Drinking Softened Water: Safety Considerations and Benefits Explained

What is softened water and is it safe to drink? People around the world are asking this question in response to levels of water hardness. Because softened water has a different make up than hard water, some often wonder if it’s safe to drink.

Water can be hard, soft, or all levels between. The hardness of the water can have a large impact on your life, health, and pets. It’s important to understand the information surrounding water hardness so you can prevent certain conditions and situations. It’s also helpful to know how to test your water hardness.

Soft water is generally safe for use by humans and pets alike. Pay attention to sodium levels and water hardness levels to ensure you’re getting the best quality water.

Can My Family and Me Really Drink Softened Water?

Water contains natural minerals such as magnesium and calcium. The amount of calcium and magnesium in water determines the hardness or softness. The hardness of your water matters more than you might think.

When you remove certain metals from hard water, it is called water softening. Soft water is actually better for your skin, hair, plumbing, and cleaning. Unlike soft water, hard water can leave deposits on surfaces, hair, skin, and in pipes. There are different levels of water, ranging from soft to very hard.

There are a number of measurements you can use to determine if you have hard or soft water. The measurement of calcium carbonate grains per gallon is used to determine hardness level. Grains per gallon is also measured in parts per million.


<11 – 3.53.5 – 77 – 10>10
SoftSlightly HardModerately HardHardVery Hard

Credits: Waterfilterguru.com                                            Mg/L & ppm

After water has been softened, there will be remaining sodium. Therefore, sodium levels are increased after water is softened. It is generally safe if the hardness of the water was less than 400 ppm calcium before being softened.  

Can Humans Drink Softened Water?

Soft water has less magnesium and calcium than hard water. Too much calcium can make it harder for your kidneys to filter it out. Increased levels of calcium can also lead to nausea, vomiting, increased urination, upset stomach, and constipation. Drinking water with high levels of magnesium can lead to excess bowel movements and diarrhea.

Removing excess amounts of calcium and magnesium can make the water safer for you. Water can be softened by passing it by resin beads. The beads pull calcium and magnesium from the water. However, this leads to higher levels of sodium which can be dangerous for some people. Too much sodium in the water can cause headaches, high blood pressure, and edema.

The World Health Organization is responsible for monitoring health trends across the globe. They determine various impacts of topics on health. The World Health Organization has not claimed whether there are long-term effects of softened water on health, so no firm statements have been made.

The safety of softened water may depend on the person. If you cannot handle high levels of sodium, hard water may be best. Softened water is best for people who have too much magnesium or calcium. The safety of consuming hard or soft water is more important when consumed in large quantities (such as a gallon a day).

Can Babies Drink Softened Water?

Excess sodium can be filtered out through the kidneys. Adults and children typically have the kidney capacity to balance sodium levels. Babies, however, don’t have all the kidney strength needed to expel extra sodium. That’s why they eat and drink differently than adults and children.

Adults and older children also have the ability to handle higher levels of sodium. This means they can generally tolerate softened water. However, a baby’s body is different, and these differences should be used to determine safety of softened water.

Because of the higher levels of sodium in softened water, it may not be safe to give babies. Babies should stay around 200mg of sodium per liter. Adding the sodium from the formula and baby food to the sodium levels of softened water could increase sodium levels past recommended.

Can Pets Drink Softened Water?

Just like the difference between babies, children, and adults, there are differences between human and pet kidneys. The sodium levels in softened water may pose a threat to some pets. However, softened water is generally safe for pets.

Can Dogs and Cats Drink Softened Water?

We all love our dogs and cats and want the best for them. This means understanding how the water might be affecting their health. Harmful water can lead to a number of sicknesses and problems in their health.

Water can hold bacteria as easily as it holds minerals. Bacteria are able to grow in water faster in areas where it is not flowing and does not contain disinfectants, including chlorine. Bacteria can also cause a number of illnesses and conditions in our loved pets.

There are no firm answers on whether or not to give your dog hard or softened water. However, one study found that in the areas across the country with extremely hard water, there were more pets presenting with urinary health issues.

In order to determine if the water is safe for your pet, you can test water hardness in your home by using an in-home testing kit. A testing kit is probably the most reliable method for testing water hardness. But let’s be honest: it’s 2022. There’s more than one way to do everything now.

One way is to use soap and water. Fill a bottle with water and pour in a few drops of liquid soap. Shake quickly then see if the water is milky or cloudy. If it looks like this, and doesn’t have many bubbles, your water is hard. This takes place because the metals that are in hard water make it harder for the soap to suds up and create bubbles.

Another way to determine water hardness is to check if your pipes are healthy or clogged. You can also check for stains in tubs and sinks or filmy dishes after the dish washer.

Can Other Pets Drink Softened Water?

There is a belief that sodium is added to softened water and can be dangerous. This isn’t the case. While there are no formal declarations on the safety (or harm) of softened water, it is generally safe for pet consumption.

Sodium is increased in softened water, but it is not added. If salt was added to the water then it typically wouldn’t be safe for most pets. Sodium water can lead to a number of gastrointestinal issues.

You don’t need to make changes to your pet’s current water diet unless you think there may be something wrong. If your pet is showing symptoms, and you’ve found out that you have hard water, it may be time to talk to a vet about your options.


There is controversy surrounding whether or not drinking softened water is safe or not. Many are worried about the sodium levels and others are worried about the effects on their health and pets.

Overall, it can be determined that softened water is safe for human and animal consumption. As long as the water is clean and free of bacteria, it should be safe in most cases. You can test you water at home or order an official water testing kit. Either way, rest assured you (and your loved ones) are safe to indulge in some softened water!