Last Updated on February 9, 2023 by brewthatcoffee
Having a Keurig makes every cup of coffee more tasty, luxurious, and convenient. But taking care of the machine is essential, especially when the light gets activated and you are unsure why or what to do about it.
The Keurig descale light gets activated because it’s been 250 brews or three months, and your machine needs descaling. The light remains on until you descale to remove any minerals, coffee grounds, and gunk buildup. An acidic solution is used with a specific process to descale a Keurig.
Understanding why your Keurig’s descale light is on, why it won’t stop flashing, and how to descale effectively with tips can help you maintain and extend your machine’s life. Read more to understand how to descale a Keurig, what solutions to use, and more.
What The Keurig Descale Light Is For & Why It’s On
The Keurig descale light generally goes on when there is clogging in the machine, disturbing the flow of water through the appliance. If your machine functions well, the Keurig will still display a descaling light after 250 brews or every three months.
That helps with regular cleaning and maintains your Keurig’s health. The descale light only goes on if your machine requires cleaning, so if you see that pesky light, tend to it immediately.
Not only will descaling your Keurig makes it cleaner and allow the water to flow through and coffee to pour out effectively, but it will also give you better-tasting coffee free from gunk and mineral buildup.
What Causes Scaling & Clogging In A Keurig?
If all your Keurig requires is water and K-cups to make coffee, you may wonder what causes the calc and clogging in your machine. Here is what it does:
Hard water minerals: Any appliance where water is heated will result in calc like your regular kettle. Hard water is nasty for your coffee machine, and soft water is recommended. Always try to use filtered/distilled water in your Keurig and descale regularly.
Stuck coffee grounds: Sometimes, the coffee ground gets released and end up stuck in the needles. You can try to clean out the needles with a clean, sanitized safety pin or paper clip, but descaling helps break down and release any gunk buildup clogging your machine.
How To Descale A Keurig
Follow these steps to descale your Keurig:
- Put your Keurig off, but leave it plugged in. This step is crucial, and many people don’t realize it is necessary.
- Remove any K-cups from the basket and pour out any leftover water from the canister.
- Add the descaling solution (discussed later), with equal parts distilled or filtered water, into the water canister.
- Place a large mug or measuring jug on the cup holder to catch the liquid as the Keurig descales pours out.
- Press the 6-ounce and 10-ounce buttons simultaneously for three seconds, and the 8-ounce light will flash. Depending on your Keurig model, it could be the 8-ounce and 10-ounce with the “K” light that will then flash. The descale light will also start flicking.
- Press the 8-ounce, K, or brew button to brew. The cup will fill up. Pour it out and repeat this until the descale light disappears and the “Add Water” light comes on. This is the washing process.
- Then pour out the solution water from the canister. Wash it thoroughly and fill it with clean water to the maximum line.
- Press the 8-ounce or K button again and allow the brew to take place and the water to pour into your cup. This is the rinsing or flushing process. Throw that out and repeat the process until the “Add Water” light disappears.
- Your Keurig is now descaled and clean.
Store-bought descale solution is excellent if you like a buy-and-use as-is product. The solution is odorless and typically consists mainly of citric acid. But some of them may include other chemicals. The chemicals help stabilize the formula and remove stains and oils.
These ready-store-bought solutions have instructions on the bottle on how to use it for descaling. To begin with, it typically requires you to pour the contents into the machine canister. Then fill the bottle with clean water and add it to the solution.
Homemade Lemon & Vinegar Solution
If you prefer to stick to natural ingredients and want something more budget-friendly, a homemade lemon f vinegar solution works wonders. Add equal parts of lemon juice and water or vinegar and water to the canister and begin the process.
Since store-bought descale solutions contain citric acid as the main ingredient, you could make your own solution using citric acid powder and water. Use two tablespoons of citric acid with 4 cups of hot water. Mix that and add it to your Keurig water canister.
How Long Does Descaling A Keurig Take?
Descaling your Keurig should take around 20 to 30 minutes, granted you don’t run into any glitches. If you run into glitches, you may need to shut the machine down and try again, or you could continue the process with water, and it should eventually work itself out.
If your Keurig is extremely dirty and there is an excess buildup of gunk and calc, it could take an additional 10 to 15 minutes. That means you will continue the brewing process with water for as long as necessary until the lights stop flashing.
Can You Descale Your Keurig Without The Descale Light?
It is perfectly safe to descale your Keurig even if the descale light goes on. The descale light will start to flash after 250 brews or around three months. But if you notice your machine is not functioning effectively at any point, you should consider descaling.
Here are signs to look out for:
- Your Keurig is louder than usual.
- The coffee pours out slower than normal.
- Your coffee tastes different or not as good.
- The coffee comes out colder than normal.
How To Clear The Descale Light
Cleaning the machine using the proper descale mode and process is the only way your Keurig descale light will get cleared. If you avoid that, your descale light will continue to flash until you do.
In older Keurig models, users could easily get away with brewing water or restarting the machine. The newer models are created to know if you have followed the required process, and until you do, the descale light will not go away.
Why Is The Descaling Light Still Flashing After Descaling & Resetting?
Sometimes, the descale light remains after descaling or trying to reset the machine. It could be for the following reasons:
- You have run into a glitch: This is normal with appliances and programming.
- Your Keurig is not done descaling: This can happen if your Keurig needs more cleaning. It can especially happen if you use a solution containing soapy ingredients or other chemicals. It also happens with stuck coffee grounds and excess clogging.
- You lifted the handle: If you lift the handle or open the K-cup holder at any point during the process, the Keurig will kick you out of the descaling process, and the light will keep flashing.
- Your K-cup is packed too tightly: If you use refillable K-cups, they may be packed too tightly. You want to leave some room for water to flow more freely.
Tricks to Clear That Pesky Keurig Descale Light
If your Keurig descale light doesn’t leave you alone even after you have followed all the necessary steps, you can follow a straightforward trick to get it sorted once and for all. That is to continue the process with water.
If the descale or add water light is still on, but the solution is finished, add water to the canister and continue pressing the K or 8-ounce button to brew. The water will continue to pour out. Dump and redo those steps several times until all the lights go out.
An important point to remember is that Keurig is designed and programmed to run in descale mode. The water flushing process still has to be done in descale mode. Even if you shut the machine off to reset, put it back in descale mode before you continue with flushing.
Sometimes it takes around 6 cups of water before the lights stop flashing. Some users have to do it seven to 10 times. Other users report dumping the water 13 times before the lights go away.
Those chemicals need to be released entirely from the machine. The Keurig is intelligent enough in descale mode to know once it is only clean water running through. Thus, it will require water release and dump several times until the machine is properly cleaned.
Keurig Descale Light FAQs
Your Keurig descale light will flash because you have reached 250 brews, and your machine requires descaling. You will need to follow the manual to put the Keurig in descale mode and use a solution, following instructions to descale the machine until the light disappears.