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Not the right machine for you? Check out our other descaling guides for Keurig coffee machines below:
Table of Contents
What is Descaling?
How Often Do You Need to Descale Your Keurig K Express Machine?
You’ll also want to regularly replace the Keurig water filter unit. Skip to THIS SECTION if you want to find out how to do that
How Does The Descaling Process Take?
What You Will Need:
A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Descale Your Keurig K Express Coffee Machine
Time Required: Approximately 20 minutes
Step 1: Exterior clean
Keeping the exterior of the machine clean from just, grime and greasy build-up is essential to stop dirt from getting into the machine.
Step 2: Descaling Solution Rinse
Step 3: Fresh Water Rinse
Download: Get a copy of our descaling cheatsheet below.
How To Replace The Water Filter On Your Keurig K Express Machine
Your Keurig coffee machine also has a small carbon water filter cartridge that has the purpose of removing impurities from the water that comes out of the water reservoir.
The K Express user manual recommends replacing these every 2 months, although we find it easier to do it every time we descale the machine.
What You’ll Need:
To get started, you’ll need to get a pack of replacement water filters.
We normally buy these K&J Keurig compatible filter pods from Amazon which come in a 12-pack and cost less than $9.
Keurig also sells this cleaning kit which comes with 2 filter cartridges, 4 rise pods, and a bottle of descaler. This is convenient if you want to just buy one thing, but we don’t ever use the rinse pods and think you get better value by buying the filter cartridges and the descaler separately.
You’ll also need, a glass of water (to soak the filter cartridge)
How to replace the filter pod:[Time Required: 6 Minutes]
It’s really simple to swap out a filter cartridge.
- Take the filer out of its package and place it in a glass of water for 5 minutes to soak.
- While it’s soaking, remove the plastic filter unit from your Keurig K Express machine’s water reservoir. disassemble the unit and dispose of the old filter cartridge.
- Rise the mesh filter in the base of the unit to clear out any debris that’s become lodged there.
- After 5 minutes have passed, take the filter out of the water and give it a quick rinse under the faucet/tap to rinse off any filter material.
- Finally, insert the filter back into the base of the plastic filter unit, and clip the unit back together. Inset this assembly back into your keurig’s water reservoir and you’re done!
This video from Keurig’s official Youtube channel shows exactly how.
Frequently Asked Questions And Issues:
Q. Why is there foam coming out from the coffee machine?
When you perform this task, you may find foam coming out from the brewer due to the cleaning action of the descaling solution. Don’t panic. It is the aftereffect of the reaction between the descaling solution and mineral deposit.
Most descaling solutions use a concentrated food-safe acid as the active ingredient. In the case of the Eco Descaler we use, this is citric acid – so any foam or residue from the descaler is perfectly harmless in diluted quantities.
Q. Is Your Keurig not filling correctly?
When you descale a Keurig K Express machine with a higher calcium scale quantity, you may find the brewer not filling accurately after adding the descaling agent. This situation leads to ineffective scale removal. You may also hear the sound of air blowing out.
To address this issue, you must switch off and unplug the brewer. Then, you have to remove the descaling solution from the reservoir and clean it thoroughly. Water must be refilled before plugging and turning the power on. The next step is to repeat the Fresh Water Rinse cycle recommended in Step 3.
Under normal circumstances, the issue will be resolved. If you experience the same problem again, you must keep the brewer unplugged for half an hour before starting the rinsing task.
Q. Can you use vinegar instead of descaling solution?
Scientifically speaking, cleaning your Keurig machine with vinegar is almost exactly the same as with a commercial descaler solution.
Unfortunately, however, vinegar tends to peel off the scale build up in flakes which could clog your machine causing irreparable damage. We’ve heard numerous cases of people having to throw out their coffee machine because of this. We’d recommend sticking with a commercial descaling product.
Q. What is a descaling solution made of?
Descaling solution is generally an acidic chemical that is capable of dissolving mineral salts such as oxides and carbonates. Notable descaling agents include acetic acid, citric acid, and lactic acid. These are all food-safe chemicals, however citric and acetic acid do impart a more noticeable taste to the machine, thus lactic acid is typically preferred.
Q. Can you make your own descaling solution?
You can make your own descaling solution using vinegar or citric acid, though we’d recommend using a commercial descaling product in a concentration that is proven not to damage your machine.
Q. Can I use any descaler in my K Express Machine?
Yes, in fact, you can use all descaling products in any brand of coffee machine. Just make sure to read the machine’s specific descaling instructions to make sure you use the correct amount of product.
Q. What happens if you don’t descale your coffee machine?
Scale builds up inside the pipes restricting the flow of water. If this happens inside the heating element it prevents water from reaching its optimal brewing temperature. When this happens it’s impossible to extract the full flavor from the coffee pods and the flavor will become weak. Severe scale buildup can clog water flow completely, causing a machine to stop working.
Q. Is descaling solution toxic?
Our favorite Eco Descaler descaling powder is completely non-tox and eco-friendly. It’s made from citric acid which is food safe in moderate doses. Other descaling solutions may use caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide which is highly toxic, so please check the label if unsure.
Q. Can you descale with baking soda?
We don’t recommend using baking soda to descale your coffee machine.
Final Thoughts And Recommendations:
It’s essential to descale your Keurig K Express every 2-3 months. This will not only increase the life span of your Keurig machine, but also keep your coffees tasting great and fresh.
Descaling takes around 45 minutes and consists of a descaling run and a rinse run.
You can use any brand of descaling product in your Keurig Express, as long as you dilute it with the correct amount of water to the manufacturer’s instructions.
We recommend using the Green Pods Eco Descaler. It comes with 4 sachets (1 year’s supply) which are perfectly portioned. It’s environmentally friendly, and it’s also more cost-effective than the name-brand Keurig Descalers.
- ✔️ ENJOY BETTER TASTING COFFEE: Infrequent descaling is the #1 reason your coffee is tasting bad. Descale and you’ll taste the difference.
- ✔️ SAFE FOR YOU AND YOUR MACHINE: Our Eco Descaler is safe for all machine parts. It leaves no harmful residues and does not cause corrosion within the coffee machine.
- ✔️ WORKS ON ALL COFFEE MACHINES: Designed and tested on all leading coffee machines including Nespresso, Keurig, Dolce Gusto, Caffitaly, Breville, Delonghi, and more.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any tips of tricks to keep your Keurig K Express clean, and what descaling product you prefer to use?