Using salt based water softeners is a traditional method to soften the water. Salt based systems remove the hard mineral ions in the water to soften the water. In the softening process, the hard ions are substituted by the sodium ions. With the removal of the hard ions, the water does not display its hard properties anymore and it is now softened. Softening the water this way eliminates all the problems that hard water causes. The most prominent problem they create is the formation of scales in all the major water facilities we have in our homes. The hard ions stick themselves to the surfaces and create scales. Scales causes slow water flow in our pipes, heaters to lose their heating functionality, and washing machines and dish washers to be ineffective in cleaning our plates. Another big headache is that hard water do not lather with soap and detergents. They form scum which is a sticky white precipitate that causes milky spots on our toilet equipments. These spots are also visible on our utensils and plates, reducing the natural shine that clean utensils and plates have.
Although salt based water softeners have succeeded in removing all issues that hard water has, is also creates another set of problem. The biggest issue of all is the increase in salt pollution due to the high amount of brine solution that are disposed into the seas. This has attracted the attention of several government bodies that are looking at ways to reduce our dependence on salt based softeners. They are encouraging the use of saltless water softeners which do the same job, but not creating any pollution effects. Saltless water softeners do not add any sodium ions to replace the mineral ions, instead, they use specially created resins that reacts with the mineral ions and causes them to lose their activeness. Hence these mineral ions loses their physical properties and are softened.