Water softeners work continuously, removing hard water ions and sometimes rust from your water supply. Over time, the resin bed becomes full of dirt, debris and hardness minerals, which get cleaned out with each regeneration cycle.
However, sometimes, simply regenerating the system with water and salt isn’t enough, especially if there’s high levels of contamination in the system. In such cases, using a water softener cleaner will provide best results. Not only will this protect the water softening system, but it will also protect your plumbing and save you money in the long run.
With so many water softener cleaners on the market, picking the best product for your home can be difficult. We’ve narrowed down your choices to the top 8 products on the market. In the second half of this article, we’ll breakdown the benefits of using a water softener cleaner and everything else you need to know about it.
So, without waiting any more time, here are the top 8 water softener cleaners.
Pro Rust Out Water Softener Cleaner and Iron Remover
- Made in the USA
- Easy to use
- Cleans iron buildup in resin beds
- Can be used as a general purpose cleaner
- Takes around 3 weeks to notice the results
- A reactive product – be careful about how and where you mix it before using
Specially designed for water with high iron content, the Rust Out Water Softener Cleaner and Iron Remover by Pro is a superb product that comes with a rating of 4.6 stars. This cleaner can restore the performance of your water softener, removing rust and iron buildup that coats the resin and fouls your water. It also does a great job by chemically removing tough rust stains from showers, tubs, toilets and sinks.
You’re bound to notice a difference in your water when using this cleaner as it changes iron and rust into a clear solution that rinses away easily when your softener regenerates. It’s easy to use as all you need to do is add 4 ounces to every bag of water softener salt you use.
What we didn’t like about this product is that it’s hard to avoid inhaling the dust particles when you pour it (it comes in powder form) which can cause health issues, so you’d need to be mindful of this and wear a mask whenever handling it. Overall, the quality of this product is excellent and guaranteed to satisfy anyone struggling with a fouled water softener.
ResCare RK41N All-Purpose Water Softener Cleaner
- Heavy-duty cleaner
- Money-back guarantee
- Extends the life of your softener
- All-purpose cleaner
- Heavy-duty performance
ResCare RK41N is an all-purpose cleaner in liquid form that works effectively due to its strong action formula. It increases the efficiency of your water softener by cleaning all contaminants from the resin bed, which cannot be removed by salt. It’s a heavy-duty cleaner that works on most water softeners and water filtration systems.
This product is not complicated to use since all you have to do is pour 4 oz. of the specially formulated cleaning solution down the brine well of your water softener and let it do its job. If used regularly, it will restore the efficiency of the resin beads of your softener and all the control valve parts as well thereby maintaining and even prolonging the life of the unit.
Made in the USA, this water softener cleaner is an excellent product that will keep your softener clean, ensuring that you get an interrupted supply of healthy softened water for your home. The best part about it is that it’s an all-purpose cleaner so you can use it not only for your water softening system but also to keep certain areas of your household clean such as toilets and doors.
What we didn’t like about this product was its strong smell and the unsatisfactory packaging which caused it to leak. After from that, it performs excellently.
Pro Products Softener Mate SM65N City Water Softener Cleaner
- Unique blend of chemicals
- An affordable product
- Highly effective
- May leave a noticeable odor and taste in water
The Pro Products Softener Mate is a highly effective cleaner that comes in powder form for water softening systems. It contains several chemicals formulated to remove iron, silt, manganese, organic compounds and metal particles that clog up in your softener causing inefficiencies. Using this cleaner regularly will extend the longevity of your softener while also removing bad smells or tastes from your water.
To get the best results out of this product, layer it between each bag of salt or dissolve 1 cup of Softener Mate with 1 quart of warm water and pour it down your brine. As your softener regenerates, it will be cleaned of all contaminants and its ability to function with maximum efficiency will be restored with regular cleaning.
This water softener cleaner is a reliable and cost-effective solution for both irrigation purposes and in-house water systems. Although this product is excellent at cleaning out your softener, you might find it hard to ignore the undesirable taste, smell and strange bluish color it sometimes leaves in the water. This only lasts for the first few uses and should decrease with water usage.
Morton MWSC Universal Water Softener Cleanser
- Comes in liquid form
- Single use every 4 months
- Affordable price
- Trustworthy brand name
- Universal compatibility
Here’s an excellent product from Morton that leaves your water softening system performing at peak efficiency. The Universal Water Softener Cleaner effectively removes iron, dirt, rust, sediment and other contaminants that can’t be removed by salt alone in the resin bed of your water softener.
This product is easy to use since you don’t need to mix and measure it like other cleaners. Instead, all you have to do is pour the contents of one bottle down the brine well of your softener and regenerate the system (one bottle contains 475ml of solution).
This product is highly effective, and only needs to be used every 4 months with a Morton water softener. This usage has the potential to extend the life of your softener from 1 to 5 years. It’s also compatible with any other brand of softener, including Culligan, Kenmore, Whirlpool and many others.
We were highly impressed with the quality and efficiency of the Morton Universal Water Softener Cleanser, considering that it’s cost-effective and you only need to purchase it 3 times a year. This also reduces the concern of having the cleaner running through your water frequently.
OUT Filter Mate Softener Cleaner
- Made in the USA
- Best for city water applications
- Comes in powder form
- Better tasting water
- No odors
- Adjusts pH level of water
- May not be compatible with certain water softener brands
Over time, your water softener can become fouled and work less effectively due to buildup of lime, iron, minerals and other contaminants in the water. OUT Filter Mate provides an excellent solution to this problem by cleaning your softener, removing the contaminants and boosting the performance of salt. With regular use, this product will ensure that your water softening system is well maintained and restored to peak efficiency while making your water taste better at the same time.
One of the best things about this versatile and powerful formula is that can be used not only to clean out your softener but also to adjust the pH levels in your water. Additionally, it serves as a good general-purpose cleaner for sinks, showers, dishwashers, faucets, plastic and glassware.
It’s easy to use since all you have to do is layer it on top of each bag of salt every time you add salt to your softener. There’s no mixing or measuring required. This is one excellent product at a very affordable price.
Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser Formula
- NSF certified
- Long-lasting effect
- Compatible with almost all water softener brands
- Durable and easy to handle bottle
- Rather pricey
- Requires 2 hours wait time
This product comes in liquid form and does an excellent job of keeping your softener running as efficiently and smoothly as possible, freeing it of contaminants, scale and iron buildup that can clog the valve.
The Whirlpool water softener cleaner eliminates harmful deposits in the resin bed, ensuring that your water will be clean and healthy for you to drink while also maintaining the peak efficiency of your softening system as well as its performance.
Using the Whirlpool Water Softener Cleanser Formula is a hassle-free and easy process that hardly takes any time at all. When the salt levels in your softener are low, pour 16 oz of this formula into the brine well, close both the brine well and the water softener cover. Press the recharge button and hold for 3 seconds. That’s all the work it requires from you.
However, we found it a little inconvenient that it takes 2 hours before you can start using your water. On the positive side, you only need to use this cleanser once every 4 months to keep your system running efficiently.
EcoPure EPCL Universal Water Softener Cleaner
- Removes mineral and iron buildup
- Use 3 times a year
- Doesn’t affect the taste or smell of water
- Designed for use in all water softener brands
The EcoPure Universal Water Softener Cleaner is one of the most popular products on the market right now. This cleaner effectively removes contaminants as well as rust and iron that build up in the resin bed of your water softener cleaning it thoroughly so that its performance and efficiency is increased.
Using this product isn’t complicated at all. Since it comes in liquid form, just pour the contents of one bottle (470ml) into the brine well and then regenerate the system. You only need to use it 3 times a year for optimal performance of your softener and prevention against wear and tear.
One advantage about purchasing this product and using it as recommended is that if you have an EcoPure water softener with a 1-year warranty, you can get it extended to a 5-year warranty. This is an added plus which is evidence of the effectiveness of the product.
Overall, we loved this product which proved to be very efficient and delivered exactly as promised. It’s guaranteed to improve the performance of your softener and keep it running in top shape for years to come.
Ban-T Water RU15N Resin Cleaner
- Natural product – citric acid
- Comes in powder form
- Extends softener life
- Reasonably priced
- Environmentally friendly
- Neutralizes alkaline water
The final product on our list is the Ban-T Water Resin Cleaner, another popular water softener cleaner from Pro Products. This cleaner is specially formulated to remove tannins, iron and other contaminants from your fouled water softener resin and is known for its powers of cleaning.
There are two ways of using this product: layering 4 oz of Ban-T between each bag of salt (for continual cleaning) or dissolving 2 cups with a quarter of warm water, pouring down the brine well of the softener and regenerating.
What we liked most about this product was that it not only made an excellent cleaner for softeners but also for general purposes since it can be used on tubs, sinks, porcelain, glass, fiberglass, stainless steel or chrome to remove hard water deposits. It’s also environmentally friendly since its just citric acid in powder form.
Using this cleanser from the start as a preventative maintenance can dramatically add to the life of your water softener and brine tank, helping you to protect your investment as well as your family.
What Do Water Softener Cleaners Do?
A water softener works by using resin beads to attract the hardness ions, chlorine and sometimes iron in water via a process known as ion exchange. As the system continues to accumulate minerals, iron and other particles, it can get overloaded and ineffective, even with regular regeneration cycles.
Sometimes when a water softener is dirty, there’ll be tell-tale signs that indicate it requires cleaning. This can be bad odor or taste coming from the water, signs of iron contamination around your fixtures and even hard water coming out of your tap again.
As the resin becomes caked with buildup, it stops doing its job well. By using a water softener cleaner in your system, you can ensure that the system is cleaned of these accumulated contaminants and restored to its former efficiency.
When using a water softener cleaner, all you have to do is add the cleaner into the brine tank as per the manufacturer’s instructions. As the system regenerates, the cleaner will run through the system, flushing out the unwanted particles. While some water softener cleaners need to be used frequently, others only need to be used every 12 months.
What to Consider When Buying a Water Softener Cleaner
When looking for the right cleaner for your softening system, here are some factors to consider:
- Compatibility with your softening system
This is an important consideration. It’s important to find a cleaner that’s made specifically for water softening systems. Additionally, some cleaners work better with certain models than others. Check whether the cleaner has universal compatibility and will work with your specific water softening system.
- Target contaminant removal
Apart from hardness ions, water softener cleaners can also remove rust, iron and some other contaminants. Note that this is not a filtration system or water purifier – it only removes what the resin beads have captured. Before you choose a product, knowing what’s in your water can help.
As one customer stated about a specific water softener cleaner:
I have used this stuff for years. I was always pleased with it. But then we got iron in our supply water (from a new ground well). Our softener became iron fouled, and this stuff did not touch it. The softener fouled out, and had to be replaced with new one, including an iron filter up front. Be sure you know what is in your municipal water before you rely on this stuff.
Water softener cleaners come in two configurations – powder and liquid. Using a powder cleaner can leave residue and be dusty when handled. If using, dissolve in water as per the instructions and then pour into the resin tank. Liquid is generally preferred because it easily dilutes with the brine and is also more convenient to handle.
- Ease of usage
This point relates to the packaging and instructions of the cleaner. Because you’ll have to handle the powder or liquid in its packaging and carefully pour it into the brine tank of the softening system, look for packaging that’s easy to handle and store.
Additionally, some cleaners don’t require measuring or frequent usage. These can be easy to use, as all you have to do is pour the entire bottle into the brine tank every 3 months or so.
While looking for a cleaner that’s advanced and effective is important, it’s good to consider the ingredients used. After all, this cleaner will get into your water supply at least for a few hours and you wouldn’t want harsh chemicals to come out of your faucets. Some water softener cleaners use natural ingredients like citric acid, which cleans out the system well while still being natural and safe to use.
- Smells and tastes
Make sure that the water softener cleaner doesn’t add smells or tastes to the water. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of having a cleaner in the first place. When cleaning your softening system, try to minimize the impact on the overall quality of your water.
Water softening cleaners are typically priced in the same range as most household cleaners. The average product costs between $10 to $20.
The Bottom Line
A water softener cleaner is necessary if you want to ensure that your softening system is performing at its best and treating your water as it should. While it’s not necessary to use a cleaner often, periodic cleaning can prolong the life of the softening system, sometimes by up to 5 years.
Luckily, water softeners aren’t expensive. They’re highly effective and easy to use. You’ll notice a significant change in the performance of the softening system. By using a good water softener cleaner, you’ll be able to bring new life to your softening system and restore its performance.