Deal with It?

How often should Keurig be descaled?

A lot of advanced Keurigs will usually tell you whenever you need to descale the machine. However, it’s advisable to always descale the Keurig one every six months, provided the water used is plain.

Keurig recommends doing this once every three to six months. The Keurig will tell you when it’s time. And if you ignore it, you will be reminded again in six weeks.

How to drain your Keurig?

Keurig Descale Light - How to Deal with It?Keurig coffee maker draws water from a separate water tank and is heated to make a single cup of coffee.  Each time the machine brews a cup of coffee, more water is drawn from the tank and stored within the system to prepare for the next cup. If you plan to store your Keurig for a long time or if you move, it is important to drain the water from the system, or the water will stagnate and can calcify.

To drain the Keurig, turn off the Keurig brewer and unplug it. Wait half an hour before draining the water.

  • Slide the clear plastic water tank from the side of the Keurig. Pour all the water out of it, rinse, and set it aside.
  • Rotate the Keurig around so that you are looking at its rear panel.
  • Locate the screw head on the back of the machine and unscrew it. This screw secures the rear panel to the rest of the machine.
  • Then, slide the rear of the machine. Set up the Keurig so that the back of the machine faces the sink. Locate the clear plastic tube and remove it from its clip.
  • Next, point the plastic pipe toward the sink and remove the lid at the end of the sink, allowing the water contained within it to drain into the machine.

You need to reassemble the machine. Just push the cap off the end of the tube and push the tube into the clip. Place the back panel on the machine and fix it with the screw you removed earlier, and slide the water tank into the side of the machine.

Final Thoughts

Your Keurig coffee maker may not work properly if any of the parts become clogged and require cleaning. For example, the spout may stop working due to clogged coffee grounds.

The Keurig descale light may be on due to this. The light indication is actually telling you it’s time to descale or act.  Use a paper clip to loosen the coffee grounds and push them through the spout.

The Keurig coffee machine funnel can be removed from the machine and placed in the dishwasher for cleaning. The water tank can be cleaned with soapy water and a clean cloth in the sink by hand. If all these do not work, then you may go for the full descaling option. If the light remains on, you may need to try the descaling option several times.

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