by Gabe Ergler
Slippery Soft Water, What is it and What can I do About it?
April 21, 2020
slippery soft water

Let the Slippery Battle Begin!

You know the slippery soft water feeling; you lather up and scrub yourself clean and it’s time to rinse. You begin to rinse, you don’t see any more soap suds yet you feel slippery like the soap hasn’t been fully rinsed away. You keep rinsing but the slippery feeling does not go away. Are you clean? Is the soap all gone? Should you keep rinsing? Eventually logic kicks in and you realize you’ve just battled that slippery feeling created by an ion exchange or salt-based water softener. 

Why does soft water make me feel slippery? 

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

First, you might be using too much soap. If you are used to working with hard water and now the water is soft it’s easy to use too much soap. Why is this? You are used to adding enough soap to hard water to 1st bind with the soap and 2nd get the cleaning job done. When water is soft you don’t add soap to bind with the hardness, you only add enough to get the job done. 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, salt-based softeners change the way water behaves. The sodium ions in water softened with a salt-based softener lessen its ability to ‘stick’ to the soap molecules. Unable to easily stick to soap molecules makes it more difficult to rinse the soap off your body causing the water to feel slippery. Essentially, soap would rather stick to you than get rinsed away. This phenomena is true whether the ion exchange softener is regenerated with sodium chloride or potassium chloride. 

How to prevent the slippery soft water feeling

If you have hard water and want to avoid the slippery-when-wet feeling there are some things you can do;

  1. Employ a water softener that doesn’t use salt-based or ion exchange technology. You can use a different softener that does not produce the slippery feeling. A great softener that won’t make the water feel slippery or slimy is the PolyHalt®  salt free ion bond softener. A PolyHalt® softener will resolve hard water problems without making the water feel slippery or slimy. It works by changing the way hardness minerals behave preventing them from acting hard rather than exchanging them for other ions that make the water feel slippery. 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? 

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


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