Many people use Brita filters because they want to remove potentially harmful contaminants from their drinking water. This can include sodium which, if consumed at high levels, can have a severe impact on your health. But will a Brita filter be able to remove sodium from soft water?
Brita filters don’t remove sodium from water. The sodium ions do not adsorb onto the activated charcoal filter in the Brita. Other methods, like reverse osmosis, should be used to remove the sodium. Fortunately, most salt-based water softeners do not add a significant amount of sodium.
Though Brita filters might be good, they don’t remove everything from your water. The good news is that there are some other methods you can use to remove the salt from your drinking water. Keep reading to learn what these methods are and why Brita struggles to remove sodium.
Read my article: What Does a Brita Filter Remove – Is Your Drinking Water Safe?
Why Doesn’t a Brita Remove Sodium from Softened Water?
There are a few reasons why Brita can struggle to remove sodium from softened water.
Some types of softened water don’t contain much sodium
Part of the problem lies with the softened water itself.
There are two types of water available. First, you might have hard water at your home. This comes from the tap. It contains a wide array of minerals and, in some cases, unwanted pollutants. Mainly, though, it has high levels of calcium and magnesium. This is why a layer of white scale will build up in appliances when you are using hard water.
There are a few softening methods to use. For example, reverse osmosis will remove most chemicals, including sodium. As a result, there isn’t any sodium left for the Brita to filter out.
However, some softening methods can cause sodium levels to rise. This is particularly common with water softeners that use ion exchange resin. The resin is very effective at removing calcium and magnesium, the hardness, but it eventually has to be regenerated.
This is done by exchanging the calcium and magnesium ions with sodium. Low levels of sodium are released back into the water as part of the softening process.
While adding sodium to the water seems like a bad thing, the effects are often mild. The water is still safe to drink. The only exceptions are for people who need to limit their sodium intake.
Limitations of Brita filters
However, the bigger issue lies with the type of filter Brita uses. They use a combination of activated charcoal. These will remove the clear majority of harmful chemicals from the water. For example, Brita filters are effective against:
It will also work to improve the taste and odor of your drinking water. It does this by absorbing the pollutants within the folds of the activated carbon filter. However, the sodium particles are fine. Though a small amount might be trapped by the Brita filter, most of them will pass through.
If you want to remove sodium from your drinking water, you will need to use a reverse osmosis filter. This has a more advanced filtering process, with the water passing between a semi-permeable membrane, which separates the salt. While there are some reverse osmosis systems that you can use in your home, they are known for being very expensive.
Does A Brita Filter Create Soft Water?
As we mentioned, Brita filters will be able to remove a lot of pollutants from the water. But it won’t be able to create soft water. This comes down to the type of filters that they are using.
Brita filters are unable to remove calcium and magnesium. These are the elements that determine whether water can be declared hard or soft.
The only exception to this is the BRITA Pro Home Water Softening System. This has been specifically designed to create softer water in your home. It does this by tailoring the softening system to meet the needs of your household.
If you don’t want to fit this system, there are a few other ways of making soft water at home, which we’ll discuss a little later.
Does Soft Water Taste Salty?
As we mentioned, water softeners can increase the amount of sodium in your drinking water. This is because it uses this mineral to cleanse the resin that neutralizes calcium and magnesium. But this raises an important question, how does this practice impact the flavor of soft water?
Though the sodium levels might be slightly elevated in soft water, they won’t be much higher than in regular hard water. It’s highly unlikely that you will be able to taste the difference.
It should also be noted that, while the amount of sodium might be elevated, there won’t be any chlorine. As a result, the two elements won’t be able to bond together to form NaCl. So, your water won’t taste salty.
What Levels of Sodium Are Safe in Water?
Since your Brita filter won’t be able to remove sodium, it’s important to consider how much salt you can safely have in your drinking water.
This will often depend on the type of diet that you are on. Here are some of the most common recommendations:
- Low sodium diets. In this case, you should have no more than 20 mg/L.
- Medium sodium diets. On this type of diet, you will need to have a maximum of 270 mg/L.
Regardless, of the type of diet you are on, you should never have more than 3,400 milligrams of salt each day. This is measured based on the total amount of food that you consume each day.
How much sodium is in soft water?
The most important element to consider is how hard your water is. The harder the tap water, the more sodium will be found in soft water. There is a test you can perform which will tell you the number of grains per gallon (gpg) present in your water. This will tell you how hard your water is.
Once you know this, it will be a relatively simple calculation to determine roughly how much sodium is in your soft water. You just need to multiply your hard water number by 30. This is the average number of milligrams of sodium in every gallon of soft water.
Finally, you will need to divide that figure by 16. This will tell you the average sodium level in a cup of softened water.
This might seem like a high figure but it’s important to keep it in perspective. Most foods will have some amount of sodium in them. For example, an egg will have 59 mg of sodium while a slice of bread can have up to 230 mg of sodium.
Consequences of excess salt in your water
Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about a relatively high amount of salt in the water. But there are a few medical conditions that make it necessary to monitor sodium levels. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Kidney conditions
If you have one of these medical conditions, you should ask your doctor about the maximum amount of sodium that you can have in your water. If the levels are too high, your health might start to suffer.
Testing sodium levels in your water
There are a few ways that you can find how much sodium is in your water. If you have a public water supply, you should be able to get a report from the supplier. This will tell you the levels of certain materials, like sodium.
If you have a well or want to double-check these readings, you might want to consider performing a test yourself. To do this, you will need to get a hygrometer. Once you have this tool, here are the steps you will need to follow:
- Fill a glass with water, then let it sit for a few minutes until it reaches room temperature.
- Place your hygrometer in the water, and allow it to settle
- Gently push the hygrometer into the water, then release and allow it to settle back into place
- Record the reading
If you want to have zero water in your water, you should look for a reading of 1.
If you want, you can use this method to test the efficiency of your Brita filter. You can test the water before and after it has been filtered. This will give you a good indication of how much, if any, sodium has been removed.
How Can You Remove Sodium from Water?
Since most Brita filters will be unable to remove sodium from the water, you will need to do it yourself. The good news is that there are a few simple ways that you can do this, these include:
- Reverse osmosis filters. While costly, a reverse osmosis filter is the best way to extract salt from your drinking water. If you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to sodium levels, this might be worth the money.
- This process works by boiling the water in one chamber. Then, the steam will condense and move into the other chamber. This will remove most of the impurities, including sodium, from your drinking water.
- This uses an electrical current to remove salt from the water. However, it is the least common option, because of how expensive it is to establish.
How Can I Make Soft Water?
Most Brita filters won’t have the ability to make soft water. Though there are a few ways to create it yourself. Some of these methods include:
- Reverse osmosis filter. This system can be established under the sink, removing the vast majority of impurities.
- Distillation and electrodialysis. These are less common systems and will be more difficult to get set up. They will also require a lot of effort, making them impractical for softening drinking water.
- Boiling the water. You will need to boil it for at least five minutes, so all the minerals evaporate.
- Washing soda. Soft water is also best for appliances, like washing machines. Because of this, you might want to add some washing soda to your next wash. This is easy to use, you just need to mix a small amount in the machine when you are washing your clothes.
Though there is a wide range of contaminants that a Brita filter can remove, sodium isn’t among them. This can be frustrating news to fans of soft water, who are concerned about the sodium content. Thankfully, the sodium levels in soft water aren’t high enough to pose a health hazard. If you are concerned, you can always use a reverse osmosis filter to further purify the water before you drink it.