How to Remove a Salt Clog from Your Water Softener

How to remove the salt clog from your water softener?
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This video by Gary the Water Guy explains How to remove the salt clog from your water softener.

With the pure salt pellets most of us are now using for our water softeners we have noticed a new problem that occurs fairly often. When the salt gets wet often without being used up the salt begins to bind together. Over time the salt forms a solid mass at the bottom of the salt tank which stops water from flowing into or out of the salt tank. The softener stops softening water and stops using salt to make brine. Without brine, the resin bed does not regenerate and you will have hard water.
When this happens the salt pellets on top will probably look normal, but underneath them is a hardened mass of salt.

How do you know if you have this problem? Your water will be hard and you will not be using up any of your salt. Another way to check is to get a broom, mop or something else with a long handle. Turn it upside down and put it inside the water softener. If the end of the broom goes through the salt right to the bottom you do not have the salt problem, just stir up the salt with the handle and you are done. If, however, the broom only goes into the salt a short way and then stops your water softener brine tank is clogged with salt and needs to be cleaned out!

To remedy this problem, start by turning off the water to your water softener. You can turn it off at the incoming faucet or by using the bypass valve.

Tap the salt with the handle until you break up what ever salt that you can.

Remove the loose salt pellets from the top with a plastic container or scoop of some kind. Chink away at the salt crust but be very careful not to puncture a hole in your softener. Stay away from the sides. Break up small chunks and remove them by scooping them up and putting it into a bucket.

There will usually be water in with the salt so vacuum the water out of the bottom of the softener with a wet/dry vacuum.

Pour about 2 gallons of hot tap water over the remaining salt mass and about a quart into the brine well (the smaller cylinder inside the salt tank) after removing its cap. Turn the water to your softener back on. Let it sit for about 4 hours.

Follow the instructions in your water softener instruction manual for regenerating your softener.

The next day after the softener has regenerated try breaking up the salt again with the stick. Do not add any more salt until this salt clog has been totally used up! You may need to repeat step #6 several times before the salt clog is removed.

Once the salt clog is gone fill the salt tank 2/3 full of new water softening salt but do not top up the salt again until it is down to the ¼ full level. This will minimize the chances of this happening again in the future.

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How to Remove a Salt Clog from Your Water Softener
Please comment or ask questions below.
157 комментариев
Water eStore
This is our most viewed video of all time!
Thanks for these great tutorial videos you make! :) Subbed and liked!
Suzy Northstar
Thank you so much. This is exactly what was wrong with my tank.
Kenneth Rhoades
Gary, your a life saver for someone like myself that had no idea how to troubleshoot a water softener system. Thank you, again!
Tim Woodby
Great helpful video thanks!
Thanks for sharing this information.
steve balaka
This video fixed my problem Thank you for sharing this knowledge God Bless......
Mary Hoekwater
Extremely helpful! You are great at explaining this. Thank you!
Sammie B
Excellent video and presentation.
Nancy Lussier
Thank you for posting info! Very helpful for a new homeowner.
Robert Cooper
Thanks very much for the great videos.  The idea of using a shop vac is invaluable.
DAVE Green
Great video good instructions I had about 5" of salt silt in the bottom my day and it had filled the to Bub past all the openings for the the water thank you
Young Gunz
Thank you Sir! Had this issue pop up on me, didn't know what the heck was happening since I could see the unit regening but still had hard water. Cleaned out the unit as per your instructions and Bam, softwater again!
Buzz O
Gary, thank you for an informative video. Is it okay to fill the salt tank up with some of the wet salt I scooped out ? Thanks Chris
Thanks Gary, doing this process right now on my softner.
Brian Potter
Thank you!
Thank you so much. It really help to solve my water softener problems
Louise B
I have low water pressure, does my water softener have something to do with water pressure comes and goes..thx
Thank you for sharing your knowledge, nice video, thumbs up.
Thank you! We noticed hard water feeling during showers recently and opening the brine tank thinking we were low on salt, actually still had 3/4 tank. Emptied salt/water as mentioned and discovered very bottom was a grey salty goo/guck/sludge which had appeared to be clogging things (we filled to the brim with salt). Ended up taking brine tank completely apart and cleaned it all out. Put clean salt and water back and manually did regen cycle, shower water is soft again!
I hate Google Plus
thanks Gary!
Ojibwa62 x
I know what I need to do now , mine has basically stopped using salt..... Holy moly had about 3" of salt at the bottom of my tank , scooped it all out now its sitting with some hot water in it.. it's a Kenmore stand alone unit and about 10 years old hope it's not dead..
Patrick Willson
Thank you from Thunder Bay Ontario.... Saved me a service call :)
Brian S
what if my water level is higher than the salt?
Rian Tydeman
great video, worked like a charm!
Terry Sebastian
thank you i haven't tried this yet because I am very lazy. But i think it might solve my problem.
when should I turn off the bypass
Thanks.  Felt really dumb when I poked a broom stick into the tank and the salt dome collapsed! Thanks!
M Skillz
Thanks Gary!! Totally worked
would a salt blockage cause your water pressure to become low? I noticed a few months back that my water pressure became very low when two water sources are being used at the same time, When I by passed the softener the pressure went back to normal. I am going to try this procedure and hopefully this fixes the problem.
Apnav Agrawal

My water softener has lots of residual salt powder in the bottom that seems like not reducing should I remove it manually and then refill or I can refill tank without removing that residue?

Thank you
freddie james
Gary, Thanks so much!!!! Hard to find honest guys like you!!! You saved me a ton! We noticed a problem after filling swimming pool! Outside faucets were connected to softener??? Had a clog, and salt bridge! Thanks again, Edward...Northeast Ohio..
Chekasout 1
great helpful video!!!
Kelley Cole
omg easy fix its not
Shabaz Warda
Thanks a lot for the video.
NEVER use wooden stick. Salt is hard and sharp. It can often does break off small splinters of wood. These can very easily plug up your flow plugs.
Dianne Ruprich
What can I do with the salt that I have dug out of the brine tank? I have a septic tank.
Joseph Warga
excellent vid! thanks!
Mike Nadalin
My softener is leaving a salt residue on the floor around the salt tank. What could the problem be.
Amy Liu
Do you have to remove all the salt in the tank?
Bonnie A
Thank you Gary!  You've helped us figure out a very frustrating issue we've been having!!! 
all of your videos have sound problems. Even with my speakers cranked as loud as they go, I can barely hear you. I'm not having that problem with any other videos
Brian Clark
Thank man I hope it works.
E Buzek
Just disconnect the water line to the tank, take it outside salvage as much salt as you want, dump the rest and wash it out with a hose. Reconnect it and fill with salt. I've never had a salt clog with mine just problems with the media passing by.
John Ferenzi
Be careful poking around the tank with a broom handle. I poked a hole in my tank once and had to buy a whole new system!
Todd Menier
Thank you for this video. Quick question - I scooped all salt out of the tank as instructed and now I have a full bucket of wet salt crystals that I'm not sure what do to with. Is it ok to flush the salt down the toilet, maybe a scoop or 2 at a time, or is that a bad idea? Thanks!
M gmail
How do you do the first and last steps of bypass - turn those red knobs on the back a quarter turn? If so, which direction??? Thanks.
Christine Lombardi
Awesome video! I was impatient so I used the shop vac and a scooper, and a ladel from the kitchen due to my short arms and got all the mush out. I carefully used a pole I had that is for painting. The metal bar that holds the roller worked perfect for carefully scraping the bottom. Can't believe when I asked for the water softener to be checked by "professionals no one ever suggested any maintenance! And I'm bad for not reading the manual!! Thanks!!
Mark Lawton
Whatever you do, do NOT use a wood broomstick! Over time, the wood splinters off and gets in the brine water, then clogs the venturi flow control.
Jennifer Cosper
I have a Boss water softener about 4 years old. It worked great but for the last year it is not producing soft water. I tried a clean out and regeneration as told by the company. It regenerates on its own, never uses any salt. Can't find anyone in my city that will work on this brand.Can you help? It looks like the one on your right in the video.
Mary Hoekwater
Gary, I think I have a salt bridge as I can't push a broom handle all the way through. I had previously added iron out, but not immediately done the regeneration cycle. Now, when I work at breaking the salt bridge up, I am inhaling these noxious fumes. Do you have a different/safer recommendation for removing the salt when it is laden with iron out?
Tommy Dice
I did the steps you recommended and when I regenerate the holding tank gets fuller. it doesn't seem to be replacing the water. is there a clog somewhere? I cleaned the Venturi with no help
Sarah Naleieha
My model # is 625.3487004 think it’s an old one. Have no clue on what or how to get it going first time user Please Help!!!
Rick Savage
God bless you.
Adam Braby
We have two people in our house how often should I put salt in water softener
Red Head
Hi Gary -

I just spent over an hour digging out all the salt pellets, salt sludge (first layer looked like slush, second layer looked like crushed ice) and all the water from my softener using a bucket and large cup. I just now filled it with the 4 gallons of hot water and will do the regeneration tomorrow. What I don't understand is when you say it takes 4 hrs to soak up the salt and we may need to do this again and again over a few days. I took all of the salt and sludge out by hand - should I have left some in?
Steve Scott
I got all my salt out by clearing by hand, vacuuming, adding hot water which sat for 3 hrs and one regen. But I did one more regen to be sure. There's still some water in the tank. Is there always water? I'm concerned that if I add salt at this point it will be turned to sludge by the water that's present and cause another salt bridge.
Louise Bett
My brine tank leaked and now I have salt growth in the carpet and up the side of the wall.  I will remove the carpet - what do I do to remove and stop growth on walls?
Gender Equality
This guy is very helpful. I even called his store a few times to clarify a few things. He had no problem taking the time to explain even though the water softener machine I have isn’t even sold by his store. Awesome.
Melissa Frederick
This was a very nice video and helpful info.  More people should watch videos like this so they will know how to do it. 
William Loughnane
Many thanks for a great tip & advice with the water softener. The problem I’m having is, that it is taking too much salt all in one go. Why is that & how to change the settings to make the salt to take at least a quarter, from the full amount I puts in?
You really shouldn;t be getting a salt "block" that often. Are you using the pellet type or just rock salt? I like the rock salt better. Its cheaper, works fine and is less likely to clump at the bottom. The pellet type, I find< starts to break apart as it dissolves. This is even worse if the softener is not regenning very often. Turn the hardness setting up a bit so it regens more often.
Allen Gumm
Well-presented, easy-to-follow video, but please note that Kyle Huntley has asked you a question. Thank you.
Brian Billings
I'm having a hard time breaking up the last couple inches of salt from the bottom. Don't want to pierce the tank. Any suggestions? Hot vinegar maybe?
Taha Hafeez
Gary my salt brine tank is about the size of a 55 gal drum. It's filled 2/3 of the way already and I don't really have anywhere to keep that much salt! What should I do? It will be a good month before it gets down to where I can remove enough salt to get to the bottom
Brian Zembic
My dumb brain friend filled the brine tank to the top with the tiniest and cheapest salt. I came back to my home 2months later. The salt filled the walls and the floor from the inside of my home from the outside water softener. Outside it looks like a snowstorm all around the water heater, softener. And this is vegas. I just don't understand how it is salt and no water all around and inside the walls almost a foot up from the ground. I am following your youtube here to unclog it. Hope it works.Cas I have no more money to fix this sucker:)
Michael Salovich
Omg thank you G
Fuelish Trucker
How much water should normally be in the brine tank before there is a generation cycle? I have a unit that has the media tank inside the brine tank and when the salt level is only up to about 2 to 3 the water level is usually about 2 to 3 inches higher than the salt level. I thought that the salt needs to be above the water and there should only be 2 to 3 inches of water from the bottom of the tank at any given time in the brine tank. Does anybody have any suggestions?
Lorna Johnson
Ok I had water in the tank and mine is waterboss 700 so I did the remove the sat and then as much of the water I could and then did the hot water and regenerate after the 4hrs, did the regenerate again yesterday and today a little water left in tank should I remove that and put fresh salt in and then regenerate again?
Ja Hank
My water softener clogs very, very frequently. Whenever I clean out the tank completely, it works great for a short period of time (a couple months) and then the salt at the bottom gets hard and so does my water. I use a pole to poke holes through the hard salt at the bottom, but it is difficult and has to be done several days in a row sometimes. I also have to regenerate each time, wasting lots of salt and water. This happens every single time I do laundry - even just one load. I cannot find any solutions or even similar problems online. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated! Thanks!
no sound
Kelly Burns
Gary...I'm an idiot. I came home late one night and was about to refill my brine tank with a few bags of salt. I opened the lid, noticed that it smelled a little foul...not earth shattering. I said to myself, "Well, the salt was low enough (just about an inch above the water level...approx 5" or so up from bottom of tank), so I'm going to dump this and clean it out." I disconnected the single return line and took the entire tank outside...turning the tank upside down and dumping the dirty water and breaking up the old salt at the bottom of the tank. I cleaned it quickly and reconnected the line. Our water is still soft, but we've noticed the water seems to be a little bit salty looking. Not bad...still quite clear and clean, but I do feel as though I see a bit of salt when we fill a glass of water. I went back to look and the brine well has some salt stuck to the sides...sporatically...some even up above the float. Of course, it's because of my first introductory sentence above. In tipping the tank upside down, I'm sure it brought some salt and dirty old water up from the bottom of the brine well. #1, Should the brine well be completely clean and clear of debris? I can't recall if it was before I did this, so maybe it wasn't my stupidity. #2, what is the next step to rectify any damage I may have done? Do I clear all the salt and take the brine tube out and check all components and blow things out to be sure there are no clogs? I should have watched YouTube before I did this. It just looked like a simple thing to do.
Plastic tube is the safest. Its not sharp, and you would have a hell of a time breaking the bottom of the tank with it.  If the salt bridge is so hard you can't push through, pour hot water on it. That will dissolve salt faster than cold water. Even if you have to really fill the brine tank and then suck some out, thats the safest way.
They ALL say to use the cleaner pellet type.  The up take tube sits about a half inch or so off the bottom of the tank. Any sediment settles and does not get taken up. I wash the brine tank out every couple years to remove the bit of sand. Your can not get TOO soft. The softener will just regen before it needs to. It will only remove the metals in the resin bed. It wont do it any harm. Imagine just putting in the wrong hardness number by mistake. A bit of salt and water wasted but no damage. It is harder on your softener too regen not often enough as opposed to too often.  You could essentially regen everyday without wrecking anything.
Outcast Of Society
Doesn't address the matter of a water softener installed under a house, can't get a broomstick in there..... If this is a known fact. Why haven't the water softener manufacturers addressed the situation? All this means is water softeners have turned even more high maintenance and less reliable to us owners.....
I'm sorry but this is a terrible video for understanding what you're doing. Can't tell what is going on. Main thing is is I don't know what the Salt Brine Well (or whatever you called it) is what I think it is. If I could have seen inside of it I am sure I would have known for sure which part you're working on.

Currently trying/looking into fixing my water softener because it is occasionally spitting out super super salty water and it hadn't done that before.
Not sure if this would be a normal question someone would ask in a situation like this but no we haven't started to use different salt, been using the same salt for years now, Morton giant salt pellet bags.
Ann Kretzschmar
Kyle Huntley
I followed your steps and it did remove the clog. I re-added salt once the clog was gone but am noticing another clog forming. Do you have any idea what the issue could be?
Ryan Hollohan
Thanks, Gary. That was very helpful!
Bob Hipp
Thanks from Philadelphia!!
Matilyn Baldwin
Thank you so much for this helpful video!!!  Gilbert, AZ
Hi Gary.Thanks so much for the informative videos. I have a Novatek Metermatic water softener which was not using salt. I followed your instructions cleaned out the tank and the softener still doesn't seem to be using any salt. Can you offer any further suggestions for me to follow. Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Happy Christmas season
Does this technique work for a salt sludge too? I have a huge one and it's very difficult to chip away!
Donnie M
How many days a week does a softener usually regenerate? And, how long does it usually run for?
Mark Lawton
Ultimately, it's easier if, twice a week until the salt has moved down, to pour about a gallon of hot tap water, do not boil it!, over the salt and start a manual regeneration. If you feel you must poke at the salt bridge, i length of 1/2 or 3/4" PVC pipe works well.