“Can I Put Bleach In My Water Softener?” Find The Answer In This Post!

A water softener is an indispensable piece of household equipment due to its great functionality. This machine will ensure that our bodies are able to consume fresh and safe water. Like any other equipment, a water softener requires regular maintenance and cleaning to maintain its optimal working efficiency. 

There are many cleaning solutions for water softeners. While many people opt for bleach to sanitize their softeners, some still question themselves, “Can I put bleach in my water softener?” Alright, we will solve your question right in this article.

Can I Put Bleach In My Water Softener?

The most obvious signs that you have to sanitize your water softener are the unpleasant odor and stains. Truth be told, the “bleach cycle” is a well-known cleaning method for water softeners. However, to some models, the “bleach cycle” can easily ruin the whole water softener due to incompatibility. 

The causes for the damage are that the bleach will interrupt the way a water softener activates its ion exchange, and this chemical will negatively affect the resin. Bleach brings extreme cleaning effects, so you need to look for a recommendation from the water softener manufacturer before applying this substance. You can easily find the factory recommendation on the package or on the water softener.

Sometimes, you may accidentally pour the bleach into your water softener even when it is not suitable for the sanitizing chemical. Is it the end for your softener? Not really. To save the water softener from interacting with bleach, you have to put salt into the resin tank. Then, activate some regeneration cycles to get rid of the bleach. 

One of the prominent bleaches
One of the prominent bleaches

Don’t think of replacing the resin tank unless you have much time and budget. Changing a resin tank is professional work that requires you to call for help from an expert. All you should do to clean with the water softener’s resin tank is opting for various cycles.

Do Water Softeners Get Damaged By Bleach?

As mentioned above, bleach is a powerful and dense cleaning chemical, so it is also harsh to water softeners. In case you can’t control the bleach dose in the resin tank, the damage will certainly happen. You must obey the suggested bleach concentration from the water softener manufacturers to avoid unwanted consequences for your softener.

A set of water filter and water softener
A set of water filters and water softener

Another possibility that the bleach can ruin the water softener is you leaving this sanitizing substance for more than an hour in the resin tank. If you make this mistake several times, you will need to replace the resin with a new one.

Plastic ion exchange resin, when reacting with bleach, will result in its own deterioration. Not only the resin’s destruction but dangerous carcinogens are also believed to be an outcome of the bleach and ion exchange reaction.

Due to all of these risks, you should be cautious during cleaning your water softener with bleach. Besides using the appropriate amount of bleach as the factory recommended, we suggest you mix the chemical with water. The optimal time to leave the cleaning mixture inside the water softener should be no more than 20 minutes.

After removing the bleach, you need to water the resin tank until there are no signs or smell of bleach left. This finishing process will ensure that your water softener is now safe and adequate to keep serving you.

Why Should You Put Bleach In Water Softener?

1. Prevent The Undesirable Consequences

The build-up of dirt, bacteria, and the unpleasant odor is the inevitable consequence of using a water softener for a long time without regularly cleaning it. Keeping your water softener tidy will determine the quality and taste of water. 

Bleach, along with other chemicals, will make your cleaning task easier and more efficient. Yet, you have to strictly follow the instructions that manufacturers give to you. Or else, the damage from bleach is even greater than that from dirt or bacteria. 

2. Ensure The Components Are Suitable For Installation

Before installation, the necessary parts of a water softener may be stored in improper conditions. As a result, they are not as clean as you want, and the water that goes through this dirty system will bring along dust and contaminants. 

Hence, separately cleaning these components with bleach before assembling them is an efficient way to maintain the tidiness of the water softener. If you have an already-assembled water softener, you should clean it regularly, as we recommend above. 

3. Get Rid Of Bacteria

A polluted water source can bring an enormous risk of bacteria. During the stage that the water softener processes the contaminated water source, a minimal amount of bacteria and dirt may be trapped into the resin tank. 

At first, an insignificant amount of contaminants doesn’t really pose a dangerous threat to your health. However, an accumulation of dirt and bacteria does.

To eliminate the chance of getting a disease from the water supply, even when you are utilizing a water softener, you have to clean the softener periodically.

4. Eliminate Mildew

Mildew is the cause of the irritating scent in the brine tank. In a wet and warm environment, especially the dirty one, mildew will thrive. Unfortunately, this is the condition inside an unclean water softener.

For this reason, using bleach to sanitize the water softener is a required stage if you want to eliminate the horrible-smell mildew.

5. Avoid Unpleasant Odor

Apart from mildew, there are other causes of water scent after it is processed in a water softener. The raw water source can contain contaminants and elements like iron or sulfur. The combination of these particles will result in stinky water smells such as the foul and the rotten egg smell.

The bleach smell is not pleasant either, but it can help to remove the worse smells above. Besides, you can remove the bleach scent once you finish the cleaning with water. 

How To Clean Water Softeners With Bleach?

When you notice that your water softener’s factory recommends using bleach for sanitizing, you should do as the suggestion. However, the factory barely tells you the exact dosage of bleach for each cleaning and each softener’s size. Here are some widely-used and effective bleach dosages for specific types of water softeners:

Bleach Dosage Adequate To Water Softeners’ Sizes

1. Medium-sized Water Softeners

The appropriate bleach dosage for small water softeners is about ¾ oz for a cycle. 

2. Family-Sized Water Softeners

Usually, a family-sized or regular-size water softener contains a resin tank of 3 cubic feet. The optimal bleach dosage to clean such a water softener is 2 oz.

3. Industrial Water Softeners

Industrial units often include the 4-cubic feet resin tank. And, the favorable amount of bleach for each cycle should be 5 oz.

Step-By-Step Cleaning Methods

Once you finish choosing the precise ratio of bleach for your water softener, you need to carry out the following cleaning procedures:

  1. Deactivate other functioning water treatment systems.
  2. Regenerate the machine in the extra or regular mode.
  3. If your water softener is a brand new one with an empty salt tank, you will need to fill it with 3 gallons of water. On the contrary, an already used water softener doesn’t require this step.
  4. Pour the appropriate dosage of bleach into the brine tank.
  5. Along with the bleach, 2 more cups of water are needed to wash the water softener’s plastic components.
  6. Activate the regular cycle.
  7. To remove all the smell and redundant ratio of the bleach, fill the softener with water once again and start a regular cycle.
  8. The bleach sanitizing method may affect the salt supply. Hence, you will need to have a look at it and fill up the brine tank with more potassium chloride or salt if required.

What Other Cleaning Solutions For Water Softeners?

1. Sani-System

Some water softeners can’t work well with bleach, but there are still various cleaning solutions for them. Sani-system is one of the outstanding non-bleach sanitizing substances.

Sani-system is a product from Culligan that comes in a size of 0.5 oz. This cleaning material is a combination of different chemicals working together and tidying up your water softener just as bleach does.

2. Green Sand

Greensand, also known as potassium permanganate, will cooperate with oxidizing agents to retain the water softener’s hygienic condition. Yet, this alternative is gentler than bleach.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

This sanitizing material is effective with zero-ion contamination water softeners. To know whether your pipes are free of contamination or not, you should contact a water supplier or plumbers.

4. Vinegar

If you choose vinegar to tidy up the water softener, you will have to scrub the machine with your hands instead of setting it in a full cycle. Before applying vinegar to your softener, you need to mix it with water. The ratio of vinegar will depend on your needs. Since the chemical components of vinegar are not as harsh and plentiful as bleach, overdosage won’t result in significantly severe consequences. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Can I Sanitize The Inner Of A Water Softener?

To clean the brine tank, you can easily open it and then wash away the dirty particles inside. 

In contrast, you can’t open the resin tank because of the beads’ durability. Hence, you only sanitize this unit by running a bead cleaning solution all through it.

2. What Does Brine Well Do?

Brine well is a component of water softeners that is in charge of holding the salt pellets.

3. When Is The Suitable Time To Clean The Brine Tank?

Whenever you refill the brine tank, you should clean it right away. For better cleaning efficiency, you should focus on spots that have sludge or mold.

Bottom Lines

Water softeners play a crucial role in providing you with fresh and safe water sources. After a long time of use, maintenance and sanitizing must be carried out. Many owners wonder, “Can I put bleach in my water softener?”. Yes, you can, as long as you follow the recommendation from the manufacturers and what we have shared in this article.

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