How to Dispose of Water Softener Salt Safely and Effectively

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Whether you’ve stopped using your water softener or you’re switching to better-quality salt, you might have a few bags of water softener salt that you don’t know what to do with.

In this guide, we’ve shared the best ways to dispose of water softener salt.

📌 Key Takeaways:

  • You can dispose of water softener salt by throwing it in your household trash, dissolving it in your bath water, giving it to a friend or neighbor, sprinkling it onto your driveways to melt ice, and using it to kill weeds and unwanted plants.
  • Don’t get rid of softener salt by simply pouring it in a pile outside, and don’t reuse the salt for cooking purposes.
  • Most water softener salt bags aren’t suitable for recycling and should be trashed with other household items.

✅ How To Dispose Of Water Softener Salt: 7 Best Methods

1) Throw It Away In Your Household Trash

Salt isn’t toxic or considered a major environmental hazard, so you can throw it away in your household trash.

Simply dump the salt in a sturdy trash bag and set it out with the rest of your garbage.

However, we don’t recommend throwing out your salt unless you need to act quickly (e.g. if you’re moving and you don’t have room to bring the salt with you) or there’s an issue with the salt (such as damage due to poor storage), since this is quite wasteful.

Throwing old water softener salt in a bag

2) Dissolve It In Your Bath Water

Another quick method of disposing of water softener salt is to dissolve the salt in bath water.

Fill your bath with hot water, then add a bag of salt and wait for it to dissolve. Pull the plug to drain the salty water.

Some areas have regulations on salt waste in water supplies, so make sure you’re not doing anything illegal before using this method of salt disposal.

3) Use It To Melt Ice In The Winter

Even if it’s no longer needed in your water softener system, you may as well give your water softener salt a second life by using it for another purpose.

One option is to save your salt until the winter, then use it to melt your driveway and the sidewalks near your home. Simply sprinkle the salt onto the icy spots and wait for it to work.

4) Use It To Kill Weeds

Water softener salt is a great DIY weedkiller. Salt is absorbed by weeds’ root systems, disrupting their water balance and dehydrating them until they die.

You can use your water softener salt for small-scale de-weeding purposes where watering or rainfall will dilute it over time. Just add 1 part salt to 3 parts water, then wait for the salt to dissolve before distributing the solution over your weeds.

Keep in mind that water softener salt isn’t suitable for use in big areas of land. Excessive salt changes soil conditions and makes growing plants impossible for several years.

Releasing water softener backwash to kill weeds

5) Give It To A Friend Or Neighbor

You won’t be the only person in your neighborhood who uses a water softener. If the salt is still suitable for use in water softening systems, ask friends or neighbors if they’d like to take it off you.

Even if nobody wants the salt for a softener, they might still take it for de-icing or weed-killing purposes.

You could also post on your local Facebook group if you don’t know anyone personally who wants to take the salt.

6) Sell It Locally

If you’ve got a few bags of unopened salt, you could make a profit. Sell the salt on Facebook Marketplace, GumTree, or another local selling website, at a lower cost than a dealer or big box store would offer.

You should find a few interested locals who appreciate that they can collect your salt themselves and avoid the shipping fees associated with buying online.

7) Make A Deer Salt Lick

Salt licks – a block of salt left in a forested area – are attractive to deer and other wildlife. Salt licks contain nutrients that are essential in deers’ diets, and artificial mineral licks can be used to support the local ecosystem.

👨‍🔧 You can make an artificial salt lick from leftover water softener salt. Just put the salt in a bucket or scatter it into the ground, mixing it with soil, in a sheltered, wooded area.

Just make sure your salt is close to 100% sodium and contains no rust removers or additives that might be dangerous to local wildlife.

❌ How NOT To Dispose Of Water Softener Salt

Don’t Dump it Outside

Don’t just dump your water softener salt in a pile at the bottom of your yard or in another outdoor location. Over time, rain will dissolve the salt and cause high levels of sodium ions to seep into the surrounding environment, contaminating soils and potentially getting into natural water sources.

While salt isn’t dangerous or toxic, it changes soil and water conditions, which may kill plants and aquatic life. If you have a septic system, the excess salt could damage that, too.

It’s much better to dispose of your salt with other solid waste in the garbage, since landfill sites are usually contained to prevent (or at least reduce) pollution in the surrounding areas.

Dumping water softener salt in river

Don’t Use It For Cooking

Although it’s good to think of less wasteful alternatives to simply disposing of your softener salt in the garbage, you shouldn’t reuse your softener salt for cooking.

Water softener salt is perfectly safe for consumption when it’s used in water softeners – but that’s because only a very small, carefully measured amount of salt is dissolved in soft water. You don’t drink salty water from a softener system by any means.

Due to its likelihood of containing impurities, water softener salt isn’t fit for human consumption. Whether you have rock salt, solar salt, or any other type of softener salt, it isn’t designed to flavor or season foods, and it isn’t edible.

🙋‍♂️ How To Dispose Of Water Softener Salt Bags

You’ve used up a bag of softener salt in your ion exchange system – what do you do with the bag?

Most manufacturers selling salt for water softeners DON’T use recyclable bags. That means you shouldn’t put your sodium or potassium chloride in your recycling or return them to grocery stores with other plastic bags.

Unfortunately, the only option is to dispose of the bags in your garbage with other solid waste. Reach out to the manufacturer to see if they can offer any specific solutions to their customers.


Does water softener salt expire?

No, water softener salt doesn’t expire. That means, even if you take a break from using your water softener system, you can still use the salt a few years on as long as you’ve stored it in dry, cool, conditions with no risk of outside contamination.

What do you do with old salt from a water softener?

There are lots of things you can do with old salt from a water softener, including dumping the salt with your trash, dissolving the salt in your bath water and letting it drain out of your plumbing, or giving it to a friend or a neighbor.

How should I get rid of my water softener’s brine solution?

The easiest way to discharge unwanted brine solution (highly concentrated salty water) from your water softener is to drain it into a nearby sanitary sewer – as long as the brine meets regulatory requirements. If your local area allows the use of salt-based softeners, then you’ll be able to simply pour the unwanted brine down the drain, since your softener regularly drains brine during regenerations anyway.

Can I reuse water softener salt?

Yes, you can reuse water softener salt as long as it has been stored correctly. For instance, if you’ve bought a new water softener, it should be safe to transfer the salt from the brine tank into the new brine tank (as long as both water softeners take the same type of salt). Or, you could reuse water softener salt to melt ice on your driveway or kill weeds in your yard. Just don’t use it for cooking purposes.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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