Will a Water Softener Remove Calcium from Pipes?

The short answer is: “Yes, gradually.” You might not notice the difference in the short term, but soft water does its magic in the long run. Calcium in hard water leads to limescale build-up in your pipes.

Soft water removes calcium gradually when it runs through your pipes. Water softeners have the ability to produce soft water. They use an ion exchange process that replaces calcium with sodium in water.

What Type of Buildup Can Be Removed Using Softened Water?

Limescale, basically calcium, can be removed by using softened water. Soft water also removes other hard minerals, such as magnesium, from water. Soft water can also remove scum build-up in your bathtub, kitchen sink, around faucets, and inside all of your water-based appliances.  

Does soft water clean better?

Yes, soft water does not lead to scum build-up in your bathtub, kitchen sink, and around faucets. Unlike hard water, it is much easier to clean laundry and dishes using hard water. Soft water does not leave dirty spots on your dishes.

Soft water increases the life of your water-based appliances because it gradually cleans the scum buildup inside them. It removes calcium and magnesium inside your water-based appliances, such as dishwasher.

How do you remove calcium deposits from water pipes?

You run soft water through your water pipes. Soft water gradually removes any sum buildup inside your water pipes. If you do not own a water softener, you can use commercial descaling agents to remove calcium deposits.

In some cases, people use a plumber’s snake or wire brush to remove calcium deposits inside water pipes. It is a mechanical method where physical force is exerted when you move a wire brush inside the pipe.

Another way to remove vinegar deposits is to create a vinegar soak. Shut off your water supply and then pour vinegar inside the affected pipes. Let it sit there for some time, and then flush the pipes.

What chemicals dissolve calcium deposits?

Soft water can be used to dissolve calcium deposits. Generally, people like to use vinegar, lemon juice, hydrochloric acid, and commercial descaling products to remove calcium from water.

White vinegar is effective against calcium deposits because it contains acetic acid. You can remove calcium deposits on dishes just by squeezing lemon juice over them, letting the juice sit for some time, and then cleaning the area afterward.

Using hydrochloric acid to remove calcium deposits is risky because it is a strong acid. It needs careful handling. You wear protective equipment and follow the guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Commercial descaling products comprise detergents, acids, or chelating agents. You can use a combination of these products alongside protective equipment to remove calcium deposits.

Can salt dissolve calcium?

The short answer is: “No.” Salt cannot dissolve calcium. Sodium chloride, otherwise known as common table salt, cannot be compared with calcium. They are different compounds and have their own distinct chemical properties.

Being an alkaline earth metal, calcium can be oxidized to produce calcium oxide. Oxidation of calcium can also lead to the formation of calcium hydroxide. It can also be called “Slaked Lime.”

Calcium oxide is known as lime. Limescale buildup often restricts the movement of water inside pipes. You know you cannot remove the bathtub scum or limescale buildup in your pipes by using salt alone.

It is a common misconception that you can remove calcium through salt water. It simply does not have the ability to remove calcium. Calcium compounds can only be removed through specific chemical reactions.

Salt itself has to pass through the dissociation process before turning into sodium or chloride ions. Calcium compounds need solvents to be dissolved. It is worth noting that water softeners use an ion exchange process to replace calcium or magnesium ions with sodium ions in water.    

Why is salt used in water softeners?

Salt is chemically known as sodium chloride. Water softeners first dissociate sodium chloride into sodium and chloride ions. They then replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions in water. The whole water softening process shuts down if your water softener runs out of salt. 

What happens if you don’t put salt in a water softener?

The whole water softening process stops when your water softener runs out of salt. Salt is the key to the water-softening process. Water softeners dissociate salt into sodium and chloride ions and then use the ion exchange process to replace calcium and magnesium ions in the hard water.

You may need to adjust the regeneration settings of your water softener to control or limit its salt usage. Salt and water are consumed during the regeneration and backwash cycles of your water softener.

Your water softener will keep on producing soft water as long it has salt or potassium chloride. When the salt or potassium chloride runs out, it will not produce soft water. You do not want to waste resources. So, you should check your water softener salt tank after every two weeks.

It is not a fixed guideline as it varies according to your soft water usage, the frequency of regeneration cycles, and the type and model of your water softener. Any signs of hard water may indicate that your water softener has run out of salt.    

How does adding salt to water make it “soft”?

You cannot make soft water just by adding salt to hard water. Hard water actually goes through an ion exchange process inside the water softeners to become soft water. Your soft water lacks calcium and magnesium because water softeners replace calcium and magnesium ions with sodium ions in water.

Still, you can use potassium chloride in a water softener. Salt plays a key role in the water-softening process, and so does potassium chloride. However, potassium chloride is more expensive.


Will a water softener remove calcium from pipes? Yes, water softeners produce soft water, which dissolves calcium inside your pipes. There are several other methods to remove calcium from pipes.

You can use mechanical methods, chemical descaling agents, vinegar soak, or hydrochloric acids to remove calcium deposits inside your pipes. However, you should use follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to get rid of the limescale buildup inside your pipes.


This is my blog about the ways and solutions that can help you improve your health by taking more value from drinking water. As improving health means a lot to me, I decided to create the Water On Top project with the purpose to reveal the benefits of water, the finest products to take our daily water to another level, and much more great stuff about water that I believe is on top of our nutrition.

Recent Posts