Water Softener Salt

Best Salt for Water Softener by Consumer Reports with Detail Explanations

Water is the most essential element for us all. Apart from drinking, it helps us in our daily chores and used in our household appliances. But have you ever noticed stains left by water on your sink or bathtub? You might have wondered how they appeared using pure water. This brings us to the fact that all water is not the same.

To bring your water to the quality you deserve, today we will be reviewing the best water softener salts available in the market. But before that, you need to understand the importance of using them.

You will be shocked to know that more than 85% of American homes receive hard water. Your household might also be receiving hard water which has extremely high mineral content. These minerals in the form of magnesium and calcium are damaging to your electrical appliances and pipes.

They leave a residue in all your bathtubs and sinks as well. This calls for a solution to this major issue. Using a water softener salt for your water supply can do wonders with the quality of water you use. These salts are very effective and can make protect your entire home from the damaging effects of hard water.


We are hereby reviewing the best water softener salts in the market to help you find the one that suits your needs. Our view is completely unbiased and based on the extensive research performed by our team. All the product features highlighting their pros and cons are covered in detail for you to make an informed decision.

Top 5 Best Salt for Water Softener Reviews in 2021


Morton Clean and ProtectCheck on amazon

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Nature’s Own Water SoftenerCheck On Amazon

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 Morton Clean and Protect II Water Softening Pellets

Morton Clean and Protect II
With a rating of 3.9 stars on Amazon, Morton Clean and Protect II is the best seller in Water Softeners category. It is the only water softening salt that earned the good housekeeping seal.

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  • 40lb bag full of water softener system saver salt pellets.
  • Patented formula for superior results.
  • Manufactured in the US.
  • Cleans your softener while working to remove the minerals present in hard water.
  • Contains resin cleaning additives to keep the softener run longer.
  • Helps prevent mineral buildup in your pipes and appliances.
  • Improves the efficiency and extends the life of your water heaters and other appliances.
  • Reduces iron buildup and extends softener’s life.
  • Reduces the scaling of faucets, bath fixtures, and pipes.
  • Reduces spotting of dishes, flatware, and glasses.
  • By keeping the tank clean, it eliminates the need of tank clean up.
  • Makes your clothes and towels feel soft and help them last longer.
  • Makes your skin feel softer by removing the unwanted mineral content from your hard water.
  • Very easy and simple to use.
  • Some users, buying the product from Amazon, found the product over-priced.
  • It delivers the same results as its predecessor. There is no additional value with the new product brought by the company.
  • It is on the heavier side, so lifting it to pour into the brine tank is an extremely difficult job.
  • Although it is the best-selling product in its category on Amazon, it is a bit difficult to find it in the local stores.

 Morton U26624S Pure AND Natural Water Softening Crystals

Morton Water Softening Crystals
Morton Pure and Natural works with your softener system to provide to efficiently improve the quality of water throughout your home. With America’s No. 1 brand of water softener salt at your service, you are ensured to receive the highest possible performance. Also, the product received a rating of 4.4 stars on Amazon.

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  • 40 lbs bag full of water softening crystals.
  • All-natural product harvested from saltwater.
  • Manufactured in the US.
  • Works in all water softener systems.
  • Contains high purity sodium chloride.
  • Very easy and simple to use.
  • Reduces spotting of dishes, flatware, and glasses.
  • Reduces the scaling of faucets, bath fixtures, and pipes.
  • Makes soaps and detergents lather better and work more efficiently.
  • Prevents mineral buildup from hard water in your water heaters, other appliances, and home plumbing.
  • Makes your clothes and towels feel soft and help them last longer.
  • Makes your skin feel softer by removing the unwanted mineral content from your hard water.
  • Again, some Amazon users found this product overly priced.
  • This package is again on the heavier side, so lifting it to pour into the brine tank is an extremely difficult job.
  • Being made of sodium, this salt is potentially unhealthy for you and your family.
  • Some users complain about a strange sulfur smell in their water on using this salt.

  3  Nature’s Own Water Softener Potassium Solution

Nature’s Own Water Softener
Nature’s Own Water Softener Potassium Solution is superior to the vastly used sodium-based salts. It is better for the environment as a whole as it doesn’t leave any salty residue behind.
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  • 40 lbs bag full of water softener cubes.
  • Very easy and simple to use.
  • Uses potassium chloride formula instead of sodium chloride.
  • Works well in all water softener systems.
  • Highly durable and lasts longer than the regular salt formulas.
  • No slimy feeling that is experienced normally in case of sodium-based salts.
  • Drinking water tastes much better with no salt added to it.
  • Healthier choice over sodium-based water softener salts.
  • Protects buildup in your pipes and appliances.
  • Doesn’t leave stains on your dishes.
  • Rejuvenates your body with potassium-enriched soft water.
  • Better cleans your clothes.
  • Makes your skin and hair softer by removing all the impurities from your household water.
  • A few Amazon users find it over-priced, complaining mainly about its shipping cost.
  • These crystals carry impurities, as claimed by some of its users online.
  • It is not manufactured in the USA.
  • A 40-pound bag is again difficult to lift up and pour.
  • With 40% users giving it a 1 star rating on Amazon, you cannot be sure of the quality you will be delivered

 Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets

Morton Potassium Chloride Pellets

A sodium alternative in the form of Morton potassium chloride pellets made by our favorite brand. The product received a rating of 4.3 stars by Amazon users. It is chosen over the sodium-based formulas because of the many health benefits it offers. Potassium is an essential human and plant ingredient and safe to use in your softener systems.
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  • 40lb bag full of water softener system saver salt pellets.
  • 99% sodium-free.
  • A healthier choice for water softener chloride solutions.
  • Compared to sodium chloride softened water, it reduces chloride discharge by up to 20%.
  • Environmentally safer than sodium-based softening solutions.
  • Prevents scale buildup from hard water minerals in your home plumbing and appliances.
  • Makes household cleaning easier by effectively removing unwanted minerals from your hard water.
  • Makes your clothes and towels whiter and softer.
  • Forms better lather of your soaps, shampoos, and detergents.
  • Makes your shower-doors, faucets, glasses, and dishes spotless.
  • Quite a few users, buying the product from Amazon, found the product over-priced.
  • The packaging is again an issue. It is not easy to carry and lift it up.
  • It is a difficult job to find it in the local stores in many areas.

  5  Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft Series Salt Pellets

Diamond Crystal Salt Pellets

Diamond Crystal Bright & Soft Salt pellets are made from evaporated salt. Hot water is injected into the salt deposits underground at a ‘solution mine’ in Hersey, MI. This water is then pumped out and evaporated to get these pellets.
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  • 50lb bag full of water softener salt pellets.
  • Made in USA.
  • 99.8% pure evaporated softener salt.
  • Removes hard minerals including barium, calcium, iron, and magnesium effectively from your hard water.
  • Very easy and simple to use.
  • Can be used with all water softener systems.
  • High quality evaporated salt is the most superior form of sodium-based softener salts.
  • Innovative dual-handle attached to the bag for easy lifting and pouring into the brine tank.
  • Efficiently removes all the unwanted minerals from your household water.
  • Provides you with cleaner-looking faucets, bathtubs, and dishes.
  • Makes your skin and hair softer by stripping away all the hardness from your water.
  • Protects your clothes and towels from the negative impact of positively charged minerals, makes them soft and last longer.
  • A sodium-based solution is not appropriate for you if you or anyone in your family is suffering from kidney stones.
  • Despite the innovate handle, lifting and pouring 50 pounds to the brine tank is an extremely tough job.
  • Due to high purity, it might be perceived as an expensive salt compared to the other sodium-based salts.
  • It is not as abundantly available in the local stores as the Morton salts.

What is hard water?

Water Softener Salts by Consumer Reports

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Water becomes hard when it passes through the porous material deposits like limestone and gypsum. These deposits are largely composed of calcium and magnesium compounds. Hard water, therefore, is rich in mineral content that is harmful to our everyday appliances and industrial settings. Such quality of water can cause a breakdown of cooling towers, boilers, and other industrial appliances that carry water.

In the domestic setting, it can shorten the life of water pipes, water storage tanks, electrical appliances run with water, and all other surfaces that use this hard water. It leaves mineral traces on all these surfaces and, as a result, you will notice a layer of limescale on your household items and fittings.

If you are not sure whether the water you receive in your home is hard water or not, you can check for the amount of foam formation by agitating soap in water. Lesser the foam formed, harder is your water. If you are getting a supply of hard water in your house, you must take some measures to remove the mineral content of water. Else, it can clog your water supply pipes, damage your electrical appliances and stain your sinks and bathtubs. You might also have to pay higher energy bills due to decreased strength of the appliance.

What Does Water Softener Salt Do?

Explaining the role of water softener salt requires a complete understanding of the functioning of your water softener. Let us first discuss about the whole process of water softening.

Water Softening Process

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Water softeners follow the principle of ion exchange. They come fitted with a filter containing a bed of spherical resin beads that removes all the hardness of water. The hard water entering into the mineral tank flows through these plastic beads. Usually made from polystyrene, the beads are charged with a sodium or potassium ion. These beads carry a negative charge and are therefore anions.

Now, the hard water that carries calcium and magnesium with it has positively charged ions called cations. Since the opposite charges attract each other, the negatively charged ions in the beads attract positively charged ions from the hard water. At the same time, your water receives sodium or potassium ions depending on the salt you use for softening. This clears all the unwanted minerals from your water and you get a flow of soft water in your household.

Mineral Tank

The water supply line brings the hard water to your mineral tank. All the process of water softening occurs here. Resin beads perform their magic and the hard water leaves the tank as soft to flow into your water pipes and household appliances.

Control Valve

The volume of water that passes through the mineral tank is measured by a meter inside the control valve. Since we use water daily, the resin beads in the mineral tank will run out of negatively charged ions one day. These beads again require a catalyst to perform the task of softening the water. This control valve initiates a regeneration cycle before the complete depletion of negatively charged ions. The valve can tell about the need for regeneration as they are pre-programmed with the maximum water carrying capacity of the beads.

Brine Tank

A shorter tank sits beside the mineral tank carrying a highly concentrated salt solution. Sodium or potassium-based salt is added manually to this brine tank. Regeneration is carried out by the brine tank when indicated by the control valve. Concentrated salt solution flows into the mineral tank to restore the negative charge of resin beads. Since the water softener salts act as the catalyst required by the empty beads, you need to ensure that your brine tank never runs out of salt. You can add water softener pellets or crystals or salt blocks for water softener

Now that you know the importance of water softener salts, I must inform you that numerous types of salts can be used for this process. Since all water softener salts do not function in the same manner, you must be aware of the one that suits your needs the best. Let us discuss the types of softener salts available in the market highlighting their differences to help you make a better decision.

Rock Salt

This is the rawest form of salt used in the water softening process. It takes centuries to form with the accumulation of salt deposits underground. Since there is minimal processing involved during its extraction, it happens to be the most affordable option for you. Although many water softener brands sell this form of salt, you must know that the positive ions present in rock salt leave some residue in the brine tank. This is because of the presence of calcium sulfate that doesn’t allow the salt to dissolve completely in water. There is no known impact on the basic functioning, however. Be ready to clean the tank frequently if you are looking for a cheap and effective solution for your hard water.

Solar Salt

Solar salt is obtained from seawater and is commonly known as sea salt. The salt manufacturing companies collect it at a particular location and leave it for natural drying. This gives it the name ‘solar salt’ as all the evaporation is done by the sun. After evaporation, salt crystals are collected and transported to the markets for further usage. When it comes to solar salt vs pellets of rock salt, solar salt wins the battle. It is because the solar salt is more soluble than rock salt as its purity levels can reach 99.5%.

Evaporated Salt

If you are looking for a 100% pure salt for your water softener, look no further. Evaporated salt is obtained from the raw salt crystals. Raw salt is reduced to sodium chloride to get the purest sodium-based salt. Excess moisture from the salt is removed with the help of special heaters. Its purity makes it the best candidate for being used as the water softener salt. It is, however, priced higher than the rock salt and solar salt because of the same reason.

Potassium Chloride

If someone ever told you that water softener makes water taste salty, it is because of the use of sodium-based salts in the systems. Potassium chloride is regarded as a better alternative to sodium-based water softener salts. Experts recommend limiting the intake of sodium for maintaining good health. Potassium presents a healthy substitute for your water softening needs. Some studies have shown that a higher potassium intake can lower your blood pressure.

Hydrogen Peroxide (for maintenance only)

If you are the one who is extremely health conscious, Hydrogen Peroxide will satisfy all your needs. Although it is not a type of salt but it does the job of softening your water very well. Additionally, it also disinfects your water and removes all the bacteria from it.

If you are skeptical of using it for your water softening needs, you can still use it for maintaining your brine tank. It is a good disinfectant and also clears away all the impurities left by the softener salts from your brine tank. People consider it to be the most affordable and effective method of maintaining their water softeners.

Water softener salt vs potassium

People started using sodium-based salts in the 1900s. It became popular when a German scientist discovered the potential of sodium chloride in softening the hard water. For decades, it was the only method used for water softener systems. In the 1980s, however, people began speculating about the negative impacts of adding sodium to their household water.

How to Add Salt to a Water Softener?

Though the water softener systems automatically regenerate themselves, you will have to manually add salt to the brine tank for them to function properly. Also, most water softener systems do come with a control valve that carries a regeneration button. On the contrary, you will have to manually regenerate the softener system in case there is no control panel fitted in your machine. Adding salt to water softener is an extremely easy task.

Let us discuss about the things you require and the process of adding salt to a water softener system.


     a. A wet rag

     b. Softener Salt


  • Cleaning the brine tank

Use the wet rag to clean the inside walls of brine tank for clearing away the accumulated build-up. If you skip this step, you might end up clogging your tank.

  • Adding the water softener salt

Add the softener salt to your brine tank. Fill it until the tank is half-full or just above the half. No more than that should be added.

  • Regenerate your water softener system

You will have to manually regenerate your water softener if it lacks a control panel. If, however, your water softener model comes with a control valve, hold down the regeneration button until the process gets started.

How Much Salt Do You Need?

Knowing how much salt does a water softener use is somewhat tricky. The quantity of salt you need depends on a variety of factors. If you are wondering as to how many bags of salt for water softener are required by your household, you must consider the factors that influence this amount.

As per an estimate, a family of four receiving hard water at levels around 7 GPG (Grains Per Gallon) normally consumes about 10lbs of salt every week. This turns out to be a 40lbs bag usage in a month.

How much salt to put in water softener?

 Let us discuss the key factors that decide the amount of salt you need and also make you aware as to how often to add salt to water softener.

  • Level of hardness

If you are receiving extremely hard water, you will require more salt to displace the hard water’s positively charged mineral content. The harder your water, the more the salt you need. It is because the number of positively charged particles increases with its hardness and resin beads will use more negatively charged ions to capture these minerals. It will lead to early exhaustion of the sodium or potassium ions of the beads.

  • Household consumption

Ways of working vary from household to household. Some families need more water for carrying out their daily activities while others use less of it. The more water you consume, the more salt you will need each month. It is because of the maximum capacity of the resin beads to circulate hard water.

  • Age of softener

Modern-day water softener machines are more efficient and consume less amount of salt for carrying out the whole process. If your softener system is 10 or more years old, you might need more salt to effectively soften your water.

  • Size of brine tank

A normal-sized brine tank will use around the average amount of salt that is about 40lbs a month for a family of four. If, however, you have a larger brine tank or the diameter of your tank exceeds the standard of 9”, you will need more salt each month.

Factors to Consider before Buying Water Softener Salt

Water softener salt is the heart of the whole softener system. Without the salt, it is impossible to purify your hard water of the unwanted mineral content. The way your heart gets you rid of harmful carbon dioxide, water softener salt gets you rid of hardness from your water. It is, therefore, important to carefully select the salt that will meet your family’s requirements. Let us discuss the key factors to consider before buying you get your hands on the best water softener salts.

  • Price

Since you are going to use a huge amount of salt each month, you must consider buying the one that fits well in your budget. Maintain a balance between the price and effectiveness of the salt. Not all salts are the same, so buying the cheapest one might not be a good idea. You don’t want to end up spending more on the maintenance of your water softener system. Choose the salt that offers you the best value for your money.

  • Health

Sodium-based salts are more popular due to their early arrival in the market. But these days people are becoming more and more health-conscious due to the negative effects of consuming excessive sodium. In an attempt to reduce sodium in your diet, you can choose a potassium-based water softener salt for your machine. Also, if you or anyone in your family is facing the problem of kidney stones, you must avoid using sodium in your water. Potassium chloride, on the other hand, lowers your blood pressure. You shall not use it if someone in your family already faces a low blood pressure issue. Prioritize your family’s health over any other factor before buying the salt.

  • Environment

Sodium-based salts pollute the environment by leaving sodium-rich waters as residue. Potassium, on the other hand, is consumed by the plants and is an essential element for their survival. Choose a potassium-based softener to protect the environment.

  • Performance

All you want from your water softener salt is a good performance. What is the benefit of investing your hard-earned money in a softener salt that cannot fully secure your family’s health? Always check for the effectiveness of the salt for your specific water softener system, their compatibility matters a lot. If you are not sure about the type of salt your machine demands, consult your manufacturer for detailed information about the same. In case you have a large machine, make sure to buy an adequate amount for a better performance.

How to Choose the Right Type of Water Softener Salt?

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Since you now know that all water softener salts are not the same, you must know how to choose the right type of salt for your softener system. Making the right choice can make a world of difference for your household. Also, different salts behave differently with the same water softener machine.

So, ensure that the one you choose is compatible with your system. You must also keep in mind your family’s health while making a choice. The life of your appliances also depends largely on the quality of water you ultimately receive in your household.

The Final Word

Using and maintaining a water softener system is not at all a difficult job. It makes your life easier by providing you a supply of high-quality soft water. Not only does it protect your home plumbing from getting clogged, it also saves you a huge sum in the form of increased life of your appliances, fittings, bathtubs, dishes, and clothes.

You get a superior cleaning experience with the type of water you finally receive. It also protects your skin and hair from the harsh minerals carried by the hard water.

After grasping all the information about the water softener salts, you can now make the right decision for your household. If you ever feel stuck somewhere, you can always revisit this useful guide to get hold of the situation again.

An honest review of the best products available in the market will surely help you choose the one that fits your bill. Remember that the type of salt you use plays the most important role in your life. It can have a huge impact on your life, making it good or bad is completely in your hands.

The right decision can improve the quality of your family’s life to a great extent. It is, therefore, essential for you to select the best salt for water softener system.


Water Softener Salts FAQs


Can I Use Food-Grade Salt for Water Softener?

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Using a food-grade salt in your water softener will regenerate the resin beads with negatively charged ions. It is because our table salt contains sodium. No doubt, this salt will solve your purpose of softening your household water but it is not recommended to use it.

The salt that is designed for water softener has much larger crystals than the food-grade salt. The small crystals of cooking salt creates mushing inside your brine tank.

Therefore, in the short term it will solve your purpose but in the long term it will damage your machine altogether. You will end up spending more money on replacing the water softener system itself.


Is It OK to Mix Different Salts?

It is normal to buy a different salt if you do not find the one you use regularly. All water softener salts work towards the same goal of cleaning your hard water with difference only in their performances. They can surely work together towards achieving their common goal.

An exception to this is the mixing of sodium-based salt with potassium chloride softener. The element they provide to the resin bead is different with sodium-based salts giving out sodium to the beads and potassium-based softener providing its potassium element.

This complicates the ion exchange process making it difficult for the beads to attract impurities from your hard water. In such a case, you will end up with partially soft water that still carries some harmful minerals.

So, it is advised to choose the same type of salt if you are about to add it to your brine tank without emptying it first. If, however, you cannot find the same type, consider emptying the tank first and cleaning it off.


What If I Don’t Add Salt for Some Time?

If you didn’t add salt to your softener system for some time as someone told you it’s not a big deal, you must know that you are putting your electric appliances and home plumbing at a great risk.

Hard water is not all about the inconvenience of non-lathering soaps and shampoos, it is detrimental to the life of your heaters and other water-run appliances. With time, it will develop a considerable amount of buildup in your pipes and restrict their flow.

Also, your showers and sinks will develop an unwanted coating making your water spray in random directions.

If, however, you forgot to add salt to your brine tank, you will notice a metallic taste in your drinking water as you will be drinking hard water that is full of harmful minerals. You will also notice spots on your dishes, sinks, and bathtubs.

To protect your family from the side-effects of impurities found in hard water, consider adding softener salt to your brine tank as soon as possible. Your entire household will start getting a supply of soft water within two to three days.

It is advised not to skip adding salt to your softener system as it is harmful for your health as well as belongings. Keep an eye on your brine tank every few days to know when to add salt to water softener and ensure that it is half full.


My Water Is Discolored. What to Do?

If you are using a water softener system and notice discolored water, you must check your brine tank first. An unclean brine tank usually causes the water to get discolored.

If, however, you do not find any cleanliness issues in your brine tank, you will have to check other components of your water softener system. There might be some leakage in a part due to some unexpected damage. Such leakage can cause free flow of impurities into your household water, making it discolored. If you are not able to find a damaged part, contact the manufacturer of your softener machine to get further help.

If you have recently filled your brine tank with a new package of softener salt, there is a possibility that some pollutants also entered the brine tank during the process of refilling. Such pollutants might be the cause of discolored water you are receiving.

In case you are using rock salt in your water softener system, you might notice some dirt particles in your water. This is because rock salt is not fully soluble in water and the insoluble particles aren’t trapped by the resin. This causes the appearance of particulate matter in your household water.


Why Does My Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs Despite Using a Softener?

If your water is smelling like rotten eggs, the first thing you should do is cleaning the brine tank inside out. There are high chances that some harmful contaminants are forming inside the tank. Treating your brine tank with a hydrogen peroxide solution or a citric acid water softener cleaner will probably solve the issue.

If you recently cleaned your brine tank and are facing this issue, either your water contain germs or high amounts of sulfur. The water softener systems are not equipped with clearing away sulfur or foul-smelling germs from the water. To solve this issue, you will have to get an additional filtration system that works towards cleaning your water of sulfur content and foul-smelling germs and bacteria. You can add this new system either upstream or downstream of your water softener system.


What to Do About Salt Bridges Forming in the Tank?

The formation of salt bridges is the most common problem people face while using a water softener system. If you have recently switched to a new softener salt, the salt could be the culprit.

Another possible reason for the formation of salt bridges could be an issue with your softener system itself. If you are facing this problem, again and again, contact your manufacturer for getting the problem fixed.

To quickly fix the salt bridge issue, you need to dissolve the bridge formed with the help of a long stick. Run the stick or a similar object in a circular motion while putting it all the way down inside the brine tank.

It is like mixing salt in a cup on a large scale. Continue dissolving the bridges until none are left else your household will get a supply of hard water.


What If I Don’t Want to Use Salt at All?

Avoiding the use of salt in your water softener system is a good decision. If you do not want to use any type of salt, you can choose to use the softeners that are not salt-based. They also do a good job of clearing away the unwanted mineral content from your water. The potassium-based solutions can help you a lot in avoiding salt.

You will have to examine the pros and cons of each along with their compatibility with your softener machines. In such a case, it is best to contact your manufacturer to get detailed information about the types of softeners that can be used with your machine. This way, you will get a direction to find the best product for your needs.

If, on the other hand, you have not yet purchased a water softener system, you can opt for smaller water softening devices that can be installed at various points of use like showers and taps.

These filtration devices do not make use of softener salts to remove the impurities from hard water. So, you can be sure to eliminate salt from your water softening process altogether. They are also extremely effective in giving you a supply of soft water for all your needs.



We have made an effort to prepare a detailed guide for making you aware of all the aspects of water softening systems. Water is the lifeblood of all our lives. The quality of water you use for your household chores and drinking decides the quality of your life.

Your health and your family’s well being also depends on the water you use. So, it is extremely essential to take care of the content your water carries. Ensure to remove all the unwanted minerals by following our guidelines. Do not forget to clean your tank regularly to help the water softener system work efficiently.

To select the best water softener salt for your water softener machine, consider the pros and cons of all the products reviewed above. If you are still not sure about your choice of softener salt, stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations or use the one that goes well with all types of softener systems.

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