How to Fix a Keurig Descale Light Won’t Turn Off

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By: Tom Valenti


Keurig has changed the way we consume coffee at home and at the workplace. Their coffee makers instantly dispense a steaming hot brew (the convenience of a Keurig is unparalleled!).

Coffee lovers also really appreciate the quick, delightful coffee experience that Keurig offers. But this modern-day wizadry is not immune to errors and malfunctioning, just like any other coffee machine.

If you’ve been using a Keurig for some months now, it’s likely that you already know what I’m talking about. One such very common problem is the descale light not turning off. So how to fix a Keurig descale light won’t turn off? Does this mean you have a broken coffee maker? Fortunately, the answer is NO.

When an issue like the descale light refusing to turn off comes up, consider it a sign that points in the direction of cleaning your coffee machine. It just means you have to put in some maintenance efforts i.e. descaling your Keurig.

After all, you purchased a Keurig coffee maker to brew the most flavorful and aromatic coffee. So you want to make sure that the experience remains unchanged even after several months of use. In that case, here’s how to extend the shelf life of your brewing machine.

What Is the Keurig Descale Light?

The descale light of a Keurig is part of the coffee maker’s maintenance process. Without this warning light, you wouldn’t know when to descale your coffee maker.

Descaling means getting rid of mineral deposits from inside the machine and even cleaning it. The accumulation of calcium over time interferes with the flavor, texture, and aroma of your favorite coffee. In short, it interferes with the high performance of the coffee maker.

The descale light turns on once every 3–6 months. And if you ignore it, your machine will run a higher risk of not working or worse – it will end up brewing poor-tasting coffee!

With coffee makers, especially high-quality ones like Keurig, you want them to prepare the most delicious, flavorful, and aromatic coffee. Hence, you have to keep up maintenance, and there’s no maintenance without descaling.

But Why Is the Descaling Light Still On After Descaling?

How to Fix a Keurig Descale Light Won’t Turn Off

1. The Descaling Process Is Not Complete

If the descaling light is stuck where it just doesn’t go off, it could be because of an incomplete or unfinished descaling cycle. Two full cycles have to be performed to bring an end to the descaling process. In the majority of scenarios, the descaling takes somewhere between 15 minutes and 1 hour.

2. Full Water Reservoir

A full water tank may cause the descale light on your Keurig to stay on. Why this happens is because water from the water reservoir is used for the descaling process. So if the tank is full, the cycle doesn’t start, thus the descale light remains on.

3. A Malfunctioning Keurig

When the descale light doesn’t turn off even after descaling, that might be due to some technical malfunction. So you should get in touch with Keurig’s customer service team.

If the coffee maker is not working properly or correctly, it’s time for customer service intervention.

4. Instructions Have Not Been Followed

Keurig provides clear instructions for descaling their coffee machines from time to time. This particular process includes completing “two” cycles of descaling. But if you don’t follow these simple instructions, that descale light will stay on.

5. Not Descaling for Too Long

When was the last time you performed the descaling process? If it’s been over 6 months, no wonder the light is on. Running two full cycles is the only way to get the light to turn off.

The build-up of minerals and other such contaminants has a negative impact on the performance of a Keurig coffee maker.

How to Fix Your Keurig When It Says Descale

Here’s what you can do so the light goes away…

  • Use a descaling solution and run a full brew cycle. How much descaling solution to add will be mentioned in the instructions printed on the bottle. You can use a homemade solution as well – equal parts water and distilled white vinegar – if you don’t have or want to use the commercial product.
  • Run another brewing cycle without the descaling solution to remove any unwanted or extra mineral deposits, descaling solution leftovers, etc.
  • Once that is complete, turn off and unplug the Keurig machine.
  • With a damp cloth, wipe the exterior. And clean the interior using a soft brush – get into corners and crevices to eliminate mineral deposits.
  • Now plug in and turn on your coffee maker.

Hopefully, the descale light must turn off.

But What If the Descale Is Still On?

Now here’s something that has proven to work when nothing else does to remedy this irritating issue…

  • If you’re using white distilled vinegar, add two cups of it (16 ounces) with two cups of water into the reservoir of the machine. But before that, remove the filter and filter holder.
  • Place a large-sized cup so the solution can pour into the mug.
  • Make sure your Keurig coffee maker is switched off.
  • Now press the 8-ounce and 12-ounce buttons at the same time – hold down on them for 3 seconds. Then hit the K button to begin the descaling process.
  • After the first cup is done, empty it out and repeat the whole process again. No need to let the descaling solution sit in the water tank for 30 minutes.
  • The next step is to add more water to the reservoir (the ‘Add Water’ light should be blinking at this point if you have a Keurig K Supreme). Then continue with the descaling process.
  • While the Keurig is descaling, clean the filter and filter holder and place it back into the water tank.
  • Then run a rinse cycle with a full reservoir of clean water. And that’s about it.

Following these instructions should fix the problem!

How to Reset Keurig After Descaling? How to Manually Exit Descaling Mode?

Once your Keurig machine powers up, press down on the 8-ounce and 10-ounce buttons simultaneously for 3–5 seconds.

How Often to Descale Keurig?

If you run the coffee machine daily, the descaling frequency should be once every 3 months. Otherwise, once in 6 months is fine. Also, if you’re using hard water, then make it a point to descale more often to eliminate the mineral build-up.


For maintenance, descaling is very important. What it does is flushes out your coffee machine, so there aren’t any mineral deposits or unwanted build-up lurking in the background and affecting the taste, flavor, and texture of your fresh brew or the performance and longevity of the coffee maker.

Ensure that the descaling process is carried out correctly and that the procedure comes to an end properly before you run the rinse cycle. Skipping even a single step here will cause the descale light to remain on or keep blinking. So complete the full descaling and rinsing cycles before you brew your most favorite K-cup coffee.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

1 thought on “How to Fix a Keurig Descale Light Won’t Turn Off”

  1. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part. I searched for such educational information for ages. Thank you and best of luck.


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