Do you use a water softener to treat the water in your home?

You must’ve noticed it loses its effectiveness after prolonged use. And the harsh minerals and impurities in your water start to seep through and reach your taps.

The solution?

Regenerating your water softener.

This simple process cleans the system and refreshes it’s capacity to keep your water soft and pure. In this guide I’ve covered what regeneration is, with advice on how long it lasts, how often to do it, and the benefits.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.

What is Water Softener Regeneration?

When you install a new water softener with your tank, it takes in hard water and softens it. This means removing harmful and heavy minerals from your water through a process called ion exchange.

The minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, are replaced with sodium ions. This is done in the resin bed.

However, after a long period, the resin bed reaches a saturation point and it’s unable to trap any more hard minerals. This is when you need to clean up the resin bed.

And that’s where a water softener regeneration comes in.

This effective method instantly removes all traces of magnesium and calcium ions from the system so its capability to trap new ions isn’t compromised.

What’s Actually Happening When a Water Softener Regenerates?

Cleaning up mineral deposits in your water softener is a simple and somewhat short process.

First, prepare a brine solution. This is a mixture of salt and water in which there’s one tablespoon of salt per each cup of water.

Next, pour block salt into the machine, and clean each container one by one. Then the water softener is flushed for roughly 10 minutes. After that the brine solution is passed through the machine along with water and flushed again.

You’ll usually need 300 grams of salt for the regeneration. It can be saturated with 0.8 litres of water to make the brine solution.

As the brine solution enters the machine, it gets diluted with more water and gets sucked into the injector, creating a vacuum effect.


The water used to pull the brine solution into the injector is also called the ‘motive’ water. You need 3 to 3.5 litres of water to ensure the water softener cylinders are cleaned thoroughly and the mineral deposits in its resin bed have been removed.

How Long is the Water Softener Regeneration Process?

The water softener regeneration process takes roughly 80 to 90 minutes. 10 minutes within this period are needed to flush the water softener cylinders. This ensures the mineral deposits are removed completely.

If your water softener takes a lot more time than this, say 2 hours or more, I recommend contacting an expert to get it fixed.

How do I know if my Water Softener is Regenerating?

The only way to find out if your water softener is regenerating normally is to check the softness of your water.

You’ll notice a difference in the water while taking a shower. Or you’ll see limestone deposits in your bathroom walls or taps, and the appliances using water. This would indicate the machine isn’t as clean as you’d hope.

How to Dispose of Water Softener Salt?

Water softener salt, or brine, is very effective for regenerating your water softener. After this process, the water softener salt is damp and not suitable for reuse.

Instead of throwing it away, you can recycle it in many ways. You can sprinkle the salt on overgrown weeds in the field and it quickly kills all the weeds. Once all the salt has disappeared, you can regrow your plants.

You can also use this salt to increase traction on your driveways and roads in the snowy season. People usually sprinkle common salt in their driveways. You can sprinkle used water softener salt instead.

You can also fill up a bathtub with water and pour the salt into it. Once it dissolves completely, you can drain your tub.

Of course, you can always just put the salt in a trash bag!

How Often Should a Water Softener Regenerate?

Water softener regeneration is important. But how often should it be done?

A number of factors determine this:

  • The level of hardness in your water
  • The amount of iron
  • Your water consumption
  • The capacity of your resin tank
  • How old your machine is

Over time, the water softener’s capacity also decreases. This is mainly due to the harmful effects of oxidation inside the tank caused by chlorine present in the water.

It’s best to carry out the regeneration every 3 to 5 days. But if your water has a lower hardness level, you can do it after a week or two.

Some modern water softeners even have an automatic process where you can schedule it to regenerate every few days.

Water softener regeneration also depends on the amount of water you’ve used in your home. So you can change the regeneration schedule by keeping an eye on your water consumption.

What if my Water Softener Keeps Regenerating?

This is rare. But your water softener can get stuck in a loop and keep regenerating on its own. This may be because of a blockage in the following:

  • Drain line
  • Venturi valve
  • Brine valve

Other causes for this problem can be low water pressure or any other blockage. In this case, you can have an expert check the machine and fix the problem for good.

Conclusion

By following the simple process I’ve shared above, you can easily keep your water softener free from calcium and magnesium deposits.

I hope this article helped you better understand water softener regeneration. Not the most interesting of topics I know!

If you found this helpful, please check out some of our other articles to solve different issues around the house.

Thank you for reading, and have a great day!

-Craig