Is It Safe to Drink Soft Water?

Wondering if it is safe to drink soft water? Learn everything here.

More than 85 percent of the United States is covered by hard water, according to the US Geological Survey [1]. Some consumers confuse softened water with unsafe water because they use a water softener to get the benefits of soft water.

Drinking softened water is causing some consumers to be concerned about increasing their sodium intake, and many people are questioning if is it safe to drink soft water. It is a myth that softening the water will make it taste salty – sodium bicarbonate is formed by water softening, different from table salt.

What Is in Soft Water?

There are no harsh minerals in soft water, and on the contrary, hard water can damage your house and health. Soft water lacks calcium and magnesium which prevents scale buildup on appliances and pipes around your residence.

A water softener adds sodium to water based on its hardness. Depending on the hardness of the water, between 20mg and 30mg of sodium are added to every 8 ounces. For example, the sodium content of a 12-ounce can of diet soda is around 40 mg, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice has about 25 mg, and a low-fat glass of milk has about 120 mg.

Is Soft Water Harmful to Our Health?

There have been various concerns raised about the potability of drinking water for the last 40 years, based on the amount of sodium in water that has been softened. However, no official verdict has been made that softened water is unsafe to drink and not a health risk.

It is unlikely that drinking water with lower concentrations of magnesium and calcium is harmful to you if your diet includes lots of calcium and magnesium. You may be able to meet your daily nutritional requirements by taking nutrition supplements if you experience deficiencies in your diet.

Those with high blood pressure may be more at risk from drinking water with high sodium levels since it could raise their blood pressure. Home water softening may not be recommended for those with high blood pressure, just as adding salt to food can increase blood pressure.

It is also more likely that soft water will accumulate lead from inside old water pipes without being treated to prevent it from leaching out.

Is it Possible to Drink Softened Water?

It is possible to soften water to a maximum of 435 ppm of calcium carbonate by using a water softener. Hard water has a calcium content of over 200 ppm. It follows that only water with a high calcium carbonate content (400- 435 ppm) surpasses the sodium limit.

Our recommendation is to use a filtered water tap, like a faucet, countertop, undersink water filter, or even better, a Reverse Osmosis system, in conjunction with your water softener to provide you with unsoftened drinking water.

The softening of water has never been associated with any health problems in the past 90 years, so there are no firm conclusions on whether it poses long-term health risks.

But to be on the safe side, when preparing baby formula or when following a low-sodium diet recommended by a physician, softened drinking water should not be used.

Why Is Soft Water Beneficial?

Cleaners prefer soft water since it does not cause soap scum or mineral stains.

You can save water by not re-washing clothes or dishes or taking longer showers to feel fully clean and rinsed due to its more efficient and effective cleaning properties.

But you can check a full list of soft water benefits here.

What You Need to Know About Softened Water

In light of your recent reading, what is the truth about softened water and its effects on our health? Consider these points:

Softened water contains very little sodium. You may also wish to reduce the sodium you add to your food if you are on a sodium-restricted diet.

Almost all foods contain minerals that are removed from softened water. Nevertheless, you may need to take supplements if you eat a restricted diet and are at risk of calcium deficiency.

You can significantly improve the quality of your life by installing a water softener in your home. The result is longer appliance life and healthier skin and hair.

Can Pregnant Women Drink Softened Water?

In a nutshell, no.

Research indicates [2] the body needs magnesium and calcium for proper functioning. Most organisms get their magnesium and calcium from food, and usually, a diet rich in these nutrients can fully compensate for the lack of magnesium and calcium in drinking water.

But pregnant mothers are at risk of developing hypertension and preeclampsia due to insufficient calcium and magnesium, therefore, it is not safe to drink softened or distilled water while pregnant.

Studies have shown that low magnesium levels in demineralized water can increase mortality and morbidity related to pregnancy disorders, cardiovascular disease, neuronal motor disease, and preeclampsia.

What Next?

Soft water is safe to drink for most people. Unless you are pregnant or are on a low-salt diet, there is no problem with drinking soft water.

Some people may be concerned about the higher sodium levels in soft water, but that can be dealt with using a potassium-based water softening system. There are also salt-free water softeners, so that might be a good option if you are worried about the extra salt added to the water. You can use your home’s soft water for a wash, dishwashing, and bathing only if the sodium in soft water is a concern.