Is Water Softener Salt Edible?

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If you currently drink salt in your softened water, you’re probably wondering whether you can use water softener salt as you would regular salt.

The short answer is no: water softener salt isn’t edible, and it isn’t designed to be used to season and flavor foods.

Although water softener salt isn’t dangerous to consume, sprinkling it onto your dishes, and eating it as it is, could give you a stomach ache and make you sick.

It’s best to only use water softener salt in its intended location: your water softener.

🧂 Is Water Softening Salt the Same as Table Salt?

Water softener salt and table salt are both designed for human consumption. So are there really any differences between the two?

water softening salt and table salt

Yes. Regular table salt consists of just two ingredients: sodium chloride and iodine. On the other hand, water softener salt usually contains unprocessed potassium chloride and sodium chloride, as well as impurities and dirt. Certain types of water softener salt, like rock salt and solar salt, are especially likely to contain dirt.

When water softener salt is put in a brine tank, only the sodium and potassium ions dissolve in the water, leaving the dirt behind.

You can’t physically remove the dirt from water softener salt in this manner before using it in place of table salt. For this reason, the two can’t be used interchangeably.

You shouldn’t cook with water softener salt, and you shouldn’t add table salt to a water softener. While table salt is technically safe to put in a water softener, it’s made of much smaller crystals than water softener salt, which makes it more prone to mushing (clogging) in the brine tank.

🍖 Can you Cook with Water Softener Salt?

We strongly recommend only using food-grade salt, like table salt or pink Himalayan salt, in your cooking. These salts have been cleaned and processed for cooking purposes (hence the name “food grade salt”). On the other hand, salts like rock salt, which are used for water softeners, aren’t treated to the same cleaning and processing procedures.

Using water softener salt for any kinds of cooking purposes, including canning and packing meat, will cause impurities from the salt to mix with your foods. Plus, water softener salt doesn’t melt anywhere near as quickly as food grade salt.

Many water softener salts also contain chemicals like stabilizers and anti-caking agents, which are filtered out by water softeners but will end up in your food if you use softener salt for canning or packing.

pink himalayan salt minerals

⛑️ Is water Softener Salt Safe?

Water softener salts are safe – when they’re used for the right reasons. It isn’t safe to eat water softener salt, but you can add the salt to your water softener, as per its intended purpose, and it’s perfectly safe in your water.

🤮 Can Water Softener Salts Make you Sick?

If you eat water softener salt, then yes, it can make you sick. But in your softened water, water softener salts won’t make you sick.

The only reason to reconsider drinking salt softened water is if you have a medical condition, like high blood pressure, that restricts the amount of salt you should consume. If you’re on a low-salt diet, you want to avoid sodium as much as possible, and that includes water softener salt.

Also, if you’re allergic to regular salt, you should consult your doctor before drinking salt-softened water. Although water softener salt typically contains less sodium chloride than regular salt, it’s still best to get a professional third-party opinion.

Woman adding salt to water softener

🥛 Is it OK to Drink Salt-Softened Water?

Now that you know the potential side effects of adding water softener salt to your food, you might be wondering how safe it is to drink this salt in your softened water.

The answer is yes: drinking sodium chloride in your soft water is safe.

During the water softening process, salt from the brine tank dissolves in water, forming a brine solution. Only the sodium and potassium chloride in the salt are capable of dissolving in water. Dirt and other impurities are left behind in the brine tank.

infographic on the process of water softening

This means you only consume the edible ingredients in water softener salt, not the potentially harmful impurities.

Only a tiny amount of salt is added to soft water, too, so you won’t get sick from drinking too much salt.

💧 Is it Normal to Taste Salt in Soft Water?

If you have sensitive taste buds, you might be able to taste the dissolved salt pellets in your soft water. The water shouldn’t have a strong or excessively salty taste. If that’s the case, your water softener might be malfunctioning.

☠️ Is Water Softener Salt Poisonous?

No, water softener salt isn’t poisonous. That’s why you can drink it in your water.

The only issue with this type of salt is that it rarely consists purely of sodium chloride minerals, and you may get sick if you eat water softener salt.

An upset stomach is about as bad as the side effects get. There’s no need to call poison control if you’ve eaten a small amount of water softener salt.

🧊 Can you Use Water Softener Salt to Melt Ice?

Yes. Like most salts, water softener salts reduce the melting point of water, so they can be used in place of sidewalk salt to melt ice. It doesn’t matter if your softener salt contains dirt if you’re just using it on outdoor surfaces. The salt will still dissolve the ice, and the diet will blend in with the environment.

So if you’re in for some snowy weather and you don’t have traditional rock salt, it’s fine to use your spare water softener salt to melt ice in your driveway.

🎓 Takeaway

Is water softener salt edible? No. You shouldn’t eat water softener salt, but it’s perfectly safe to use as intended, in your water softener.

You shouldn’t add unprocessed sodium chloride to your food. Water softening salts should only be consumed when they’re dissolved in water. Drinking softened water is safe, but you shouldn’t use softening salt for any other purpose that involves consuming the salt.

  • Jennifer Byrd
    Water Treatment Specialist

    For 20+ years, Jennifer has championed clean water. From navigating operations to leading sales, she's tackled diverse industry challenges. Now, at Redbird Water, she crafts personalized solutions for homes, businesses, and factories. A past Chamber President and industry advocate, Jennifer leverages her expertise in cutting-edge filtration and custom design to transform water concerns into crystal-clear solutions.

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