USA Water quality is supported by its audience. If you buy something through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more

How to Add Salt To Water Softener? in Just Five Steps

Fact checked by Stephen Conklin

how to add salt to water softener

What’s the deal with salt and softeners? Salt makes ion exchange possible in a water softener. It’s an interesting phenomenon where salt switches places with hard minerals in the tap water and gets stuck to a resin bed, eventually resulting in soft water.

Without salt in water softeners, we’d be exposing our homes to the harshness of hard water –faded clothes, dry skin, and sinks stained with limescale.

Most modern water softeners are guaranteed to stick around for fifteen to twenty years – that is, if you refill them with the needed amount of salt. So, how to add salt to water softener? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

What you’ll need

  • 2 bags of salt (about 40 lbs. Each)
  • Your water softener (switched off for safety)

Before making your way to the nearest grocery store, you have to know what kind of salt is best for water softener – and mind you; it’s not going to be table salt. These large forty-pound bags of salt are usually available in pellet, crystal, or block form – each differing in price and solubility.

Pure salt is the best kind to use as it’s the purest – 99.9% to be exact. It dissolves quickly into the water, which means you won’t have to worry about salt bridging or mushing.

Investing in salt purity for your water softener will reward you in the long run because it lessens the risk of malfunctions and repairs.

If you’re looking for an affordable option, you can use rock salt – but be prepared because it’s a pain to maintain and could damage your water softener. Potassium chloride is another option but it is more expensive and harder to find.

Step-by-Step Instructions


Step 1: Check the salt level in your brine tank.

The ideal salt level in the brine tank should be just above halfway. The rule of thumb for this is that there should be more salt than water. So, if you see that the water is a few inches above the remaining salt, get those new bags of salt ready.

Step 2: Break up any salt bridges.

Sometimes the brine tank will look full even though it’s been weeks of use. You may notice a nice layer of salt that’s just about the ideal level – but don’t be fooled, as this could be a salt bridge. It happens when salt in the top layer hardens, and the salt below gets used up by the softener.

To keep your water softener from malfunctioning, carefully break up the salt bridge with a rubber hammer or a blunt object. Then, reincorporate it with the salt at the bottom and add more salt if needed.

Step 3: Clean up any salt mushing.

The top layer of salt isn’t the only thing you should be monitoring. It turns out, the bottom part of an uncleaned brine tank could have salt mushing – which is a muddy sludge that stops the brine solution from flowing freely.

Salt mushing raises the water level, clogs essential valves, and could eventually damage your water softener. The best way to handle salt mushing is to remove the remaining salt and give your brine tank a thorough cleaning.

Step 4: Dump the salt into the tank

Once the brine tank has been cleared of any salt bridges and mushing, it’s time to refill it. Your water softener will need all the salt it can get, so don’t worry about dumping a whole bag in there.

If there’s any remaining water, see if the level is still a few inches above the salt. If it is, add a bit more from another bag until you don’t see the water anymore.

The amount of time you’ll have to add salt to your water softener will depend on the tank’s size and tap water quality. If your water supply is notorious for its high mineral content, your water softener will use a lot more salt.

Additionally, how much water is used also contributes to how much salt your water softener needs. So, if your household is large or has guests over often, you must check your brine tank more often.

Step 5: Let your water softener regenerate

With a clean brine tank and a fresh batch of salt to go with it, your water softener is ready to take on soft water again. But before you go switch it on, remember that it needs to regenerate first to work correctly.

It’ll take about two hours for regeneration to complete, so be patient and let it do its thing. In this step, the brine solution cleanses the resin bed and flushes out the accumulated minerals.

Take Softening Seriously

If you have fully understood the steps above. You can learn more about the water softeners we have reviewed and rated. These can be mentioned as portable water softeners, outdoor water softeners, or marine water softeners.

Water softeners are great for any home and are bound to make chores a lot more pleasant. A well-cared-for water softener will provide your household with skin-friendly soft water for years to come. All it needs from you is some patience, some maintenance work, and a keen eye.

Now you know how to add salt to water softener. Probably, you will find it easier to do it this time. But if you think your friends also need this information, feel free to share this post today!

5/5 - (3 votes)