There is probably nothing worse than installing a water softener to get rid of all the hard water problems in your home, only to find the water softener leaving white residue behind. Unfortunately, this is a common problem. So, does this mean that you should stop investing in water softeners?

Absolutely not. The main problem is usually not the softener itself, rather a bunch of other factors such as too much TDS, sodium, and lack of maintenance. To find more about those and how to prevent the residue from forming, read this article right now!

Reasons Behind The White Residue

There are many reasons behind your water softener causing all your appliances to be coated in white residue. The most common ones are noted below-

  • Excess TDS - Water softeners are mainly purchased to reduce the number of hard minerals present in the water. But, what most people do not know is – while water softeners may decrease the amount of calcium and iron in your home water, they have little power when it comes to TDS or Total Dissolved Solids.

    TDS refers to all and every substance dissolved in water. Water has a reputation as the best solvent, so it might contain many materials, both organic and inorganic. It means you might get traces of soil, waste, and even metals in water.

    The bad news is, your water softener cannot reduce the amount of all these substances. That is why your water softener might be leaving behind white spots.

  • Sodium in the Softener - The process that water softeners use utilizes sodium ions. So while you might be removing hard minerals like magnesium, the white residue could be coming from entirely a different place – the softener itself.

    While softening the hard water, a sodium ion is added for every ion that is being removed. Therefore, the calculation is simple – if your water has a high content of hard water minerals, a lot of sodium will be needed to soften it.

    While you might be happily enjoying the newly softened water, the softener might be adding more spots to your appliances. But this is not a completely bad thing since the spots can be removed easily. And despite the white residue, the softened water helps to extend the life of your appliances.

  • Salt Smushing or Bridging - Another reason your water softener could be leaving a white residue is salt smushing and bridging. Sometimes a layer of salt piles up on the existent salt pile beside the brine tank. The layer of salt doesn't allow the salt to dissolve in the water, reducing the efficiency of the water softener significantly. That's what you call salt bridging.

    Salt mushing is another factor that might result in white patches on your water softener. Often dissolved salt recrystallizes and produces soft sediment at the bottom of the brine tank, called salt mushing. It doesn't allow the water softener to regenerate properly.

  • Lack of Maintenance - Your water softener is designed to take care of the hard water in your home for you. But, to keep it working well, you need to take care of the softener too. A lack of maintenance could facilitate white residue or spots from occurring.

    Make sure that the brine tank of the softener is at least half full. You might try buying softeners that have an alert system, which can remind you to fill the tank whenever the salt is less than the appropriate amount.

    You may also need to clean your resin beads as part of your maintenance routine. A water softener's regeneration cycle usually takes care of this. Still, the resin bed must be flushed regularly. You also need to take care that your settings are set according to your needs.

How To Solve?

You do not have to get rid of your water softener altogether. In fact, the following methods, coupled with some regular maintenance, will be more than enough to ensure that this situation never occurs again.

  • Reverse Osmosis System - You might consider investing in a Reverse Osmosis system to eliminate the problem of white residue altogether. This system takes care to get rid of all total dissolved solids properly. The way it does so is by utilizing a special membrane to filter out the water.

You might use reverse osmosis for a particular faucet or install a whole-house system. Either way, the water flowing from there will be clean and free from any substance, eliminating white residue.

  • Cleaning Properly - If you cannot do anything to prevent the white spots from forming, you can always clean up properly. Wiping each appliance with a towel as soon as washing it with water will ensure no residue is left behind when the water evaporates.

  • Hand Drying - Another thing you might try doing is hand drying everything instead of letting it air dry. That will ensure that the softened water does not have time to make any spots.

Final Words

Water softeners have many merits, and their purchase should not be discouraged due to some mere white residue. By reading this article, we hope that you now have a better idea of why this phenomenon occurs and how to fix it properly.