What Is Soft Water?
You may be wondering, what exactly is softened water?
Hard water is one that has higher levels of calcium and magnesium; their amounts determine how ‘hard’ the water is.
On the other hand, you can use a water softener which decreases the concentrations of these minerals from the water.
Instead, softened water tends to have higher sodium levels. You can install a water softener right in your home to soften hard water.
There are some signs of softened water: healthy water pressure, nourishing lather during washing processes, cleaner clothes after washing with this water (no mineral stains), and lastly, a sodium taste when you drink the water, although it can sometimes be undetectable.
You can look at our water softener review to find out which is suitable for you.
What Is Water Softening?
With the right water softener, you can get softened water right in the comfort of your home.
Water softening process
This process takes place through reverse osmosis and ion exchange.
During the water softening process, the softener runs the hard water through resin beads packed inside the ‘bed’ of the tank. This resin is coated with positively charged sodium ions.
In the water softening process, the hard minerals get attracted to the resin through reverse osmosis, and the sodium ions replace them.
According to some, the amount of sodium that is added to the water during this ion exchange process can be potentially harmful. That is a claim that we will examine further down below.
Another thing to remember is that the amount of sodium added to the water will depend on its hardness. If your unsoftened water is extremely hard, the amount of the added sodium will be more.
You need to properly maintain your water softener and keep the sodium level up by adding sodium pellets constantly.
The question still comes down to this, is drinking softened water safe for you? One can argue either way, but we plan to present both sides of the coin to you so that you can make your own decision.
Is Soft Water Safe to Drink?
So, when everyone is clearly aware of the hard water problems, why is there such a question on drinking softened water?
This is mainly because some people worry that if they drink softened water, it will increase the sodium content in their diet. They also fear that the added salt will give the water a very salty taste.
The latter is a myth that we need to debunk. The salt formed in softened water is sodium bicarbonate, which is not the same as sodium chloride (table salt).
As for the diet concern, most of your daily sodium intake comes from processed foods and table salt. The additional sodium due to softened water is in a very small amount.
If you are overall worried about too much sodium in your daily consumption, you can talk to a physician to understand how much sodium is okay for you. They will help you find a low-sodium diet.
But overall, for the most part, the amount of sodium in softened water depends on the hardness of, as stated previously, and it is usually not harmful.
Health Risks Associated With Softened Water
We have established that mostly softened water is safe to drink. There still can be specific issues, to limit which WHO has given the recommended limit for the quantity of salt in water: 200 mg/l.
Feeding a baby
Can babies drink softened water? You should not use water softeners to prepare baby feed because baby feed is prepared with a specific level of sodium based on the limited development of a baby’s kidneys.
The extra sodium from a softener can upset this balance for the baby and cause dehydration.
Other health effects
People on a low sodium diet and people with high blood pressure should avoid using softening water as drinking water.
If you have calcium or magnesium-deficient diet, the absence of these minerals from your drinking water can be a problem that you should find solutions to.
What Are the Benefits of Softened Water?
There are also benefits to softened water. They are more effective for cleaning purposes because they do not cause stains.
Because it is essentially ‘clean water’, you will not be wasting a lot of water for cleaning purposes.
Softened water also increases the life of your water-using appliances because it lessens the build-up inside of them.
Now you have understood the benefits and hazards of softened water. While installing water softeners, it is also recommended to keep a separate hard water tap for hard water supply if the sodium quantity increases or you need hard water flows for other purposes.
Softened water is usually safe; just make sure to follow the necessary recommendations.