A water softener is an important home appliance that removes minerals e.g. iron, magnesium or calcium from hard water that could otherwise stain and clog your pipes. A water softener has resin beads that absorb the undesired minerals and replaces them with sodium, before the water reaches your kitchen or bathroom taps. The system keeps fresh water running to your home all through, but the buildup of these minerals in the system would reduce its efficiency.
A routine cleaning of the water softener becomes necessary to keep your system performing at its peak.
The opportune time to clean the water softener is when the softening salt is running low, to avoid emptying all the salt in the system.
Two Methods on How to Clean a Water Softener
Cleaning the Resin Beads
The first method involves cleaning the resin beads. Commercial resin cleaners work by replacing the accumulated minerals with sodium ions. Some cleaners remove all the mineral build up while others target a specific element e.g. an iron mineral-removing product added to the water softener, would dissolve the iron particles present and make them liquid. It will now be easy to rinse with water. Choose the product that is recommended for your water softener.
Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer, and pour the recommended amount of resin cleaner in the brine tank or salt tank of the water softening system. The sodium ions present in the resin cleaner will remove the buildup minerals and clean the resin beads.
Cleaning the Brine Tank
- Disconnect all the pipes from the water softening unit. Remove all the water present in the resin tank and empty it carefully in the drains. Don’t pour it on the lawn.
- Get rid of any left-over softening salt in the unit. If the water softener has big blocks of salt in it, use hot water to break them up and scoop the salt out.
- Use dish washing soap and a few liters of water to make a soapy mixture. Pour the soapy mixture into the tank and scrub thoroughly using a long-handled brush. Discard and rinse with clean water.
- Further cleaning follows using a bleach solution follows. Use a ¼ cup of household bleach e.g. vinegar on 4-5 liters of clean water. Stir carefully and let the solution sit for 15 minutes. Pour it into the water softener and scrub once more with a brush. Dump the bleach water and rinse using a lot of clean water.
- Finally, reassemble the system and pour 5 gallons of water in the brine or salt tank. Add water softening salt to the tank – a 100 pound bag of salt is recommended. The tank should contain at least one quarter full of water softening salt at all times. For increased efficiency, do not fill up the salt to the brim of the water softener.
- Leave a gap of about six inches from the top of the tank.