Side Effects of Drinking Softened Water

What are the Side Effects of Drinking Softened Water? Should you be concerned about the quality of your softened water? Well, in this article we’ll tackle these questions and everything you need to know about softened water.

Let’s get started!

Its natural to question the quality of your drinking water. After all, we’ve seen a rise in water quality issues in recent times. However, after conducting a comprehensive research, I’ve discovered that three major concerns are linked to Drinking Softened Water. They include:

  • The sodium content
  • Removal of essential minerals
  • Risk of poisoning by toxic metals

Let’s discuss these concerns in detail

So, what are the Side Effects of Drinking Softened Water?

1. The Sodium Content

Water softeners use sodium to soften water. During the softening process, Water passes through an ion exchange media where sodium replaces hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium.

There has been widespread concern about the added sodium in water. Excessive sodium can cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with heart and arteries damage, which may lead to stroke, heart attack, and failure of some body organs.

Nevertheless, if you pay close attention to the amount of sodium added during the water softening process it’s insignificant. But, if you’re on a low sodium diet, you might want to consider other water options like distilled water or purified water.

Let’s put the sodium level into more perspective

Softening one cup of hard water requires 20 mg of sodium. The 20mg is equivalent to 0.0007 ounces of salt. Contrary, one slice of bread has approximately 170 mg of sodium, while a cup of milk has about 120 mg of sodium.

The American Heart Association puts the ideal sodium limit between 1,500mg-2,300mg (one teaspoon of salt). However, if you can limit the amount to below 1,800mg per day, it will still be great.

Any healthy person under the age of 50 can safely take about 2,300 mg of salt without experiencing negative outcomes. However, an older person (over 50) who has a specific health condition must limit their sodium consumption to less than 500 mg/day.

Therefore, foods are the main source of sodium. Most foods range between 1100 – 3300 mg/day. In addition, the amount of sodium in 18 grain/gallon of water is equal to a slice of bread. Hence, its important to conclude that the amount of sodium gained from drinking softened water is negligible compared to that consumed in the normal diet.

Another point worth mentioning is that the amount of sodium added during the water softening process is dependent on the level of Hardness of the water. The higher the water hardness, the more salt needed.

So how can you avoid the sodium from the water softener?

  • The perfect and most inexpensive way of avoiding sodium from the softening unit is to drink hard water. You can get the hard water by supplying it via the cold-water faucet or through a different bypass faucet.
  • Another way would be to invest in a water treatment system. The best water systems will remove sodium and many other minerals. The best options would be Reverse osmosis and distillation.
  • Lastly, you can use bottled water. However, be cautious, as not all bottled water are low in sodium. Therefore, carefully read the label or you can contact the manufacturer and find out the sodium content.

2. Removal of essential minerals

A water softener unit removes essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are crucial for optimal body functioning.

The major cause of water hardness are these minerals (calcium and magnesium), which are removed during the ion exchange process and replaced with sodium ions.

As a result, the softened water will have no calcium or magnesium but remain with traces of sodium. This should not worry you, as you can get these minerals from your diet.

3. Risk of poisoning by toxic metals

Soft water is corrosive. Therefore, the likelihood of this water introducing poisonous heavy metals into drinking water is very high. Soft water may attack lead plumbing system causing them to leak traces of lead in water. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can cause devastating effect to human health.

Old pipes or use of outdated plumbing system aggravates toxic metal poisoning.

What Can You do to Avoid Toxic Metals Poisoning

The first thing you should do to avoid the threats of Toxic metals poisoning is to install a tap that will bypass the water softener unit.

This tap will provide drinking water (hard water). Use a simple carbon filter to clean the water.

You can also replace the entire plumbing system, especially if the system is all lead.

Is Softened Water Bad for Aquariums?

Yes! Soft water is not an ideal choice for aquariums. Soft water has low mineral content, thus low in PH. Minerals like calcium acts as buffers that prevent water acidification.

Fish need strict PH levels to stay healthy. Soft water is prone pH fluctuations and any slight changes or additives can affect the fish negatively. PH fluctuations can even kill the fish. Monitoring the water regularly is important.

Find out if distilled water is safe for fish in this article.

Does soft Water Hurt Plants?

Soft water will hurt plants. Soft water contains high levels of sodium, thus its saline.

Saline water is not the best for watering plants. In fact,the sodium content will negatively affect the acidity of the soil which will eventually kill the plants.

Another negative effect of using salty water is unproductive soil. Using the soft water for a long time to irrigate your garden is dangerous. The salt will accumulate in the soil rendering the soil unhealthy and unproductive.

Soft Water vs. Hard Water -, Which Is Better?

Well, what matters when deciding on the type of water you want is the contaminant level. The best water for drinking is one that has no contaminants.

Hard water is rich in essential minerals like calcium and magnesium. Soft water lacks these minerals (calcium and magnesium).

Hard water is more healthful than soft water. However, hard water is dreaded because of its destructive nature. This water destroys plumbing systems, water appliances, and it’s not ideal for laundry and doing dishes, since it doesn’t lather easily.

Very hard water is not good for your health. It can cause kidney stones. Hence, if your water is very hard, use soft water.


In this discussion on Side Effects of Drinking Softened Water, we’ve discovered a number of things. well,  for starters, We’ve seen that drinking softened water has no major health effects. The only people who need to be cautious of the softened water are those on a low sodium diet. In addition, you can get the minerals removed during the softening process through diets. To prevent toxic metal poisoning through the soft water, replace the piping system.

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