How to Descale Keurig Duo (Plus) Coffee Makers Properly

Updated on: September 12, 2023
Author: Nick
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How to Descale Keurig Duo (Plus)

This detailed step-by-step guide will show you the proper way how to descale Keurig Duo and Keurig Duo Plus coffee makers!

If you’re reading this guide that means your machine is probably yelling at you to descale it…

Or maybe you’re a little OCD and you want to descale your machine before it starts yelling at you…

Either way, you’ve come to the right place, because this thorough guide will show you everything you need to know to keep your Keurig Duo and Keurig Duo Plus working like a charm!

P.S. Being OCD in this case is better than procrastinating. 

Especially if you want your machine to last longer… Just sayin’... 

So keep reading cause it’s time to pamper your Keurig coffee maker!

How to Descale Keurig Duo (Plus)

The Keurig K-Duo & K-Duo Plus are Keurig's take on coffee machines with multitasking capabilities. That's why the K-Duo line made our list of the Best Keurig Coffee Makers and the Best Dual Coffee Makers.

So make sure you continue to regularly descale your Keurig Duo (Plus) coffee maker to keep it feeling young and alive!

In other words, clean it so you don’t kill it…

Here’s what you will need during this pampering session:

  • Large ceramic coffee mug or measuring cup (minimum 12 oz)
  • The glass or stainless steel carafe
  • Keurig descaling solution
  • Access to a sink

This is how long it will take to refresh your (coffee) baby:

  • Approximately 45 - 60 minutes

1. Prepare the Keurig Duo (Plus) to Descale

  1. Empty the water tank as you don’t want to use stale water that has been sitting there for a while. You want fresh water to freshen up your machine!

  2. Make sure you remove the water filter from the water tank if you have one so that the descaling solution doesn’t ruin the carbon or charcoal water filter.

  3. If you accidentally forgot to remove the K cup coffee and/or the coffee grounds from the last brew cycle, then remove it now.

    Note that I said, “accidentally forgot”... 

    …Because if you are intentionally leaving the used coffee pods or used ground coffee in your machine then your Keurig coffee maker should be breaking up with you for physically abusing it. 
Keurig Duo Descale


You should always be using fresh and filtered water when you brew your cup of coffee.

2. Add the Descaling Solution

  1. Before adding the descaling solution, make sure the coffee machine is plugged in and powered off.

  2. Next, add the descaling solution to the water reservoir or water tank.

    It is best to use a Keurig descaling solution made specifically for Keurig coffee makers (see product below), but you can also buy generic descaling solutions or even use white vinegar. More on these later on in this guide.

  3. Follow the instructions on the label, by refilling the empty descaling solution bottle with fresh water and then adding it to the water tank. This is a 1:1 ratio of the descaling solution to fresh water. 

The great thing about this Keurig Descaling Solution is that it doesn't have a strong smell to it, unlike vinegar, which can leave a strong smell and possible aftertaste in your machine!

3. Start the Keurig Duo Descale Process (Keurig Duo Plus)

Unlike the other Keurig coffee machines, the Keurig Duo and Duo Plus have two types of brewing methods and therefore there are two types of descaling to do: one for the pod holder and another for the coffee grounds holder.

Also, the Keurig Duo and Keurig Duo Plus don't have a descaling mode or setting, so the Keurig Duo descale process is all done manually as follows:

  1. Place a large coffee mug or measuring cup (min 12 oz capacity) under the coffee spout. For the Keurig Duo, that would be the coffee spout for the coffee pod brewer. Don’t forget to place the mug or else you will create a huge mess on your kitchen counter.

    Once everything is in place, then you can start the descaling process.

  2. Next, press the "Power" button to turn on your machine.

  3. Then, select the POD button and press the 12 oz button Keurig cup size.

  4. The “Brew” button will then start flashing. Press the “Brew” button to begin the descaling process. Make sure to keep an eye on the coffee mug, so you can dump the hot liquid into the sink once it's done descaling.

  5. The next step is to descale the coffee pot brewer. So place the coffee carafe on the drip tray, select the CARAFE button and press the 12 oz button again.

    In the case of the Keurig Duo, the coffee pot will be placed under the carafe brewer.

  6. The "Brew" button will then start flashing. Press it to begin the descaling process. Once the descaling is done, dump the hot liquid into the sink.

    Very Important:
    Once the descaling of the carafe brewer is done, the CARAFE button will light red, which means the carafe heating element or warming plate is on. Press and hold the carafe button to turn it off.
Descaling Keurig Machines
How to Descale Keurig Duo (Plus) Beverage Pod Brewer
Keurig Website
How to Descale Keurig Duo (Plus) Carafe Brewer

4. Fresh Water Rinse

  1. Before you start the fresh water rinse, let the brewer stand for at least half an hour (30 minutes).

  2. Once the 30 minutes are up, remove the water reservoir, rinse it thoroughly, then fill the water reservoir to the max line with fresh water only.

  3. Place the water reservoir back in place and put the large coffee mug or measuring cup under the coffee spout (pod brewer for Keurig Duo).

  4. Next, select the POD button, then press the 12oz button, and finally the "Brew" button to start the fresh water rinse of the pod brewer. Once the rinse cycle is complete, dump the hot liquid into the sink.

    Repeat this step 3 more times, filling the water reservoir whenever it gets empty.

  5. The next step is to rinse the carafe brewer. So place the carafe on the drip tray (under the carafe brewer for the Keurig Duo).

  6. Next, select the CARAFE button, then press the 12oz button, and finally the "Brew" button to start the fresh water rinse of the carafe brewer. Once the fresh water rinse cycle is complete, dump the hot liquid into the sink.

    Repeat this step 3 more times, filling the water reservoir to the max fill line whenever it gets empty.

    Don't forget to turn off the warming plate after each rinse cycle by pressing and holding the carafe button to turn off the red light.
Descaling Keurig K Duo (Plus)

Tips for Descaling a Keurig K-Duo (Plus)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you descale Keurig Duo & Keurig Duo Plus coffee makers:

  • Don’t forget to use a 12 oz large ceramic mug or measuring cup. Otherise, you will have a huge mess on your hands. The drip tray can only hold so much liquid and it’s not enough for the descaling process.

  • Stay close to the machine since you will need to dump out the coffee mug waste water during the descaling process.

  • During the fourth step “Fresh Water Rinse”, when the water tank empties, it doesn’t mean the descaling is complete. The descaling process is complete once all 4 rinse cycles for each type of brewer (pod or carafe) are completed.

  • Even though white vinegar is commonly used to clean coffee machines, it seems that the Keurig Duo and Keurig Duo Plus are uber-sensitive. So a non-Keurig descale solution or white vinegar has been reported to cause issues during the descaling process.

  • After the descaling is complete, we recommend that you remove and clean the brewing head and pod holder from any remaining coffee grounds.

  • One bottle of the Keurig Descaling Solution should be enough to descale both brewing sides of the Keurig K-Duo and Keurig K-Duo Plus. Just make sure you add a 1:1 ratio of fresh water to the descaling solution.

  • Finally, don't forget to turn off the heating element or the warming plate every time the carafe brewer is done with the brewing or rinsing cycles.

Cleaning Other Parts of the Keurig Duo (Plus)

The coffee pod brewer of the Keurig Duo line and most Keurig coffee machines work with needles in a way that it pierces through the K cup. It lets the water go through the coffee grounds inside the coffee pod, and then through the Keurig exit needle at the bottom of the K cup.  

How to descale Keurig Duo (Plus) - Exit Needle
Keurig Duo (Plus) Exit Needle

Because of that, exit needles can get clogged too! 

A telltale sign the needles are clogged is if you see grounds spill over the k-cup holder. 

So it’s not only the water tank and the insides of your Keurig that need some love. You have to clean the needle as well. 

To clean the exit needle, remove the k cup holder and detach the funnel as shown in the image above. The exit needle is on the bottom of the pod holder. Grab a small paper clip, straighten it and insert it into the exit needle and wiggle it around to loosen up any coffee grounds.

Keurig Descale Light

It is very important to descale your coffee machine as soon as the descaling light turns on. 

Now we don’t mean going to work late because the light went on while you were making your morning cup of joe… Unless you want to, haha! 

If you don’t treat your coffee machine with love and care, then your Keurig coffee machine won’t give you tasty coffee or tea. It’s as simple as that.

But sometimes, you will notice that even after you descale your coffee machine and follow all the steps outlined in this guide, the descaling light remains on. 

If that’s the case, then check out our detailed guide to the dreaded Keurig descale light so you can get this issue resolved asap.

Descaling Solutions for the Keurig K-Duo (Plus)

There are many descaling solutions available online and some people swear by white vinegar as a cleaning solution. 

As we mentioned earlier, some Keurig Duo (Plus) owners have reported that there have been descaling problems when using white vinegar or a non-Keurig descaling solution. 

So we do recommend that you use Keurig's own descaling solution that we mentioned earlier. We will share another link below for you.

Keurig Descaling Solution

The Keurig descale solution is meant to be diluted with water before using it. Keurig recommends using a 1:1 ratio of the descaling product and fresh water. 

Keurig promises that their descaling solution will yield better-tasting drinks because it reduces the chances of flavor carrying over between brews.

Keurig Rinse Pods

Keurig has also created rinse pods that look exactly like a regular k cup coffee pod. These rinse pods help you keep your brew head or K cup pod holder clean and they recommend using these pods once a week. 

They have both the Keurig descaler and the rinse pods in one package on Amazon, see below:

Vinegar Descaling Solution

Yes, we did advise against descaling the Keurig Duo with vinegar…

…But we know some of you are just stubborn and you want to use white vinegar instead. 

Descale Keurig Duo (Plus) with Vinegar

So we decided to guide you through this as well because we are nice and we care! Plus we don’t want you to screw up your Keurig Duo coffee maker…

When using white vinegar, you also have to dilute the solution with fresh water. Because using vinegar on its own will most certainly destroy your machine. 

You will not be able to remove the vinegar taste from the machine or your beverages.

Similar to the Keurig descaling solution, you want to use a 1:1 ratio of white vinegar to fresh water. 

Unlike the Keurig descaling solution, this process will take approximately 3 to 4 hours because you have to let the water/vinegar solution sit inside the coffee machine parts for 2.5 to 3.5 hours.

Again, we advise against using this solution to descale your Keurig Duo (Plus). It might be fine for other Keurig models, but for these two models, it seems to cause problems.

Citric Acid Descaling Solution

Citric acid is another way for you to descale your Keurig Duo and Keurig Duo Plus. 

I bet you didn’t even know that…

Many people don’t actually know this, but indeed you can because citric acid has similar cleaning properties as vinegar.

To prepare the descaling solution just add 1 to 2 tablespoons of citric acid powder to 4 cups of fresh water, then add this mixture to the water tank.

Then go through the descaling process again for a squeaky clean coffee machine!

Similar to the water and vinegar descaling process, this process will take approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Related Reads:

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you Descale your Keurig Duo (Plus)?

According to Keurig, it is recommended that you descale Keurig Duo (Plus) every 3 months, or when the descale notification or descale message appears.

Depending on how often you use your Keurig machine and the hardness of the water, there could be some mineral build up. So regularly descaling your Keurig coffee maker will ensure the best-tasting cup of java!

Why does my Keurig Duo still say descale?

The descale message on the Keurig Duo coffee maker and the Keurig Duo Plus should disappear once the descaling process is complete. 

If the descale message remains on, then press both the 8oz and the 10oz buttons at the same time, holding them for 3 to 5 seconds until the descale message id gone. 

Can I use vinegar to descale my Keurig Duo?

Yes, you can descale your Keurig Duo with vinegar, but we advise against it. Some have reported some issues during the descaling process and you want to avoid these problems to keep your baby working safely!

Descale Keurig Duo (Plus)

Final Thoughts

That’s it my fellow Keurig owner! 

We hope that this super detailed guide on how to descale Keurig Duo and Duo Plus was helpful. 

If you’re a visual person, then check out this YouTube video below from Keurig themselves! 

Nick loves coffee... Actually, he NEEDS coffee! So, he has dedicated his time to learning all he can about this magical bean. He can make a mean latte, is obsessed with flat whites, and is always up for a cup of java!
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