Calcification is the leading cause of single-serve coffee machine under-performance. When using hard water in the reservoir, mineral buildup is inevitable. If untreated, this buildup can cause blockages and reduce pump pressure. For this reason, the manufacturer will always ask you to descale your machine before inquiring about the warranty.
Vinegar and Your Manufacturer’s Warranty
Improper maintenance can void a manufacturer’s warranty on most appliances. Keurig machines and other coffee makers are no exceptions. Besides neglecting your cleaning duties, using the wrong products can nullify a warranty. For single-serve machines, vinegar is a popular bad choice.
Vinegar is a common DIY descaling agent: it’s cheap, natural and safe to consume. Nevertheless, most warranties mandate the use of an approved commercial cleaner. They do this for efficacy and consistency reasons; natural remedies vary in strength. That said, even if vinegar was warranty-friendly, it’s just not that effective.
Vinegar versus Commercial Descaler
Vinegar contains acetic acid—a much weaker chemical than those in commercial products. Consequently, it takes more cycles to breakdown large mineral deposits. In addition to leaving an unpleasant odour, vinegar can also be a challenge to clear from the machine. Many coffee lovers who’ve tried it complain of a bad aftertaste that takes some time to dull.
With commercial descaling products, the whole process takes only a few minutes to fully clean your machine. They do not leave residue or taint the taste of your future brews. In fact, using quality products ensures that coffee made after maintenance is better tasting.