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How To Remove Salt From Softened Water

Paul Billings
Last Updated on
by Paul Billings

Softened water is much better for human consumption, especially when the water travels through city sewer pipes. Unfortunately, some people complain that the softening process leaves the water tasting a little salty.

It is impractical and harmful to not soften the water, but if it tastes too unpleasant, then there are a few ways to remove the salt safely. The main ways people filter out the salt are through distillation, electrolysis, reverse osmosis, or using a consumable alternative.

Read on to learn more about these processes and how you can reduce the salty taste in your water.

Why Is the Water Salty?

If the water is softened, it has filtered out magnesium, calcium, and other metals found in hard water. This process involves adding sodium to neutralize the mineral ions. However, not enough sodium is introduced to create such an overpowering taste.

People who grew up drinking hard water that has always been softened will likely not notice any change. However, people who grew up drinking primarily freshwater may notice the difference, and it can be unappetizing and off-putting.

The main reason behind a heavy salt taste is that something is not working correctly in the system. It is a good idea to check the main tank, the brine tank, and the regeneration cycle. All of these could present an issue that results in salty water.

So, whenever water starts tasting a little off, the best course of action is to begin by checking the system and ensuring that everything works properly. A check helps prevent adding another process when the problem can be fixed and remove the need for an additional device.



In short, distillation is when the water is heated to the point that it changes form into vapor. As it becomes gas, the salt and other impurities are left behind, and the water vapor is collected. Distillation occurs through a small portable device.

Distillers are not expensive and can travel with you wherever you go. It is composed of two parts; one where you put the softened liquid and another where the purified water transfers. It needs to be boiled, so some machines will have to be over an eye, while others come with a heater.

While water distillation is simple and effort-free, there are some cons to following this process. Firstly, the process is excruciatingly slow. It will only produce about a gallon of water per cycle, and all the water has to be poured in by hand.

However, while it is a slow process, it is an inexpensive way to have better-tasting drinking water. Other processes, like reverse osmosis, will be less cost-effective. Though this process may take time, you can still drink the tap as it is not harmful.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse Osmosis
Reverse Osmosis

Another way to remove the salt from softened water is to implement reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis utilizes a semipermeable membrane to act as a screen to sift out the salt and other minerals that may still be mixed in.

The membrane is so thin that only water molecules make it through. The hydrogen and oxygen molecules are collected, and the salt and other waste are moved to a wastewater tank.

There are many versions of machines that do this process effectively, so consumers can pick and choose which they wish to use. It can take anywhere from two to four hours for this process to complete. The time depends on the size of the tank and how much salt is in the water.

These filters are a little on the expensive side and typically have to be installed. With every four gallons of unfiltered water, the process makes about a gallon or so. However, reverse osmosis does not require the same attention and work that distillation requires.

Water Electrolysis

Water Electrolysis
Water Electrolysis

By passing through multiple conductors, electricity moves the electrodes of the water. As the water goes through a thin membrane, the salt is divided away from the water, thoroughly removing any lasting salty taste.

An electrolyzer works very similarly to osmosis systems, meaning it will use about the same amount of water and purifies close to the exact amount. However, electrolyzers offer more options and price differentiation than osmosis machines do.

Water electrolysis is not the most popular form of water purifier when it comes to disposing of salt and that salty sodium taste, but it gets the job done. They are not as cost-effective as distillers, and there are more options for osmosis machines, but electrolyzers are still a great choice.

These do not have to be installed and can sit on a kitchen counter. Water does have to be dumped in manually for most devices, but typically they are shaped like a pitcher, so the water can be poured straight into a glass after the process finishes.

Consumable Options

Consumable water purifiers
Consumable water purifiers

It’s great to have machines that can do the work with the push of a button and dump a cup into the tank, but that may not be the most economical or convenient option. These options are best suited for camping, hiking, biking, and other adventures when you’re on the go.

However, when in a pinch, these can be great. If the softener is simply malfunctioning or there is a short-term problem, then these are the way to go. Consumable water purifiers come in many forms: tablets, powder, straws, lid attachments, drops, kits, and even built-into water bottles.

For long-term use, it is better to buy one of the previous machines, as they may be cheap, but will have to be replaced often. The more cost-effective option is to invest in a device that will continually conduct the process rather than pouring money into one-time-use products.

They work just as effectively, though, so do not shy away from using them, but consider which is the best option for you and your needs. That will lead you to make the best decision.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to go about removing the salty taste from water. The three main ways that work effectively are water distillation, reverse osmosis, and water electrolysis. There are single-use items you can buy that will also help the water taste better, but for the long term, it is better to invest in something that will work longer-term.

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About Paul Billings
Paul Billings
Paul has operated multiple water filtration businesses throughout the past few decades and brings a lot of practical experience and knowledge about water systems to Water Filter Spot.Jennifer and Paul collaborate on information on this website, research products together, and discuss the state of the industry and what is available to households and businesses for their clean water needs.
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