What Type of Salt Should I Use in My Water Softener?

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to salt and water softeners. And while a low price tag can seem appealing at first glance—not all salts are safe for your system. There are three main types of softener salt, but higher purity levels make some salts a lot better than others. Knowing the pros and cons of each type can go a long way in helping you maintain your system for years to come. Read on to learn what’s what!

Rock Salt

This is a cheap salt for your softener, but we never recommend it. Rock salt has high levels of calcium sulfate and other sediments and can’t fully dissolve in water. Think of it as “dirty” salt. Using rock salt requires you to clean your water softener more frequently and is just plain hard on your equipment.

Solar Salt

These salts are standard finds at big box stores and chain retailers. Available in pellet, cube, and crystal forms, solar salt tends to be better for your softener because it’s more soluble than rock salt. If you want to use solar salt, we recommend going with the crystal version. The pellets and cubes are typically treated with a hard coating to help maintain their distinct shapes, and this sometimes makes it more difficult for them to dissolve in your water. (Or worse, they can get lodged or bridged in your softener system.)

Evaporated Salt

With the highest purity rate, evaporated salt doesn’t have residual dirt like solar and rock salt. And clean salt makes for a clean water softener! You can find this kind of salt from your local water softener dealers. We recommend evaporated salt like Cargill’s Pro’s Pick brand because it dissolves easily and is safe for your whole system. A truly soluble salt not only treats your hard water—it helps protect your water softener tank from buildup. Choosing the right salt for your water softener helps prevent costly maintenance and cleaning. Consider what’s actually in that salt bag before adding it to your tank. With a purer salt, you can extend your system’s lifetime and keep it operating at its best for years to come.