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What are the Different Types of Water Softener Salts?

Though some water softeners can work without the use of salt, the vast majority require that you regularly fill them with salt in order to function. Not to mention, saltless softeners don’t hold a candle to salt-driven softeners, so you shouldn’t be using them.

But of course, if you’re using a salt water softener, you’ll have to regularly invest in salt. “What types of water softening salts are there?”, you may ask.

In general, softening salts fall into one of two categories: sodium salts and potassium salts. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each, shall we?

Sodium Water Softener Salts

Sodium water softener salt is both the oldest and most commonly used salt. While it has its benefits, it also has its downsides. Let’s discuss them.


  1. Cheap – Between sodium and potassium salts, sodium salts are far and away the cheapest option. In most cases, you can find a 40-pound bag of sodium salt ($15.00) for around half the price of a 40-pound bag of potassium salt ($30.00).
  2. Effectively Soften Water – If you’re looking for your water softener to do the bare minimum, you can allow it to do so with the use of sodium softener salt. This salt will successfully rid your water of hard water minerals such and iron, manganese, and others.


  1. Harmful to Plants – The downside to using a sodium softener salt is that it will turn your water into something like a poison when it comes to plants. Unfortunately, upon making contact with plants, the salt which runs through your water will cause said plants to become dehydrated. This, in turn, will cause the plants to die. In essence, you can’t water your garden with water which has been softened with sodium salt.
  2. Some Health Concerns – While they aren’t exactly dire, there are some health concerns which come with sodium water softening salt. The main concern has to do with sodium’s correlation with hypertension, or high blood pressure. It has been found in many studies that those who consume too much sodium are more prone to the condition. There isn’t so much sodium present in sodium salt that it presents a huge risk to everyone, but it could be harmful to those who already suffer from high blood pressure.

Potassium Water Softener Salts

Potassium softener salt is more of a specialty salt which is purchased by far fewer people than who purchase sodium salt. While it can be greatly beneficial, it’s not a perfect option.


  1. Safe for Plants – Unlike sodium salt, potassium softener salt can be used to water plants. Whereas sodium is harmful toward plants, potassium is actually beneficial towards plants. If you’re an avid gardener, it’s a much wiser option for you.
  2. Effectively Soften Water – Like with sodium salt, potassium salt can be used to serve its baseline function; it can be used to remove hard water minerals from water.
  3. Very Healthy – A nice thing about potassium softener salt is that, while it removes minerals like iron and manganese, it adds potassium. Potassium is a mineral which is needed by the human body, aiding in blood circulation, cell function, and more.


  1. Expensive – The only true downside to potassium salt is its price. It often costs twice as much as a like-sized bag of sodium salt. Obviously, if you’re living on a tight budget, this can turn you away from giving it a chance.

Looking to Soften Your Water?

Are you in search of the benefits provided by soft water? Do you live in the Medinah, Warrenville or other Chicagoland suburbs? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” then you’ve come to the right place.

Here at Johnson Water Conditioning Company, we manufacture and install water softeners which flat out get the job done. We’ll have your water flowing soft and delicious in no time.

Contact us for an estimate!

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