| | |

White Vinegar vs Keurig Descaling Solution

Has your coffee been tasting a little less than great lately? If so, it could be time to descale your Keurig and in this post, I compare White Vinegar vs Keurig Descaling Solution and explain how to use each and which one, in my opinion, does the job more thoroughly.

*This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a commission if you shop through them. You can read my full disclosure here

If you have a Keurig coffee maker you've probably seen the descale alert displayed at one time or another. Occasionally, I ignore mine but sometimes, especially when the coffee is tasting funky and bitter and less than enjoyable, I know it's time to start the descaling process.


Why You Need to Descale

Descaling is important because it helps to remove mineral buildup from the coffee maker.  The mineral buildup can cause coffee to taste bitter so it's important to descale it every 3 to 6 months. I have very hard water where I live so I descale more often to keep my Keurig running more efficiently and help keep my daily coffee tasting smooth and delicious.

Black Keurig Coffee Maker with White Coffee Mug and Blue Cow Creamer

(*Please note that when I originally wrote this post, the cost of the Keurig Descaling Solution was about $13.00 but you can now buy it for under $7.00 at most retailers.)

While I have only used white vinegar for every descaling session in the past, today I did it and spent almost $13.00 (that seemed really expensive to me!) on a bottle of Keurig HOT Descaling Solution to see if there was any difference.

I bought the bottle I used at Walmart and then came home and found the same Keurig Hot Descaling Solution on Amazon and have since seen it in many stores including hardware stores for much less but the best price I have found is at Amazon.

Photo of white kitchen cabinets and older kitchen

How-To Descale a Keurig with White Vinegar

Bottle of vinegar from Aldi's
  • The process for this is very simple. Turn off your Keurig. If there is not the option to turn it off, unplug the unit.
  • Empty any water from the reservoir.
  • Fill the reservoir with half white vinegar and half water.
  • Turn your machine back on, place a mug or cup in place, and run the unit to dispense water only (no pod or K-cup in place).
  • Empty water from the cup after each cycle.
  • Continue the above cycle until you are prompted to add more water.
  • At this point, empty the reservoir, rinse thoroughly, and fill with water only.
  • Run through 12 cycles of dispensing water and dumping.
  • Refill with water as necessary.
  • Your unit is now ready to make coffee as usual.

Is Vinegar a Descaler?

Yes, vinegar is a descaler. White distilled vinegar can help to remove lime and scale buildup in your coffee maker and around your home. 

⇐Another Helpful Tip for Removing Lime Buildup⇒

How to Remove Lime and Scale Buildup from Your Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

How To Clean a Keurig with Keurig Descaling Solution

Close up of Keurig Descaling Solution next to Keurig 2.0 unit

The process for this will vary depending on the specific Keurig you have and the directions are on the label.  For my full-sized Keurig 2.0 I use the entire bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution along with a bottle of water for the first cycle. 

Photo of Keurig 2.0 dispensing Keurig Descaling Solution into white coffee cup with blue interrior

I then rinsed out the reservoir, refilled with fresh water and ran the cycle 12 times before once again rinsing the reservoir and adding fresh water.

*It's extremely important to run one complete cycle of water through your Keurig whether you use the Vinegar or Descaling Solution method to be sure that all remnants of either are completely gone from your unit. This will ensure the best taste possible.

Which Did Better?

Banana Chocolate Chip muffins with a secret ingredient ~ fresh coffee! from cupcakesandcrinoline.com #McCafeMyWay #ad

My opinion is based solely on taste and taste alone.

Pumpkin Biscotti made from a quick bread and muffin mix - get the recipe at www.cupcakesandcrinoline.com

After using the white vinegar method for several years I can honestly say that using the Keurig Descaling Solution did yield better results.  So much so, that my husband had the first cup of coffee after I was done descaling and he said the coffee tasted amazing. I had a cup, too, and couldn't agree more. 

There was definitely a difference that made the cost worth it to me. Because it is pricey, however, I'll probably continue to use the white vinegar method every 3 months and follow up with a once a year cleaning with the Keurig Descaling Solution.

Do you have any tips for cleaning your Keurig? If you do, I'd love to hear them!

Close up of Keurig 2.0 with bottle of Keurig Descaling Solution next to it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. Love your "product seal of approval," Mary Beth! I don't have a Keurig (I use a French press), but my other good friend named Mary Beth does and I'll share this with her. Coffee is so bitter, anything to keep it tasting good is important!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Thanks so much, Diane! I have a French press also but rarely use it. It was a phase I went through but I may have to pull it out again or I should say find it in the midst of my kitchen makeover mess!

  2. I have hard water as well. I distill my own water which removes all the nasties and never have to use a filter or clean Keurig. Coffee always Yummm Your info helpful as not everyone can or would do this. Vinegar is what is used to clean the distiller!

    1. Mary Beth says:

      Oh my goodness! I've never heard of distilling your own water, Michelle, but that's so smart. Is it a hard process?