How to Remineralize Reverse Osmosis Water

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Reverse osmosis is the superior filtration solution for anyone who wants to guarantee the elimination of virtually all dissolved solids in their drinking water.

But the downside of RO purification is that it doesn’t only remove the bad stuff – it also greatly reduces healthy minerals that contribute to water’s enjoyable taste and keep its pH level high.

We’ve tested dozens of reverse osmosis systems, which means we have plenty of experience when it comes to evaluating the different methods of adding essential minerals back into our water.

We’ve shared the best ways to remineralize reverse osmosis water, based on our own personal experience and our research into reputable data sources online, in this guide.

4 Ways to Remineralize RO Water

💯 Our Top Recommended Method: Use a Remineralization Filter

In our own testing, we’ve found that using a remineralizing cartridge is the quickest and easiest way to reintroduce essential minerals back into reverse osmosis water.

Many RO systems sold today can be purchased with a remineralization filter. This could be an optional added extra sold by the manufacturer, or the filter might be built into your RO unit design.

Several of the reverse osmosis water filter systems we’ve tested have used a remineralization filter. For example, the RKIN U1 is a countertop RO system that has a built-in remineralization cartridge.

In our testing, we found that our water’s mineral concentrations did decrease, but 3.6 PPM of calcium and 0.39 PPM of magnesium were detected in our filtered water, suggesting that the remineralization filter had increased their concentrations from 0 (assuming that the RO process eliminated them entirely).

For us, the major benefit of a remineralization filter was that it treated the RO water before it came out of the faucet or dispenser, so we didn’t have to make the effort to manually remineralize our water after.

How it Works

A remineralization filter works by releasing trace minerals into water as it flows through the filter media, raising its pH and giving it a more pleasant, “natural” taste.

Calcium and magnesium are the two minerals that are most commonly introduced back into the water via a post-RO remineralizing filter.

When the minerals have all been released, the filter should be replaced. Most remineralization filters have a lifespan of 6-9 months.

We found several scientific studies and research-backed reports that discuss the efficacy of remineralization filters when used to reintroduce essential minerals removed by the reverse osmosis process.

This 2021 critical review of point-of-use drinking water treatment noted that the purified water produced during reverse osmosis is “deficient in healthy minerals” and is slightly corrosive, with a pH of less than  6.0104. According to the review, passing the water through a remineralization filter makes it more palatable and increases its pH to 6.5-8.5, giving it an alkalinity of at least 80 mg/L as CaCO3.

Related: Debunking Myths: Is Reverse Osmosis Water Bad for You?

healthy minerals found in water

👍 Also a Great Choice: Use an Alkaline Water Pitcher

Alkaline water filter pitchers are another simple option that can be used to add minerals such as calcium and magnesium to reverse osmosis water.

These filters use filtration media like activated carbon to reduce contaminants, as well as a type of media that infuses water with healthy minerals.

The filtration stage isn’t especially helpful for RO water, which has already been purified. But the alkalizing media is ideal for remineralizing RO water.

We’ve used a handful of water pitchers that claim to produce alkalized water, and perhaps the most popular is the Santevia MINA alkaline pitcher.

In our testing, this pitcher surprised us by actually reducing calcium by 71% and magnesium by 49%. Our water’s sodium concentrations also saw a 285% increase, so we believe that the filter uses a cation exchange resin, which appeared to have exchanged our water’s calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions, resulting in the substantial reductions we noted.

We’re currently researching other alkaline water filter pitchers we can test, because we think the concept of these filters just makes sense for remineralizing RO water, but for the Santevia MINA pitcher to use an ion exchange resin upstream of its alkalizing media is counterintuitive.

Alkaline water pitcher cartridges typically have lifespans of between 1 and 3 months, so less than RO remineralization filters. But we prefer the fact that they’re more affordable upfront, and they’re a great long-term budget-friendly solution, too.

How it Works

An alkaline water filter pitcher works by filtering and alkalizing water using gravity filtration.

The pitcher reservoir is filled with water, which travels down through the filter and collects in the filtered water reservoir.

The exact media depends on the filter, but many of the pitchers we’ve tested use mineral stones or balls, or some form of mineral-rich material that infuses minerals into water as it flows through the filter.

We found a few different scientific reports and studies that mentioned alkaline water pitchers in passing as a way to remineralize RO water, but none that had data demonstrating the changes to water’s mineral concentrations before and after treatment.

Brian pouring filtered water from Santevia MINA Alkaline Pitcher

🥇 Best Portable Method: Treat Water with Trace Mineral Drops

If you don’t want to add another filtration stage to your reverse osmosis system, you may prefer to use trace mineral drops to remineralize RO water.

We have personal experience using the ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops, which contain a blend of calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium, sulfate, lithium, and boron.

They were easy to add into our water – we started with 10 drops a day, as recommended – and we appreciated being able to better control the concentration of minerals that we were using.

Our Tip: Rather than adding drops to every glass of water, add them to a big jug of water. You’ll save time and effort by only having to treat the water once or twice a day, rather than every time you fill a glass.

But we did find that the mineral drops we tested gave our water a surprisingly salty taste due to their sodium concentration, so you may prefer to go for a product that contains just calcium and/or magnesium.

ConcenTrace Trace Mineral Drops

How it Works

Mineral drops are liquid solutions that have a high concentration of beneficial minerals, namely calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium.

Think of them like a concentrated juice: they’re super potent, but when they’re diluted in water, they spread throughout the water, so it’s evenly treated.

Mineral-boosting drops come in a small bottle and don’t require the use of a remineralization filter or an alkaline pitcher, so they’re the most convenient portable solution. We’ve taken them on vacation and have found them easy to slot into a backpack pocket or a small suitcase without the bulk or weight of a physical filter cartridge.

🪨 Best Natural Method: Add Pink Himalayan Salt to Your Water

A natural method of water remineralization, using an ingredient you might already have in your kitchen, is the pink Himalayan salt method.

Because Himalayan salt has a naturally high trace mineral content, including calcium, magnesium and potassium, it’s a great solution for adding these minerals back into demineralized RO water.

We’ve used this method ourselves and can vouch for how easy it is. We just added Himalayan salt to a glass jar, filled it to around 1/4 full, then added water to fill the jar entirely and left it to sit for 24 hours in our fridge.

This produces something known as sole water, and has more benefits than just remineralizing water – it’s also said to balance the body’s negatively and positively charged ions, helping to improve overall health.

pink himalayan salt minerals

How it Works

Pink Himalayan sea salt works by dissolving into water. As it dissolves, its mineral content becomes part of the water’s composition.

The salt dissolves gradually in water, so it’s best to leave it to sit for 24-48 hours to allow time for it to fully dissolve.

Quick disclaimer: pink Himalayan salt has a different composition from table salt. It has a much lower sodium content and it’s also very mineral-dense, which most salt isn’t.

🤔 Should you Remineralize Reverse Osmosis Water?

If you follow a healthy diet, remineralizing reverse osmosis water before you drink it isn’t necessary.

This Well + Good article quoted a dietitian and certified personal trainer based in L.A, who said that trace minerals are “already widespread in the diet” and that we don’t need to take any “gimmicky supplements”.

So, if you follow a healthy and varied diet, you’ll get all the essential minerals you need from your foods.

But you may still want to remineralize RO water to improve its taste. Purified water from a reverse osmosis system tastes “flat” or plain compared to tap water. Adding minerals and increasing the water’s pH level can have beneficial taste outcomes.

mineral water

📑 Final Word

We hope this guide has been helpful in teaching you the easiest, most effective methods to remineralize reverse osmosis water.

It’s perfectly possible to reintroduce the beneficial minerals lost during the reverse osmosis filtration process, whether you prefer to buy an additional filter or you’d rather remineralize water using a DIY method.

We want to finish with a fun bonus recommendation: whizz up a tropical fruit smoothie.

Tropical fruits like mango, guava, passionfruit, and pineapple are an excellent source of minerals including manganese, magnesium, and potassium. So, while this isn’t a remineralization method in the conventional sense, it’s still a great way to introduce a good selection of essential minerals to your water.

  • 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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