General Guides

Is water Softener Resin Toxic?

The primary purpose of the water softener is to remove the salts from the water so that it becomes softer. This can help you avoid the issues related to the hard water. A few good examples can include frequent plumbing issues, faded clothes, and many other problems. However, water softening in itself may not be that difficult. But is water softener resin toxic? Let us try finding out. 

Water softener resins are not toxic. The resin beads are made from food-grade synthetic plastic, which is equivalent to polystyrene. The beads do stay in the water softener and typically do not escape from the cylinder. 

What is a Water Softener Resin?

The water softener resin is the component of a water softener that assists you in removing the minerals from the hard water. It is created with small spherical beads that are packed in a bed inside the tank of your water softener. The resin beads have a negative charge, and they attract the positively charged ions. 

The water softener resin attracts the magnesium and calcium. These are the two minerals that make up most of the hard water. The water-softener resin bead replaces these hard ions with the soft ions. 

Is Water Softener Resin Toxic? 

No, in most of the cases water softener resinsis not toxic. It is made of food-grade materials and thus can be safer to use. You will find them in the form of brown sugar granules and they are made from a form of plastic that resembles Polystyrene. 

The resin beads do not generally get out of the cylinder that they are placed into. So, there is no risk of them getting into the container of your water softener. However, of they get out of the cylinder, they may, at the most clog your plumbing, but are not poisonous. 

Is it Safe to Drink Water From Water Softener? 

Most of the people should be able to drink water from water softeners without issues. However, there are a few things that you may need to consider a few important factors when it comes to consuming water from the water softener. 

Some of the factors that you may need to pay enough attention can include:

  • Some of you may not like the taste of the softened water
  • Most of the minerals are removed from the water during the water softening process. 
  • The hardness of the treated water may be in tune with the original hardness of the water. 
  • Some water softeners may add elevated lead and copper levels to the drinking water.

Most of the softened water is definitely safer to drink. Some water softeners add sodium to the water. If your softened water consists of too much sodium, it may not be the right option for people with high blood pressure. However, there are a few options that can help you in improving the potability of the softened water. 

Is There Something Like Bad Water Softener Resin That Can Get The Resin Dangerous?

Yes, water-softener resin can go bad. The lifespan of the water softener resin can last anywhere around 10 years. However, the exact lifespan will be dependent on the quality of water it may be treating. 

The water-softener resin generally lasts for ten years. But, any resin that is exposed to elements like chlorine, iron, or water hardness will last only up to five years. 

You can find that your softener is bad when you notice that

  • Your dishes begin to get cloudy.
  • You will need more soap to get clean.
  • Your soap does not give enough lather. 

What To Do When Your Water Softener Is Leaking Resin Beads?

It is quite uncommon to find resin beads leaking from water softeners. However, there are some cases where resin beads may leak from the water softener. 

Some common causes for resin beads leaking from water softeners can include:

  • A broken seal or screen in the upper part of the water softener. 
  • The upper distributor may be cracked
  • It is possible that the salt might not have dissolved completely

If you have an ion exchange water softener, it may not be uncommon to find that beads are leaking into the water and plumbing. This can usually happen in the case of your water softener being overcharged. This can make the resin beads brittle and thus break apart. 

If you find resin beads leaking into the water, you can try out the steps below:

  • Shut off the water softener
  • Shut off the water supply
  • Drain the resin tank
  • Dismantle the resin tank 
  • Keep the resin beads aside 
  • Clean the tank with bleach and water. 
  • Check it for any breakage and repair the same

Set everything back into place and check if the leakage has stopped. 

How Expensive are Water Softener Resin Beads?

If you need to replace the resin beads, you will have to spend anywhere between $100 to $150. One cubic feet of a good-quality beads will cost you around $130. So, to change the resin beads on a water softener, you will be in need to spend at least $200 to $350. 

Even when the resin beads appear to be costly, they are not that costly, given the normal lifespan they have. You are not going to change the beads every other week or even every month, right? So, overall, you will be spending considerably less on the resin beads for the water softener. 

The Closing Thoughts

So, is water softener resin toxic? Well, no, in most of the scenarios. They are made of food-grade materials and do not come with any specific issues as such. However, if they leak into the water for some reason, you may find a change in taste. But they are not toxic. 


Do water softener beads dissolve?

If the membrane of your water softener is broken, it may cause the resin to break into the treated water and move with it wherever the treated water goes. In the course of its travel, it may break, but it is not possible to find them dissolving in water. This can cause them to cause blockage in your plumbing. 

Can the resin beads be cleaned?

Water-softener resin beads get accumulate with the minerals that make water hard. This is why the resin beads need to be recharged or cleaned. This is automatically done through the process called the Regeneration cycle on most of the water softeners. 

How often should water softener resin be replaced?

Water softener resin beads need not be changed quite often. In most of the cases, the resin beads can be replaced once every 10 years. If the resin beads are exposed to chlorine or iron, they may need replacement within a span of 5 years. 

Is the water softener resin harmful to human?

In most of the cases, the water softener resin is not harmful for humans. The resin simply takes part in the ion exchange and does not cause any severe issue. However, if you have issues related to high sodium intake, it is best to avoid using the resin that may add more sodium ions to the treated water.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is the founder of WaterBrower. The water-related problems faced by him in his childhood led him to take this kind initiative to help many others who might be facing similar problems. He has been into research and water testing wherein he has found great water treatment solutions in different regions of the world. This blog is about everything that he has learnt during this study. Hope it helps many:)

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