Drinking Soft Water

When you soften water using a water softener, does the sodium level increase in my water?  Is it safe to drink soft water?  Will my water taste salty from using salt and a water softener?  How much salt is added to my water using a water softener?  These questions are presented to our staff when discussing water, specifically using a water softener within a home.  As part of the water softening process, salt must be used to make soft water.  How much salt is needed depends on the hardness of your home’s water, the number of people living and size of the water softener in the home.

In an Environmental Protection Agency study, an eight ounce glass of soft water has less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium.  This falls in the “very low sodium” category according to the Food and Drug Administration.  There is as much sodium in a piece of white bread as drinking eight glasses of water.  On average, your daily diet contains less than three percent of your daily sodium intake from drinking soft water.  The majority of an adult’s sodium intake comes from our daily diet and eating processed foods.

Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps of the Mayo Clinic discussed this topic in an article about drinking softened water, “The added sodium doesn’t add up to much. An 8-ounce glass of softened water generally contains less than 12.5 milligrams of sodium.  It’s important to keep in mind that the majority of sodium in an average person’s diet comes from table salt and processed foods.  Thus, the best way to decrease sodium in your diet is by putting away the saltshaker and cutting back on processed foods.”

If a person is on a sodium restricted diet or is concerned about the sodium level in their water, a way to reduce sodium in the water is to use potassium chloride pellets instead of sodium chloride pellets in the brine tank.  Keep in mind, the cost of potassium chloride is nearly triple and many stores don’t carry the product.  Your water softener will need to be adjusted to use potassium chloride and your water softener will use more of this product.  The best way to reduce sodium levels is to install a reverse osmosis system in your home.  These systems provide a separate faucet at your kitchen sink and use a filtering system to reduce contaminants to lower levels in the water.

Even adding a water softener to your home will not make your water taste salty.    Can it produce salty water?  Yes, when there is a malfunction with your water softener.  If you experience salty water, contact your local water professional.  Since sodium levels in soft water are minimal, it is a matter of preference when drinking your daily water intake.   The reality is to make sure to drink enough water to keep your body hydrated on a daily basis.

1. Healthy Lifestyle: Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps

2. Water Tech Online: Is Soft Water Safe to Drink?