Best Water Softener Salt for Sensitive Skin (2022)

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If you’re a homesteader or rural homeowner on well water, chances are you have hard water. Hard water can cause all kinds of issues like spotty dishes, scale buildup in your pipes, and dry skin and hair. You may notice your skin feeling tight and itchy after a shower – that “squeaky clean” feeling is actually not normal and is the result of soap scum buildup on your skin that is damaging your moisture barrier. If you have eczema, hard water can cause more frequent flareups. Your hair may feel lifeless and dull. I could go on and on! That is why it is so important to get a water softener for your well water or any water supply that needs softening.

Water softeners go through a periodic process called regeneration where the collected hard water minerals get flushed out of the system. For a simple explanation of how water softeners work, check out our linked post. This is where the salt comes into play. Water softener salts vary in quality, so it is important to use top quality salt to extend the life of your water softener and keep it in great shape for many years to come.  

Topping up your softener is something you’ll be doing fairly regularly. There are a lot of options available at most big box stores, and it can be confusing to know what to look for and how to narrow down your choices. Don’t worry – let us do the work for you! In this buying guide, we will help you pick the best water softener salt for sensitive skin and what we like and dislike about each one.

Best Overall: Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Salt Pellets

My top choice is the Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Salt Pellets. It comes in pellet form, which is ideal for a high quality salt. These salt pellets come in at 99.8% pure salt, which means it is less likely to gunk up your machine or cause salt bridging or salt mushing. It also means that it will be very effective in removing calcium and magnesium from your water, making your skin feel soft, smooth and hydrated.

Another reason I really like this brand is the packaging. Water softener salt bags are heavy at 40lbs a standard size, and the Diamond Crystal series have a patented two-handled design and easy opening bag, which makes lifting and pouring a lot easier. The two handles make it easy to carry in a flat, evenly distributed position which might be a little better than carrying it by one end or hauling it over your shoulder, especially if you don’t want to accidentally hurt your back.

While it can be a little more pricy than other choices, it is not much of a difference at all and the high quality compacted salt pellets are virtually 100% water soluble, making this an excellent choice for using in your water softener. Your hair, skin, plumbing and laundry will thank you!

Pros

  • 99.8% purity
  • Pellets are the best form of water softener salt to buy
  • Well-designed packaging
  • Compatible with most water softener units

Cons

  • Can be slightly more expensive than other salt pellets

Runner Up: Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets

Morton is one of the big names in water softener salts. The brand is very well known and well recognized, especially the skin-friendly Morton System Saver II. The System Saver salt has now been rebranded as Morton Clean and Protect, but it is the same trustworthy brand it’s always been.

This is another highly rated, popular water softener salt for sensitive skin. Not only will it help reduce scale buildup in your pipes and appliances, but it will also leave your skin and hair feeling soft and smooth after washing.

This water softener salt comes with a plastic handle at the top for easier carrying and pouring. (Side note: I personally avoid carrying the bags by the top handle and prefer to hoist it over my shoulder for better weight distribution. I find that carrying heavy bags by the handle makes the salt gather at the bottom and the bag bulges, making it feel much heavier than it is.)  

Still, I couldn’t help but mention this one, as it is a much loved and trusted brand of water softener salt and the price is very reasonable.

Pros

  • Well-known and trusted brand
  • Pellets are the best form of water softener salt to buy
  • Comes with a plastic handle for easy carrying and pouring
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Some customers have noticed brown discoloration in their salt that sticks to the walls of their water softeners

Best Natural: Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals Salt Crystals

If you’re looking for the most naturally produced salt for your water softener, look no further than the Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals Salt Crystals. This is a solar salt, which means it is made from evaporating seawater in the sun and wind. It is up to 99.6% pure, and you can feel good knowing that it was harvested without the use of mining equipment.

This is a great water softener salt to use for those with sensitive skin or skin issues.  From babies to elderly folk, using this water softener salt will eliminate the buildup caused by hard water that makes your skin dry, itchy and irritated. Your skin will feel much more smooth and hydrated after washing with soft water.

The company assures that this salt is compatible with all water softeners and minimizes the accumulation of brine tank residue. Just like our top choice, the packaging is optimized with a patented two-handle design and easy opening bag. This is another very highly rated choice for water softener salt that is good for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • Naturally sourced and naturally processed
  • 99.6% purity
  • Well-designed packaging
  • Compatible with most if not all water softeners

Cons

  • Crystals can be non-uniform in size compared to pellets

Best for Canadians: Sifto Crystal Plus Water Softener Salt

Canadians will find that there is not as wide a selection available as there is in the US. The main brands widely available at most stores are Windsor (sold as Morton in the US) and Sifto. For Canadians, I like the Sifto Crystal Plus the best for a few reasons.

One, it is available at almost every big box store. It is also a naturally evaporated salt with 99.8% purity, which is excellent for salt crystals. It comes in large 20kg (44lb) bags and sometimes in 40kg bags (but I wouldn’t bother with the hassle of bags that size) at a very reasonable price. Is also features Sifto’s Resin Clean formula which helps with iron buildup, although there is also an option specifically for tackling iron buildup (which we go over later on).

Lastly, it is a Canadian product. Just as Morton is an American product, is it good to buy Canadian products if you are Canadian!  

Pros

  • 99.8% purity
  • Widely available at most big box retailers in Canada
  • Features a proprietary resin cleaning formula to help maintain your resin tank and inhibit iron buildup
  • Product of Canada

Cons

  • Heavier bags (although this is more of a neutral than a con)
  • Salt crystals can vary in size
  • Basic packaging

Best Potassium Chloride Alternative (check for compatibility): Diamond Crystal Potassium Chloride Water Softening Pellets

Let me preface this by saying that although it is usually advertised as compatible with most water softeners, I highly recommend checking your water softener owner’s manual to make sure that your individual water softener is compatible with potassium instead of sodium. While I don’t personally recommend using potassium instead of sodium in your water softener, if you are on a strict diet and your doctor recommends almost zero sodium, you may have no other choice. In this case, the Diamond Crystal Potassium Chloride Water Softening Pellets is my top recommendation. It will still give you the same benefits as regular water softener salt, including softer hair and skin.

Pros

  • May give peace of mind for those on a low sodium diet (side note: see our article on water softener myths for how much of  your percent daily sodium actually comes from soft water)
  • An alternative for those who are sensitive to the taste of soft water

Cons

  • Much more expensive than regular sodium chloride water softener salt
  • 99.1% purity: not as pure as most sodium chloride water softener salts
  • Less efficient than sodium (water softener will regenerate more frequently

Best for Removing Iron: Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter (USA) and Sifto Ultra Crystal (Canada)

Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter (USA)

This is my top choice for water softener salt specifically designed to remove iron. If you’re like me and on well water, there is a high chance you have iron in your water supply. Some signs include yellow well water, reddish-brown stains in your toilet bowl, and the unmistakable metallic taste in your drinking water. The Diamond Crystal Iron Fighter Salt Pellets are specially formulated for hard water with a high iron content. What I like about this salt is that is in pellet form and is extremely pure – 99.6% pure actually. The iron-fighting formula is FDA approved, so you can feel comfortable knowing that your water is safe to drink and use on your family’s sensitive skin.

Diamond Crystal is a well-known and highly rated brand of water softener salt. Just like the other lines by this brand, I am impressed by the two-handle design with one on either end of the bag. I prefer to hoist the salt bags over my shoulder rather than carrying them by one handle, since the salt tends to gather at the bottom and bulge out the bag, resulting in an uneven weight distribution and making it a lot harder to carry.

Pros

  • 99.6% purity
  • Pellets are the best form of water softener salt to buy
  • High-performing, well-known brand
  • Specifically formulated for removing iron

Cons

  • Pricier than some other options

Sifto Ultra Crystal (Canada)

For Canadians, this is my top choice for eliminating iron and rust stains caused by hard water. It is a premium version of the Crystal Plus water softener salt with a patented Ultimate Iron Remover formula. If you have iron in your water supply and you’re in Canada, I would recommend the Sifto Ultra Crystal Water Softener Salt. It is slightly more expensive than the Crystal Plus, but it certainly delivers in terms of performance. When it comes to iron issues, you will really notice the difference when you upgrade to a salt that’s specifically formulated for iron removal.

Pros

  • High performance water softener salt
  • Specifically formulated for removing iron
  • Product of Canada

Cons

  • Not as widely available
  • Slightly more expensive (but the quality is there)

Least Favorite: Morton Pure and Natural Water Softener Crystals

Let me just say right away that I don’t have anything particularly against this choice. I just think that there are better options to choose from, such as the ones listed above.

If you do go this route, there is nothing wrong with this choice. This is a crystal salt, so it is produced by evaporation, but it also means that the pieces may vary in size compared to pellet salt. Still, Morton is a big name in both the US and Canada (where it is sold as Windsor brand) and you can rest assured that you will enjoy all the benefits of soft water, especially softer skin and hair.

It is tough to find anything particularly negative to say about this one compared to the others, which is why I believe it is still a fine choice if this is your preference. The reason I consider this my least favorite is simply because it can be more costly than others and is more along the price range of specially-formulated salts that remove iron, for instance. If you are looking for a regular good quality water softener salt, I recommend the Diamond Crystal salt pellets or the Morton Clean and Protect salt pellets over this one due to the superior pellet form and price range. If you are okay with spending a little more, maybe it is a good idea to test for iron in your water and tackle the issue with an iron-removing water softener salt – you’ll be glad you did!

Recap

To recap, my top three recommendations for the best water softener salt for sensitive skin are the Diamond Crystal Bright and Soft Salt Pellets, Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets, and the Diamond Crystal Solar Naturals Salt Crystals. Any of the choices mentioned here are fine, however. The main things to avoid when buying water softener salt is the cheap rock salt or block salt – these are the most impure forms and are more prone to salt bridging and clogging up your machine. For the most part, buying water softener salt is a relatively inexpensive maintenance item for your water softener, and the price doesn’t differ too much other than by a few dollars, so I would definitely recommend you buy a good quality salt. Just like a good mattress or pair of boots, it’s not something you want to cheap out on!

When you have your own independent water supply, knowing your water’s hardness and iron content is extremely important, as you want to protect your hair, skin, laundry, plumbing and appliances from the long-term effects of hard water. You also want to make sure that you test your well water regularly for contaminants like coliform bacteria, nitrates, viruses, VOCs and other things. Have a nice browse through our site and check out some more resources for homesteaders like us!

Was this guide helpful? Do you have a preferred brand of water softener salt? Let us know in the comments!   

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