How to Descale Keurig Slim Coffee Makers Properly

Updated on: April 13, 2023
Author: Nick
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How to Descale Keurig Slim

This detailed step-by-step guide will show you the proper way how to descale Keurig Slim 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 Slim 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 Slim Coffee Machines

The Keurig K-Slim coffee makers are one of Keurig's most compact coffee machines, which is why the Keurig K-Slim earned a spot on our best Keurig coffee makers list!

So make sure you continue to regularly descale your Keurig K-Slim 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 (minimum 12 oz)
  • Keurig descaling solution
  • Access to a sink

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

  • Approximately 45 minutes

1. Prepare the Keurig K-Slim 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 from the last brew cycle, then remove it now.

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

    …Because if you are intentionally leaving the coffee pods in your machine then your Keurig coffee maker should be breaking up with you for physically abusing it. 
Keurig Machines Mineral Buildup


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

2. Add the Descaling Solution

  1. 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 make your own descaling solution from white vinegar or citric acid. More on these later on in this guide.

  2. Follow the instructions on the label, by refilling the empty 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 K-Slim Descale Process

  1. Place a large coffee mug (min 12 oz capacity) under the coffee spout. Don’t forget to do this 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, make sure the machine is plugged in and powered off.

  3. Press and hold the 8 oz and 12 oz cup size buttons at the same time for about 3 seconds until the “Descale” light turns solid.

  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 out once it gets full. The brewer will run the descale liquid 12 oz at a time.

    This is why you need a 12oz coffee mug at a minimum.

  5. Repeat this process until the water tank is empty.
Reset Descale Light on Keurig Slim

4. Fresh Water Rinse

  1. Once the water reservoir with the descaling solution is emptied out, let your Keurig machine rest for 30 minutes so the inside parts of the coffee maker soak in the solution.

  2. Once the 30 minutes are done, remove the water tank, rinse it, and then fill it to the max line with fresh water only.

  3. Once you place the water tank back in place, the “Brew” button will start flashing again. So press the “Brew” button to start the fresh water rinsing process.

    Don’t forget to leave the coffee mug under the coffee spout and dump out the hot liquid every 12oz!

  4. Repeat this last step until the descale light on the Keurig K-Slim turns off.

    Keep in mind that you might have to refill the water reservoir more than once until the light turns off.

    That’s how you know that the coffee maker is no longer in the descaling mode and it’s ready for use!
Keurig K Slim Descale

Tips for Descaling a Keurig Slim

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you descale Keurig K-Slim coffee makers:

  • Don’t forget to use a 12 oz large ceramic mug or else 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 wastewater during the descaling process.

  • You don’t want to leave your machine before steps 1, 2, and 3 are completed. If your machine’s auto-shutoff feature is activated, then the machine exits the descaling mode before you are actually done descaling. This can cause issues.

  • 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 the lights on the Keurig coffee machine are turned off, especially the “Descale” light.

  • Even though white vinegar is commonly used to clean coffee machines, it seems that the Keurig Slim is 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 or pod holder from any remaining coffee grounds. Just be careful not to prick yourself with the exit needle. 

Cleaning Other Parts of the Keurig Slim

The Keurig Slim 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 Slim - Exit Needle
Keurig Slim 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 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 machine with love and care, then your Keurig 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 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-Slim

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

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

So we do recommend that you use the Keurig descale 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 product 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 Slim with vinegar…

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

How to Descale Keurig Slim 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 Slim coffee machine…

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 descale 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 Slim coffee machine. It might be fine for other Keurig models, but for this models, it seems to cause problems.

Citric Acid Descaling Solution

Citric acid is another way for you to descale your Keurig Slim coffee machine. 

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 mode again for a squeaky clean coffee machine!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you Descale your Keurig K-Slim?

According to Keurig, it is recommended that you descale Keurig K-Slim every 3 months, or when the descale light or descale notification turns on. Regularly descaling your Keurig coffee maker will ensure the best-tasting cup of java!

Why does my Keurig Slim keep saying descale?

The Keurig Slim coffee maker should get out of descaling mode on its own once it is done descaling. 

If the descale light remains on, then you should troubleshoot this issue. Learn how to do this here.

Can I use vinegar to descale my Keurig Slim?

Yes, you can descale your Keurig Slim 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!

How do I get my Keurig Slim into descale mode?

Press and hold the 8 oz and 12 oz cup size buttons at the same time for about 3 seconds until the “Descale” light turns solid.

Descale Keurig Slim

Final Thoughts

That’s it my fellow Keurig owner! 

We hope that this super detailed guide on how to descale Keurig Slim 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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