Keurig Says Descale But Won‘t Brew

Whenever Keurig parts become clogged by lime deposits or dirt that impedes water flow, the machine may not brew full cups or may not brew at all. Keurig’s are designed to show a ‘descale’ light whenever water flow is restricted by scale and grime buildup inside the internal components.

Whenever the ‘descale’ light is on, your Keurig is unlikely to brew. To fix it descale the Keurig, unclog the exit needle and injection tubes, before resetting the Keurig control board.

Why won’t my Keurig brew after descaling?

If your Keurig coffee maker still doesn’t brew coffee (and the ‘descale’ light stays on) even after descaling with the right solution, it means that there’s something still blocking water from properly flowing through the internal parts of the machine. The problem could be that there was excessive lime buildup inside the brewer that couldn’t all be removed in a single descaling process.

Keurig Says Descale But Won‘t Brew?

Lime (calcium deposits) builds up inside your Keurig machine if you regularly use hard water to brew your coffee. Excessive lime clogs the internal brewer parts and even with most of the lime removed after descaling, the residual lime may still be enough to keep the ‘descale’ light on.

Sometimes, even after descaling multiple times and getting rid of all lime, the Keurig may still fail to brew, with the ‘descale’ light still on. This may be caused by factors other than lime restricting the flow of water, including a clogged exit needle, or clogged water injection tubes.

You may also get the descale light to turn off after descaling, with the ‘brewing’ symbol also showing, but still fail to get any brewed content out of the dispenser. This is usually a pointer towards an electrical or mechanical fault, usually associated with the Keurig’s circuit board.

How do you fix a Keurig that won’t brew?

Whenever a Keurig coffee maker doesn’t brew or only brews insufficient amounts of coffee, it means that there’s lime or debris clogging the internal components of the machine. It could also mean that something is restricting proper water flow inside the brewer; such as a clogged Keurig exit needle or clogged injection tubes.

There are different ways to fix each of the above issues and get your Keurig coffee machine to brew again, as detailed below.

Descale the Keurig   

To descale your Keurig brewer, first, turn it off before removing the water filter. Next, pour a descaling solution inside the Keurig water tank. The best descaling solutions you should consider include the Keurig descaling solution, vinegar solution, and citric acid.

With the descaling solution inside the water reservoir, turn on your Keurig brewer and place a mug on the drip tray plate. Ensuring there’s no K-Cup inside the pod holder, run a cleansing brew and pour the contents inside the mug into a sink. Run at least three more brew cycles to get rid of all lime inside the coffee machine.

Once done, rinse the brewer by pouring fresh water into the water reservoir and running four more cleansing brews. This will get rid of any residual descaling agent, such as vinegar, that’s still inside the Keurig unit. Failure to do so may result in strange-tasting coffee once you resume normal brewing.  

Unclog the Exit Needle

Your brewer may also fail to brew even after descaling, due to the exit needle being clogged. The exit needle facilitates the extraction process by piercing the bump at the base of the K-Cup pod holder. Sometimes, it blocks due to excess gunk or the buildup of coffee grounds.

To unclog your Keurig’s exit needle, you need a paper clip. After removing the K-Cup holder, use the bent paper clip tool to clear the clogs off the exit needle. You can also run water over the exit needle while doing so to make the unclogging process even simpler and faster.

Here a video on how to unclog the exit needle to stop descale message on keurig machine:

Unclog the Injection Tubes

Keurig brewing failure may also be caused by blocked injection tubes. These are the tubes located below the handle clip that inject hot water into the K-Cups. You can use a paper clip to easily unclog the injection tubes.

Reset the Keurig Control Board

If the ‘descale’ light is off and the Keurig indicates that it’s brewing, but there’s no coffee coming out of the dispenser, consider resetting the machine’s circuit motherboard. To do this, unplug the Keurig unit from the wall outlet and let it sit idle for 15-20 minutes before plugging it back in.

How do I get rid of the ‘descale’ on my Keurig?

Your Keurig is unlikely to brew until you can get the ‘descale’ light to turn off. If it doesn’t turn off after the initial descale, repeat the descaling process until you’ve gotten rid of all the lime.

If the build-up of scale is extreme, you should let the Keurig descaling solution or vinegar solution sit inside the brewer for at least two hours. The longer the descaling agent stays inside the Keurig, the more lime it’s able to dissolve from the internal parts of the machine.

Here a video on how to descale clogged keurig

Note: Sometimes, even after multiple descaling cycles to get rid of all lime and gunk, the ‘descale’ light may still be on. You can get it to turn off by resetting the machine.

Other common problems that affects keurig:

How do I reset my Keurig after descaling?

To reset your Keurig after descaling, you can use the basic rest/ quick reset method. Start by unplugging the Keurig from the wall outlet. Next, remove the water reservoir and then reattach it, making sure its magnet is properly positioned. If the reservoir’s magnet isn’t sitting in the right spot, your Keurig may fail to detect if there’s water inside the tank.

With the water reservoir properly positioned, plug the unit back in, turn it on, and run a testing brew to see if the Keurig has resumed normal functioning after the quick reset.

Note: If a quick reset doesn’t work, you may have to go with an advanced reset. Each Keurig model has its own resetting procedure. For instance, to reset a Keurig Duo, you need to simultaneously press and hold down both the 8oz. and 10oz. buttons for about 5 seconds.


  1. Cambridge Water Department: Drinking Water: Hard Water
  2. Rachel Casiday and Regina Frey; Department of Chemistry, Washington University: Water Hardness

8 thoughts on “Keurig Says Descale But Won‘t Brew”

  1. Same here. This is the 2nd Keurig machine for me that has done this. There is clearly a problem with the descale process that Keurig is not addressing.

  2. Keurig should be used for making coffee makers that quit working just because you clean them. I’ve gone through 3 of them. Tried everything that people suggested, unplug, reset press 8 an 10 oz buttons simultaneously and hold, nothing works. They replaced one and it did the same thing on the first cleaning. This gets very expensive. I’m going back to plain old single cup drip coffee makers

  3. Second coffee maker, same problem. Suddenly, it won’t power on. These things are expensive! This should not be happening. Can’t be scale because it won’t even turn on.

  4. I descaled my Keurig several time. All the light come on, but no water comes through. What can I do. my Keurig is a year old I use it every other day


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