How to clean a water softener (cleaning both resin and brine tank)

To maintain water softener effectiveness you must make sure all parts are clean. Learn step-by-step how to clean a water softener.

How to clean a water softener

Cleaning water softener involves cleaning water softener tank both the resin and brine tanks. I’ll take you through a simple step-by-step on how to clean both tanks.

How to clean a water softener resin tank

Cleaning the resin tank involves most cleaning water-softener resin

How to clean water softener resin

Water softening occurs in the resin tank which contains resin beads.

The resin beads are the one that removes minerals that cause your water to be hard.

So there are other contaminants that might be present in your water that the resin is not capable of removing including iron, metal particles, manganese, silt, and organic compounds.

These contaminants if they accumulate on the resin tank they coat the resin beads resulting in inefficiency and failure of your system.

In such cases, the resin beads require to be cleaned so as to restore their efficiency which is done using water softener cleaner.

The coating of resin beads with contaminants is known as fouling.

The common question that people ask is how to clean water softeners so as to remove the coating. Read this article from beginning to end to learn how to clean water softener resin

Step-by-step guide on how to clean water softener resin

  • Know the contaminants that have coated resin beads

There are so many contaminants that are present in your water so you should make sure you are aware of what is present in your water.

You can take your water for the lab test or buy a water test kit to do testing at home.

  • Choose the correct resin cleaner

Resin cleaner is a special liquid or powder designed to get rid of contaminants on the resin beads that salt cannot remove.

Choose the resin cleaner that targets the contaminants present in your water.

If your water has too much iron make sure the resin cleaner you choose effectively removes the contaminants.

That’s why we said earlier you must be sure which contaminants are present in your water.

  • Feeding the resin cleaner in your system

The next step is to feed the resin cleaner in the system so as to clean coated/ fouled resin beads.

The resin cleaner is put in the brine tank.

  • Set your system on the regeneration mode

Locate your system control valve and turn the regeneration control knob counterclockwise.

This process will have your water softener into regeneration mode causing it to regenerate the system.

If the resin beads are accumulated with a lot of contaminants you can run the process for the second time.

To repeat the regeneration process make sure you have the recommended amount of resin cleaner in your brine/salt tank.

Return your water softener to normal for the water softening process to continue.

Locate the regeneration control knob and turn clockwise.

Remove the cleaner from the system

Close the control panel; find out the drain pipe connected to the water softener, and run the tap for 10-15 minutes to flush out resin cleaner from the system.

How often should you clean the resin?

Most of the company recommend using it every four months.

How to clean water softener brine tank

The brine tank is where the brine solution for regeneration is prepared.

The brine solution is made of water-softener salt.

Since all salt used is not 100 % pure, they have impurities that make the tank dirty.

The dirt can prevent salt from dissolving properly so the water softener won’t regenerate properly.

The best time to clean a brine tank is when salt is low to avoid wasting salt.

Step by step on how to clean water softener brine tank

  • Shut off the water softener system or put it in bypass mode.
  • Disconnect the brine tank from the system
  • Dump salt and water that is in the brine tank. Make sure you do not throw salt in the garden as this may kill the plants.
  • Remove and clean brine tank parts and set them aside.
  • Use soapy water to clean the tank. You can use dish soap and scrub inside the tank.
  • After cleaning, rinse the soap using clean water.
  • Sanitize your tank using bleach. Use household bleach-like vinegar or use Pro Products WS-SANI-SYSTEM-1PK Sani-System SS96WS Water Softener Sanitizer. Use 60 ml of bleach and mix with 10 liters of water. Let the mixture settle in the tank for 15 minutes to sanitize your tank.
  • Rinse the bleach with plain water.
  • Return the brine tank part to the tank
  • Connect back the brine tank to its normal operation.
  • The tank is ready to refill with salt and water.
  • Wait for a couple of hours before you run regeneration to give the salt time to dissolve.

How often to clean the brine tank

The brine tank is supposed to be cleaned once a year unless there is salt mushing.

The best time to clean a water softener is when you are running on low salt.

At this time you won’t have a lot of work on scooping out the salt in the tank. Also, the tank will be lighter to lift from one place to another.

When a brine tank has low salt you will be able to see dirt or mold at the bottom of the tank.