A salt-based water softener can’t function without salt – and the salt needs to be in small enough chunks to fit properly in the brine tank.
Poor storage conditions or moisture exposure can cause your water softener salt to clump together. You’ll need to crush the salt to make it suitable for loading in the brine tank.
In this guide, we’ve shared the best methods to do this.
📌 Key Takeaways:
- You can crush water softener salt by using a mallet, putting the salt in a blender, or dissolving the salt in warm water.
- Reduce your need to crush water softener salt by using high-purity salt forms, being careful not to overfill the salt tank, and storing the salt in dry conditions.
Table of Contents
📖 How To Crush Water Softener Salt
Below, we’ve shared our top tried methods for crushing water softener salt.
Use A Mallet Or Hammer
The quickest method of crushing salt for water softeners is to use a hammer or a mallet.
To use a mallet or a hammer to crush water softener salt, follow these steps:
- Place the salt pellets in a sealed bag, then place a towel over the bag. This should prevent salt from exploding out of the bag and catching you in your eye – an unlikely but painful outcome.
- Put on a pair of safety goggles for extra protection if you have them.
- Place the bag of pellets on a hard surface (not glass or any other brittle material) that can withstand the force of banging. A thick cutting board is a good option.
- Bang the salt with your hammer or mallet until the clumps are crushed enough for loading in the salt tank.
If you don’t have a hammer or a mallet, you’ll get similar results with the end of a rolling pin or a heavy pipe.
Blend Or Grind The Salt
A second option, if you don’t want to put in the effort of breaking up the salt yourself, is to blend or grind salt in a blender or a coffee grinder.
Here’s what to do:
- Pour salt into a blender or a grinder until it’s about three-quarters full.
- Switch on the blender or grinder.
- Wait until the salt has been crushed to a uniform size, then switch off the machine.
- Pour out the salt into a bowl or bucket, ready to add to the brine tank.
We don’t recommend using this method regularly because you’ll quickly dull the blades in your kitchen appliance, making it unsuitable for its actual purpose. Of course, if you have an old grinder or blender that you can dedicate to salt crushing, go ahead and use it as often as you want.
Create A Salt Solution
If you want to be really meticulous about the state of the salt you add to your water softener, another great method is to dissolve the salt clumps in water before adding them to the brine tank.
Just follow these three steps:
- Fill a bucket with warm water and place the clumped salt crystals in the bucket.
- Leave the salt for 1-2 hours until it has fully dissolved in the water. Stir the water to speed up the dissolving.
- Pour the salty water solution straight into the brine tank.
You don’t want to waste salt by making too much solution at once, so it’s best to start small with this method. You’ll soon get used to how much salt you need per salt top-up.
🤔 Why Crush Water Softener Salt?
There are a few reasons why water softener salt pellets might need to be crushed before use:
- If the salt is stored improperly. Storing softener salt in humid conditions causes it to clump together, and it’ll need to be broken up into small pieces before being added to the brine tank.
- If the salt is poor quality. Poor-quality salt products, like rock salt, have more impurities and are more likely to clump and require crushing than high-quality, high-purity softener salts, like solar salt.
- If there’s too much salt in the brine tank. This can cause a salt bridge, when a salt clump forms over a gap on top of the brine tank. Salt bridges need to be removed by crushing the salt and fishing out the large chunks.
It’s important to crush water softener salt on these occasions to allow the salt to properly dissolve and form a brine solution. Without salty water, your softener won’t be able to exchange hard water minerals with sodium ions in the ion exchange process.
⛔️ How To Avoid The Need to Crush Water Softener Salt
Crushing sodium chloride to put in your water softener is time-consuming and unnecessary. If you want to avoid the extra hassle of crushing your salt before use, follow these tips.
Store The Salt Correctly
Store your water softener salt in a dry place that isn’t exposed to heat or humidity. This will prevent the salt from clumping together in storage.
You also shouldn’t store your softener salt in a location that’s subject to freezing, for the same reasons.
Make sure the salt is sealed, too. If you’ve got a half-full bag of salt, consider pouring it into an airtight container for safer storage with less exposure to the elements.
Buy High-Quality Salt
Poor-quality, low-purity water softener salt contains more impurities and trace minerals, which contribute to clumping – while the salt is in storage and while it’s in the brine tank.
To avoid clumping caused by low-purity salt, you know what to do: buy the highest-purity, highest-quality salt you can find.
Or, consider using potassium chloride instead of traditional softener salt (sodium chloride), which should clump less than salt pellets.
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See more options in WFG’s top water softener salt reviews.
Don’t Overfill The Brine Tank
Finally, watch that you don’t add water softener salt above the maximum fill line in the brine tank. Too much salt in the tank increases the likelihood of bridging, causing salt to clump together above the water level.
Look for a marker on the inside of the tank that shows you where you should add salt to. Most softeners need at least 6 inches of space between the salt and the top of the brine tank.
❔ How to Crush Water Softening Salt: FAQ
How do you break up water softener salt?
You can break up water softener salt into smaller pieces by putting the salt in a bag and breaking it up with a mallet, or grinding the salt in a blender or a coffee grinder.
How do you break down hard salt?
The best method to break down hard salt is to put the salt in water and let it settle for a couple of hours. The water will pull the sodium and chloride ions apart. The dissolving time depends on the amount of salt and the temperature of the water.
Can you use water softener salt to melt ice?
Considering crushing water softener salt to use on your icy driveway? You can use crushed water softener salt to melt ice if you don’t have normal sidewalk salt to hand. Just don’t try using sidewalk or road salt in your water softener – the impurities in the salt will clog up the softener.