How You Can Descale a Keurig Without Vinegar – (And Headaches, Etc.)
There is hope if you want to descale your Keurig brewer without vinegar if this tried-and-true product has let you down in some way. It’s all a matter of understanding basic chemistry and how certain materials interact with your appliance – don’t worry this is not going to be like a chemistry class or anything. The “d” word…”descaling” it just sounds really bad because a word like “scale” makes you first think of limescale…and all the mineral cruddy stuff – icky right?
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Barring the exclusive use of distilled water or the presence of an in-line water tank hookup, we single-serve brewer owners just have to roll up our sleeves and get to it.
I think we all have the same goal in mind as we’d like the procedure to be as painless and effective, but some people are scratching their head (or banging it against the wall?) in frustration when their attempt to descale is derailed.
Do any of these scenarios ring a bell for you?
- Exit needle clogs up which causes water to back up and not flow correctly.
- Water pump isn’t working well, due to certain blockages that are hard to diagnose
- Not getting enough water for the preset brew cycle (e.g. 6 oz with an 8oz setting)
- The “sensing algorithm” that can cause the “descale” message to appear at any time there is a brewing gridlock which confuses users and leads to unsuccessful (and frustrating) sessions.
Well don’t despair, help’s on the way and a few good products that’ll get the job done!
Should You Always Clean Your Keurig Without Vinegar?
I don’t look at this as such a black-and-white topic, as vinegar does have its place in cleaning per – se. Vinegar’s long history as a seasoning agent, medicinal tonic, and cleaning uses is long and profound, so it stands to mention that it would be a common go-to product.. It is an acidic product comprised of acetic acid meaning that it can dissolve mineral deposits with ease including residual buildup. Not to mention it’s also cheap and you can buy it practically anywhere.
That being said, vinegar is highly corrosive when it comes to electrical and metal components and this can cause trouble with the more sensitive anatomy of your Keurig machine’s inner workings including the pump and the solenoid valve. Which is why it’s so very important to dilute it. As stated in a previous post on descaling my small Keurig I always stick to a 1 part water to one part vinegar ratio.
How to Clean Your Keurig Without Vinegar
On a more superficial level, you probably understand everything about the removeable parts such as the drip tray, assembly housing, and the removable reservoir, so I won’t be redundant here. A few things that can help with such areas as the inside of the K-cup chamber are canned air, an old toothbrush, and a bent paper clip.
Toothbrushes let you get in and out of the chamber area easily. The use of canned air (labeled as made for “dusting electronic parts”) is a great tool for the piercing needle, where gunk can accumulate and lead to a stop-up.
For cleaning and descaling, consider the use of lemon juice, as it’s made of the same compound as vinegar: acid. It’s definitely going to smell better that’s for sure. At 6 percent citric acid this is the equivalent of diluted vinegar. you have a pretty good substitute on your hands. You can pour some in and around the chamber and scrub it a little with the old toothbrush and fill the reservoir with it to perform the de-scale. Follow what your usual steps would be using vinegar/water and run a K-cup-less cycle until the water runs cleanly to not notice any weird aftertaste.
Urnex K-Cup Cleaner – For Keurig Machines Compatible with Keurig 2.0 – Removes Stains Non Toxic
Best Way To Descale Your Keurig Without Vinegar
In addition to some homemade prospects, a better bet is to consider the use of a descaling kit product, made exclusively for your brewer. There are a number of them available Sometimes the products come in tablets, sometimes a solution and sometimes there’s a unique K-cup shaped agent as well.
There are also some that are “2 step” meaning they consist of a combo of these products that you use together Some help to kill bacteria and mold that could cause problems as well.If you find a product whose active ingredient is citric acid, you’re in the ballpark.
The mineral deposits that get into the brewer’s interior are alkaline based, and the most important perimeter for a descale product is that it should be acid-based since alkaline and acids are compound polar opposites. Although citric acid is labeled as non-toxic, be careful not to breathe in some of these solutions and dilute with manufacturer’s recommended amount of water before use.
1. Before you proceed, be sure to read labeling carefully and choose the solution made for the right “line” of Keurigs yours belongs to…some will not work out with the 2.0 models (for example, CleanCup) Also with regard to some agents that include a 2-step with a K-cup shaped product, these will not work with the Vue series models as they lack the “lip” shaped protrusion on one side.
2. Pour solution into the reservoir as per labeling; how much to use may depend on the size of the reservoir. If you are using a “2-step formula” the K-cup goes into the chamber just like you were actually making coffee and the tablets are dropped into the full reservoir in the back. This may be the Keurig descaler solution you’ve been looking for if you’re in need of a more “thorough” process.
Full Circle Coffee and Espresso Descaling Liquid – 4 oz [ 2 Single Use Bottles ]Urnex Dezcal Coffee and Espresso Descaler and Cleaner – 4 UsesDescaling Solution Coffee Maker Cleaner – Simple All Natural 8 Uses Per Bottle
3. If running with a liquid solution product, perform a brew cycle as you normally do when you make coffee only nothing is going into the chamber.
4 Empty dispensed product out. You may see pieces of gunk and debris coming out which is completely normal. You may want to use a toothpick to loosen up any additional gunk that’s on the way out.
5. Perform a thorough, clear h20 rinse afterward as it may take up to 2-3 rinses to complete it and not run into any funky tastes in subsequent coffee brews..
The products listed above are powerful enough to clear out the mineral junk that slows down your machine’s performance and can be used on a semi-regular basis, in addition to, or in place of, white vinegar. Plus, they will smell better too in the process. Now you know the right way to descale a Keurig without vinegar is easier than you think as long as you do your homework and choose an acid-based (citric is the most common but there are other types) product to work with.
Chemical Composition of Vinegar
National Sanitation Foundation Additional information – NSF