Softening water involves the removal of calcium and magnesium ions, which make water hard. Soft water is safer for your health and better for your skin, hair and clothes. You may have purchased replacement salt pellets for your home’s water softening unit several times. But do you know what is water softener salt made of?
What is water softener salt made of?
The key ingredient of water softening salts is sodium chloride. There are three types of salt, based on their source and manufacturing process.
Evaporated salts are mined from an underground source and left to dry out. They may also be extracted by heating, with the salt residue collected, refined and packaged for use. They are between 99.7% and 99.9% pure.
Soar salt is collected from sea water. Salty sea water is collected and evaporated by the sun, which will form solid particles. These are collected after given periods of time, stored and packaged for use. Like evaporated salt, solar salt is highly soluble. It may have slightly more impurities, ranging between 99.6% and 99.8%.
Rock salt is the most crude of the three types of salt. It has the lowest solubility level, and could have up to 5% impurities. The salt is mined from underground salt deposits, dried off and packaged for use. These salt deposits are more likely to clog your softening unit than other types of salt.
Are there sodium-free alternatives?
There are a few softeners available that don’t use salt. Potassium chloride softeners work similarly to salt-based softeners, without the risk of infusion of trace amounts of sodium. Since it is more rare than sodium chloride, it can be a bit more expensive. Greensand filters use glauconite particles to precipitate metal and mineral ions in water for easier filtration. These are trapped in the sand, while water flows into your faucets. They are ideal for spot application, but may not work well in water with a high pH level.
Chlorination filters precipitate ions responsible for hardening water, such as magnesium and calcium, making them easy to filter out from the water. Since they combine with these elements, they do not increase the chlorine content in your water.
Are salt-based water softeners safe?
Water softening does not affect the safety of your water. It will reduce the number of metal ions in your water, making it easier to lather and safer for use. The sodium component of the salt is not infused into your drinking water, which means that it is very safe to drink.
You should consider the level of impurities that may be present in your preferred type of salt. Depending on the mining and manufacturing process, salt may have between 0.1% and 5% of debris, dust and other dissolved metal elements. These impurities will be collected within the water softening unit and will not affect your water.
Water softener salts are safe for use for everyone. Even though they are sodium-based salts, there is a minimal consumption of sodium from the water. It will only account for about 3% of your daily sodium intake. There are also a few sodium-free alternatives for you. The different water softener salts will have a varying level of impurities. Most models will be compatible with all three types of salt. If you are living in an area with very hard water, which you can find out by running a simple water hardness tester, we recommend using evaporating salts.