For the most part, water softeners are easy to maintain. You have to take the lid off, scrub the resin tank, and start a brand-new regeneration cycle.

There are no shortcuts to cleaning water softener resin tanks. For the sake of safety, you have to be thorough with every step of the cleaning process.

You should use cleaners that whisk away iron deposits and make a mental note to refill the tank at the beginning of every month.

It all sounds easy, but new users often feel confused when it comes to the actual maintenance of water softeners. That is why we decided to share 5 most effective water softener cleaning tips. Make sure to keep reading!

How To Know If Your Water Softener Resin Has Gone Bad

If you're using a water softener with resin beads, you can expect it to last up to 20 years. A water softener that puts out hard water is a sign that your water softener has gone bad.

Many people don't feel much difference and consume hard water. Then they experience hair fall and scaling in their plumbing system. It's easy to tell if your water softener is working or not. Come on; we'll show you!

A One-Minute Soap Test

You can do this super-quick soap test to check the condition of your water softener. This test can be done anytime, and you can schedule a water softener clean-up, if necessary!

The soap test entails pouring the liquid soap into your hands and seeing if it lathers up. Some liquid soaps are lather-free, so using pure liquid soap will give you accurate results!

In a minute or two, there should be sufficient foam/lather if your water softener is indeed working! And if not, we recommend cleaning your water softener by professionals or yourself.

Your Water Will Have A Bitter Aftertaste

We have different opinions on how drinking water tastes. The taste of water depends on its mineral content. High concentrations of calcium and magnesium cause hard water.

Water that comes in contact with limestone may contain calcium chloride or magnesium sulfate. They give your tap water a slightly bitter aftertaste. Soft drinking water is sweet and easy on the stomach.

Take A Water Hardness Kit Just To Be Sure!

Nobody can solely rely on the soap test to know if the water softener is working fine. That is why we suggest homeowners use water hardness test kits. For one, these kits accurately show the minerals per liter of water.

Soft water contains 0 mg to 17.1 mg of minerals per liter. Anything exceeding that usually counts as hard water. And two, these kits are easy to use, affordable, and available in most home improvement stores.

Everything You Need To Know About Cleaning Water Softener Resin At Home

The first rule of cleaning a water softener is checking the condition of its resin beads. If they appear flaky or discolored, you need to use a commercial iron removing chemical.

You can clean resin beads with or without opening the tank. With our expert tips below, servicing the unit will become way more manageable!

Only Clean The Resin When Softener Salt Is Running Low

The softener salt facilitates ion exchange and needs to be refilled often. Anyway, after cleaning the unit, you have to dispose of the remaining salt and brine solution. If you clean the resin beads just after the salt comes down to 10%, at least you won't be wasting a lot of products!

Pro-tip: The most common way of making sure that your water softener needs attention is to check for stiff laundry, damaged hair, and soap scum on your bathroom floor.

Cleaning Resin Beads For A Sealed Water Softener

Keep in mind that some water softeners come with sealed resin tanks. In those cases, running a resin bead cleansing formula through the softener is your best bet.

The long-term users of water softeners run a manual cycle twice to make sure all traces of the cleaner are gone.

For cleaning an advanced water softener, you have to unplug the entire unit and prepare the solution. We've briefly explained our own formula of DIY water softener cleaners.

Prepare A Vinegar-Water Cleaning Solution For The Brine Tank

Vinegar and water are the gentlest combinations that protect resin but also kill bacteria. You can take it up a notch with 90 PPM of bleach, keeping in mind that parts-per-mole exceeding 100 PPM is probably risky.

Different cleaners target different minerals, so it's best if you can explain the type of build-up you have going on there. For a 9-inch resin tank, use no more than two cups of vinegar.

Flush Out The Debris With A Manual Regeneration Cycle

Without an adequate amount of salt, the machine cannot create a brine solution nor recharge the softening media. The water becomes hard, and your system becomes ineffective by the minute.

In order to flush out the cleaning solution, one needs to trigger the manual regeneration switch. During regeneration, the liquid is disposed of in the sewage system.

Remember To Refill The Salt For Your Water Softener

With this simple step, you can easily avoid cleaning iron deposits off the water tank. Put up a sticky note to remind yourself to replenish your water softener's supply every month.

Because as soon as the salt depletes, it creates a briny sludge in the tank, which is quite difficult to remove. Cleaning the brine tank every time you refill salt pays off in the long run.

Top 3 Water Softener Resin Bead Maintenance Tips

At the end of the day, a well-maintained water softener requires less cleaning than one that isn't. Water softeners are low-maintenance units, to begin with so, we expect you to pull it off.

Did you know that periodically adding salt to your water softener can make it last for ages? Here we are with the 3 water softener hacks that will save you money and work!

Don't Use Your Water Softener During Regeneration

Any water softener will regenerate more than usual towards its life cycle of 15 years. In that case, using a good resin cleanser can regenerate the resin beads in your water softener unit.

But what happens when you use the water softener during a regeneration cycle? One, it makes raw untreated water pass through the faucets. And two, using the unit during this time significantly reduces your water pressure at home.

Factors such as temperature changes and high humidity also affect your water softener's performance. While a lot of it might not be in your hands, make sure that the salt sits at the bottom of your brine tank at all times.

Make No Room For Salt Bridges!

Salt bridges are another reason why softeners malfunction and let hard water in your system. Upon spotting a salt bridge in the brine tank, break it apart using a shovel. It will make a massive difference in your quality! But why?

First off, a salt bridge is a crusty layer that forms within the brine tank. It can make your softener use less salt, and the water itself becomes harder than usual.

It's a solidified layer that prevents the softener salt and water from touching. Therefore, the salt cannot dissolve in the raw water, making the brine and become softer in the process.

Know What Can Go Wrong With Your Water Softener

If you're someone who always cleans and refills their water softener on time, seeing dirty resin beads can be a bolt from the blue. It turns out there are a number of other reasons why your water softener is not working.

  • An issue in the device's control valve which allows raw water to pass
  • Using an old water softener unit past its life cycle
  • Accumulation of iron, rust, and debris in the brine tank and pipe
  • Adding more than 100ppm of bleach for cleaning the brine tank

Last but not least, take good care of your brine. It houses the salt pellets, which in turn remove mineral ions from raw water and make it soft.

How Often Should I Clean The Water Softener Resin?

Ideally, it would be best to clean the water softener brine tank every time you replenish salt pellets. As for the resin bed, cleaning depends on the hardness of your water.

How Often Should I Regenerate My Water Softener?

As with most water softeners, you don't have to start the regeneration cycle manually. Based on the timer and demand, they trigger the regeneration cycle on their own. Make sure your water softener is recharged once a week.

What's The Best Cleaning Solution For Water Softener Resin?

For water softener resin, iron-removing chemicals that are available in supermarkets do the trick. Alternatively, you can try homemade cleaning solutions with water and vinegar or water and bleach.

Can I Put Vinegar In My Water Softener?

Yes, you can put vinegar in your water softener if you feel uncomfortable using store-bought chemicals on the unit. Vinegar is safe, and it nicely cleans up the sludge. For a 12-inch resin tank, pour two cups of vinegar and begin a manual regeneration cycle.

How Do I Safely Remove Iron From My Resin Tank?

You can clean water softener resin in two simple ways: either run a regeneration cycle or scrub after draining the tank. Commercial cleaners with sodium hydrosulfite can safely remove stubborn sediments from a resin tank.

Optimize Settings

After cleaning make sure to check your water hardness settings to ensure you system is running optimally.

Bottom Line

Water softeners silently serve us fresh drinking water. Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned its resin tank with a mild cleaning solution every month.

No matter how you service the unit, flush out any remaining water before you drink from it again.

We shared all we know about cleaning water softener resin tanks so that you can ensure better water quality for yourself and your family. Thanks for reading!