Do Brita Filters Remove Sodium From Softened Water?

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Brita filters can remove a handful of contaminants from water, but is sodium one of them?

📌 No, Brita water filters don’t remove salt from soft water. If you follow a low-sodium diet, consider using a reverse osmosis system to remove salt or use potassium chloride in your water softener.

🚱 What Do Brita Filters Remove?

There are three Brita water filters for pitchers: the Standard Brita filter, the Stream filter, and the Elite (formerly LongLast) filter.

  • The Standard filter removes chlorine (taste and odor), cadmium, copper, and mercury.
  • The Stream filter removes chlorine (taste and odor), trichlorobenzene, and particulates class VI.
  • The Elite filter removes lead, chlorine (taste and odor), cadmium, benzene, particulates class I, asbestos, and mercury.
Different brita filters

Brita also offers one type of filter for its faucet-mounted filtration systems: the faucet Brita filter.

  • The faucet Brita filter removes lead, chlorine (taste and odor), asbestos, benzene, some pesticides/herbicides, particulates class I, trichlorobenzene, some pharmaceuticals, atrazine, and TTHMs.
Separating brita water pitcher components

🧂 Can Brita Filters Remove Sodium from Soft Water?

📌 No, Brita filters don’t remove sodium from softened water. Brita water filters don’t use sodium-removal media or a reverse osmosis membrane, and they don’t distill water.

The combination of activated charcoal carbon and ion exchange media in a Brita water filter are designed predominantly to reduce tastes and odors in water, and can’t be used to remove sodium.

This doesn’t necessarily make Brita water filters bad – they just don’t use the correct type of filter media to reduce salt in drinking water.

Activated carbon, the main filtering media in a Brita water filter, uses adsorption to grab hold of chlorine and other contaminants and trap them in its pores. Sodium particles added to water by water softeners are too small to be trapped in the pores of an activated carbon filter.

A very fine filter membrane is needed to reduce sodium and other dissolved solids in tap water, such as the membrane found in a reverse osmosis filter.

🤔 Does a Brita Water Filter Remove Any Sodium From Water?

It’s possible that a Brita water filter might remove trace amounts of sodium from drinking water.

That’s because Brita’s filters contain an ion exchange resin, which may trap a small (pretty insignificant) number of sodium ions.

In short, we wouldn’t recommend using a Brita water filter if sodium removal is your primary concern.

Brita coconut-based activated carbon media

📋 Which Water Filter CAN Remove Salt From Softened Water?

If you’re looking for the best method to remove sodium ions from soft water, consider reverse osmosis systems and water distillers.

Reverse Osmosis System

A reverse osmosis system is the quickest and easiest way to eliminate sodium from softened water.

RO systems use a reverse osmosis membrane, or a semi-permeable membrane, to trap more than 99.99% total dissolved solids. The membrane has a pore size of around 0.0001 microns, so any contaminants larger than this (including minerals, salts, heavy metals, chemicals, and microbes) are unable to pass through.

These contaminants are trapped in the RO chamber and are washed away with a small amount of waste water. Only pure water particles pass through the membrane and leave the system.

RO systems are available as countertop units, under-sink units, and whole home units. Under-sink RO systems are best because they filter water as it flows through your plumbing, providing purified water from your faucet, without the excessive water waste of a whole home unit.

See the Must-Buy Reverse Osmosis Systems of 2023 👈

Water Distiller

A water distiller is a slower, but equally effective method of removing sodium ions from soft water.

Water distillers consist of a boiling chamber, a cooling corridor, and a clean water container. Water is boiled in the boiling chamber until it evaporates and travels down the cooling corridor, eventually condensing in the clean water container.

The contaminants that can’t evaporate with water particles (including sodium) are left behind in the boiling chamber. These can then be washed away when you clean the system.

Water distillers are compact countertop units that connect to a power source. The biggest setback of water distillation is that it takes up to 6 hours to distill just 1 gallon of water.

Reverse osmosis system and distiller

Check out our Review of the #1 Water Distiller of 2023 👈

❌ How Can You Avoid Salt-Softened Water

Looking for a cheaper alternative to installing a water filter to treat your salt-softened water? Consider a water treatment solution that doesn’t add salt to your water in the first place.

Water conditioners and electronic descalers are salt-free, so they prevent scale without changing the quality of your water. The setback of these systems is that they don’t physically remove hardness minerals from your water, so there’s no way to prove by testing that they’re working as intended.

An even easier option is to simply add potassium chloride to your water softener, rather than sodium chloride (salt). Potassium chloride is about 20% less efficient than sodium in a water softener, so you should increase your water hardness setting by 25% to ensure the system thoroughly addresses your hard water issues.

📉 How Else Can You Reduce Your Sodium Intake?

Aside from reducing the sodium ions in your soft drinking water, you can also reduce your sodium intake by:

  • Use alternatives to sodium, like onion and garlic powder, when cooking from scratch
  • Check that canned goods have no added salt before you buy
  • If you buy prepared meals, look for products with less than 600 milligrams of salt
  • Choose foods that are labeled “low-sodium”, “no added salt”, or “reduced salt”
  • Avoid smoked, cured, and salted meats
  • When dining out, ask that no salt is added to your meal, or ask for nutritional information for certain dishes

❔ Do Brita Filters Remove Sodium Ions From Softened Water? FAQ

Why is salt needed to soften water?

Salt is added to water in the softening process. There are several benefits of salt-softened water, such as more efficient soap usage, reduced scale deposits, and longer appliance lifespans. During the ion exchange process in a water softener, sodium ions are exchanged with calcium and magnesium ions, eliminating the vast majority of the effects of hard water.

Is it dangerous to drink soft water?

No. Sodium is a naturally occurring mineral that humans need to survive. When you drink softened water, the minimal sodium in your water supply should be put to good use in your body. However, if you’re following a low-sodium diet (for instance, if you have high blood pressure), your doctor may recommend against drinking water that has been softened with salt.

How much sodium is added to softened water?

The sodium levels in softened water are minimal. One eight-ounce glass of water from a water softener typically contains 12.5mg of sodium. The exact amount of salt in your water depends on your water hardness. The more hardness minerals that need to be exchanged, the more sodium ions that are added to your water.

What happens if you put salt water in a Brita?

If you put salt water in a Brita filter, the water will be just as salty after it has been filtered. No Brita water filter is designed to remove sodium from drinking water.

Do Brita filters add sodium?

No, Brita water filters don’t add sodium. It’s easy to get confused when you learn that Brita uses an ion exchange resin in its filters. In a water softener, ion exchange swaps calcium and magnesium ions for sodium ions. However, the ion exchange resin in Brita’s filters isn’t pre-loaded with salt and can’t add sodium to your drinking water.

How can I test the sodium levels in my softened water?

There are two ways to test your water’s sodium levels: by using an at-home water quality test or analysis meter, or by sending your softened water off for professional laboratory testing. In this case, we recommend the cheapest option: testing your water yourself.

  • Brian Campbell
    Founder, Water Treatment Specialist

    Brian Campbell is a water treatment specialist and water expert based in Denver, Colorado. He's always been obsessed with water quality, and has spent years testing all kinds of treatment devices from simple pitchers and portable devices to complex whole home systems.

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