The Ingredients in Keurig Descaling Solution

keurig descaling solution ingredients

If you want to know exactly what’s in the bottle of descaling solution before you pour it into your few hundred-dollar Keurig coffee maker, I don’t blame you! This article will go into detail about the Keurig descaling solution ingredients and how they work to clean your machine.

What is the descaling solution for Keurig made of?

Keurig's descaling solution is made of citric acid and water. Citric acid is a compound that binds to deposited minerals in a Keurig such as calcium and magnesium, which allows them to be washed away by water easier.

If your descale light won’t turn off after descaling your Keurig, check out my guide to fix it here.

Are you sure you're descaling your Keurig correctly? Check out our in-depth guide with pictures here.


  • What Ingredients Are in Keurig Descaling Solution
  • Why These Ingredients are Used
  • DIY Keurig Descaling Solution
  • Descaling Solution Alternatives
  • How to Descale Your Keurig

What Ingredients Are in Keurig Descaling Solution?

To keep your Keurig machine running smoothly and producing great-tasting coffee, it is important to perform regular maintenance, such as descaling. Keurig offers its own descaling solution, which is specially designed for use with its machines.

The Keurig Descaling Solution is a liquid concentrate that is formulated to remove mineral buildup from the internal components of your Keurig machine. Over time, minerals from water can build up in your coffee maker's heating elements and other components, which can lead to reduced performance, clogs, and even damage to the machine. Descaling is the process of removing these mineral deposits to help maintain the performance and longevity of your Keurig coffee maker.

Keurig’s descaling solution is made of citric acid and water.

Citric acid is an organic acid. You know it as the compound found in lemons and sour patch kids that makes them taste so sour. Citric acid is very effective as a cleaner. It can be used to clean mineral deposits, hard water stains, and bacteria.

While we are using the citric acid in Keurig descaling solution to clean our coffee maker, the acid can be put into a sponge or spray bottle and be used very effectively for cleaning bathrooms, toilets, dehumidifiers, etc.

The water component of the descaling solution helps to dilute the citric acid and make it easier to apply to your machine.

Buy the Authentic Keurig Descaling Solution from Amazon at this link.

DIY Keurig Descaling Solution

Bargain Hunters: Since Keurig’s descaling solution is just citric acid and water, you can create your own at home by mixing one tablespoon of citric acid powder in a liter of water. You can get 2.5 lbs of the stuff for less than $20.

Buy Citric Acid Powder on Amazon Here

Why is Citric Acid Used to Descale a Keurig?

We don’t need to get into the chemistry of a citric acid reaction (mostly because I’ve never been good at chemistry) but basically, the cleaning works because citric acid is really good at binding to metal atoms and minerals. Then once these minerals have been bound to the citric acid they can be easily washed away with water.

Remember, the reason we are descaling our Keurig is to remove built-up calcium and other mineral deposits that have been deposited in our Keurig. This calcium comes from the water used.

Most people’s tap water is “hard water”, meaning it is water that is full of minerals like calcium and magnesium. If you ever wash your hands and feel film residue left over, or pull your dishes out of the dishwasher and find a “soap scum,” you have harder water. This is due to the calcium in the water interacting with your soap.

This mineral-rich “hard water” isn’t dangerous but it can clog your coffee maker and affect its functioning. When you brew coffee in your Keurig using this water, these minerals, especially calcium, can form hard deposits over time and cause blockages.

You can actually reduce the build-up of calcium in your Keurig by using softer water to brew your coffee, such as bottled water or Britta filtered water.

Buy Britta Water Filter Pitcher on Amazon Here

Descaling Solution Alternatives

Rather than purchasing Official Descaling Solution from Keurig, many people use vinegar to descale their Keurig coffee makers. Vinegar’s main ingredient is also an organic acid, acetic acid.

Acetic acid is an effective cleaning agent, but gentler than citric acid. Vinegar also has a very strong smell so if you use it to clean your machine the smell could remain around for a few brews afterward and end up in your coffee.

With its increased strength and with how easy it is to buy it online, I personally choose to use citric acid descaling solution to clean my Keurig rather than vinegar. But vinegar will work! Just be sure to run a few extra rinse cycles with water to get the smell out.

If you don’t want the hassle of descaling I recommend you check out these Quick and Clean K cups (pictured below)

There are plenty of brands that make their own versions of descaling solution that include ingredients different from Keurig's. Just Google or Amazon search “descaling solution” to check them out.

How to Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker

As a reminder, I’ve included below the directions to properly descale your Keurig. If your model has a descale light on it then that will come on to tell you it's time to clean it. Otherwise, I recommend descaling once every 100 brew cycles, which ends up being about once every 3 months if you make a cup of coffee a day.

What you need:

  • Empty Mug
  • Descaling Solution
  • Water
  • 45 Minutes of Your Time


1. Fill the machine's water reservoir with equal parts descaling solution (or vinegar) and water

2. With the Keurig plugged in but powered off, hold down the 8 and 12-ounce buttons simultaneously

3. The “K” brew button should start flashing. This means descale mode has been initiated

4. Place the mug and run the descaling solution through the machine.

5. Repeat until the water tank is empty and the “add water” light is on.

6. Let the machine sit for 30 minutes to avoid overheating

7. Fill the water reservoir with water and run it through the machine using the largest brew-size button until the “add water” light is on

8. Repeat rinsing with water until descale light is off.

And that’s it, your Keurig should be good to go!

Thanks for your time! If you found this article helpful be sure to check out the rest of our website, we have lots of Keurig tips and tricks and troubleshooting. If you have any questions feel free to contact us using the information below.

This article was written by Josh, the founder, and owner of You can learn more about Josh on our About the Team page.


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