How to Clean a Water Softener Brine Tank – Step by Step Guide

Last Updated on December 16, 2022 by Mattias

Do you want an effective water softener that will last a long time? Your water softener unit can be as good as new with some tips and tricks.

This article will go through everything you need to know to have an excellent working water softener brine tank.

Consider this the ultimate guide for cleaning your water softener’s brine tank.

Check the Inside of the Tank

Have you noticed that your water is starting to smell and get a strange aftertaste?

Have you checked your brine tank to ensure it’s at least 2/3 of salt? That could be the problem if it just started and hasn’t been like that before.

  1. Start by checking the salt level in your brine tank.
  2. Take off the tank’s lid and look at the bottom of the brine tank.
  3. Is the water softener tank empty, or has almost no remaining salt? Because if it is, that could be the problem. Especially if you turn on your hot water. The warm water tends to do that.
  4. Put in new salt, but be sure to put in the correct. You don’t want the wrong type of salt inside your brine tank.

If you answered NO on all of these questions, you need to clean out your water softener’s brine tank.

Read also: How To Add Salt To Water Softener

How to Clean a Water Softener Brine Tank

Your brine tank needs regular maintenance and more effort to clean than the water softener resin tank. It can be a good idea to clean it every 6 to 12 months. Put a note in your calendar to ensure your tank gets regular cleaning.

You may need to clean your tank more often if using rock salt because of the build-up of dirt inside the tank and bacterial growth.

PS: If you find a salt bridge in your brine tank, you must clean it directly. Salt bridging and salt sludges can clog your system.

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to clean your brine tank.

Step 1:

You should look into your manual and ensure you’re familiar with your water softener system.

Step 2: Turn your water off.

Turn the water softener’s bypass valve. Having the bypass mode at OFF is essential to be on the safe side, so you don’t risk getting any water damage.

Step 3: Drain Your Brine Tank

The best time would be to wait when the salt level is low., but if you don’t have time, you have two options:

Option 1: Take a 5-gallon bucket or whatever bucket you can find. Then Scoop the water and the excess salt out.

Option 2: Use a wet vacuum (shop vac) to suck the old salt and the water out of the tank.

After it’s cleaned out and empty, take a look at the bottom of the tank. You can see on the sides that it’s cruddy and dirty.

That comes from the mineral build-up and dirt that happens to be in the tap water.

Pour the brine solution you’ve gathered down your drain and detach the tank from your water supply.

Read also: 9 Reasons Why Your Softened Water Tastes Salty

Step 4: Clean the Rest of the Salt

When you’ve emptied the tank from all the water, you will be left with salt sludge.

Use a small shovel to get the salt out. But be careful with the insides of the tank. It’s easy to get a scratch on the walls.

You can use a broom handle to bash complex pieces that are stuck.

Read also: Will Water Softener Water Kill Plants?

Step 5: Wash the Tank

Take your tank outside for the next step (if the weather allows it).

Use a garden hose to clean the tank from any dirt left inside. The best way is to get it as clean as possible since it will make the next step much easier for you.

Step 6: Clean the Tanks Inside

  1. Poor 2.-3 tablespoons of soap into a bucket.
  2. Mix with some water.
  3. Get an old washcloth or rag that you don’t use anymore.
  4. Dip it into the water mixture in soapy water and clean the tank’s insides. Ensure that you go from the top of the tank to the bottom. You want the whole interior of the brine tank as clean as possible.
  5. Wash the dirty water out with your garden hose.
  6. Empty the bucket and fill it with 1 cup of bleach solution and 1-2 gallons of water. This will help to clean out the rest of the dish detergent.
  7. Pour it into the tank and clean the inside just like before.
  8. Shake the tank so the bleach water goes around. It’s essential to get all of the dish detergents out.
  9. Empty the solution, but since household bleach is classified as hazardous waste, make sure to take the proper precautions.
  10. Wash the tank with your garden hose again.

PS: Sometimes, there’s mold inside of the tank that won’t go away. The good news is that you can get rid of this quickly. Look after natural mold treatment at a home improvement store, and you’re good to go.

Step 7: Dry the Tank

Now it’s time to get your tank dry and ready to make the hard water to > soft water.

You can either dry the tank with a towel or leave it outside to dry. But if you feel like there’s rain in the air. Let it dry under a roof.

Step 8: Reinstall the Tank

Put your tank back and refill the salt pellets to full. Check our article about the best water softener salt here and what the wrong kind of salt does.

Turn back the bypass valve so the water starts flowing again.

Step 9: Do a Manual Regeneration Cycle

When the tank is reinstalled, the first step is to perform a regeneration cycle.

When the regeneration process is done, you’ve completed our step-by-step guide to cleaning your brine tank, and you should have clean water.

Read also: 12 Best Kitchen Faucets For Hard Water + Buyers Guide

How to Clean a Water Softener Brine Tank Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide about cleaning your brine tank.

As you discovered, water softener maintenance is essential for the softener to work correctly.

So whenever you need to clean your brine tank, follow our guide for the best results.

Good luck!