Coffee machines become clogged with calcium over time. In addition, if you don’t descale the device properly, mineral deposits from the water will settle in your machine and cause corrosion that can render your machine nonfunctional.
But how often do you need to clean and descale a coffee maker? And what's the difference between using a cleaning solution vs using vinegar? First, let's understand what's so bad about cleaning and descaling a coffee machine:
Coffee machines need to be cleaned and descaled regularly to avoid corrosion, leading to a shorter device lifespan and causing premature malfunction.
If you don't clean or descale your coffee machines routinely, they will begin to leave a bad taste in your coffee.
In addition, once the device is no longer clean, it cannot be adequately sanitised, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mould.
In this Article
Here are the top 10 differences between using a descaling solution vs vinegar.
Descaling solutions specifically clean and descale coffee machines. It’s essential to use the right product; some cleaning products can damage your device.
For example, vinegar is an acid that can wear on the coffee machine and cause it to prematurely rust, discolour, or corrode.
Descaling solutions are safe to use on coffee machines as they contain natural ingredients like citric acid, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and potassium chloride (potash).
On the other hand, a vinegar solution can be harmful to your coffee machine.
A vinegar solution needs to be diluted before you use them. It is only 10% vinegar; the rest is water. A descaling solution needs to be mixed with water. That’s why you need to read the instructions on the bottle.
Descaling solutions are acid for dissolving minerals, a mechanical cleaner for cleaning, and a chemical sanitiser to remove bacteria. Vinegar is an acid. It can burn the machine, discolour or corrode it, and ultimately ruin it.
Descaling solutions are cheap compared to vinegar. For example, a 16-ounce bottle of vinegar only costs $1.49, whereas a 24-ounce bottle of descaling solution is $10; that’s nearly three times more expensive!
Descaling solutions are less messy than vinegar. A vinegar solution will react with the metal and corrode your machine; it can be challenging to clean. It can also stain your coffee machine and leave a bad smell.
Using vinegar can cause damage to the heating element and water tank. The acidic nature of vinegar may cause permanent damage to your coffee maker and strip its colour, something you should avoid.
Vinegar is an acid; it can strip off the coating on the heating element and weaken the plastic tanks.
Using a descaling solution is a cleaner, safer, and more effective way to clean your coffee machine. You can use it on any device and coffee maker.
Put it on the water tank, the boiling element, and the filter holder handles. It can remove stubborn deposits of calcium and scale without damaging your machine's heating plate.
Companies will stand by their products; it’s guaranteed that you’ll be satisfied with their descaling solutions.
Companies offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee with their products. Companies will replace your product in the case of a malfunction due to cleaning.
Using an acid like vinegar can be harmful to your health. Acidic solutions like vinegar are terrible for your skin; they could burn you if you get it on your hands or get splashed in the face.
And using vinegar is harmful to the environment; the fumes produced after using it are hazardous for our environment and can cause damage to pets and children.
DESCALING WITH A WHITE VINEGAR SOLUTION
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- Paper towels
HOW TO USE:
- Still running? Turn it off and unplug it. You don’t want the motor to run when you’re working with corrosive liquid!
- Remove the water tank and clean it thoroughly with a sponge or paper towel soaked in soapy water. Dry it thoroughly, plug it back in, and fill up the tank with plain water to flush out any remaining liquid from step 1.
- Rinse your water tank thoroughly again with plain water– this time, for a second time.
- Fill up the water tank again with plain water and place a not-too-hot pot of water on it to boil it, then turn off the heat.
- Fill a cup of vinegar and the second cup of cold water–just cold enough to not burn your hands!–and mix them until you have an even amount of vinegar and cold water in your cup.
- Using your hand, wet your coffee maker with vinegar. Don’t use a sponge or anything that could scratch the surface of the machine!
- Let it sit for at least 3-5 minutes, then rinse it off with hot water.
- Plug your coffee maker in and turn it on to make sure your descaling solution worked!
- If you’re satisfied with the cleaning, you can run through a cycle of plain water to clean out your coffee maker before brewing the first cup.
Pros and Cons of Cleaning a Coffee Pot with Vinegar vs Descaler
Vinegar is an acid that can help remove scale deposits, calcium, and mineral buildup. You can use it on any machine, including the heating element of a coffee pot.
Vinegar will not corrode your device or weaken your plastic tank. You can use it to clean just about anything; it's non-toxic, biodegradable, and natural.
Vinegar is safe for your skin; you will manage to avoid burns, and it will leave no traces on your hands. Moreover, it is cheap, and it’s convenient to use because you can mix a little bit of it with water.
Descaler is made of citric acid, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and potassium chloride (potash). A descaling solution cleans and descales coffee machines.
It’s safe to use on any coffee maker. Descaler can be used on any machine; it will clean your device while removing scale deposits simultaneously.
Descaler can remove stubborn scale deposits without damaging your machine. A descaling solution will leave your machine clean and sanitised.
Descaler is non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for your skin. Descaler is very inexpensive; it’s cheaper than vinegar.
Vinegar can corrode the heating element of your coffee pot if it doesn’t dilute correctly. Vinegar is harmful to plants, and plants can quickly become damaged if they contact vinegar.
It can damage your machine, discolour it, or corrode the plastic used in the water tank. It may also cause permanent damage to your device, rendering it nonfunctional.
Vinegar emits toxic fumes when it comes in contact with moisture and may cause damage to your skin, eyes, and lungs. Even if you dilute it properly, it can still damage your coffee pot.
Descaler specifically cleans and descales coffee machines.
Therefore, it’s essential to use the right product. In addition, the descaler can be harmful to your coffee pot; it can strip away the coating on the heating element and weaken the plastic used in the water tank.
Descaling problems are prevalent, especially on older machines. When a coffee maker has been in service for a while, sediment and mineral deposits build up inside the device.
These deposits can lead to poor performance and even severe damage to your coffee maker.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
Is Descaling Solution Better Than Vinegar?
Both products work to clean and descale your coffee machine. Vinegar is a more traditional way to clean a coffee machine.
However, vinegar damages the heating element, scales and removes the coating from the heating element.
It can also eat away at the metal, making it weak and corroded. In contrast, descaling solutions are made from natural ingredients safe for your coffee maker’s heating plate and won’t leave stains or discolorations on your machine.
So, does Vinegar Clean As Well As A Descaling Solution?
No, vinegar is an acid that can rust and corrode your coffee maker. Vinegar is not for cleaning and descaling coffee makers; it’s only 10% vinegar, the rest is water.
The acid in vinegar can damage your machine, scale, or corrosion your machine.
What is the Best Coffee Machine Descaler?
The best descaling solution for your coffee maker depends on the type of machine you have. Read the bottle and use specific solutions made for your coffee maker. Some have a cleaning formula, a rust remover, and a sanitiser all in one bottle.
It's essential to know how often you need to clean and descale a coffee maker. A great rule of thumb is once a week if you're using tap water. After that, we recommend cleaning and descale your coffee maker every 3-6 months.
Is Vinegar a Descaler?
Vinegar cleans and descales coffee pots, but it’s not acid enough to remove residues from heating elements.
However, there are products on the market that you can buy, such as descaler, a mixture of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate in a base of potassium chloride.
This product will remove stubborn deposits of scale buildup in a coffee pot. You can use this product in a coffee maker with little or no risk of corroding the heating element or removing its coating.
Why do You need to Descale?
If you never clean your coffee maker, the buildup of calcium and mineral deposits can lead to poor performance and finally to a nonfunctional coffee maker.
While most manufacturers recommend descaling every three months, if you live in an area with hard water or water with high calcium content, you will need to descale your machine more often than that.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU DESCALE YOUR KEURIG?
People tend to ask this question a lot, and it can be not very clear. The thing is that the descaling frequency for Keurig depends on how hard your water is.
If you have a water softener or filter at home, your descaling frequency will decrease.
So, you should dedicate a couple of days a month to cleaning your machine and descaling it at least once a month.
DO YOU HAVE TO CLEAN YOUR KEURIG IF THERE IS ALREADY A WATER FILTER?
If you have a water filter attached to your kitchen faucet and use it to fill up your coffee machine, cleaning and descaling are unnecessary.
But, there is a difference between the water filter and a Keurig Water Filter. If you install a Keurig Water Filter on your machine, it helps to purify all the water entering the brewing chamber.
CAN I PUT MY KEURIG PARTS IN THE DISHWASHER?
Consult your Keurig User Guide for specific details, but in general, we don’t recommend putting any Keurig parts in the dishwasher. The high water temperature and high water pressure may cause damage.
Instead, it's better to clean them by hand with a little bit of mild soap or a descaling solution.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T DESCALE YOUR KEURIG?
If you don’t descale your Keurig, deposits build up over time and could result in a nonfunctional machine. The scale can cause water to go through the heating element, making it dirty and unusable.
This buildup of minerals will also lead to poor performance and can damage your coffee maker.
IS KEURIG DESCALING SOLUTION TOXIC?
Descaling solutions are just made up of various chemicals and should not be harmful to your health. However, it’s always recommended to read the label and understand exactly what you’re using.
In addition, some products may need to be diluted with water before use, so keep that in mind when choosing a descaling product for your Keurig.
WHAT KIND OF COFFEE MAKER SHOULD I USE VINEGAR ON?
Typically, the vinegar method describes a coffee maker with a manual or automatic drip-style carafe. You can easily add vinegar to tap water, ensuring that it’s cooled before putting it into your machine.
However, you should avoid using the method if your coffee maker has a thermal carafe or hard water in your area. In that case, using a commercial descaling agent is recommended.
CAN VINEGAR DESCALE A KONA COFFEE MAKER?
Well, the vinegar is an acid and will destroy the heating plate of a coffee maker with a thermal carafe. So never use vinegar, or it could damage your coffee maker.
HOW MANY CUPS IN A LITER OF COFFEE?
It depends on how large your cup is and what type of ratio you prefer for your drink. It also depends on the kind of coffee maker you use.
For example, an 8-ounce cup will fill up to 12 ounces of coffee in a drip-style brewing machine. For espresso, you can use 7/8 of a cup (7 1/8 ounces) or 2 1/2 cups (8 cups).
CAN DESCALING PRODUCTS DAMAGE MY KEURIG?
The vinegar or baking soda method is not for heating elements, so they may damage it if misused. It will not happen if you descale your Keurig by hand or use a commercial solution made specifically for your coffee maker.
CAN I CLEAN MY KEURIG IF IT’S NOT DESCALED?
Yes, but it’s recommended to clean and descale it at least once a month.
If you use vinegar and water, you may need to clean the mineral residue that has formed on the outside of the machine more often than that. In general, you should wash the machine with water and mild dish soap after each use.
CAN I CLEAN MY KONA KNOW FROM THE INSIDE?
Yes, you can clean your Keurig from the inside by unplugging it and running water through it for about ten minutes. Then, remove all of the coffee grounds and rinse out the carafe thoroughly.
Depending on the make and model of your Keurig, the descaling frequency will vary. The more hard water you have in your area, the more often you should descale your machine.
Remember to change the water filter regularly and let it sit for a bit after it's been cleaned or descaled.
Finally, don’t forget that getting a new Keurig every time is expensive! If you have a proper maintenance routine for your coffee maker, you’ll never have to worry about costly repairs or replacements.