A Quick Guide to Water Softener Salts

Water softener products are made of either sodium chloride (salt) or potassium chloride. In this blog, we’re focusing on the different water softener salt (sodium chloride) products that can help deliver the benefits of softer water to your home.

For more information on the differences between sodium chloride and potassium chloride products, check out our FAQs.

How Does Water Softener Salt Help Soften Hard Water?

Your water softener system includes a brine tank (which stores the water softener salt) and a resin tank (which contains the resin beads that work to remove the hard water minerals from your water).

During the regeneration process inside your water softener system, the brine solution from the brine tank rinses the resin beads in the resin tank and attaches positively charged sodium ions onto their surface.

When this regeneration process is finished, and the resin beads are positively charged, the hard water passes through the resin bed, and ion (cation) exchange takes place. During ion exchange, the calcium and magnesium minerals in the hard water exchange places with the sodium ions adhered to the surface of the resin beads. This swap effectively removes the calcium and magnesium ions from the water, and results in softer water.

After a certain amount of hard water passes through the resin, most of the sodium ions are depleted from the resin, and the resin is now mostly coated with calcium and magnesium. When this occurs, to recover the exchange capacity, the regeneration process begins again.

Do you want to know more about hard water? Read our hard water blog for a deeper look at how minerals like calcium and magnesium affect your home.

How to Choose a Product That’s Right for You

Choosing a water softener salt means choosing the form it comes in and whether it contains an additive. Higher purity salts contain less water-insoluble matter, which can mean less buildup in your water softener system for less cleanout and maintenance; however, these products can also cost more.

Forms of Salt:

The choice between crystals, pellets and cubes is often based on personal preference, but can also be affected by household size, water softener size, or water hardness level. The main difference comes from how they are manufactured. Likely, your water softener system owner’s manual will specify if a certain salt shape is recommended over the other.


How much water softener salt do I need?

Knowing how many bags of water softener salt to purchase at the store can be tricky. For SureSoft water softener salt products, we’ve done the calculations for you and created a product usage chart. This tool provides you with valuable information on how many bags of salt to buy based on your household size, water hardness and location.

Still wondering why you might need a water softener or water softener salt? Check out our blog on hard water and the negative effects it can have on your home.