When looking at ease of use there is really no alternative to Pro Rust Out for keeping your water softener clear from iron and rust build-up.

However, when you're trying to remove iron from your water softener system, using chemicals, might sound like a necessary evil.

Luckily there is no need to worry, due to the separation between your systems' regeneration discharge and your drink water supply, products like Pro Rust Out pose no threat to your health as long as they are used according the manufacturers instructions!

Let's have a look at how you can enjoy your perfectly performing iron free water softener safely!

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Is Rust Out Safe For Water Softeners?

Although some ingredients in Rust Out can be toxic when ingested, using Rust Out in your system is actually safe. This is because when Rust Out is used as intended by the manufacturer, it won't end up in your drinking water.

Pro Products Rust Out Water Softener Cleaner And Iron Remover

This is because, just like the excess of salt and the hard water molecules that are removed from your water by your water softener, Rust Out is washed away along with the removed iron along with the rest of your water softeners' discharge.

When used correctly Rust Out will only enter your water softener during regeneration when your system is in bypass mode. Therefor the Rust Out will be unable to mix with your drinking water and will simply be washed away through your water softeners' drain along with the rest of your systems brine discharge.

How Does Rust Out Work?

They way Rust Out works is through its active component (sodium hydrosulfite) that changes the charge of the iron particles stuck within your system, this change in charge allows the iron to dissolve into water and be flushed out of your system.

A water softener works through a process called ion exchange, this process uses the charge of molecules to filter out the hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Because iron molecules are similarly charged, your water softener will actually remove some iron from your water instead of the hard water minerals.

If you correctly adjust your water softener systems' settings for the iron in your water, initially the iron will be removed, and your softener will perform without further issues.

However, during day to day operation, your water softener will be unable to remove the iron because normal water softener salt is not equipped to dissolve the iron particles from the resin bed.

Normal cleaning of your water softeners' resin bed will also not get rid of any iron. Thus, the amount of iron in the resin bed will increase and, over time, start to rust.

This rust could lead to yellow or brown water and cause an unpleasant metallic taste in your water. If left untreated, eventually, you will even have to completely replace your water softener resin.

Luckily products like Rust Out are able to dislodge these iron particles from the resin bed thereby preventing any such build-up from becoming an issue.

How To Safely Use Rust Out In Your Water Softener

To keep things save it is important, when using Rust Out, to do it in the way the product was intended to use.

Caution: Usage in any other way then described by the manufacturer can lead to severe health problems for you and your loved ones!

First Time Application

When using Rust Out for the first time you will most likely need to clear out a lot of iron build-up from your water softener. Therefore, during first time use, an increased amount of Rust Out is required.

If this is not the first time or your water softener is brand new please use the instructions for regular use.

  • Step 1. – Prepare the Rust Out mixture

    Dissolve one cup of Iron OUT powder into half a gallon of cold water.

  • Step 2. – Add the mixture to the brine tank

    Carefully pour the Rust Out mixture into your systems' brine well or alternatively its salt tank.

  • Step 3. – Manually Regenerate your system

    Your system is now ready to remove the iron from its resin bed, simply perform a manual regeneration of your system. Your system is now cleaned and ready to use!

Caution: Repeat the steps for those systems that might have a lot of iron build-up after longer periods of usage without proper iron removal.

Regular Usage

For regular usage use a quarter cup of Iron OUT powder for every 40 lbs. of salt used by your water softener according to the steps below.

  • Step 1. – Prepare the Rust Out Mixture

    Dissolve quarter cup of Iron OUT powder into half a gallon of cold water.

  • Step 2. – Add the mixture to the brine tank

    Carefully pour the Rust Out mixture into your systems' brine well or alternatively its salt tank.

  • Step 3. – Manually Regenerate your system

    Your system is now ready to remove the iron from its resin bed, simply perform a manual regeneration of your system. Your system is now cleaned and ready to use!

Pro-tip: If there are any strange oders or taste to your water after using Rust Out, simply perform a second recharge cycle and run the cold tap until any adverse effects are gone.

Does Bleach Mix With Rust Out Water Softener

Caution: Never mix Rust Out with bleach! Doing so may result in dangerous situations due to heat generation and could lead to severe burns.

Either use separately or no bleach at all as the active compound in Rust Out (sodium hydrosulfite) can already act as a bleaching agent on its own.

Alternatives To Rust Out

If Rust Out is not an option for you because it is unavailable, or you can't find where to buy it, lets look at a couple of alternative options.

Summit Brands Iron OUT

With Summit Brands being a sister company of Pro Products its product Iron OUT can be used as a one-to-one replacement for Rust Out.

While being targeted Rust Out is targeted at the professional user Iron OUT is made for the consumer market and has the exact same formula and can therefor be used safely in your water softener.

Super Iron OUT Rust Stain Remover For Water Softeners

Summit Brands OUT Filter Mate

Next to Iron OUT and Pro Rust Out, Summit Brands also make a different product for iron removal from your water softener.

OUT Filter Mate, or its professional market counterpart Pro Products Softener Mate, working compound is citric acid. These products are only suitable for the removal of low iron concentrations of less than 1 ppm.

Even though it is based on a different compound (citric acid) it works through a similar method and is therefor just as safe to use in your water softener.

OUT Filter Mate Water Softener Cleaner And Salt Booster Powder
Pro Products Softener Mate City Water Softener Cleaner

Can Iron In The Water Hurt Us?

In general iron in lower concentrations is not toxic, your body actually needs iron for it to be able to transfer oxygen from your lungs through your blood to your organs.

However, since your body has difficulties absorbing iron straight from water there are no real health benefits either.

There are however some side effects that can occur when higher levels of iron are present in your water supply. For example some bacteria require iron to grow and can cause infestations in appliances like your water softener.

Although mostly harmless some bacteria can cause problems, and they are harder to get rid of compared to the process of iron removal.

Should I Get An Iron Filter?

Although a water softener, with the right settings, is able to remove some iron from your water supply, it will only remove certain types of iron.

Therefore, in some cases an iron filter with your water softener is an absolute necessity.

How Do I Know If My Water Softener Is Working?

An easy way to check whether your water softener is working correctly is to do a soap test, this should be able to give you a rough estimate whether your water softener is working.

  • Step 1. - Fill a bottle or a sealable container about halfway with the water you want to test.

  • Step 2. - Add a couple of drops of liquid soap.

  • Step 3. - Close the bottle or container and shake vigorously for a couple of seconds.

At this point there should be a lot of soap bubbles right on top of the water. If there are no bubbles and your water appears a bit cloudy this could indicate your water is still hard and that your system is not working the way it should.

If you are still doubting your system you can check out our full guide on how to tell whether your water softener is working.