Keurig Descale Reset Light Not Working? Fix it Now!

Updated on: November 10, 2023
Author: Nick
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Keurig Descale Reset Light Won't Turn Off

The Dreaded Keurig Descale Reset Light is not turning off? No problem! We’ve got you covered! 

Keurig prides itself in being the coffee maker that serves you coffee shop-standard cups, instantly. 

Not to mention that it looks hella good on your kitchen counter, too along with that pod rack showing off your k-cup coffee collection. 

After a few months of use, you may notice your Keurig may have started to produce a flat and weak cup of coffee, while the descale light is on.

Or perhaps, your Keurig is even emitting weird gurgling or vibrating sounds, with the descale light that stays on and won’t turn off. 

Your Keurig coffee maker isn’t broken! 

The thing is, you might just have missed some maintenance measures and your coffee machine is calling you to go and have it cleaned. And yes, the descale light won't turn off because the descaling process can be quite convoluted or you've waited for too long.

However, not all is list! In this comprehensive guide, I will cover how to turn off your Keurig's descale light, as well as the following content: 

  • What’s the purpose of the descale light?

  • Why descaling your Keurig coffee maker is important?

  • 5 potential solutions to get the descaling light to turn off.

  • Coffee maker tips and tricks

  • And lots more! 

We’re just of one blood in here, really. You didn’t buy a Keurig if you’re not a coffee fan. So if you’re looking for more ways to prolong your coffee maker’s life, this article is for you! 

Prepare your hot cuppa joe. 

And let’s deal with that Keurig descale light to get you brewing! 

Why Does the Keurig Descaling Light Turn On? 

For long-time Keurig coffee machine maker users, the descaling light is one dreaded signal. 

When your Keurig descale light turns on, it means one thing: your baby needs some cleaning. 

The signal comes on when your coffee maker detects something that’s clogging the normal water flow inside.


...some clueless users tend to ignore the descaling light. But you might pay greatly for that. Neglecting to descale your machine will lead to malfunction, and eventually, to your machine being unusable altogether. 

You don’t want that, do you? 

So, the bottom line is, when you see the descaling light on, your coffee maker is telling you to have it clean NOW. 

Keurig Descale Reset Light Not Working? Fix it Now!

What Causes Scaling and What Does the Descale Process Do?

Now you know that the descaling light is telling you that the normal water flow might be restricted or the pathway is clogged. 

And these clogs are caused by what we call scales. 

These are simply a build-up of calcium and other minerals inside your coffee maker

What are scales? Limescale buildup
Heavy limescale buildup inside a shower head (L) and water faucet (R). Do not ignore the descaling cycle or this is what will happen inside your Keurig!

What causes this mineral build-up? 

Well, the water itself! Water naturally contains minerals. Depending on where you live, your water might have a high or low concentration of minerals and calcium. If the concentration is high, your water is hard. If the concentration is low, your water is soft.

So you’d do well to use soft water when using your Keurig whenever possible. If you live somewhere with hard water make sure you use a water filter! And don't skip any descaling cycles! 

These minerals may look like no big deal for now but they will eventually build up inside until they start to restrict the water flow. 

They can also can make your coffee taste awful regardless of how fancy your coffee maker type is.

Your Keurig actually doesn’t have a sensor inside that can detect when you’re running out of water. But it can detect if the water isn’t running as fast as it is supposed to. 

So what does descaling do?

Your machine's descaling cycle pushes a descaling solution throughout the machine's components. The descaling solution is acidic (for example citric acid) and thus dislodges any scale build-up. Sometimes, if you ignore the descaling light for too long, it may be necessary to run the descaling cycle multiple times.  

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Your Keurig Still Says Descale After Descaling 

Now if your Keurig descale light just won’t turn off, it’s not the end of the world. 

There are some easy steps you can do to take your coffee pod machine to its pristine condition. 

But take note. 

If you’ve ignored that descale light for so long, you may have to do the descaling process several times. 

Let's go over the different solutions to get that that dreaded descale light to turn off!

1. Re-Run Your Keurig Coffee Maker's Descaling Cycle

Although this might sound obvious, this should be your first step if you've successfully run the descaling cycle and your Keurig's descale light did not turn off.

Descaling your Keurig

As we mentioned, your Keurig has a sensor that detects water flow obstructions. As such, it could be that one single descaling cycle was not enough to clean the innards of your beloved machine. This is particularly true if you have forgotten to run the descaling cycle for a long time!

Pro Tip:
If you run the descaling cycle, and barely any liquid comes out, followed by a gargling sound, this means your machine is heavily scaled. You may need to repeat the descaling cycle before that descaling light turns off.

For this, we recommend you use the Keurig official descaling solution.

The great thing about Keurig's 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!

You can peel off the labeling from the descaling solution to find the descaling procedures. It took me a while to figure this out! It’s well hidden! 

Below are detailed instructions to descale your Keurig coffee machine.

Descaling a Classic Keurig Machine

You can descale your classic Keurig coffee maker following the process below.  

  1. Shut off your Keurig machine.

  2. Make sure that the water reservoir is completely empty. 

  3. Now, your Keurig machine has a water filter where your water passes through before running through the ground coffee. Take that water filter out of the machine. 

  4. Check if there’s any coffee pod left inside. Your machine should be empty of any K-cups. 

  5. Take your Keurig descaling solution and pour the entire bottle of Keurig solution into the water reservoir.  

  6. Now that the Keurig descaling solution bottle is empty, fill it up with water and pour it into the water container along with the descaling Keurig solution. 

  7. Now turn your machine on.  

  8. Put a large mug or coffee cup (of at least 12 ounces) on the drip tray.

  9. Press the 8 and 12-oz buttons for 3 seconds until the descale light turns on solid. This activates the descale mode.

  10. Press the Brew button and wait for the liquid to flow down. It should dispense the water the way your Keurig dispenses the coffee. Once your cup is full, discard the water.

  11. Repeat step #10 above until the ADD WATER light turns on. There might be remaining solution inside the water tank. 

  12. Pour the remaining solution into the sink.  

  13. Rinse the water container very thoroughly, then refill it with clean and fresh water to the MAX line. 

  14. Now press the BREW button and let the water run through the machine to wash out the descale solution. 

  15. Do this until the Descale notification turns off. This may require multiple rinsing cycles and multiple water tank ref-fills. 

Now your coffee machine should be free from scale buildup and perform much better than before. 

Descaling a Keurig Duo 

If the Keurig Duo descale light is on, all you have to do is: 

  1. Shut off your Keurig machine.

  2. Make sure it doesn’t have any K cup, coffee and water filters, or water inside. 

  3. Pour Keurig’s official descaling solution to the water tank.  

  4. Follow up with the same amount of fresh water. 

  5. Power your machine back on and place a large mug underneath the k-cup holder. 

  6. Press the pod button and brew a 12 oz cup. 

  7. Once done, empty the descale solution in the large mug.  

  8. Next, press the carafe button and brew a 12-cup carafe. 

  9. Once done, empty the contents of the carafe.

  10. Press the POWER button to turn off the heating plate.

  11. Let the machine rest for 30 minutes

  12. Rinse the water reservoir, and fill it with fresh water to the MAX line. 

  13. Press the POWER button, press the CARAFE button, press the 12-oz button and then press BREW.

  14. Once the brew is complete, press and hold the CARAFE button to turn off the heating plate. Discard the contents of the carafe and place back into your machine.

  15. Refill the water reservoir to the MAX line, place back into your machine, and repeat the 12-oz fresh water rinse cycle 3 more times.

  16. Next, press the POD button, the 12-oz button and then the BREW button. This will rinse the single-serve components of your machine. Don't forget to place the large mug!

  17. Once done, discard the contents of the mug and place back. Repeat the 12-oz fresh water rinse cycle process 3 more times

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2. Properly Complete the Descaling Cycles

One of the most common causes for the descaling light refusing to turn off is an incomplete descaling cycle.

Yes, this might an obvious one as well, but what is not so obvious is that Keurig's descaling cycles involve lengthy rinsing periods. The Duo series also require a 30-minute rest time to allow for the descaling solution to take effect. If you do not complete these, your Keurig's descaling light will not turn off.

Here are some of the most common pitfalls when descaling your classic Keurig coffee maker:

  • Once you've activated the descaling mode of your classic Keurig (by pressing the 8 and 12-oz buttons for 3 seconds and pressing the BREW button) your machine will dispense hot foamy liquid. Once done, discard the hot liquid. However, you need to repeat this step until the ADD WATER light turns on. Many people proceed to rinsing their machine after the first brew, and thereby do not successfully complete the descaling cycle.

  • Once the ADD WATER light turns on, you need to properly rinse your machine. Fill the water reservoir to the MAX line and press the brew button. Similar to the point above, what most people miss is that you need to repeat this step several times until the descaling light turns off! This might involve re-filling the water reservoir with fresh water multiple times!

And here are some of the most common pitfalls when descaling your Duo Keurig coffee maker:

  • Once you've initiated the descaling for both the pods and the coffee carafe components (by pressing the 12-oz button and brew buttons for both the pod and carafe modes), you need to let your coffee maker rest for 30 minutes. This time is needed for the descaling solution to dislodge any limescale buildup from your machine's components. Unfortunately, this step is often missed leading to an incomplete descaling cycle.

  • After letting your machine rest for 30 minutes, you need to rinse both the pod and carafe components of your machine. In total, you need to run at least 4 rinsing cycles for the pod mode and 4 rinsing cycles for the carafe mode. That's a total of 8 rinsing cycles that many people neglect to run!

3. Clean the Entrance and Exit Needles

Keurig coffee machines use needles to pierce through the K-cup (or refillable K-cups) to inject water into the K-Cup which mixes with the coffee grounds inside the pod to make coffee. The coffee is then released through the Keurig exit needle at the bottom of the K cup to deliver you a delicious cup of coffee.  

Clean the entry and exit needles to help descale your Keurig

Your Keurig's needled are very thin and prone to clogging with coffee grounds or scales. Clogged needles not only prevent you from having good cup of joe but also can prevent a successful completion of the descaling cycle.

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

You can buy needle-cleaning tools like the one below. Just make sure it’s compatible with your Keurig Model! This option is only compatible with Keurig 2.0 machines: 

But you can also try cleaning them yourself! 

So how do you do that? It’s very simple. Under the K-Cup holder, you will find the exit needle's orifice. That’s where most of the gunk will be. 

Clean the exit needles of your Keurig
You will find the exit needles under the K-Cup holder.

You’ll want to take a paper clip or a sewing needle and push it through the hole. This should dislodge any scales and gunk that have built up inside. 

Then put the K-cup holder under running water to rinse.  

To clean the entrance needles, use again a paper clip or sewing needle to clean the entrance needles' orifices. The are found on the side of the needles. Once you've cleaned them, run an empty cycle to rinse the entrance needles.

Clean your Keurig's Entrance Needles

If you are unable to clean the needle, relatively cheap replacement parts can be purchased. Just make sure you select the replacement part appropriate for your Keurig model. 

If you are not sure which one to get, don’t be shy and leave us a comment! We’ll be happy to help!


Please be vigilant and careful if you don’t want to end up with bloody hands and a messy Keurig machine. 

4. Unclog the Water Reservoir's Drain

If you are still unable to successfully complete a descaling cycle (and turn off that darned light!), try unclogging the water reservoir.

A clogged water tank drain is usually the culprit if when descaling, you hear your Keurig's water pump, yet little to no water comes out.

Thankfully, there is an easy fix for this. Partially fill the water tank and place it on your Keurig. Then, with a turkey baster or large syringe push water through the tanks drain located at the bottom.

Unclog your Keurig's Water Reservoir Drain
Push water through the water reservoir using a turkey baster to dislodge any scales that have accumulated

You will see scales floating in the water tank - which is a good sign! This means the water tank drain was at least partially blocked.

Check the video below - it's oddly satisfying to see those scales come out.

5. Check Your Re-Usable K-Cup

Some reusable cups are made to give more room for water flow compared to others. It could also be that the refillable k-cup is packed way too tightly and that’s causing water flow restrictions, causing the Keurig descale light to stay on.

Also, if you are grinding your coffee beans, make sure the grind is not too fine. Overly fine grounds will prevent the water flowing through the K-Cup. Remember, your Keurig's water pump is not as powerful as the one from an espresso machine!

What Can I Use Instead of the Keurig Descaling Solution? 

If you don’t want any store-bought solution touching your coffee maker, you can actually make do with some home remedies. 

All you need is vinegar and/or lemon juice! 

Why vinegar and lemon juice? 

What you really need is an acidic solution for dissolving and scraping off all the scale and coffee oil build up in inside your Keurig machine. Vinegar contains acetic acid and lemon citric acid.

If you read the label of the Keurig official descaling solution, you will see citric acid as one the main ingredients. 

Aside from these alternatives, you can also use a homemade descaling solution made from citric acid powder if that’s what you have at home.  

How Do I Descale My Keurig with White Vinegar? 

Just like how Keurig recommends you to descale your Keurig baby every 3 months with the Keurig descale solution, it’s also the same with vinegar.  

You’d want to wash it up with vinegar every 3 months, as well, to maintain a clean interior and a healthy performance for your machine. 

Some people also do a vinegar descaling weekly.  

Here’s how you do it: 

  • Make sure that the power on the machine is turned off. 

  • Check if there’s a K-cup or pods left inside. Make sure it’s empty. 

  • Remove all water from the water tank. 

  • Now fill the water reservoir with white distilled vinegar.  

  • Wondering just how much vinegar to use? The water-to-vinegar ratio should be 1:1. 

  • Follow the above instructions for descaling with the descale solution and leave it to soak the machine up. But instead of 30 minutes like with the descale solution, do it for 1-2 hours.  

How Do I Descale My Keurig with Citric Acid? 

As mentioned earlier, citric acid is the main ingredient of Keurig's official descaling solution. It's also readily available in most grocery stores nowadays. 

Many people don’t actually know this, but 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. Just make sure you check with the manufacturer instructions.

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

Citric acid is the main ingredient in Keurig’s own descaling mixture so if you’re looking to be more practical and want to have a descaling ingredient to have in your house ready at all times instead of a bottle of solution, then a bag of citric acid may just be your best bet.

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Frequently Asked Questions – Keurig Descale Reset

Can You Reset a Keurig?

Whenever things go wrong with our machines, a good push of the reset button will often save the day. But unfortunately, the Keurig coffee makers don’t have a reset button. 

But you can still do something about it. 

For a Keurig mini, it’s as simple as turning off the unit and unplugging it, then letting it rest for about 2 hours.  

But for more complicated Keurig units, such as the Keurig 2.0 which is powered by an internal computer, you’ll need to tweak some settings. 

The most basic step is to check the settings and reset any settings that don’t look right.  

You can also check if there’s any automatic features that are turned on.  

Then reset the display. 

You can also detach all the components such as the water tank while letting the unit rest for a couple of hours to ensure you drain all power from the capacitors. 

How often should I descale my Keurig?

Keurig itself advises its users to descale their single cup coffee maker every 3-6 months. However, this depends on your local water hardness.

Are some kinds of water worse for a Keurig?

As I’ve mentioned above, you’d do well to avoid hard water. However, if your local water is hard, you should always use a water filter.

how to turn off descale light on keurig

Bottom Line 

As a coffee lover, we know that coffee machines, such as the Keurig machines, are literally life. That's because we need them to make our different types of coffee drinks every day!

I hope this guide comes in handy for you. Let me know which solution helped you the most of if you've tried something else we did not cover in this article.

What’s your experience with your own choice of descaling solutions? How about the alternatives? 

Let me know!   

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!

2 comments on “Keurig Descale Reset Light Not Working? Fix it Now!”

  1. As we know coffee is a guilt-free addiction, and an awesome coffee maker can make your day better.

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