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Is Rock Salt the Same as Water Softener Salt?

When it comes to water softeners, one of the most common queries among homeowners is whether rock salt can be used as a water softener salt. Rock salt can technically be used as water softener salt, but it is not the best choice, and could even harm your specific water softener. Sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and a handful of other types of salt could also play a role as water softener salt.

To help you make an informed choice for your DROP system and guarantee optimal performance from its filters and softeners, let’s dive into the differences between rock salt and specialty water-softening salt pellets, and their respective pros and cons.

Sodium Chloride – What Exactly Is Rock Salt?

Rock salt – also known as halite – is an unrefined mineral composed mainly of sodium chloride (NaCl). It’s typically extracted from underground deposits; plus it has many uses such as deicing roads in wintertime (sidewalk salt) or preserving foodstuffs, not to mention seasoning them up (table salt)! But bear in mind that due to its minimal processing methods, there may be some impurities like clay or dirt inside, and it could impact your water softening system.

It is for this reason that DROP does not recommend rock salt use our smart softeners.

The Pros and Cons of Rock Salt

When it comes to water softening, rock salt has its own sets of pros and cons. Knowing these advantages and disadvantages can help you decide if it’s the right choice for your needs. Let’s take a look at what makes rock salt so attractive—and why it might not be ideal for some applications.


  • Cost-Effective Option: For those looking to save money on their water softener, rock salt is usually cheaper than other types available on the market. If budget is your primary concern, this could be an excellent option to consider.
  • Widely Available: You won’t have any trouble finding this type of product as most stores (including online retailers) carry it – making shopping easy.


  • Impurities May Interfere with Processes: As there are certain impurities present within the mineral crystals, they may build up over time inside the tank, which reduces efficiency or even clogs up pipes entirely – requiring more frequent maintenance.
  • Reduced Effectiveness Is Possible: The presence of foreign minerals in addition to calcium and magnesium ions means that ion exchange isn’t as effective when using rock salt compared with other alternatives out there – leading to less “softened” water overall.
  • Higher Maintenance Requirements: From cleaning off sedimentary buildup from surfaces affected by this kind of material all the way through replacing damaged components due to possible blockages caused by its use, incorporating rock salts into one’s system will require extra care & attention.

At the end of day, understanding how each salt type works will ultimately lead to a better decision when trying to narrow down which solution best fits somebody’s individual situation.

When is Rock Salt the Right Choice?

Rock salt may be an economical choice for water softeners, but it’s not the best option. Impurities in rock salt can lead to buildup in your softener tank that requires more frequent maintenance than specialized salts. If budget is a major factor and you don’t mind doing extra cleaning, then this might be a good solution for you – just bear in mind that there are alternative options which could save you time and hassle down the line.

What Are Specialty Water Softener Salts?

If optimal performance and reduced upkeep are what you’re after, then specialty water softener salts should be your go-to choice. There are two main types of these specially designed salts available on the market; evaporated salt and solar salt.

Evaporated salt goes through a process where brine is evaporated to leave behind 99.9% pure sodium chloride pellets or crystals; while solar salt results from seawater evaporation in large ponds, leaving behind 99% sodium chloride pellets or crystals as well as other minerals like magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts).

How Do You Choose Salt for Your Water Softener?

When selecting salt for your water softener, there are a few factors to consider in order to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the system. A few examples include:

  • Purity: First of all, it’s important to be mindful of purity levels; high-purity salts such as evaporated salt can reduce maintenance time and improve efficiency by reducing buildup in the brine tank. Aim for a sodium chloride level of at least 99.6% or higher if possible – this will produce the best results overall.
  • Category: Secondly, check that you’re using an appropriate type of salt based on your water softener model – pellets or crystals may work more effectively depending on what is recommended by the manufacturer’s manual. Additionally, size matters here too. Certain systems may struggle with very small particles or irregularly shaped pieces, so pay attention when choosing.
  • Price: Of course, do not overlook the cost. Specialty salts may seem pricey initially but could end up saving you money down the line through reduced maintenance needs and improved effectiveness overall due to lack of impurities compared to lower quality options from cheaper brands. Plus, investing in better quality products now means extended life expectancy for your equipment, which should be taken into account when making decisions about budgeting long-term expenses related to caring for your system properly.
  • Local Factors: Finally, don’t forget local water hardness levels; hard waters have higher concentrations of minerals like calcium/magnesium which necessitate buying high-purity salts over regular alternatives because they’ll ultimately provide superior softening results under these conditions than other types would offer otherwise.

How Long Should Your Water Softener Salt Last?

Maintaining a healthy water softener is key to having clean, smooth-running water in your home. But how often do you really need to add salt?

It all depends on the hardness of your H2O, the capacity of your unit, and how much you use it. Generally speaking, an average family with a standard system should replenish their salt supply every 4-6 weeks. Read more here for how much salt that might be.

To get maximum efficiency from this process and extend the lifespan of that precious commodity – salt – here are some tips:

  • Use High-Quality Salt: First up, opt for high-quality salts like evaporated varieties; they work more effectively and require less maintenance over time.
  • Match the Settings To Your Water Quality: After, ensure that settings match both your hard water levels as well as usage figures; incorrect settings will lead to wastage or reduced performance respectively.
  • Keep Up With Maintenance: Lastly, don’t forget regular cleaning and upkeep; avoiding bridging issues means a longer life for those granules.

So there we have it – three simple steps towards making sure you get optimal results from adding salt into your softening system!

Count on DROP Water Softeners and Water Filters To Take Care of Your Water Supply

Want to make sure your water is as pure and clean as possible? DROP has the ideal solution for you! Our selection of top-of-the-line water softeners and filters will help ensure that you have access to crystal clear, contaminant-free H2O. But that’s not all – with the right salt in your system, you can rest assured knowing that it’ll work at its peak efficiency level too.

At DROP we understand how important quality water is; so much so that our team of experts are on hand to provide advice about choosing the best type of salt for your particular needs. We take pride in helping customers get optimal results from their devices – tastier drinking water, improved appliance performance and reduced limescale build-up are just a few benefits they can enjoy with our water softeners.

Don’t wait any longer – trust DROP today when it comes time to pick out a reliable source of safe household water!

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