by Gabe Ergler
Salt Softeners Make You Feel Slippery When Wet – How to Solve
May 6, 2016
Softener Slippery Feeling

There’s an updated version of this post. Click here to read it.


Slippery – When – Wet; feelings you can expect from salt softened water.

It’s harder to work up a lather in hard water, yet rinsing in softened water may leave you feeling slippery or slimy.

If you have or are considering a softener for your water please take note: salt softened water feels different than hard water and to some people the feeling of softened water will take some time to get used to.  For most, the benefits of softened water far outweigh the slippery-when-wet feeling.

Do you have hard water? If you do, you may already have or are considering a water softener to help protect your plumbing from scale buildup, prevent soap scum, keep your clothes whiter and brighter and lessen the amount of soap and detergent needed for cleaning.

You’ve probably heard that cleaners work better in soft water than in hard water, but, does that mean you will feel cleaner if you bathe in softened water? Maybe not. Rinsing in softened water may leave you a completely different feeling than rinsing with hard water. You may feel slippery or slimy and soapy, even after a thorough rinsing. In order to understand why softened water can leave you feeling slippery or slimy you have to look at the chemistry of soft water and soap. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium ions which are what makes the water hard.  Salt-based water softeners remove those ions by exchanging them for sodium or potassium ions.

What makes water feel slippery?

Two factors contribute to that slippery-when-wet feeling you can get after soaping up with softened water.

First, soap lathers better in soft water than in hard water, so it’s easy to use too much. The more dissolved soap there is, the more water you need to rinse it away. A simple rule to feel less slippery is to use less soap.

Second, the ions in water softened with a salt-based softener lessen its ability to ‘stick’ to the soap molecules, making it more difficult to rinse the cleanser off your body. Essentially, soap would rather stick to you than get rinsed away.

What if you don’t like the slippery-when-wet feeling?

There are some things you can do;

  1. You can use a different softener for hard water that does not produce the slippery feeling. A great softener that isn’t salt based and won’t make the water feel slippery or slimy is the PolyHalt® ion bond softener. A PolyHalt® salt free ion bond softener will resolve hard water problems without making the water feel slippery or slimy. For more information and details visit
  2. You can use less soap or even a try a synthetic liquid body wash (synthetic detergent or syndet).
  3. You can also rinse with naturally-soft water or rainwater.

Want to learn more? Check out these great resources.

Learn more about PolyHalt® in the blog post: What is PolyHalt® and How Does it Work?

Ever wonder what hard water really is? Check out this blog post: Hard Water Defined

You likely noticed this blog does not discuss soft water, for that you will need to see our blog post Soft Water Defined.

Ever have someone test your soft water only to have them tell your your water is hard when you know it’s soft? Learn how soft water tests hard in this blog post  Why Does Soft Water Test Hard?

Do you want to know what a hardness test actually tells you? This post explains: What Does a Hardness Test really tell us?

Do you have a salt-based softener but still have problems with spots on your glassware, shower doors and windows? Check out this blog post: Silica – The other white spot


The top 4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Water Softener

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